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New Orleans District Attorney’s Office obtains guilty plea in murder-for-hire case

Prosecutors announce guilty plea in New Orleans manslaughter case Prosecutors announce guilty plea in New Orleans manslaughter case
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro's office announced today (March 1) it obtained a guilty plea to manslaughter in the Feb. 2010 killing of David Neiswonger.

In 2012, John Cunningham, a co-defendant, pled guilty during trial to this killing as well as an earlier killing and received a 70-year sentence.  Two co- defendants are still awaiting trial. 

On February 2, 2010, John Cunningham was arrested for the December 2009 murder of Jerome Mutin.  While in custody, prosecutors say Cunningham quickly attempted to arrange the murder of the witness who he believed identified him to police.  The defendant, Arthur Grandpre, who was 16-years old at the time, agreed to the contract, according to the District Attorney's office.

On February 4, 2010, Grandpre forced his way into the intended targets home in the 2300 block of D'Abadie Street in the Seventh Ward.  During a struggle, the intended target was shot in the arm by Grandpre but survived his injuries.  However, David Neiswonger was shot in the chest and died.  Police developed Grandpre as the perpetrator because he was already a suspect in an unrelated murder.  He was arrested in late February of 2010.

Cunningham's case was severed and proceeded to trial first.  During trial, Cunningham pled guilty to the killing of Mutin and Neiswonger and received a 70-year sentence.  Grandpre's case was delayed several times due to the fact that he switched lawyers five times.  On several occasions, his attorneys sought continuances based on representations that they had not yet received the file from the previous attorney.  Additionally, Grandpre and his co-defendants sought appellate review of several pretrial ruling, which also delayed the case.

If taken to trial, prosecutors say Grandpre would have likely become parole eligible after serving 35-years of his sentence.  Phillip Dominick and Gerald Williams are still awaiting trial as co-defendants.

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