Akein Scott, an alleged gangster accused of gunning down 19 people at a Mother’s Day Parade, is no longer facing a prior gun charge in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court after the district attorney on Wednesday dropped the offense, stemming from an arrest two months before the shooting spree.
The dismissal will reroute the high-profile mass shooting case away from Judge Arthur Hunter, whom District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro has long criticized.
On March 5, Scott was caught at a 7th Ward corner store, allegedly carrying a stolen handgun with an extended clip and a bag of heroin. He was charged with possession of a firearm while in possession of a controlled dangerous substance, a high-end gun felony punishable by five to 15 years in prison.
Scott was out on a $15,000 bond awaiting trial before Hunter when he and his brother, Shawn Scott, allegedly opened fire on the Mother’s Day second-line parade. Nineteen people were hit and another was trampled. Both brothers were booked with 20 counts of attempted murder. They have not been formally charged, and the case has not been assigned to a judge.
The district attorney, who must file formal charges within 60 days of an arrest, has only until the weekend to charge Scott with the crimes.
The attempted murder counts were expected to follow Akein Scott’s previous charge to Hunter’s court, as the court’s docketing rules require that any new charge be allotted to the same judge assigned to any open case.
Cannizzaro has been publicly critical of Hunter, with Scott’s case being among their more prominent squabbles. After the Mother’s Day shooting, Cannizzaro blasted Hunter for releasing Scott on a low bond for the pending gun charge, though the district attorney acknowledged that his office had not requested a higher amount.
Hunter last month scheduled a December trial on the gun charge, meaning it would remain pending when the district attorney’s deadline passed and the parade shooting counts for both brothers would be automatically tied to Hunter’s court.
Now that the gun charge has been dropped, the attempted murder charges will be allotted based on the date of the incident, May 12. Judge Robin Pittman in Section F is the judge assigned that day.
Cannizzaro’s spokesman Chris Bowman declined to say whether the charge was dismissed to shuffle the case away from Hunter’s bench.
“The District Attorney’s Office believed it prudent to re-evaluate Mr. Scott’s case,” he said.
Federal authorities could revive the gun charge separately, and prosecute Scott in U.S. District Court.
Bowman declined to comment on whether his office has been in contact with federal law enforcement authorities on the matter.