Man convicted of manslaughter in killing of guest at Uptown home

Man convicted of manslaughter in killing of guest at Uptown home
A New Orleans jury deliberated nearly four hours before finding Richard Donovan, 60, guilty of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Bernell Collins Sr. Donovan, a triple felony offender, faces a prison term of 20 to 80 years when Criminal District Judge Darryl Derbigny imposes sentence. A sentencing date will be determined Thursday.

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A jury has convicted a man of manslaughter in the killing of a house guest at an Uptown home two years ago, according to the New Orleans district attorney.

A New Orleans jury deliberated nearly four hours before finding Richard Donovan, 60, guilty of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Bernell Collins Sr. Donovan, a triple felony offender, faces a prison term of 20 to 80 years when Criminal District Judge Darryl Derbigny imposes sentence.

A sentencing date will be determined Thursday.

According to District Attorney Leon Cannizarro, Collins, 36, was shot in the head inside Donovan’s home in the 700 block of Lyons Street on Sept. 30, 2016. New Orleans police discovered the victim’s body more than a day later, rolled up in a rug and bound by zip ties in a bathroom of the home.

The gruesome discovery was made following a standoff between a barricaded Donovan and the city’s SWAT unit that lasted nearly four hours, according to the report.

Investigators determined that Donovan had spent more than 24 hours with Collins' dead body in his house without contacting authorities. The SWAT standoff was initiated only after Donovan brandished a gun at a relative of Collins attempting to check on the missing man's well-being after he failed to pick up two of his children from school.

Donovan, who was charged with second-degree murder, claimed at trial that the killing was a matter of self-defense. Forensic and ballistics evidence, however, indicated Collins was shot in the top of his head while on the defendant's sofa.

This jury was not told that Donovan previously was convicted of manslaughter after strangling his 25-year-old wife Vivian in March 1993 at their Kenner home. Donovan said he was under the influence of crack cocaine at the time of that killing. He served five years of a 10-year sentence in that case before being paroled through 2003.

In 2006, Donovan again was convicted of a felony in Jefferson Parish, for the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

Assistant District Attorneys Sarah Dawkins and Daniel Smart prosecuted the case of Collins' slaying.

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