Suspect in paralyzed UNO student’s shooting to be tried as adult

Cruz Matute faced a grand jury indictment on the charges of attempted second degree murder and armed robbery.
Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 10:30 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Amid rising public pressure, Orleans District Attorney Jason Williams moved to try the suspect accused of shooting and paralyzing a UNO student as an adult.

Cruz Matute, 16, is suspected of shooting Noah Hansard, 24, during an August armed robbery in Lake Terrace, leaving Hansard paralyzed from the waist down.

“I just left it up to fate, and obviously fate decided that I still needed to be here to do something,” Hansard told FOX 8 in early November. “It’s honestly hard to put words to it because it’s so immense the change that this has caused.”

When Matute was arrested in the shooting, Hansard said staff at Williams’ office told her the plan was to try him as a juvenile.

A juvenile life sentence in Louisiana only lasts until 21 years old, meaning Matute, at most, would serve just five years.

“Then it came out in the press, the overcrowding, good behavior, I was told to be realistic, he would only do a year or two,” Elisabeth Hansard said. “It just seems such a small amount of time for what Noah has to face.”

Hansard said, for months now, she has fought to have her son’s case moved to adult court.

“The people who are being so injured and killed are asking for our judicial system to start looking at their rights,” she said.

The DA’s office confirmed to FOX 8 that Matute would be tried as an adult.

“According to reports, Matute participated in a violent armed robbery which led to a victim being shot and paralyzed,” Williams said. “The truth is the existing juvenile sentencing limits would be inadequate in holding Matute accountable for this senseless violence; we must pursue appropriate accountability.”

The second suspect in Hansard’s shooting is still on the large. If you have any information that could help detectives, you’re encouraged to contact NOPD or call Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111.

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