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Lawyer argues 25 years too long for man who shot neighbor

July 5, 2021 GMT

THIBODAUX, La. (AP) — Twenty-five years at hard labor is too severe a sentence for a 72-year-old Louisiana man convicted of shooting a neighbor in the face during an argument over a loud car radio, his lawyer says.

Tracy Schwab of Houma is asking District Judge John LeBlanc to reconsider the sentence he gave to Thomas Kennedy of Gray, who was convicted of attempted second-degree murder.

Kennedy is a decorated veteran who didn’t mean to pull the trigger, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, has health problems and needs a wheelchair, Schwab told The Daily Comet.

Imprisonment for 25 years without probation, parole or early release would be a hardship, the attorney said. He said prosecutors asked for the maximum 50 years, and he asked for something near the minimum of 10.

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Prosecutors said that Kennedy put the gun to the 34-year-old neighbor’s mouth on April 16, 2019.

“I had enough of the music,” Kennedy reportedly told detectives. “I took the gun and stuck it up to him. I let him know I wasn’t playing with him.”

Kennedy said he was just trying to scare the neighbor and fired accidentally.

After the shooting, Kennedy laughed and did not show any remorse or other emotion, prosecutors said.

“The first rule of gun safety is to point the gun in a safe direction, and don’t put your finger on the trigger until you’re ready to fire,” said Assistant District Attorney Jason Chatagnier. “The defendant’s finger was on the trigger with the gun in the victim’s mouth. This was not negligence; it was attempted murder.”

The neighbor was released after treatment at University Hospital in New Orleans.

A Lafourche Parish jury convicted Kennedy after deliberating for about an hour on May 27. LeBlanc sentenced him June 23 and is scheduled to consider Kennedy’s request on July 16.