LA appeals court vacates manslaughter conviction of Bourbon St. shooter

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The Orleans Parish District Attorney vows to appeal a decision from a Louisiana appeals court that vacates the manslaughter conviction of Bourbon Street shooter Trung Le.

Le was sentenced to 60 years in prison for the 2014 shooting, but if the latest ruling stands, the most he would serve would be 25 years.

Hammond nursing student Brittany Thomas was killed on June 29, 2014, and nine others were injured in a mass shooting in the French Quarter. Orleans Parish DA Leon Cannizzaro says Le and a still-unidentified shooter exchanged 15 shots early that morning into the crowd on Bourbon Street. Police said the shooting centered around drugs.

"To some extent, this case brought international consequences and effects. Ms. Thomas's family was extremely cooperative, and I know this is going to be very, very difficult for them to accept," said Cannizzaro.

In 2016, it took a jury less than two hours to find Le guilty of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter. The judge sentenced him to a total of 60 years in prison. But on Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the manslaughter conviction and instead convicted him of negligent homicide, a lesser charge which carries a sentence of up to five years. The court upheld Le's attempted manslaughter conviction.

"We're saying had you not fired your gun in the first place, this person would not have shot back in self-defense and Ms. Thomas would be alive today," said Cannizzaro.

As for Thomas's family, Cannizzaro says his office will fight the ruling.

"We can only give them our best effort from this point forward. We will promise that we will fight this decision, we will appeal it," said Cannizzaro.

We reached out to Le's attorney, Martin Regan. He declined to make a formal statement until he has read the entire opinion from the judges.

Copyright WVUE 2018. All rights reserved.