Local man ruled habitual offender, sentenced to 35 years for attempted manslaughter

Published 12:15 am Saturday, February 16, 2019

EDGARD — A local man connected to the 2015 shooting death of Reserve resident Demario Gray was sentenced to more than 30 years in prison for attempted manslaughter, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and illegal use of a weapon.

The sentencing, which took place Monday in Edgard, was a victory for prosecutors, who sought and secured longer sentences by applying multiple offender status to Juan Alexander.

Alexander was first sentenced Nov. 2.

District Attorney Bridget A. Dinvaut’s office filed a Multiple Offender Bill, which under Louisiana’s Habitual Offender law increases the minimum and maximum penalties for repeat offenders. The State was successful in showing Alexander was a triple offender, and Judge J. Sterling Snowdy re-sentenced Alexander this week in accordance with the increased penalties.

The sentence was increased for attempted manslaughter from 20 to 35 years, for the charge of felon in possession of a firearm from 10 to 15 years and for illegal use of a weapon from two to three years with the department of corrections.

Snowdy ordered the sentences served concurrently.

Assistant District Attorney Henri P. Dufresne led the prosecution, assisted by Justin Lacour and Christopher Cortez.

Alexander, 41, was also ordered to pay $350 in court costs.

Snowdy remanded Alexander back into Department of Corrections custody.

Alexander was found guilty June 14, 2018, after a three-day trial before a 12-person St. John Parish jury, who also found the defendant not guilty of second degree murder.

Following the verdicts, Alexander was released from jail after posting a $150,000 post-conviction bond.

The St. John District Attorney’s Office subsequently filed a motion for an increased bond, which was heard in Snowdy’s courtroom. Snowdy set a second bond nearly double the first, leading to Alexander’s return to custody in summer 2018.

St. John Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre has described Alexander, who has ties to LaPlace and Reserve, as a “habitual violent offender.”

In communications with L’OBSERVATEUR, Alexander was adamant he was not the one who shot and killed Gray, stating any actions he took during the altercation were in self-defense.


Juan Alexander and Bryant Hayes Jr. were arrested in December 2015 following a St. John Sheriff’s Office investigation into the shooting death of 29-year-old Demario Gray of Reserve.

A second victim sustained gunshot wounds to the hand and stomach during the Dec. 12, 2015, shooting spree that claimed Gray’s life along River Road in Reserve.

Alexander said he was at a closed grocery store with permission of the location’s owner to film a music video.

According to Alexander, production was nearly done when Gray and numerous others drove into the parking lot in a multi-vehicle caravan, blocking him from exiting.

The scene quickly turned into a violent shootout.

Gray succumbed to injuries a day after the shooting.

Hayes entered a guilty plea to aggravated battery in front of Snowdy Dec. 10 as part of a reduced charge plea agreement with prosecutors, according to the Clerk of Court’s Office.

As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors dismissed charges of attempted second degree murder, illegal use of weapons and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.

Hayes was sentenced to one month short of three years in parish jail and given credit for time served since his December 2015 arrest.

Hayes was ordered to pay $315 in court costs.