NEW ORLEANS — A federal appeals court upheld a life sentence Friday for one of the men who fired into a crowd at a neighborhood Mother’s Day parade in 2013, a gang-related mass shooting that wounded 19 people and stunned New Orleans.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled only days after a woman died of complications from the gunfire four years ago.
Akein Scott, 23, was sentenced to life after pleading guilty in 2015 in a complex federal drug and weapons case that included the mass shooting and other bloody gang activity. The appellate court rejected arguments that evidence about an unrelated slaying should not have been considered at his sentencing.
Scott and his brother Shawn Scott, who is serving a 40-year sentence in the federal case, were arrested days after the shooting. Blurry surveillance camera video caught part of what happened. It showed a man stepping away from a building and firing toward rival gang members. Others also were injured in the ensuing chaos.
The Scott brothers were among numerous suspects convicted for activity in the Frenchmen-Derbigny gang. The Mother’s Day shooting was just one element of an overall case involving years of cocaine and heroin trafficking, illegal gun possession and violence.
Deborah Cotton, 52, a writer, lost a kidney and gall bladder, half of her stomach and portions of her intestines and pancreas after being hit by the gunfire. Her friend Linda Usdin confirmed that her death on May 2 was due to complications from these injuries.
The parade remains an annual event in the city’s 7th Ward. Staged by the Original Big 7 Social Aid and Pleasure Club, it is a traditional “second-line” procession where watchers often fall in behind the bands and marchers. It draws both a neighborhood crowd and tourists interested in the city’s parade culture.