School brings in counselors for grieving classmates of teen slain at party
The halls of Baker High School were unusually quiet Monday as students continued to grieve three days after the students lost one of their own in a triple homicide.
“That’s the most quiet it’s ever been,” said Myron Matherne, 19, a senior at Baker High. “The only thing you heard were people crying.”
Matherne and other students were still stunned and angry at the death of classmate Diontrey Claiborne, 18, who was killed along with Marcell Franklin and Kendal Dorsey, both 15, in a shooting during a private birthday party shortly after 11 p.m. Friday at the privately owned Baker Civic Club.
“That boy only had 20 days left of school before he graduated. Twenty days,” Matherne said of Claiborne.
Another Baker High student, Javaughn Simmons, 19, was shot in the jaw and will recover.
Marcell attended Zachary High and Kendal was a student at Scotlandville Magnet High.
The accused shooter was identified during a hearing Monday in East Baton Rogue Parish Juvenile Court as Nakeydran L. Williams, 16.
He is scheduled to appear in Juvenile Court on April 14 for a detention hearing. That hearing was supposed to take place Monday, but his attorney, Erika Green, asked for a continuance due to the nature of the offense.
Williams is accused of using a revolver to open fire into the crowd of between 50 and 100 gathered for the birthday party.
Green did tell Judge Pamela Taylor Johnson that she has represented Williams on other matters.
Williams did not appear in court.
It was unclear Monday whether Williams’ case will remain in Juvenile Court.
“The matter is still under investigation. We have a long way to go,” East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said outside Juvenile Court. “By all accounts, my inclination will be to try this in adult court.”
Because of his age, Williams would not be eligible for the death penalty — though one mother has said that would be her preference — if tried and convicted in adult court.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that teens 17 and under at the time of their crimes cannot be put to death.
When reached Monday, Nakesha Dorsey, Kendal’s mother, and Tyisha Andrews, Marcell’s best friend, both said they did not know Williams nor do they know anything about him.
Dr. Beau Clark, the East Baton Rouge Parish coroner, said his office conducted autopsies Monday on Kendal and Marcell.
He said both died from a single gunshot wound to the head. Claiborne’s autopsy is scheduled Tuesday afternoon.
Williams was booked Saturday on three counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder and a single count of illegal possession of a weapon.
The booking followed an all-night investigation by several agencies that included interviews of more than three dozen witnesses at the party.
Baker Police Chief Mike Knaps said Monday that detectives are still trying to track down and interview people who were at the party to get a more complete picture of what happened.
He said detectives have several possible motives, but to his knowledge, they have not stripped away any false information to identify a true motive.
Knaps also did not rule out making more arrests in the case.
“That is always a possibility,” he said.
Knaps said he could not comment on how cooperative Williams is being with investigators. He did say Williams has never been arrested by Baker police.
“None of this should have happened,” said Matherne, the Baker High senior. “You can’t just go in there and shoot up the whole place. That dude doesn’t even care about human life.”
Hazel Mitchell, president of the nonprofit Baker Civic Club, said Sunday that she and the club’s board of directors will discuss ways to improve security in the club, but she did not know exactly what type of improvements will be discussed.
On Monday, Baton Rouge police were called to Belaire High School to investigate rumors of potential violence at the school.
Parents alerted police of threats on social media that they believed might have been related to the Baker shooting.
No arrests were made, said Cpl. Don Coppola Jr., department spokesman.
Baker School Superintendent Ulysses Joseph said there were between seven and 10 grief counselors at Baker High on Monday in case anyone needed them.
Matherne said he did not want to talk to counselors.
“You can’t force someone to cry. That’s all those counselors want to do,” Matherne said. “I just try to keep it all to myself.”
Baker High students, teachers and administrators remembered Claiborne as an excellent basketball player and exceptional French horn player in the school band.
Baker High senior Ivory Roberson, 19, was a friend of Marcell Franklin, the girl who died instantly when she was shot.
“Marcell was very nice. A good person,” Roberson said Monday afternoon. “They were all good people who were taken way too early.”