Relatives of slain victims want teen kept behind bars

Relatives of three people shot to death in Scotlandville in 2011 urged state District Judge Don Johnson on Friday not to release from custody a teenager convicted of second-degree murder in those killings.

G’Quan “Tuttie” Baker, 18, of Baton Rouge, was convicted at a jury trial in September and received an automatic life sentence without benefit of parole.

But the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in June in an Alabama case that states cannot automatically sentence minors to life in prison without first holding a sentencing hearing.

Baker was 16 when Ashley London, 19, was shot to death June 29, 2011. A month later, Jessica Parker, 25, and Kevin Bowie, 32, were fatally shot as they sat in a car at the Elm Grove Garden Apartments.

In a separate trial last year, Preston Nelson, 29, also was convicted for the murders. Nelson is serving a life sentence without benefit of parole.

Baker should receive the same sentence, Geraldine Parker, sister of Jessica Parker, told Johnson on Friday. Baker is the first Louisiana teenager to receive a sentencing hearing as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Alabama case.

“G’Quan decided to play God,” Parker told the judge. “He didn’t care for Ashley, Kevin or Jessica.”

Through tears and sobs, Parker said, “He (Baker) is a murderer, and he will do it again. If he is allowed to see the streets again, he will kill again.”

Ashley Harris, cousin of Ashley London, told Baker: “You were grown up enough to take somebody’s life, so you should be grown up enough to do the time.”

Daphne Bowie, mother of Kevin Bowie, testified she believes Baker killed her son. She added that she does not believe Baker would ever live a normal life.

Ronald S. Haley, an attorney for Baker, urged Johnson not to sentence his client Friday. Haley said he needed additional time to call to the witness stand a mental health professional who evaluated Baker prior to trial.

Assistant District Attorney Leila Brasswell argued against any delay, noting that the proposed witness already reported to the court that Baker had a 96 percent risk for additional violent acts and a 92 percent risk for continued drug abuse.

Brasswell also noted that Baker, prior to the murders, repeatedly had been expelled from high school for fighting and had prior arrests for felony theft, theft of a firearm, simple burglary, possession with intent to distribute and disturbing the peace.

On Baker’s behalf, Haley argued that the youth was born to a mother addicted to crack cocaine and began hearing nonexistent voices by the time he was 5 years old. Haley also said Baker never received treatment for cocaine, Ecstasy and marijuana abuse after his arrests.

The judge said the sentencing hearing would resume at 1 p.m. Friday.