The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal has affirmed the life sentence of a Vinton man who was found guilty of second-degree murder in 2018 in state district court.

Frin Wayne Coward, 73, was indicted in 2017 and convicted by a unanimous jury on Feb. 24, 2018, after a trial that lasted several days.

Coward killed Michael G. Fountain, 56, at an La. 109 South residence in Vinton after the two had an argument.

Sheriff Tony Mancuso said deputies found Fountain's body in the driveway.

Dr. Terry Welke, Calcasieu coroner, identified Fountain's cause of death as multiple gunshot wounds to the neck, trunk and right leg.

In this appeal, Coward said he believed his sentence was excessive based on constitutional and statutory grounds.

The 3rd Circuit disagreed with his assertion and affirmed his life sentence.

In a previous appeal, Coward said he acted in self-defense and should not have been convicted of second-degree murder, arguing "this was not an intentional, unprovoked shooting."

Coward also said he had a great deal of remorse, didn't mean for the victim to die, and had known Fountain since he was a young man.

The 3rd Circuit, in affirming his conviction after that appeal, said the state "clearly presented sufficient evidence to support its claim of second-degree murder as it is unquestioned the defendant shot Mr. Fountain three times, supporting a determination that defendant had the specific intent to kill."

Additionally, it said the jury was made aware of wide-ranging testimony regarding defendant's threats to Fountain in the time period leading up to the shooting.

"More specific to the defendant's assignment, the record further supports the jury's determination that the state proved that the defendant did not act in self-defense," the court added.

Earlier, a trial court denied Coward's motion for a new trial after he objected, in part, to the testimony of a witness "on the basis of hearsay."

Coward was sentenced by Judge Guy Bradberry to life in prison without the benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence.

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