Appealed from the 22nd Judicial District Court, In and for the Parish of St. Tammany, State of Louisiana. Case No. 540004.
Lieu T. Vo Clark, Mandeville, Louisiana, Counsel for Defendant/Appellant, Mark Allen Shepherd, II.
Walter P. Reed, District Attorney, Covington, Louisiana; Kathryn W. Landry, Special Appeals Counsel, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellee, State of Louisiana.
BEFORE: GUIDRY, THERIOT, AND DRAKE, JJ.
[2014 1367 La.App. 1 Cir. 2]
Defendant, Mark Allen Shepherd, II, was charged by bill of information with purse snatching, a violation of La. R.S. 14:65.1 (count one), and resisting an officer with force or violence, a violation of La. R.S. 14:108.2 (count two). He pled not guilty. Following a jury trial, defendant was found guilty as charged on count one, and guilty of the responsive offense of resisting an officer, a violation of La. R.S. 14:108, on count two. The trial court denied defendant's motions for new trial and post-verdict judgment of acquittal and sentenced him to six years at hard labor on count one and six months in the parish jail on count two. The trial court ordered these sentences to run concurrently. Defendant now appeals, alleging two assignments of error which both relate to the sufficiency of the evidence presented at his trial. For the following reasons, we affirm defendant's convictions and sentences.
On August 31, 2013, Jenny Montelongo accompanied some friends to the Olde Towne Tavern in Slidell. Montelongo carried a wristlet which contained her driver's license, credit card, cash, and cell phone. Montelongo walked to the bar to order a drink and set her wristlet down on the bar top. A family friend approached Montelongo and began to speak to her, so she allowed the person behind her to take her spot at the bar. That person, who turned out to be defendant, briefly stood at the bar between Montelongo and her wristlet before he grabbed it and ran out of the bar. Montelongo told the bartender what happened, and she informed the security guard, Stephen Dean. Both men exited the bar in pursuit of defendant.
[2014 1367 La.App. 1 Cir. 3] Dean and the bartender caught up to defendant, and the bartender successfully retrieved Montelongo's wristlet, but not her phone or her cash. Dean flagged down Officer Jacob Morris of the Slidell Police Department and informed him of defendant's actions. Officer Morris spotted defendant, who was walking down Cousin Street. Officer Morris identified himself as a Slidell police officer and asked defendant to stop multiple times. Defendant failed to comply. Officer Morris eventually jogged over to defendant, physically stopped him, and placed him in handcuffs. Officer Morris brought defendant to
Montelongo, and she identified him as the person who had taken her wristlet. The defendant began to tense up as Officer Morris and another officer attempted to escort him to a patrol vehicle. As the officers attempted to get him into the back seat of the vehicle, defendant began to kick and pull away from their grasp. Eventually, the assisting officer performed a take-down maneuver, causing defendant to receive a gash to his forehead. Defendant was eventually placed under arrest. Montelongo eventually recovered her cash and cell phone, but the cell phone had been damaged.
In his first assignment of error, defendant argues that the trial court erred in denying his motions for new trial and post-verdict judgment of acquittal. This assignment of error adopts the same argument made in defendant's second assignment of error -- that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support defendant's conviction for purse snatching. Specifically, defendant ...