Contact: Ken Daley, Public Information
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office on Friday (Sept. 13) secured guilty pleas and 60-year state prison sentences for two gunmen responsible for killing a New Orleans East store clerk during a botched armed robbery last year.
Farnell Jackson Jr. (pictured above left) and Frank Sams Jr. (above right) averted their scheduled murder trial by entering into a plea agreement before Criminal District Judge Paul Bonin. The duo pleaded guilty to amended charges of manslaughter in the death of Fuel Express Mart store clerk Olah Bessid, and pleaded guilty as charged to additional counts of armed robbery and obstruction of justice in a homicide investigation.
Bonin imposed 60-year sentences for the armed robbery, to be served concurrently with the maximum 40-year sentences imposed on both the manslaughter and obstruction counts. Sams pleaded guilty to an additional charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm, for which a concurrent 20-year sentence also was imposed.
Jackson, 19, and Sams, 26, entered the gas station convenience store at 7220 Hayne Blvd. around 1:20 a.m. on Sept. 18, 2018.
Interior surveillance video captured the pair going behind the counter and pushing the 58-year-old Bessid into a corner, where they killed the clerk with two gunshots to the head. The gunmen then tried and failed to open the store’s cash register before fleeing only with cigarettes and other merchandise.
“The video evidence of this cold-blooded killing was one of the most disturbing we’ve seen in recent memory,” Cannizzaro said. “This senseless crime was marked not only by its abject failure to secure the store’s proceeds, but by the absolute heartless nature of these violent perpetrators. Our thoughts are with Mr. Bessid’s family, and we hope the significant sentences imposed by the judge give them some comfort that justice was served for their loved one.”
Assistant District Attorneys Michael Trummel and Daniel Smart prosecuted the case.
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