District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office convicted Michael Curtis and Demond Solomon of manslaughter late Wednesday evening. In 2011, Criminal District Court Judge Camille Buras has presided over seven jury trials and is on pace to far surpass the number of trials conducted by any judge in 2010.
On March 29, 2009, Solomon, who was a passenger in a car driven by Curtis, opened fire on a group of individuals on a porch in the B.W. Cooper housing development. Lindsey Singleton was shot once in the back and died on the scene. An additional bystander sustained a non-lethal gunshot wound.
The eyewitnesses to the event refused to cooperate with the investigation of the New Orleans Police Department. However, the police were able to make an arrest, and the District Attorney’s office obtained an indictment of the defendants. Furthermore, the District Attorney’s office continued investigating the matter and gained the cooperation of key eyewitnesses who testified at trial.
Assistant District Attorneys David Pipes and James Meyers prosecuted the case. Meyers, who is getting married on Saturday, prosecuted the case but left to pick up his family at the airport while the jury was deliberating.
In response to this verdict, District Attorney Cannizzaro said, “This case was a model of success for our criminal justice system. The police department performed a thorough investigation, despite the refusal of certain witnesses to cooperate, and arrested the suspects. The District Attorney’s office followed up on the police investigation and, because of its hard work, was able to convince certain witnesses to testify. Key witnesses were willing to cooperate with the criminal justice system. Last but certainly not least, Judge Camille Buras diligently worked to get this matter to trial and one of my prosecutors worked until the last possible minute despite his impending wedding obligations.”
The defendants will be sentenced in April. At that time the District Attorney’s office will file a Multiple Bill and seek to have each defendant sentenced under the state’s habitual offender law. As a second offender, Solomon will face a sentence of 20 to 80 years in prison. Curtis, as a fourth time offender, is facing a sentence of 40 years to life in prison.