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Tags: louisiana | murder | racial | component

Police: Suspect Said They Wanted to Kill 'White Person'

Police: Suspect Said They Wanted to Kill 'White Person'

By    |   Wednesday, 10 May 2023 10:35 PM EDT

Police in Louisiana said a racial component might have been the motive behind the drive-by fatal shooting of a handyman in early April.

Lawrence Herr, a 66-year-old white man, was killed April 10 while installing a mailbox outside a home in Kenner, La., a suburb of New Orleans. Tahj Matthews, 23, and Maurice Holmes, 25, who are Black, were arrested the next day and charged with first-degree murder.

Matthews and Holmes are being held at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center. A first-degree murder charge does not allow suspects to have bond, but the suspects’ defense attorneys filed a motion to reduce bond. That motion was denied during a hearing Tuesday.

At the hearing, the lead detective on the case, Nick Engler, was asked why Matthews and Holmes targeted Herr. Engler said that under questioning, Matthews said they "wanted to kill a white person," WWL-TV reported.

Engler also said Matthews confessed to stashing the gun in an attic at his home, and that police recovered a gun at that location. The detective also obtained a search warrant for Holmes' residence but nothing was found there. Tests for DNA evidence on the gun retrieved from Matthews' home have not come back.

In testimony, the detective revealed that Herr was shot one time. An autopsy revealed the bullet went through his back and out through his chest.

Louisiana law states first-degree murder could be considered a capital offense punishable by death or life in prison without parole. Louisiana also has a hate-crime exception for those who target someone because of their race. The exception adds a possible five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 to the sentence. A spokesperson for the Jefferson Parish District Attorney's office said Wednesday they have yet to review the case.

The Kenner Police Department said it used a license plate reader camera system to track a vehicle that drove past Herr on Georgetown Drive before making a U-turn at a stop sign at Georgetown and Northwestern Drive. 

Police said the vehicle was then seen passing Herr a second time, making another U-turn at the intersection of Georgetown and Tulane Drive. The video tracking showed the suspects drove toward Herr a third time, paused in the street for a few seconds before passing and shooting Herr.

"This was a heinous drive-by assassination of a kind, caring man who was helping others," Kenner Police Chief Keith Conley said in a news release. "We were determined to end the rage of these criminals before they could target anyone else."

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US
Police in Louisiana said a racial component might have been the motive behind the drive-by fatal shooting of a handyman in early April.
louisiana, murder, racial, component
422
2023-35-10
Wednesday, 10 May 2023 10:35 PM
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