NEW ORLEANS – Three men have pleaded guilty in connection with a summer shooting that left a 12-year-old New Orleans girl dead and outraged a city already struggling with a rise in murders.
The Times-Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate reported that the parents of Todriana Peters were in the courtroom Wednesday when the three men pleaded guilty. One man, Pernell Young, admitted to opening fire during the May 30 shooting outside a graduation party while prosecutors said the other two — 18-year-old Marcus Venible, and 19-year-old Tyrese Riley — were not shooters.
Peters' death was part of a wave of homicides starting last year that has rattled the city. After a 2019 that marked the lowest number of homicides in nearly half a century, New Orleans saw the number of people killed skyrocket in 2020. This year homicides are up 5% over the same time period last year, according to information on the City Council’s website.
Assistant District Attorney Alex Calenda told the court that Young, Venible and Riley were in a pair of cars on their way to a graduation party when someone opened fire on them, hitting Young’s car. When they got to the party they saw a car that they believed was involved in the earlier shooting. Seven men who were part of Young’s group opened fire, wounding two people and killing Peters, who had stopped by the party with a relative to charge her phone before going home to her grandmother's house.
According to the newspaper, Young pleaded guilty to manslaughter, conspiracy to commit second-degree murder, illegal discharge of a weapon during a crime of violence and obstruction of justice. He was sentenced to ten years on the last count with no sentencing yet on the other counts.
Venible and Riley received eight years in prison on counts of conspiring to commit second-degree murder and conspiring to commit the illegal discharge of a weapon during a crime of violence. They also received five years on accessory after the fact to second-degree murder.
Lawyers for all three declined to comment.
Seven other people have also been indicted in the shooting.
Peters would have turned 13 on Sept. 20.