The man accused of firing the bullet that struck and killed a nurse walking on Bourbon Street February now faces multiple charges, totally in a maximum of more than 100 years in prison if found guilty, the New Orleans District Attorney said Monday.
Prosecutors are not pursuing an official murder charge, however, which would automatically result with life in prison if convicted.
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro announced formal charges Monday against 37-year-old Louis Barnes, the prime suspect in the Feb. 24 shooting death of a local nurse on Bourbon Street.
Barnes was charged with manslaughter, attempted second-degree murder and with being a felon in possession of a firearm, Cannizzaro said.
He faces up to 40 years if convicted of the manslaughter of 36-year-old Julie Couvillon, a registered nurse with Oschner who was shot in the neck and killed while walking down Bourbon Street after Barnes and a security guard at a Willie's Chicken Shack restaurant got into a struggle over the guard's gun.
He also faces 10-50 years in state prison if found guilty of attempted murder of the security guard who was shot and wounded during that early morning struggle.
The felon in possession of a firearm charge carries a 5-25 year sentence upon conviction, officials said.
"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
Officials said that Barnes' penalties could be increased if the state establishes his history as a multi-felony offender.