Deshawn Watson pleads guilty, gets 20 years for botched-robbery killing in 7th Ward
July 26, 2019
For Immediate Release

Contact: Ken Daley, Public Information

District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office on Friday (July 26) secured a guilty plea and 20-year state prison sentence for a New Orleans man responsible for a botched robbery that left his friend dead and two other people injured.

Deshawn Watson averted a scheduled Aug. 12 murder trial by entering into a plea agreement related to the fatal shooting of Emile Williams on Sept. 5, 2016. Watson, 21, pleaded guilty to an amended charge of manslaughter, and guilty as charged to attempted second-degree murder, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

Criminal District Judge Tracey Flemings-Davillier sentenced Watson to 20 years on each count. The judge ordered the terms to be served concurrently, and with credit for time served since Watson’s arrest on Sept. 18, 2017.

Williams, an 18-year-old from Baton Rouge, joined his friend Watson and another person in meeting three young men for a narcotics transaction near the intersection of Republic and Law streets shortly after 1 a.m. After Williams entered the back seat of the other car to complete his purchase from the three men, Watson circled around the vehicle from behind and pointed a gun with the intention of robbing the drug dealers.

Watson was spotted by someone in the other car and a shootout erupted. While it remains unclear whether Williams was participating in Watson’s attempted armed robbery, he was shot four times — by two different weapons — and died shortly after
arriving at a local hospital. Two others at the scene also were shot — one occupant of each car — but survived their injuries.

“We see time and again how deadly violence quickly spirals out of illegal narcotics transactions,” Cannizzaro said. “Whether from disputes over who deals drugs from which street corner, or a case such as this, where greed and the temptation of ‘easy money’ lights the fuse. Gun violence often follows closely behind.”

Assistant District Attorney Jason Napoli prosecuted the case.