Louisiana Groom Accused of Tampering With Evidence to Protect the Killer of His Own Best Man

A man in his 40s was arrested this week in connection with an ongoing police probe into a fatal shooting during a wedding party in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, two years ago.

The suspect, Christopher Jerome Sterling, was detained yesterday and charged with obstruction of justice and accessory after the fact to second degree murder. Police allege he tampered with security cameras to help protect the shooter. The victim was Sterling's best man, WBRZ reported.

According to authorities, the suspect is now believed to have removed the digital video recorder (DVR) before the local police arrived at the scene of the incident.

The fatal shooting occurred in the early hours of the morning at the Sterling and Sterling Detail Shop, located at 890 Scenic Highway, on January 28, 2018.

The victim, 36-year-old Byron Jenkins, passed away at the scene after being found in the parking lot of the address with "apparent gunshot injuries," police said in a release at the time, adding a 23-year-old woman also suffered a gunshot injury later determined to be "non-life threatening."

Sterling's after-wedding party was taking place at the property, which he co-owns, and he allegedly told officers he didn't witness the shooting and his camera system was not operational. A police report obtained by WBRZ noted the TV monitors had been working but the DVR was missing.

Police said at the time there were no known suspects or motives.

Local media outlet WAFB reported, also citing the police report, that detectives interviewed 18 people who were at the Scenic Highway wedding party, including Sterling. The suspect told investigators the victim was his best man and, like the others, denied seeing the incident take place.

Authorities said they later received several tips claiming the surveillance cameras had been working and the shooter was another friend of Sterling's, WAFB reported.

In May last year, police obtained photographs appearing to show the victim inside the property. In the background of the image, the surveillance cameras appeared to be operating as normal. Police now allege Sterling removed the DVR to aid the shooter in evading detection and arrest.

The shooter has not yet been arrested. Police are appealing for anyone who has information to contact the Violent Crimes Unit at 225-389-4869 or Crimestoppers at 225-344-7867.

Sterling's arrest this week was confirmed using online inmate records published by the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, which indicate his bond has been set at $200,000.

In Louisiana, the charge of obstruction of justice is punishable with between five and 40 years in prison, depending on the severity of the case. It includes "tampering with evidence with the specific intent of distorting the results of any criminal investigation or proceeding which may reasonably prove relevant to a criminal investigation or proceeding," according to the state law.

Christopher Sterling
Christopher Jerome Sterling (pictured) was arrested yesterday and charged with obstruction of justice and accessory after the fact to second degree murder in connection with a 2018 killing. East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office via WBRZ