Jury deadlocked in trial of New Orleans man accused of shooting and running over pregnant woman | Courts

A jury desperately deadlocked on Friday night as it weighed whether a man accused of shooting a pregnant woman and then using his vehicle to run over her body while her three-year-old child sat strapped to the back seat, had committed the crime.

Jermaine Brisco, 29, remains charged with second-degree murder, first-degree feticide, obstruction of justice and cruelty to a minor in the November 9, 2016 murder of 22-year-old pregnant Raven Veal. nine months, on Sullen Place. in Algiers.

The hung jury concluded a four-day trial in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court, in which prosecutors argued that Brisco, the father of Veal’s unborn child, shot Veal in neck as they sat in his blue Ford Focus. Brisco denies the charges.

She fled the car, but prosecutors say Brisco forced himself into the driver’s seat and pumped gas, hitting Veal three times.

As the attacker allegedly ran over her body again and again, Veal’s three-year-old daughter sat in the back.

Duvuri Devall, an eyewitness accused of being an accomplice to the murder, acted as a star witness in the case against Brisco. Prosecutors say he helped Brisco clean up and dispose of Veal’s vehicle.

In return for his testimony, Devall reached a plea deal with the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office in 2018, which saw the most serious charges against him – second-degree murder, feticide and conspiracy to commit. second degree murder – dropped. Instead, he pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting after the fact and was sentenced to five years in prison. He was released after two hours.

The alleged reason

“How much money is a human life worth? prosecutor Gregory Thompson asked the jurors in his closing argument. “For the vast majority, there is no doubt: a human life is priceless.”

But prosecutors argued that Brisco reduced Veal’s life to a dollar amount: After his death, Brisco eagerly sued the proceeds of his $400,000 life insurance policy, of which he was the sole beneficiary, prosecutors said.

For Brisco, Thompson told the jury, “Raven Veal’s life – and the child that was in her stomach – was worth $400,000.”

Prosecutors, however, presented no evidence that Brisco ever received money from politics.

Defense

Brisco’s attorney, Gregory Carter, pointed to what he called the unreliability of witnesses who testified against his client: Devall, whose murder story had changed over time and who, on the stand of witnesses this week, failed to recall details of incident; and Veal’s young child, who spoke to a forensic investigator after the murder and identified Brisco as the attacker, but was unable to choose his photo from a list of six images.

Of Devall’s testimony, Carter said, “He’s literally making it up as he goes because he knows all he has to do is point fingers.”

New Orleans police had also failed to link Brisco to the crime with physical evidence, Carter argued. The weapon used to shoot Veal has not been found. And despite scanning his vehicle for evidence, police did not find Brisco’s fingerprints inside the car, he said.

The jury deliberated for about eight hours before announcing his hanging.

Brisco is then due to hold a preliminary hearing on December 1, where a new trial date is expected to be set.

About Ethel Partin

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