King found guilty, sentencing set in St. John death
Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 3, 2005
By LEONARD GRAY
EDGARD – Brandon King faces a potential 40-year prison sentence April 6 after a St. John Parish jury found him guilty Friday of the manslaughter of a LaPlace woman.
Fortieth Judical District Judge Mary Hotard Becnel conducted the trial at the St. John Parish courthouse in Edgard.
Jurors spent slightly more than two and a half hours in deliberation before coming to a verdict. Charged with second-degree murder, King, now 19, faced a possible life sentence.
Prosecutor William O’Regan said he was “absolutely not disappointed,” and was “very satisfied,” after the verdict was rendered.
Carol Hunt, a 49-year-old LaPlace nurse, was shot and killed on Aug. 4, 2002, at about 5 p.m., as she attempted to buy crack cocaine in the LaPlace Oaks housing development.
According to the prosecution, two teenagers, King and Corey Dale Williams, sold her fake crack cocaine and, when she detected the ruse, shot her fatally.
She had been at the driver’s seat of her 1980 Datsun 280 during the incident when she encountered King, who was 17 years old at the time, and Williams, who was age 15, in the public housing development.
Hunt was struck once in the right shoulder by the bullet, which traveled at a downward angle across her torso. She died at the scene, as a result of the wound.
One witness, Kellie Klibert, 18, testified she saw King leaning into the Hunt car, but was confused as to the car’s appearance – a point King’s attorney, David Belfield III of New Orleans, tried to use to discount her testimony.
Belfield argued unsuccessfully that it was Williams who actually pulled the trigger and later concealed the .38-caliber handgun later found at the scene. “Corey Williams should’ve gotten life. Corey Williams is happy he got 10 years.”
Williams accepted a plea agreement for a 10-year sentence for manslaughter last November. He voluntarily testified against King, according to O’Regan, and derived no benefit from doing so; not even offered a reduction in his sentence.
During opening statements, Belfield argued against Williams’ pending testimony, and claimed it would be tainted by the plea agreement.
O’Regan, in his own opening statement, pointed out his burden of proof is only to prove King was present and
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involved at the crime.
Hunt, a nurse, was in drug rehabilitation at the time of her death, according to statements released by the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office at the time of the incident.
O’Regan, in his closing arguments, called King “a manipulator and a user” of people. “He’s got a chance to beat this rap by lying, if you believe him,” the prosecutor argued successfully.