Jury acquits Galmon in 2010 beating death of BR man

A jury’s acquittal Friday of Deandre Galmon in the 2010 beating death of a Baton Rouge man left the victim’s sister hoping and praying for justice while prosecutors said they’ll reconsider their case against Galmon’s younger brother.

Galmon, 26, of Baton Rouge, was found not guilty of second-degree murder by an East Baton Rouge Parish jury that deliberated for about 2½ hours. He would have faced a mandatory sentence of life in prison if convicted as charged.

The verdict stunned John Ricky Wilson’s family.

“We still haven’t gotten justice,” Marie W. Adams, sister of the 48-year-old Wilson, said outside state District Judge Mike Erwin’s courtroom. “I’m still waiting for justice, praying for justice.”

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III spoke with jurors in private before they left the 19th Judicial District Courthouse and said they indicated they believed Galmon was responsible for Wilson’s death but there wasn’t the scientific and physical evidence needed for them to find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

“I’m thankful the jury was able to see there just wasn’t enough evidence to send a man away for the rest of his life,” said Galmon’s attorney, Gail Ray.

Desmond Galmon, 20, who was 16 at the time of Wilson’s death, is scheduled to stand trial July 14 on a second-degree murder charge.

Prosecutor Mark Pethke said Deandre Galmon’s acquittal will force him to re-evaluate the state’s case against his brother.

“We’re reconsidering our case against Desmond,” he said.

“He should,” Desmond Galmon’s attorney, Bo Rougeou, said by telephone. “The whole case is just real sketchy.”

Pethke said Deandre Galmon will be released from custody. Desmond Galmon remains behind bars.

Police have said Wilson died in the 5700 block of Breckenridge Avenue during a robbery. His body was found Aug. 14, 2010, under a nearby bridge.

Pethke told the jury in his closing argument Thursday that Deandre Galmon bragged about killing Wilson, a neighborhood handyman, and even showed the body to another man, Andrew Fortune.

Fortune gave that statement to police in September 2010 but “developed amnesia” and changed his story on the witness stand this week after an investigator for Ray spoke with Fortune on Monday in a holding cell, Pethke argued to the jury.

“He told us that for 3½ years, all the way until Monday morning,” the prosecutor said Friday afternoon at the courthouse after the verdict was announced.

In her closing argument, Ray described Fortune as a “lying opportunist” who was in jail — and still is — when he contacted police, hoping to gain favor for himself.

Investigators believe the Galmons took Wilson’s wallet, beat him and pushed him over the bridge, police have said.

When the brothers saw that Wilson was still breathing, Deandre Galmon allegedly kicked Wilson in the head and put his foot on the man’s neck until he stopped breathing, police have said.