Defendant’s confession suppressed in 2018 by Supreme Court due to Miranda Rights violation; Since jury trials resumed, DA’s Office has secured convictions in every single case that has gone to trial

NEW ORLEANS – Today, District Attorney Jason Williams discussed the guilty as charged Second Degree Murder and Obstruction of Justice convictions secured by the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office (OPDA) against Christopher Alexander for the murder of Idrick Brister in New Orleans East in 2018. Joined by the family of Mr. Brister, First Assistant District Attorney Ned McGowan, Lead Prosecutor Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Andre Gaudin and Victim/Witness Advocates (VWA) Division Chief Alison Morgado, DA Williams highlighted the many challenges of this case including issues of fairness and key pieces of evidence being suppressed by higher courts due to violations of the defendants Miranda rights in 2018 as stipulated by the United States Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona.

NOTE: Since jury trials resumed, OPDA has secured convictions in every single case that has gone to trial including 5 murders and a rape.

“Regardless of whatever misleading narrative or lie you hear about our work, criminal justice reform does not mean not putting people in jail to hold them accountable. It means focusing on the worst offenders so that we can safely walk in our neighborhoods and ensuring that they are prosecuted in ways that uphold conviction integrity. Christopher, along with all of the other defendants we’ve secured convictions against, received a fair trial and the jury found him guilty as charged. Reform, fairness, justice and safety are not antithetical; they go hand in hand,” said District Attorney Williams. “This conviction is further proof of our commitment to laser-focusing on violent offenses in this city; we will continue this work. I am grateful for this family’s dedication to seeing justice through in spite of their challenges and frustrations with this case. They are a great example for the families of this city and my office is glad to have closed this painful chapter for them.”

On January 8, 2018, Mr. Brister, was murdered around 6:30 am outside of his home; Mr. Brister’s fiancé, Jontrice Mims, called 911 to report the incident. Since the investigation began, Alexander, Mim’s ex-boyfriend, was the initial suspect. According to reports, after 30 minutes of interviews and lying about his involvement in the murder, Alexander confessed to murdering Brister when the New Orleans Police Detective (NOPD) detective told him that his statement would stay in the room; the defendant also confessed on videotape to his mother.

In 2018 and 2019, the Louisiana Supreme Court suppressed those statements finding that the NOPD detective’s promise to keep the confession confidential violated the defendant’s Miranda rights as stipulated by the U.S. Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona.

NOTE: The Courts have recognized that the unfortunate, grim result of applying Miranda will be, on occasion, “the release of an admittedly guilty individual who may pose a continuing threat to society.”

OPDA attempted to introduce a third statement made on a recorded call between the defendant and his mother that referenced the prior confessions. Judge Pittman authorized introduction of the statement; however, the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals suppressed the statement. OPDA asked the Louisiana Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn that decision, but courts upheld their decisions.

This week, OPDA moved forward with presenting a purely circumstantial case. First Assistant McGowan and Lead Prosecutor ADA Gaudin presented compelling evidence including the defendant 1.) being in the throws of despair after losing his former girlfriend, 2.) deleting phone records in an effort to conceal his travel across town at 4:00 am and 3.) being within a block of Mr. Brister’s murder at the exact time it occurred.


First Assistant Ned McGowan said, “I am proud of this team and their hard work to keep this case moving forward and being relentless in their pursuit of justice. This week’s jury verdict is proof that the path to justice is sometimes long. Nonetheless, the people of New Orleans can rest assured that DA’s Office will go down that path every day, regardless of how long it is, to increase safety and deliver justice in New Orleans.”

ADA Andre Gaudin said, “Despite the challenges of this case, we moved forward because based on the evidence and information concerning the case, we were absolutely committed to securing justice for this family. With the unanimous guilty verdict by the jury, we are glad to make good on our promise to this family to secure justice for them and their loved one who was sadly taken from them.”

From the moment the Williams Administration inherited the case, this administration made a commitment to the family to do everything within the office’s power to ensure accountability and secure justice for Mr. Brister. With all the challenges in this case, Mr. Brister’s family had real concerns about whether justice would be served. OPDA is proud and humbled to have been able to secure justice for this family.

Mr. Brister’s Sister Alicia Morgan said, “My brother was murdered in 2018 and since then, we have been fighting for justice. When people wanted to turn their backs on this case, DA Williams and this team kept going forward. No matter how hard it looked, this team fought with us. And, I am so thankful because the person responsible for his murder has finally been convicted. Thank you so much DA Williams, our Victim and Witness Advocate Alison Morgado and the attorneys involved for helping us through this case. Because of each of you, my family and I can now begin moving forward in healing.”

The trial took place in Section F of Criminal District Court; Judge Robin Pittman presided. The sentencing date is set for April 2022.

This conviction builds on the work of prosecutors to secure convictions in all cases tried in court since the resumption of jury trials.

  • DA Williams, along with OPDA Trials Division Chief Matthew Derbes, secured the conviction of defendant Samuel Hunter for the Second Degree Murder of Anthony Bridges in the 1700 block of Monroe Street on Christmas Day 2020.
  • ADAs Liz Strauss and Adele Krieger secured the conviction of Demeccio Caston for the Second Degree Murder of Patrick Lamar in New Orleans East in August 2019.
  • ADAs Samantha Stagias and Carmen Gealogo secured the conviction of Trae Williams for the manslaughter of his uncle Eddie Salvant III in Algiers in April 2014.
  • Chief Derbes and ADA Joe Zanetti secured the conviction of Harrison Bethley for the murder of his cousin, Darnell Thomas, in the 1800 block of Treasure Street in February 2020.
  • Lastly, DA Williams, along with OPDA Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Division Chief Mary Glass and ADA Naomi Jones, secured the conviction of defendant William McDonough for the rape of a victim in the 900 block of Poeyfarre Street in September 2016.


After a COVID-induced hiatus, jury trials resumed in New Orleans. While OPDA prosecutors are ready to get back to court, the office is faced with some unprecedented realities. This includes an unprecedented case backlog with 150 cases scheduled for trial in March 2022 alone; this is compared to only 48 jury trials that took place in all of 2019. Additionally, this includes an unprecedented DNA backlog with the State; the DNA backlog across Louisiana includes over 2,000 cases. OPDA is waiting on key evidence in a number of cases. Additionally, OPDA is tackling some of the most difficult cases inherited including retrying 60 reversals based on Ramos v. Louisiana, cases where the office was unable to procure unanimous jury verdicts when they were originally tried years ago.

As the caseload increases, OPDA is in need of additional staff, funding and resources. District Attorney Williams continues to double down on his request to the New Orleans City Council and Mayor LaToya Cantrell to fund our requests for additional lawyers, more DNA testing analysts, and Cold Case funding to improve OPDA’s capacity and help prosecutors build stronger cases. The City of New Orleans has millions of dollars sitting in City coffers from the federal government that are earmarked for this exact need that are not being spent. OPDA needs immediate action to hire more people to handle this increased workload.

“We are prosecutors. Trying cases in front of a jury is what we do, so we are excited to back to court. However, we are faced with some of the most unprecedented challenges this office has ever seen. From an increased case load to a large DNA backlog, our office needs support and resources from City leadership,” said District Attorney Williams. “These times are absolutely the most challenging we’ve faced in recent history, but we are holding those who commit violent offenses accountable and securing justice for the victims and families. This office will be steadfast in restoring trust in our criminal legal system by securing convictions in some of the most difficult cases as well as addressing decades of indifference to the concerns of community.”