Contact: Ken Daley, Public Information
Louis Barnes was charged with manslaughter, attempted second-degree murder and a firearms offense in a bill of information announced Monday (May 6) by District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office.
The charges are in connection with a Bourbon Street shooting that took the life of a bystander — 36-year-old registered nurse Julie Couvillon — in the early morning hours of Feb. 24, 2018. Couvillon was fatally shot in the neck as Barnes and a security guard fought for control of the guard’s gun outside a restaurant in the 400 block of Bourbon Street around 3:13 a.m.
Barnes, 37, faces 10 to 50 years in state prison if convicted of the attempted murder of the security guard, and up to 40 years if found guilty of manslaughter in Couvillon’s death. He additionally was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, which carries a penalty ranging from 5 to 25 years upon conviction.
Should Barnes be convicted, those penalties could be enhanced if the state successfully establishes his history as a multiple felony offender.
New Orleans police initially booked Barnes on suspicion of second-degree murder in connection with Couvillon’s death. However, after a careful review of case evidence, prosecutors determined that a murder charge could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
“The inability to prove the specific intent of murder does not diminish in any way the tragedy of Ms. Couvillon’s death nor our determination to achieve justice on her behalf,” Cannizzaro said. “As we have explained to her family, we are very confident that the evidence supports the charges we have filed. And, given this defendant’s lengthy criminal history, a life sentence remains possible if he is convicted and sentenced as a repeat felony offender.”
Assistant District Attorney Inga Petrovich screened the case and on May 3 filed the bill of information charging Barnes.
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