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State v. Jones

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

November 19, 2014

STATE OF LOUISIANA, Appellee
v.
LADARRIAN JATAZZ JONES, Appellant

Page 236

Appealed from the Fourth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Ouachita, Louisiana. Trial Court No. 11F0925. Honorable B. Scott Leehy, Judge.

LADARRIAN JATAZZ JONES, Pro se.

CAREY J. ELLIS, III, Louisiana Appellate Project, Counsel for Appellant.

JERRY L. JONES, District Attorney; MICHAEL J. FONTENOT, NEAL G. JOHNSON, GEORGE M. CAMPBELL, JR., Assistant District Attorneys, Counsel for Appellee.

Before BROWN, LOLLEY and GARRETT, JJ.

OPINION

Page 237

[49,396 La.App. 2 Cir. 1] LOLLEY, J.

Following a jury trial, the defendant, Ladarrian Jatazz Jones, was convicted of three counts of attempted second degree murder, violations of La. R.S. 14:30.1 and 14:27. Jones was subsequently sentenced to 20 years at hard labor, without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence on each count, to be served concurrently. Jones now appeals, and for the following reasons, we affirm his convictions and sentences.

Facts

As the result of a drug deal gone bad on April 8, 2011, Ladarrian Jatazz Jones was charged by bill of information with three separate counts of attempted second degree murder against Zachary Humble, Drew Mayo and Randall " Ryan" Linder. The bill of information also charged Jones with three separate counts of armed robbery against three individuals arising out of a previous incident.

Following a trial on all six charges, the jury found Jones guilty of the three counts of attempted second degree murder and not guilty of the three counts of armed robbery with a firearm. The jury rendered its verdicts on all counts by a vote of ten to two.

Subsequently, a sentencing hearing was held. The trial court considered the facts of this case, the presentence investigation report, the letters submitted on behalf of Jones and the victims, and the sentencing guidelines set forth in La. C. Cr. P. art. 894.1. The trial court considered certain aggravating and mitigating factors and sentenced Jones to 20 years at hard labor, without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence, on each count, to be served concurrently.

[49,396 La.App. 2 Cir. 2] On December 9, 2013, Jones filed a motion for an out-of-time appeal, which the trial court granted. This appeal followed.

Discussion

Sufficiency of the Evidence

On appeal, Jones contends that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions for attempted second degree murder, arguing the following: the state failed to prove that Jones was not acting in defense of his brother when he stabbed Humble, or that Jones had the specific intent to kill Humble, Linder, or Mayo; Jones did not have a gun, nor did he fire a gun; Jones did not start the fight over the marijuana and only entered the melee by stabbing his victim in a struggle over a gun; and, that in stabbing his victim, Jones was protecting his brother from getting severely injured or killed. Jones contends that even if the self-defense evidence is rejected, the evidence supports only a verdict of aggravated battery under La. R.S. 14:34.

The standard of appellate review for a sufficiency of the evidence claim is whether, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 2789, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979); State v. Tate, 2001-1658 (La. 05/20/03), 851 So.2d 921, cert. denied, 541 U.S. 905, 124 S.Ct. 1604, 158 L.Ed.2d 248 (2004); State v. Carter, 42,894 (La.App.2d Cir. 01/09/08), 974 So.2d 181, writ denied, 2008-0499 (La. 11/14/08), 996 So.2d 1086. This standard, now legislatively embodied in La. C. Cr. P. art. 821, does not provide the appellate court with a vehicle to substitute its own appreciation of the evidence for that of the fact finder. [49,396 La.App. 2 Cir. 3] S ...


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