Convicted Of Killing Cop In 2017, Man Faces Life Sentence

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A 35-year-old man has been convicted of killing a 29-year-old New Orleans police officer in October 2017, and faces life in prison.

“We are pleased that the jury delivered justice to the family of slain officer Marcus McNeil,” Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said in a statement for news media after the verdict Tuesday night.

Darren Bridges will be formally sentenced Nov. 2, but life is the only possible sentence on the first-degree murder charge because prosecutors chose not to ask for the death penalty, news agencies reported.

Orleans Parish Criminal District Judge Angel Harris also will sentence Bridges for obstruction of justice, aggravated assault on a police officer, possession of a firearm by a felon and four drug charges.

Jurors took nearly three hours to reach the verdict Tuesday night, ending a seven-day trial, WVUE-TV reported.

Prosecutors said Bridges shot an officer who was using a stun gun rather than a firearm. Bridges' attorney said he fired in self-defense while confused by a chase, Taser shots and being held down by an officer who had no reason to go after him.

“The facts are going to show that he tried to avoid this conflict,” Christian Bonin told the jury during his opening statement, WWL-TV reported.

A video showed that Bridges fired a red-taped revolver four times after McNeil told him to show his hands, The Times-Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate reported.

The first bullet came so close that it left gunpowder residue across the officer’s temple and made him cry out. The second and third shots hit his abdomen and his head, the newspaper reported.

Bridges fired the fourth shot into the back of McNeil's head after he had collapsed face down.

“He put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger one more time. That changed everything,” District Attorney Jason Williams told the jury.

Another prosecutor, Andre Gaudin Jr., said the red tape made the revolver look like a toy. “Marcus’ training would be to not deploy deadly force against a man armed with a toy,” he said.

McNeil is survived by his wife and two children.