Kenner police testify to potential racial component in killing of handyman Lawrence Herr

Published: May. 9, 2023 at 6:41 PM CDT
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GRETNA, La. (WVUE) -- Kenner police on Tuesday (May 9) revealed new details and a possible racial component in last month’s fatal shooting of Metairie handyman Lawrence Herr, who was killed while working outside a Kenner house.

Police said one of the two suspects has admitted to his role in the crime, explaining they just wanted to go out and “kill a white guy.”

Tahj Matthews, 23, and Maurice Holmes, 25, have been booked with first-degree murder in connection with the slaying of Herr. The 66-year-old handyman also known as “Peanut” was gunned down April 10, seemingly without warning, while repairing a mailbox on Kenner’s Georgetown Place.

“We have not found any relation between the victim and the suspects,” Kenner Police Chief Keith Conley said Tuesday (May 9). “In fact, the victim’s back was to the suspects when the shots were fired.”

At a preliminary hearing Tuesday in Jefferson Parish’s magistrate court, Kenner Police detective Nicolas Engler testified that Matthews and Holmes were captured on surveillance video taken at a Clemson Drive apartment complex just two hours before the killing.

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In the video, the detective testified, Holmes can be seen passing a weapon to Matthews. The detective also testified that a box of 9mm bullets were found on the floor of the car used in the deadly drive-by shooting.

The detective also testified that Matthews confessed to hiding a 9mm pistol in his attic. Meanwhile, Holmes -- who served six years in a Texas prison for domestic violence -- has denied wrongdoing.

Both defendants worked at a nearby IHOP restaurant. The detective said Matthews went to work that morning to present a doctor’s note, saying he was sick. He was allowed to leave, two hours before Herr was killed.

Magistrate commissioner Paul Schneider denied bond for both suspects, who remain jailed in the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center.

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