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20-year sentence handed down for 2017 LaPlace manslaughter

EDGARD — Leslie Hollingsworth, 44, of New Orleans was recently sentenced to 20 years at hard labor with the Department of Corrections for his manslaughter conviction in the February 2017 stabbing death of a 20-year-old LaPlace man.

Ad Hoc Judge Kirk A. Vaughn handed down the court’s sentence. Rather than face a St. John the Baptist Parish criminal jury for the charge of second-degree murder, Hollingsworth agreed to plead to the reduced charge of manslaughter, agreeing to accept the sentence handed down by the court after its careful consideration of the facts and circumstances surrounding the case.

On February 8, 2017, officers from the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office responded to the area of Hebert Drive in LaPlace, where Alton Robinson was found unresponsive, with a stab wound in his neck. Officers immediately began to render emergency first aid, but sadly, the victim succumbed to his injuries. While responding to the call, officers stopped a vehicle believed to be related to the incident and subsequently arrested Hollingsworth. During their investigation, officers learned that the incident occurred after an issue arose during an illegal narcotics transaction.

Hollingsworth, a New Orleans resident, was attempting to sell marijuana to the victim, when Robinson angered Hollingsworth. After Robinson left the area, Hollingsworth chased down Robinson and stabbed the young man. Hollingsworth and a second person were apprehended as they fled the area. Hollingsworth has a prior conviction for narcotics related violations.

At the sentencing hearing, Judge Vaughn heard testimony from the victim’s mother, Sharonda Robinson, who told the court that she was saddened by Hollingsworth’s lack of remorse. She told Hollingsworth that her son did not deserve to die and that she felt an apology to the family was in order, though they have never received one. Robinson, moved by grief at the loss of her son, explained to the court that she had given the situation to God, and that she was glad for the closure that this sentence would bring to her and her family.

Judge Vaughn explained to Hollingsworth on Monday that after reviewing the evidence of the case, along with a presentencing investigation report compiled by the Office of Probation and Parole and the various aggravating and mitigating factors, he was left with no choice but to sentence Hollingsworth to 20 years at hard labor with the Department of Corrections.

Assistant District Attorneys J. Philip Prescott Jr. and Geoffrey Michel of the 40th Judicial District Attorney’s Office prosecuted this case. Private counsel, Robert Hjortsberg, represented Hollingsworth.