Appealed from the Fifth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Richland, Louisiana. Trial Court No. F2010152. Honorable Terry A. Doughty, Judge.
LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT, By: Teresa C. Carroll, Counsel for Appellant.
JOHN M. LANCASTER, District Attorney, PENNY W. DOUCIERE, KENNETH D. WHEELER, Assistant District Attorneys, Counsel for Appellee.
Before WILLIAMS, STEWART and GARRETT, JJ.
[49,398 La.App. 2 Cir. 1] STEWART, J.
The defendant, Richard Lynn Long, Jr., pled guilty to first degree murder, in violation of La. R.S. 14:30, reserving his right to appeal the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress pursuant to State v. Crosby, 338 So.2d 584 (La. 1976). He was sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence in accordance with the penalty provisions of this crime. The defendant now appeals, urging that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress. Finding no error in the trial court's judgment, we affirm.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On the evening of September 11, 2010, Frances Coenen was home alone at her house located at 4086 Highway 80 in Rayville, Louisiana. At approximately 9:00 p.m., she heard glass shattering. Searching her home for the source of the sound, Mrs. Coenen noticed that glass had been broken out of the east window of a front bedroom, and that there was tape on the window. The bedroom light was on, but she noted that nothing else in the room appeared to be in disarray.
Mrs. Coenen called the sheriff's office as a precautionary measure, telling them, " I don't think it's anything, I think somebody is trying to scare me because my husband is not here." Nevertheless, the sheriff's office stayed on the telephone with her until Officer Thomas Alexander of the Rayville Police Department, with whom Mrs. Coenen was familiar, arrived.
Officer Alexander and Mrs. Coenen walked down the hallway toward the bedroom where the shattered window was located, with Officer Alexander walking directly in front of her. As they approached the bedroom, [49,398 La.App. 2 Cir. 2] they heard a " thumping" noise. Officer Alexander entered the bedroom first, and walked toward the bed. Mrs. Coenen entered the bedroom directly behind Officer Alexander and immediately noticed the drawers in the dresser had been pulled out, the curtain had been pulled aside, the closet door was open, and a table had been moved. Mrs. Coenen informed Officer Alexander that someone was in the house. The defendant then jumped out of the closet, which was located to the right of Officer Alexander and Mrs. Coenen, brandishing a handgun. Officer Alexander then instructed Mrs. Coenen to run, and she overheard him identify himself as a police officer. The defendant shot Officer Alexander three times in the torso. The defendant fled the scene through the shattered window, traveled across Highway 80, and was picked up by codefendant Anthony Oatis. Officer Alexander died at the scene as a result of his wounds.
Mrs. Coenen ran down the hall toward the kitchen, where she was met at the door by another police officer who had arrived as backup for Officer Alexander. Other officers arrived and began to search the house. They found Officer Alexander on the floor of the bedroom across the hall from where he had been shot. They entered the bedroom where the defendant shot Officer Alexander and found codefendant Robert J. Walker, hiding under the bed.
Walker agreed to cooperate with law enforcement officials, telling the investigators that he, the defendant, and Oatis had planned to travel to the Coenens' home to burglarize it. Walker was familiar with Mrs. Coenen and her husband, Theo Coenen, because Walker worked previously as a trustee at the Richland Parish Sheriff's Office. He noticed the Coenens' jewelry in [49,398 La.App. 2 Cir. 3] their home while assisting Mr. Coenen with carrying boxes there on several occasions.
Walker stated that during the day of September 10, 2010, he, the defendant, and Oatis traveled in a Ford Fusion, owned by Oatis' girlfriend, to the Coenens' home to obtain a layout of the home and consider escape routes. The trio agreed that on September 11, 2010, Oatis would drop off Walker and the defendant near the Coenens' residence, and they would enter the home to obtain some jewelry. Oatis would then pick them up at a pre-arranged location.
On the evening of September 11, 2010, the trio arrived shortly before dark in an area near the Coenens' home. Walker and the defendant walked around the home for approximately 30 minutes. They saw Mrs. Coenen inside, and discussed how they would get in the home with her present. Deciding to enter through a window, they duct taped the window and placed pillows on it to muffle the sound of ...