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State v. Crawford

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

December 23, 2014

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
TROY S. CRAWFORD

ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 13-1032, DIVISION "M" HONORABLE HENRY G. SULLIVAN, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING.

PAUL D. CONNICK, JR., DISTRICT ATTORNEY, Twenty-Fourth Judicial District Parish of Jefferson TERRY M. BOUDREAUX, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE

POWELL W. MILLER, ATTORNEY AT LAW COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT

TROY S. CRAWFORD, DOC #376828 In Proper Person Richwood Correctional Center DEFENDANT/APPELLANT

Panel composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Fredericka Homberg Wicker, and Marc E. Johnson.

FREDERICKA HOMBERG WICKER, JUDGE

Defendant, Troy Crawford, appeals his conviction for aggravated second degree battery as well as his multiple offender adjudication and enhanced twenty-year sentence. Defendant's appointed counsel has filed an appellate brief pursuant to Anders v. California[1] and has further filed a motion to withdraw as counsel of record. Defendant has filed a supplemental pro se brief, which this Court finds does not raise any non-frivolous issues for appeal. For the following reasons, we affirm defendant's conviction and sentence and grant appellate counsel's motion to withdraw.

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

On February 22, 2013, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney filed a bill of information charging defendant, Troy S. Crawford, with "second degree battery, with a dangerous weapon" upon Allen Blair in violation of La. R.S. 14:34.7. Defendant was arraigned and pled not guilty. On November 6, 2013, defendant proceeded to trial and, on that date, a six-person jury found defendant guilty of aggravated second degree battery in violation of La. R.S. 14:34.7. Defendant filed a motion for new trial, which was denied. After waiving sentencing delays, defendant was sentenced to fifteen years at hard labor.[2]

On January 7, 2014, the state filed a multiple offender bill of information alleging that defendant was a fourth felony offender. After defendant stipulated to being a fourth felony offender, the trial court vacated defendant's original sentence and immediately resentenced him to twenty years imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of probation or suspension of sentence. This timely appeal follows.

FACTS

On January 21, 2013, the victim in this case, Allen Blair, went to Diva's Lounge in Marrero following a Martin Luther King Day parade. Mr. Blair testified at trial that, while inside the bar, defendant approached him from behind and grabbed his buttocks. Mr. Blair turned around and confronted defendant, who then walked away towards the pool table. Mr. Blair stated that he walked towards defendant and began arguing with him, asking, "[m]an, what's wrong with you?" According to Mr. Blair, defendant attempted to hit him with a pool stick, which they fought over.

Mr. Blair testified that he overpowered and struck defendant with the pool stick. Thereafter, defendant ran out of the bar. Mr. Blair stated that approximately fifteen to thirty minutes later, he walked out of the bar along with the bar owner when he saw defendant come towards him with a beer bottle. Mr. Blair explained that he tried to protect himself but that the bottle broke on his raised arm and defendant then struck him in the neck with the tip of the bottle. According to Mr. Blair, the fight ended when bystanders pulled him off of defendant. The bystanders removed Mr. Blair's shirt and wrapped it around his neck. Mr. Blair explained that blood was "gushing" from his neck and blood was "everywhere." Mr. Blair was brought to the hospital, where he received stitches from a plastic surgeon. Mr. Blair testified that the surgeon was only able to remove some of the glass from the wound on his face and that he was still removing glass from his face at the time of trial. He further testified that he had scars from the incident and that defendant cut off a portion of his ear.

Loretta Joseph, owner of Diva's Lounge, testified that there was a verbal altercation inside of her bar in the late afternoon of January 21, 2013, following the Martin Luther King Day parade, after one customer accused another customer of touching him on his "backside." Other customers intervened before a physical altercation began inside the bar and Ms. Joseph asked the customer that appeared to have started the argument to leave the bar. Approximately fifteen minutes later, she escorted Mr. Blair out of the bar with another customer. According to Ms. Joseph, defendant unexpectedly stabbed Mr. Blair in the neck with a broken beer bottle. Ms. Joseph testified that a "tussle" began and that the fight ended when other people attempted to stop the fight. Ms. Joseph stated that the person who stabbed Mr. Blair then walked away.

Deputy Bruce Verrette of the Jefferson Parish Sheriffs Office testified that he was the first officer on the scene at Diva's Lounge. Deputy Verrette observed Mr. Blair sitting outside of the lounge, bleeding profusely from his neck. He applied direct pressure to Mr. Blair's wound to slow down the bleeding until paramedics arrived. Deputy Verrette described the wound as a deep gash to the victim's neck, with a piece of flesh peeling off. Deputy Verrette also observed that the lower part of Mr. Blair's ear was missing.

Deputy Alvin Farris Jr., a patrol officer with the Jefferson Parish Sheriffs Office, testified that he responded to a dispatch that a suspect in a stabbing had fled towards Johnny Jacobs Playground in Marrero.[3] Deputy Farris drove to the location and observed defendant, who matched the description of the suspect, running through a field. Deputy Farris then exited his patrol vehicle and apprehended defendant. He testified that defendant had blood splatter on his face and a strong odor of alcohol. Deputy Farris further testified that he did not observe any injuries on defendant and that defendant ...


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