WBR jury convicts Braggs of second degree murder

Darrell Braggs, a member of the Young & Reckless gang out of Pointe Coupee Parish, was convicted of second degree murder and aggravated criminal damage to property by a West Baton Rouge Parish jury on Jan. 31, reported District Attorney Tony Clayton.

In this unusual case, Braggs, 28, of 407 Berthier St., New  Roads, was charged with killing a member of his own gang, Jalael Leonard, while more than 30 shots were being fired after they got spooked during a car burglary off Section Road in West Baton Rouge Parish in 2021.

The trial was delayed several days as the defense tried to stop the testimony of an expert witness, a La. State Police gang expert, regarding the previous violent history and murders of the gang. After quick appeals, the La. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the DA’s Office in allowing the testimony.

The case was presented over 3 days, with closing arguments on Jan. 31. The jury deliberated for one and a half hours before handing down guilty verdicts. Sentencing was set for March 14, but the mandatory sentence for a second degree murder conviction is life in prison.

The case was presented by Assistant District Attorneys Chad Aguillard and Lonnie Guidroz. Judge Tonya Lurry presided over the trial. DA Clayton noted that one member of the Young & Reckless gang had previously been convicted of murder, and two more were involved in this case – the shooter and the victim. “We will continue to prosecute the members of this gang until the gang is eradicated,” he said.

“I want to thank local law enforcement for their excellent work on the investigation, our staff and prosecutors, and the citizens who served on the jury,” said DA Clayton. “This verdict shows the people of the 18th District (West Baton Rouge, Pointe Coupee and Iberville Parishes) are not going to put up with gun violence and gangs. They will convict and the criminals will die in prison. My message is this: PUT THE GUNS DOWN or face the consequences.”