Attempted murder in Marigny could be tough to prove - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Attempted murder in Marigny could be tough to prove

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New Orleans, La - The house is shuttered and the gate surrounding Merritt Landry's home on Mandeville Street is closed.

Neighbors say the 33-year-old man has stopped by the home with his wife to collect a few things, but they haven't been staying there since Friday. That's when New Orleans police booked Landry with attempted second-degree murder for shooting 14-year-old Marshall Coulter.

"It's really sad, what's going around here now," says a neighbor who asked not to be identified.

Neighbors and strangers are lending their support online. A Facebook page set up Saturday has more than 2,000 likes.

Meanwhile, the brother of Marshall Coulter described him as a "professional thief" to our partners at NOLA.com/The Times Picayune, but one who wouldn't touch a gun.

Landry told investigators he saw Coulter standing in his gated yard early Friday morning. According to neighbors, Landry told the teen to freeze but he made a move. Landry fired a shot, hitting Coulter in the head.

"I think this case is going to hinge on three main things," says FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti.  "One, does the young man live or die? Because then we'll decide which statute applies, and they're different. Two, is the fence, the gate that he climbed over the delineation of a dwelling? Is inside the fence considered the man's dwelling? And three and most importantly, did he act reasonably in firing that gun?"

The district attorney's office has 150 days to either accept or drop the charges.

Raspanti thinks it would be a difficult case to prosecute. "They have to prove many things that there just weren't witnesses [to]," he says. "Here's one witness probably, at the end of the day, and that's the shooter."

Raspanti says this case shouldn't draw comparisons to the high-profile case of George Zimmerman. Landry was on his property and told police he was protecting his family.

His neighbors don't want that kind of attention. "I hope that it doesn't turn out to be like a media persecution of him," says a neighbor. "But I can't see why this is even still going."

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