5 plead guilty in Bunny Friend Park shooting, 5 more await trial

NEW ORLEANS -- Half of the suspects arrested for their alleged participation in the Bunny Friend Park shooting accepted plea deals Friday (October 14).

According to Orleans Parish court records, Rashad Walker, Lawrence Veals, Dominic Savoy, Eddie Copelin and Malik Johnson all pleaded guilty to their roles in the Nov. 22 shootout during a block party in the Upper 9th Ward that wounded 17 people.

Veals was sentenced to 11 years in prison, Walker and Johnson will both serve 10 years. None of them are eligible for probation, parole or suspension of sentence.

Savoy will serve 7 years and will be on active probation for 2-and-a-half years following his release. Copelin’s plea deal gives him a two-year sentence with one year suspended. He will be on active probation for one year after his arrest.

Quendrick Bailey, Allen Offray and Shawn Ruffin were also offered plea deals, but rejected the offers, choosing to go to trial on Jan. 17, 2017.

Michael Allen and Wilfred Celestine were not offered plea deals they will also go to trial on Jan. 17, 2017.

“The mass shooting in Bunny Friend Park last November was a completely callous and unnecessary tragedy that left 17 young people wounded and our city outraged,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement released after today’s court proceedings.

“Through a combination of aggressive police work of NOPD’s Street Gang Unit and eyewitnesses coming forward, ten men were arrested and charged with 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder. Today, five defendants entered guilty pleas while the rest await their day in court.”


(© 2016 WWL)


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