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NEW ORLEANS A New Orleans jury has convicted a man in the 2010 Halloween weekend stabbing of an Iraq war veteran in the French Quarter.
Twenty-nine-year-old Melvin Clay was found guilty of the second-degree murder of Marine Sgt. Ryan Lekosky, 23.
Prosecutors said Clay was driving through the quarter when he got into a verbal confrontation with Lekosky and his wife as they walked. They said Clay got out of his car, pushed the woman and stabbed Lekosky as he tried to defend her.
Defense lawyers portrayed Lekosky's wife as the aggressor, saying she approached the car and grabbed a knife from it. Clay said he had to wrest the knife from her and that he was defending himself when he stabbed Lekosky.
Friday's conviction means Clay faces a mandatory life sentence.
Clay, of Houston, was also convicted of obstruction of justice for his efforts to destroy evidence of the crime.
Clay had driven away from the scene of the killing and was arrested the following December.
The arrest came after police linked a part of an exterior car mirror to his vehicle. The mirror part had come off the car after it sideswiped a parked vehicle following the killing.
The jury deliberated almost four hours before convicting Clay.