Contact: Ken Daley, Public Information
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office on Thursday (July 18) secured a guilty plea and 35-year state prison sentence for a New Orleans man who fatally shot a romantic rival and wounded a teenaged bystander near a Mother’s Day second-line parade in May 2018.
Donnell Brown III averted a scheduled July 24 murder trial in which he faced a potential life sentence by entering into a plea agreement in which he admitted killing 35-year-old Herbert Foster III, a man who had begun a relationship with Brown’s ex-girlfriend.
Brown, 22, pleaded guilty to an amended charge of manslaughter in connection with Foster’s death. He pleaded guilty as charged to additional counts of attempted second-degree murder, aggravated battery and aggravated assault with a firearm. The plea agreement entered before Criminal District Judge Paul Bonin was approved by family members of Foster who were in court Thursday.
“This is yet another tragic loss of life in New Orleans that could — and should — have been avoided,” Cannizzaro said. “Resolving disputes with handguns and violence never ends well. Now we have one family mourning the loss of a loved one who was gunned down in front of his 14-year-old son. And another lamenting the decades in prison this gunman deserves for his irresponsible and deadly actions.”
New Orleans police said Brown drew his gun on Foster around 5:20 p.m., near the end of an annual Mother’s Day second-line that was breaking up in the St. Bernard area of Gentilly on May 13, 2018. Brown died at the scene in the 1400 block of Lafreniere Street after being shot in the head, back and limbs. A 15-year-old girl who was merely a bystander to the incident also was struck by gunfire, but survived a wound to her left leg.
Investigators determined that Brown was the former boyfriend of a woman that Foster was seeing at the time of his death. Police learned that Brown had threatened the woman with a gun and struck her with a bottle earlier in the day, resulting in two of the counts in his indictment. Brown was arrested less than three weeks after the shooting, surrendering to authorities on June 1, 2018.
Assistant District Attorneys Michael Trummel and Daniel Smart prosecuted the case.
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