Contact: Ken Daley, Public Information
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office on Thursday (Oct. 22) announced it secured a murder indictment against a man accused of fatally shooting another man at a New Orleans East playground in August.
Dwight Sparrow was charged with the second-degree murder of 33-year-old Benny Roberts in the three-count indictment handed up Sept. 10 by an Orleans Parish grand jury.
Sparrow also was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and with obstructing justice in a homicide investigation.
Sparrow, 47, faces a mandatory lifetime prison sentence if convicted on the murder charge. He also faces up to 40 years if guilty on the obstruction count, and 5 to 20 years if convicted of the weapons violation.
Sparrow and Roberts knew each other, as each had a child from a relationship with a woman Sparrow was currently seeing. Witnesses said Roberts and his girlfriend arrived at the Eastshore Playground in the 7800 block of Buffalo Road around 7:20 p.m. on Aug. 5. Roberts began socializing with people at the park’s picnic tables, while Sparrow waited on a bicycle nearby.
When Roberts and Sparrow finally spoke, a confrontation began. Witnesses told New Orleans police investigators that Sparrow pulled a pistol from his waistband and shot Roberts several times. Roberts was driven by private car to New Orleans East hospital, arriving at 7:34 p.m. He was pronounced dead there 37 minutes later.
Announcement of the indictment was delayed to give authorities the opportunity to safely return Sparrow to custody, after he was freed upon posting a $500,000 bond following his Aug. 10 arrest.
However, Sparrow has not been re-arrested following the indictment. On Oct. 13, he failed to appear in court for his scheduled arraignment. That arraignment has been rescheduled for Oct. 29.
Assistant District Attorney Sarah Dawkins presented the case to the grand jury.
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