LIVINGSTON – It took a Livingston Parish jury only 22 minutes to convict Brian Allen Jr. of second-degree murder in the March 28, 2016, shooting of Derrick Stewart in Denham Springs.
Allen faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison. He also was convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Both verdicts were unanimous.
Judge Jeffery Johnson set sentencing for 1 p.m. March 27 in 21st Judicial District Court.
Allen did not take the stand and the defense offered only one witness.
“Obviously we’re pleased with the verdict,” said J. Greg Murphy, assistant district attorney who led the prosecution.
“We worked hard for the father,” Derrick Woods, who attended the three-day trial, he said.
He credited the work by the Denham Springs Police Department of using a drone to film the crime scene and path of the cars as helpful in showing the jury the area.
For the first time in his career as a prosecutor, Murphy told the 5-man, 7-woman jury in his closing statement that he was able to offer a video of a homicide.
Both Murphy and public defender Tim Fondren, who represented Allen with public defender Shaan Aucoin, used the home security video to argue different points.
The prosecutor pointed out key sequences of the shooting at the intersection of Maryland Drive and MLK Drive in Denham Springs, including Allen getting out of a car and opening fire.
The defense offered an alternative reason for the shooting: Allen was attempting to protect a pedestrian in the road.
Murphy’s presentation included eyewitnesses who testified that Stewart and Walter Felder were trying to leave a residence on Maryland Drive when a car driven by Allen cut them off.
Witnesses said Stewart drove a Toyota Camry backward down Maryland Drive to MLK Drive with Allen pursuing him.
When the vehicles reached MLK Drive, Allen got out and fired at Stewart, the prosecutor said. A pathologist testified Wednesday that Stewart died of a single gunshot wound.
But Fondren used the video to point out Casey Galmon, the lone defense witness, who was standing next to a car talking to the driver.
According to Galmon’s testimony, the Camry missed him by three to four inches and he threw a bottle at the vehicle.
Galmon also said he jumped into a ditch to protect himself.
Fondren argued there was no violence before the shooting and Allen only began shooting to protect Galmon. The defense attorney also argued while three bullets were found, there was no evidence to say which one caused Stewart’s death.
The defense attorney said the entire incident at Maryland Drive and MLK Drive only lasted four seconds.
“My question is,” Fondren asked the jury, “Is four seconds enough time to create reasonable doubt?”
In his rebuttal to the defense’s closing argument, Murphy walked to the defense table where Allen sat and began applauding.
“Thank you for being such a good citizen and protecting Casey Galmon’s life,” Murphy said to Allen. “Should we give him a certificate?”
“That’s an insult,” he said about the defense’s argument.
The trial opened Thursday with testimony from Michelle Caves Olinde, a State Police Crime Lab examiner.
She testified that seven shell casings and three bullets submitted by the Denham Springs Police Department were fired by a Springfield XD .40-caliber handgun.
That handgun was recovered by Denham Springs detectives from Dion Nichols, who testified Thursday that Allen called him from the Livingston Parish Detention Center and told him where to find the “black lady” and to “wash it off.”