BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The Louisiana Supreme Court has reinstated the murder conviction of a man that took his own life while appealing that conviction.

In April of 2021, Gleason was found guilty of first-degree murder after being linked to a series of shootings that left two Black men dead, Donald Smart and Bruce Cofield. 

Five months later, the 27-year-old Baton Rouge native was found hanging in his cell at Angola State Penitentiary. On September 22, the Department of Corrections confirmed that Gleason’s death was a suicide. 

Last November, a state district judge threw out Gleason’s conviction based on the fact that he had committed suicide. 

In the ruling, the court justices wrote ”For the foregoing reasons, the ruling of the court of appeal is reversed, the appeal is dismissed, and the matter is remanded to the trial court to enter a notation in the record that while the conviction removed defendant Kenneth Gleason’s
presumption of innocence, it was neither affirmed nor reversed on appeal due to his death’.

Click here for the full ruling from the Louisiana Supreme Court.