NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - After an appellate panel vacated the 2016 manslaughter conviction of Bourbon Street gunman Trung Le, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said Wednesday that he will appeal the decision to the Louisiana Supreme Court.
A three-judge panel from the state's 4th Circuit Court of Appeal on Wednesday issued a decision that affirmed Le's conviction and 20-year sentence for attempted manslaughter. But in the same decision, the panel vacated Le's conviction and 40-year sentence for manslaughter in the death of Hammond nursing student Brittany Thomas. In its place, the panel convicted Le on the lesser charge of of negligent homicide, a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.
Appellate judges Tiffany Chase, James McKay III and Roland Belsome remanded that verdict back to Criminal District Judge Byron Williams for re-sentencing.
"We are satisfied with the portion of this decision which affirmed this defendant's conviction and sentence for attempted manslaughter," Cannizzaro said. "But we are disappointed by the portion of the decision that reduced the manslaughter conviction to negligent homicide for the death of Brittany Thomas. It is our intention to appeal that aspect of this decision to the Louisiana Supreme Court."
Thomas, a 21-year-old nursing student from Hammond, was killed in the mass shooting that left one dead and nine injured on June 29, 2014. Le and an unidentified second gunman exchanged 15 shots in the crowded 700 block of Bourbon Street, an incident that drew international media attention.
After a weeklong trial in January 2016, a unanimous New Orleans jury took less than two hours to find Le guilty of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter. Judge Williams imposed the maximum sentences for each verdict and ordered they be served consecutively for a total of 60 years.
"Your actions were horrific, callous and calculated," Williams told Le. "I wish I could have sentenced you to more."
Le appealed his convictions and sentence in September 2017.