NEW ORLEANS -- The family of 20-year-old Gavonte Lampkin and 20-year-old Shantrell Parker are trying to come to terms with their deaths. Both of them shot and killed, their bodies burned beyond recognition in Algiers. The Louisiana State Police crime lab helped authorities identify the victims.
According to court records, Lampkin and Parker also had children together.
Eyewitness News is now learning Lampkin was not only the target of two previous shootings, but was preparing to testify Monday against 29-year-old Christopher Butler.
Butler and three others are accused of attempted murder in a 2016 shooting, which left Lampkin injured. Lampkin was a target again in November of that year.
Butler is currently out on bond.
"My client had nothing to do with it," Gregory Carter said.
Gregory Carter is Butler's attorney. He says the rumors circulating that Butler was responsible for Lampkin's murder, are simply speculation.
"There's literally nothing. It's the fact that my client has an open case, there's this insinuation or implication that my client had something to do with it. And it's simply wrong. It's false," Carters said.
With the trial scheduled for Monday, Carter says Butler knows the risks.
"The man that I know Mr. Butler to be, he doesn't run with people who are even possible or capable of something like this," Carter said.
Lampkin's upcoming trial appearance sparked the conversation again about what's known as the "Code of Silence," Witnesses not wanting to come forward or "Snitching" for fear of retaliation.
"We need to do something different. This is a cycle that is continuing to happen," Tamara Jackson, Executive Director of Silence is Violence said.
Jackson says witnesses dying before or after giving their testimony has become too common.
"It's another victim. Another victim. Another life. Another family member. Another family that mourns. A city that struggles," Jackson said.
Jackson says what we need is major reform, especially pertaining to witness protection.
"At what point do we say, we have to do something different, not just administratively, but legislatively...the community. Accountability is important," Jackson said.
No arrest have been made in the deaths of Lampkin and Parker. If you have any information, please call the NOPD or Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111.