Ryan “Sneaks” Carroll was just 16 when he twice tried to gun down a man in 2010, less than five weeks before the 37-year-old was eventually shot to death. On Tuesday, a Baton Rouge judge sentenced Carroll to 18 years in prison.
Carroll, now 19, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of attempted first-degree murder in the Feb. 22, 2010, and March 6, 2010, attempts on the life of Charles “Nokie” Matthews, who was fatally shot inside a car on April 1, 2010, in a double murder.
Carroll also is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the slaying of Matthews and Darryl “Bleek” Milton, 25, on Monte Sano Avenue, but East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant District Attorney Dana Cummings said those charges likely will be dismissed. They could be refiled if additional evidence comes to light, she said.
A sheriff’s detective testified at a June 2011 hearing that bullet casings found at the scene of the Feb. 22 attempt on Matthews’ life matched casings found at the scene of the double murder. The detective also said Carroll confessed to both attempts on Matthews’ life.
Cummings told state District Judge Mike Erwin on Tuesday that Carroll and convicted hit man Michael “Marlo Mike” Louding both fired shots into Matthews’ Tioga Street home on Feb. 22, but Matthews was not hit. Instead, Matthews’ wife was wounded by Carroll, the prosecutor said.
In the March 6 incident, Louding drove Carroll and Eddie Stewart — who was just 15 at the time — to the same Tioga residence, where Carroll and Stewart fired shots into the home, Cummings said. Once again, Matthews was not hit, but another man was wounded, she said.
Stewart, 19, is scheduled to stand trial Oct. 7 on an attempted first-degree murder charge.
Carroll was set to stand trial Tuesday but instead accepted Cummings’ offer of an 18-year sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. Carroll faced up to 50 years in prison on each attempted first-degree murder charge.
“This young man is going to have a life,” Carroll’s attorney, Ben Gibson, said outside Erwin’s courtroom in the 19th Judicial District Courthouse.
Carroll told the judge that Stewart had nothing to do with the crimes.
On the strength of Louding’s police statements and grand jury testimony, Louding and four others — Carroll, Kendrick Johnson, Johnathan Rogers and Reginald Youngblood — were indicted on first-degree murder charges in the killing of Matthews and Milton.
Louding also was charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of local up-and-coming rapper Chris “Nussie” Jackson on Feb. 9, 2009; Marcus “Gangsta” Thomas on April 25, 2009; and Terry Boyd on Oct. 21, 2009. He was indicted on a second-degree murder charge in the slaying of Michael Smith on Dec. 18, 2009.
Nationally acclaimed rap artist Torence “Lil Boosie” Hatch, of Baton Rouge, also was charged with first-degree murder in Boyd’s death, but he was acquitted last year. After telling police that Hatch paid him to kill Boyd, Louding testified at Hatch’s trial that he and Hatch had nothing to do with Boyd’s killing.
Since then, prosecutors have dropped first-degree murder charges against Rogers and Youngblood in the double murder, and against Jared Williams in the Thomas killing. Cummings said those charges could be refiled if new evidence comes forward.
Youngblood was convicted last year in federal district court on drug and weapons charges and is serving a nine-year prison sentence. Last month, he was sentenced in state district court to a combined 20 years in prison on weapons and attempted murder charges.
Louding, who turned 17 two weeks before Boyd was fatally shot, was convicted in that case earlier this year and sentenced to life in prison without benefit of parole. Adrian Pittman, 39, of Baton Rouge, pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge in the Boyd case and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.