Sentencing for man convicted of 2nd degree murder in Feed Store killing could be delayed past May

Published 12:15 am Wednesday, May 1, 2019

EDGARD — Sentencing for Charles McQuarter III’s role in the 2014 LaPlace Feed Store homicide could see further delay as prosecutors pursue a multiple offender bill.

McQuarter, 27, was convicted 11-1 of armed robbery with a firearm and second-degree murder of Steven Finckbeiner March 28 in Edgard.

Sentencing, originally scheduled for April 17, has been moved to May 30 in Edgard, according to the St. John the Baptist Parish Clerk of Court’s Office.

Prosecuting attorney Lea Hall Jr. said the May 30 court date would involve a hearing to prove McQuarter’s prior offenses.

“The state filed a multiple offender bill against Mr. McQuarter alleging his prior felonies in order to enhance his sentence,” Hall said.

A sentence would be rendered May 30 if Judge J. Sterling Snowdy is ready to make a ruling and if the defense, led by attorney Lisa Parker of the St. John the Baptist Parish Public Defender Office, waives the right to a delay.

Sentencing could likely be pushed to a later date to give the defense a chance to respond to the multiple offender ruling, according to Hall.

According to Louisiana law, a second degree murder conviction mandates life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence.

Armed robbery with a firearm is punishable by 10 to 99 years of imprisonment at hard labor without benefits, though the sentence could be lengthened for repeat offenders.

In May 2009, McQuarter was arrested for disturbing the peace by fighting. In June 2010 he was booked with manufacture/distribution of a schedule I controlled substance, and later that year was booked with resisting an officer.

In 2012, McQuarter was booked with attempted second-degree murder and illegal use of a weapon.

Steven Finckbeiner’s widow, Connie Finckbeiner, said she would reserve comment until after sentencing is completed.

Irv Magri, who heads victim’s rights organization Crimefighters, said he intends to write a letter to Snowdy on behalf of 12,500-plus members requesting an explanation for the delay.

“As the elected state president of Crimefighters, Louisiana’s largest pro bono victim’s rights organization, I must say I am deeply saddened — to say the least — that another delay has occurred in this tragic homicide and horrific armed robbery case in St. John the Baptist Parish,” Magri said.

“Based upon the latest information that I have learned, it is reprehensible that a sentence cannot be given out at this point. The family of the deceased, Steve Finckbeiner, was prepared to have this sentence passed on or about April 17, and this delay once again prolongs the stress and the anguish of the family that was so devastated by this violent crime.”

Connie, who testified on the stand twice during the March trial, identified McQuarter as the gunman in the February 25, 2014, attack that left her with a gunshot wound to the face.

A trial date has not come into focus for Dracier Dewey, who Connie Finckbeiner alleges was standing outside of the Feed Store when McQuarter shot her and killed her husband.

A status hearing for Dewey is scheduled for 10 a.m. June 19 in LaPlace.

Dewey took the stand during the March trial and testified to entering and leaving the Feed Store with McQuarter. According to testimony, Dewey saw McQuarter return to the store shortly before he heard gunshots.

St. John Parish Public Defender Shannon Batiste represents Dewey, who is charged with principal to second-degree murder.