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Jurors convict man in 2020 shooting death of panhandler outside Trader Joe's

1 month 5 days 22 hours ago Thursday, April 11 2024 Apr 11, 2024 April 11, 2024 10:06 AM April 11, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE — A jury convicted a Baton Rouge man of manslaughter Thursday, finding Jace Boyd liable for the 2020 shooting death of a panhandler in a Trader Joe's parking lot but deciding that he shouldn't spend the rest of his life in prison for his crime.

Prosecutors say Boyd, 28, shot and killed Danny Buckley, 61, on Aug. 22, 2020. Boyd, who did not testify at his trial, told police he had shooed Buckley away from his car that night, and that after Buckley approached a pair of women he told Buckley to leave them alone. 

Buckley returned in an aggressive manner, Boyd told police, adding that he felt compelled to shoot Buckley because he feared for his safety and that of his then-fiance.

Prosecutors at this week's trial played which Boyd said "That m***** f*****made me shoot him," Boyd is heard saying in a recording from a police car. In his 911 call to dispatchers, Boyd said he shot vagrant who he believed was about to attack.

A grand jury indicted Boyd on charges of second-degree murder and illegal use of weapon. Second-degree murder is punishable by an automatic life term. The trial jury heard two days of testimony and had the option to consider a reduced homicide charge of manslaughter or negligent homicide after opening deliberations Thursday.

Manslaughter is punishable by up to 40 years in prison. Negligent homicide is punishable by a prison term of up to 5 years and a fine of up to $5,000. 

Prior to the state resting its case Wednesday, Boyd's former fiance told jurors she did not see Boyd fire his weapon, but did hear the shot. Holly Tidwell said Buckley was "briskly walking" toward Boyd, and also told the panel that she didn't think Buckley was "all the way mentally there."

"His actions did not put me at ease," she told the jurors. She also said she feared Buckley "when he was walking aggressively toward us."

Louisiana has a "stand your ground" law that allows people to use force, even deadly force, if they are legitimately threatened. The law is typically cited after incidents in which someone is threatened in their car or on private property.

Buckley's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Boyd.

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