Jury convicts Prairieville man in connection with 2016 deadly shooting

Published 3:35 pm Friday, September 8, 2023

PRAIRIEVILLE — Last week, an Ascension Parish Jury found 29-year-old Joshua Stephens of 39150 LA 929 Prairieville, LA, guilty of 2nd Degree Murder, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and Aggravated Criminal Damage to property. This guilty verdict stems from a 2016 shooting which claimed the life of 33-year-old Dewayne Stephens, also of Prairieville. Joshua Stephens was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Phil Maples and Brant Mayer. Presiding over this matter is the Honorable Judge Cody Martin.

On March 24, 2016, Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the area of Lee Stephens Rd. Prairieville in reference to a shooting. Upon arrival detectives learned that the victim, Dewayne Stephens, had been transported to an area hospital where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries. Upon canvassing the area and conducting witness interviews, detectives learned that a Lincoln Town Car occupied by three male subjects pulled down the street before two subjects being armed with firearms exited the vehicle. These individuals were positively identified as Joshua Stephens, Caleb Carter, and Marcus Harris. Joshua Stephens who was armed with an assault rifle and Marcus Harris who was armed with a handgun opened fire in the direction of Dewayne Stephens as he was walking towards a residence. Caleb Carter never exited the vehicle but continued to supply ammunition to the shooters. Detectives were able to determine that at least 40 rounds of ammunition struck the home where 2 adults and two children were inside. Detectives were able to secure arrest warrants for Joshua Stephens, Caleb Carter, and Marcus Harris who were all subsequently arrested and booked into the Ascension Parish Jail.

All three defendants were to be on trial in connection with this incident. Prior to the start of jury selection, 24-year-old Caleb Carter of 39150 Hwy 929 Prairieville, LA, pled guilty to Conspiracy to Commit 2nd Degree Murder, and pursuant to a plea agreement with prosecutors, was sentenced to 10 years with the Louisiana Department of Corrections with credit for time served.

On the morning of trial, 29-year-old Marcus Harris of 6461 Grand Ct. Baton Rouge, LA, failed to appear resulting in a fugitive bench warrant being issued for his arrest. Harris was apprehended a short time later in Dallas, TX. Harris remains incarcerated in TX awaiting extradition proceedings.

Upon the jury rendering a guilty verdict in this matter, sentencing for Joshua Stephens was set for December 12, 2023. It should be noted that a conviction for 2nd Degree Murder alone carries a mandatory life sentence.

— Submitted by Public Information Officer Tyler Cavalier for 23rd Judicial District Attorney Ricky L. Babin.