GRETNA, La. — An 18-year-old man was convicted Monday in the deaths of a father and son who were fatally shot at their suburban New Orleans home in April 2015.
Dexter Allen was found guilty of two counts of second-degree murder. The charge carries a life sentence, although there is a possibility Allen’s sentence could include parole eligibility because he was 17 when the crime occurred.
Jefferson Parish authorities said 56-year-old David Pence and his 25-year-old son Nicholas were killed during a crime spree in which Allen and his then-girlfriend were burglarizing unlocked cars while driving around in a carjacked vehicle.
Police said Allen entered the Pence home through an unlocked door and shot the elder Pence as he slept in a chair. Authorities believe Nicholas Pence entered the room a moment later and was also killed.
A five-day trial included testimony from David Pence’s wife, who found her husband dead and her son dying after the shootings.
Allen denied killing the Pences, and his motive remains unclear. He did confess that he and his girlfriend were in the area breaking into cars on the night in question.
Investigators later found the murder weapon, a shotgun, at his mother’s New Orleans home and linked it to him using DNA evidence.
The Jefferson Parish district attorney’s office says a sentencing date is pending. Second-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence. However, because Allen was 17 at the time of the crime, state District Judge Ray Steib will have the option of including the possibility of parole. The DA’s office says in a news release that, if Steib includes that option in the sentence, Allen would be eligible to apply for parole in 35 years.