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Darren Bridges found guilty of killing NOPD officer Marcus McNeil in 2017

Bridges was accused of shooting McNeil at close range when the two grappled in New Orleans East in 2017.

NEW ORLEANS — Darren Bridges, the man accused of killing NOPD Officer Marcus McNeil in 2017, has been found guilty of first-degree murder by a jury on Tuesday night.

Bridges was also found guilty of possession of cocaine, alprazolam, tramadol with intent to distribute, obstruction of justice, and aggravated assault on a police office with a firearm.

Bridges will be sentenced on November 2.

Bridges was accused of shooting McNeil at close range when the two grappled in New Orleans East in 2017.

McNeil was on patrol with three other officers on Oct. 13, 2017, in a notorious drug-dealing corridor, when the officers tried to stop Bridges near the intersection of Tara Land and Lake Forest Boulevard.

Police say McNeil encountered Bridges alone and tried to use a stun gun to stop him, but Bridges fatally shot McNeil.

District Attorney Jason Williams tried the case himself. He argued that Bridges shooting McNeil wasn't just murder, it was an "execution."

“He put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger one more time. That changed everything,” Williams told the jury.

Defense attorney Christian Bonin argued that Bridges acted in self-defense that night. According to the defense, Bridges was just walking home when he was "grabbed from behind" by an officer.

Bridges ran from McNeil, who used his Taser twice, according to Bonin.

“The facts are going to show that he tried to avoid this conflict,” Bonin told the jury during his opening statement.

Bridges has been locked up since recovering from his injuries. His trial was delayed for several years when he was initially found mentally incompetent to stand trial and was diagnosed with a form of schizophrenia. Once he was stabilized enough to stand trial, the COVID-19 pandemic closed the courthouse and the trial was further delayed.

The NOPD released a statement on Bridges' conviction.

"We are pleased that the jury delivered justice to the family of slain Officer Marcus McNeil. I want to assure the McNeil family that their NOPD family is with them now and will remain with them forever.

The men and women who served with Officer McNeil can rest easier knowing that justice has been served.

I want to especially thank District Attorney Jason Williams and his team for bringing this prosecution to a successful conclusion. It is encouraging to see the criminal justice system work as it should and that the perpetrator that took the life of a man who served his city selflessly will be held accountable for his actions."

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