NEW ORLEANS – Yesterday, District Attorney Jason Williams, along with Assistant District Attorneys (ADA) Christian Hebert-Pryor and Narcotics Chief Andre Gaudin, secured the conviction of defendant Garret Ward for the killing of 60-year-old Arnold Jackson in the 2000 block of Saint Charles Avenue in January 2018. The jury found Ward guilty of manslaughter; he faces up to 40 years in prison for this violent crime.
“As District Attorney, I am committed to increasing safety and justice. In this case, the lack of humanity and respect shown by the defendant in this incident as he viciously attacked this 60-year-old black man was irreprehensible. When I met with Mr. Jackson’s family last year, I promised his loved ones that I would see this case to the end with them. This conviction is proof that we did just that,” said District Attorney Williams. “I am proud of ADAs Christian Hebert-Pryor and Narcotics Chief Andre Gaudin as well as Victim Witness Advocate Chief Alison Morgado for their hard work on this case. Special thanks to Detectives Nicholas Williams and Charles Maw for their great detective work as well as Officer Donald Wise for his quick assessment of the situation and arrest of Garret Ward. All of the strong evidence my office received coupled with witness testimony and our commitment to securing justice for the Jackson Family is why the defendant was rightfully found guilty.”
According to the New Orleans Police Department reports, Ward, while intoxicated, viciously attacked Jackson which led to his death 12 days later at University Medical Center. Reports also note that this event followed an altercation Ward had with his significant other at a local bar. Under oath in court, witnesses testified to the use of several racial slurs by Ward to Jackson.
Arnold Jackson’s daughter Kenyada Schnyder said, “The goal was always justice for my father and for the person responsible for murdering him to be held responsible. And, justice was served. These past four years have been very hard for me. Outside of being present for every single court date, I missed out on special moments with my father like him walking me down the aisle at my wedding and celebrating his birthday or Father’s Day. It has been extremely hurtful and painful. I can’t thank DA Jason Williams, Victim Witness Advocate Chief Alison Morgado, Attorneys Christian Hebert-Pryor and Andre Gaudin enough for all of their great work on this case. They kept me informed and engaged throughout the entire process; I truly appreciate them. I am so happy that this is finally over after four years and the man who murdered my father will pay for what he did. Thank God for justice.”
The conviction took place in Section F of Criminal District Court; Judge Robin Pittman presided. Sentencing will take place in June 2022.
This conviction builds on the success of DA Williams and OPDA prosecutors to secure convictions in court since the resumption of jury trials. When cases come to the DA’s Office with the required evidenced, the District Attorney’s Office has vigorously fought for victims and families of violent crimes. Since jury trials resumed, the DA’s Office has secured convictions in 11 of 15 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.
- ADAs Corbin Bates and Carmen Gealogo secured the conviction of Justyn Garrett for Domestic Abuse stemming from an incident in 2020.
- 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.
- ADA/Narcotics Chief Gaudin and First Asst. McGowan secured the conviction of Christopher Alexander for the murder of Idrick Brister in New Orleans East in 2018.
- ADAs Simone Levine and Brad Scott secured the conviction of defendant Gerald “Frog” West for the murder of Marion Brit Hutson, Jr. in New Orleans East in February 2018.
- SAKI Chief Mary Glass and ADA Naomi Jones secured the cold case conviction of defendant Roland Butler for kidnapping, robbery and sexual assault in 1996.
- ADA Samantha Stagias secured the conviction of defendant Tremaine Williams for Aggravated Battery and Felon with a Firearm.
DESPITE SUCCESS BY PROSECUTORS IN COURT, ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ARE STILL NEEDED FROM THE CITY COUNCIL AND MAYOR TO MEET THE CHALLENGES OF THIS CRIME SURGE AND TO HELP INCREASE SAFETY IN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS
Since November 2021, the DA’s Office has argued that as the caseload increases due to the crime surge and COVID-19 backlog, 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 from the federal government that are earmarked for this exact need that are not being spent. The District Attorney’s Office 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 be back in court presenting cases with strong evidence in pursuit of justice and increased safety. 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.”