Rendell Brown, now 19, was one of two suspects charged in the September 2014 crime spree that included the killing of Richard Yeager on St. Louis Street in Mid-City and the Newcomb Boulevard robbery the day before, according to District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office. Brown pleaded guilty to manslaughter and armed robbery of Yeager, and to armed robbery in the Newcomb Boulevard case, while proceedings continue against his co-defendant, Shane Hughes.
For more information, see the full news release from Cannizzaro’s office:
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office on Tuesday (March 6) secured the conviction of Rendell Brown in connection with the killing and armed robbery of Domino’s pizza delivery driver Richard “Chris” Yeager in September 2014.
Brown, 19, pleaded guilty to an amended charge of manslaughter and armed robbery of Yeager that occurred in Mid-City on Sept. 22, 2014, and to the armed robbery of a 50-year-old woman in her driveway on Newcomb Boulevard in Uptown New Orleans that occurred 26 hours earlier. Under terms of the plea agreement, Brown was sentenced to 40 years in prison by Criminal District Judge Byron C. Williams, with credit for time served since his arrest the day after Yeager was slain.
Brown and co-defendant Shane Hughes each was 16 years old when New Orleans police said they ambushed Yeager, a 35-year-old native of Huntsville, Ala.
A popular French Quarter karaoke DJ, Yeager was working his part-time job when he delivered a pizza a few minutes after midnight to an apartment building in the 2800 block of St. Louis Street. The Orleans Parish Coroner’s office determined that Yeager was shot 10 times before being left to die in the middle of the street.
Yeager’s 2004 Toyota Corolla later was found abandoned at the corner of Forshey and Pine streets in Gert Town. Inside, investigators found a T-shirt from Cohen College Prep, the school Brown and Hughes attended at the time. A third juvenile was believed to have been involved in the crime, but has not been charged because of insufficient evidence.
Authorities placed Brown and Hughes near the crime scene at the time of Yeager’s death through data transmitted by electronic ankle monitors the teens had been ordered to wear for previous juvenile offenses. Authorities also believe they intercepted Brown soliciting the harm of Hughes’ younger brother in an effort to silence his co-defendant on a jailhouse phone call recorded in February 2016.
Hughes is scheduled to appear back in Williams’ court on March 23.
“The brutality of this crime, for which a hard-working citizen of our city had his life viciously ended for a gain of a few dollars, should resonate with those city leaders who naively castigate our office for taking a firm stance against violent juvenile offenders,” Cannizzaro said. “Advocates of our city’s juvenile justice system seek to mask its ineffectiveness by labeling defendants such as these as ‘children,’ rather than the very violent teen offenders they are.
“While we continue to offer rehabilitation opportunities to most non-violent minor offenders within the juvenile system, we will continue to transfer juvenile killers into the adult system for prosecution. Unlucky victims such as Mr. Yeager are afforded no kinder treatment on our city’s streets simply because their armed assailants are teens. Violent offenders such as these do not deserve to be freed upon our streets simply by virtue of reaching their 21st birthday, which is the limit of the juvenile courts’ purview.”
Assistant District Attorney Sarah Dawkins of the Major Offense Trials (MOT) Unit prosecuted the case.