Man pleads guilty to burglary in 2019 after he apparently used an air conditioning job to explore Metairie’s house

METAIRIE, La. (WGNO) – Almost exactly 3 years after a Metairie woman was brutally beaten in a home burglary, a man has been convicted for his involvement in the crime.

A Jefferson Parish jury found Antonio Key of Harvey, 25, guilty of aggravated burglary with a firearm enhancement, prosecutor Paul Connick, Jr. announced Thursday.

The case dates back to April 30, 2019, when just before midnight, Key and two other men drove to Metairie from the West Bank in a borrowed car.

It was revealed that Key had once been inside the house, located in the 4600 block of Southshore Drive, while working at an air conditioning company. A statement from the district attorney’s office reports that Key also took pictures inside the house, including pictures of jewelry.

Key and one of the men, Rodgers Hart, were said to have been wearing masks as they walked through the back door of the house, while the other man, Darius Daleo, remained in the car.

Two women were inside the house during the invasion: a 67-year-old woman and her 38-year-old daughter. The girl triggered the panic alarm when she realized the house had been invaded.

Court documents say the girl was confronted by the two men, but it was when her mother confronted the burglars that the elderly woman was severely beaten.

Evidence indicates that the two men eventually left the house while the two women barricaded themselves in a bedroom until police arrived.

The three men were found when a Louisiana State Trooper located their car near North Causeway and I-10 and attempted to perform a traffic stop. The Trooper was led on a chase for approximately 2 miles, which ended when the driver lost control and destroyed the car.

The three men then fled the accident.

Daleo was captured first, followed by Hart, who allegedly stole a pizza delivery car to leave the wreckage.

Key was later identified as the third burglar and was arrested upon arriving at work a few days later. Although he initially denied any involvement in the burglary, cellphone records revealed that Key was in the women’s quarters during the robbery and then in the wreckage area when the car crashed.

During his testimony, Connick said Key “played” his Marine Corps service and claimed he only thought about robbing the house, without actually following through. He added that on the night of the robbery he only stayed in the car while Daleo and Hart went inside, which was directly contradicted by evidence.

Daleo insisted that he was the driver during the invasion and that Key did indeed go inside. In November 2021, Daleo pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and was sentenced to 8 years in prison.

A month later, Hart also pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, felony possession of a firearm and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. He was sentenced to a combined total of 18 years in prison.

Key’s sentencing is scheduled for May 17.

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