Contact: Ken Daley, Public Information
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office on Thursday (Dec. 17) secured a murder indictment against a man who admitted fatally shooting another man five months ago after both arrived armed to settle a car title dispute in Treme.
Kevin Stokes was charged with the second-degree murder of 34-year-old Kevin Thomas in the single-count indictment handed up by an Orleans Parish grand jury. Stokes, 55, faces a mandatory lifetime prison sentence if convicted of murder.
Thomas was gunned down near the intersection of Orleans and North Claiborne avenues, shortly before 7 a.m. on July 27, 2020.
Thomas’ girlfriend is the daughter of Stokes’ girlfriend. The group had planned to meet, supposedly to change license plates and straighten out car title issues at a notary, after Stokes had complained about receiving traffic tickets linked to a car he had given to his girlfriend’s daughter.
Video surveillance images showed Thomas falling to the ground almost immediately after getting out of a car that he pulled up and parked behind Stokes’ vehicle.
Thomas was found with a handgun near his feet, and Stokes told New Orleans police investigators that he was acting in self-defense when he shot Thomas five times with an assault-style rifle he pulled from his car trunk. But two witnesses and the video surveillance images recovered by police contradicted Stokes’ claim that Thomas ignored a warning and raised his gun first.
Assistant District Attorney Abigail MacDonald presented the case to the grand jury.
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