Teen acquitted of 2009 murder

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 18, 2011



EDGARD – The accused suspect in the 2009 shooting death of a 19-year-old LaPlace man was found not guilty following a three-day trial in St. John the Baptist Parish that ended Thursday.

According to Richard Stricks, who oversees the public defenders’ office for the 40th Judicial District, the jury ruled in favor of Darrious A. Warren of LaPlace, who was charged with second-degree murder in the death of 19-year-old Claude Holmes in November 2009.

Authorities said Warren, who was 17 at the time of the incident, shot Holmes after attempting to rob him in the Cambridge subdivision.

An autopsy showed Holmes suffered a single gunshot wound to the buttocks, and the bullet pierced a major artery in Holmes lower body.

When deputies responded to calls about gunshots in the area, they found Holmes unconscious leaning on a parked car. He died at the scene.

At the time of Warren’s arrest, investigators said he was the lone gunman in the shooting, but others were believed to be involved in the robbery and shooting.

Stricks said Warren’s court-appointed attorney, Nghana Lewis Gauff, was able to defend against the prosecution’s only witness, Antoine Reid, who had also been indicted in Holmes’ murder, but his charge was reduced by the District Attorney’s Office to accessory after he fact in order to get his testimony. Stricks said Reid appeared in court wearing shackles and a prison jumpsuit.

Stricks said Warren had no prior offenses and added that Reid testified in court he had several felony charges pending in Jefferson Parish.

“No other witnesses testified that Mr. Warren was involved in any way,” Stricks said. “Apparently the 12-person jury agreed that there was insufficient believable evidence to convict Warren of any crime.”

A third defendant in the case, Francisco Frontin, was also arrested in connection Holmes’ death and remains incarcerated. He is scheduled for trial June 13.