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State v. Humbles

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

March 11, 2015

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
JOSEPH C. HUMBLES

Page 548

ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA. NO. 10-5492, DIVISION " O" . HONORABLE ROSS P. LADART, JUDGE PRESIDING.

AFFIRMED.

PAUL D. CONNICK, JR., DISTRICT ATTORNEY, Twenty-Fourth Judicial District, Parish of Jefferson; JULIET L. CLARK, TERRY M. BOUDREAUX, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEYS, Gretna, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE, THE STATE OF LOUISIANA.

JANE L. BEEBE, ATTORNEY AT LAW, Louisiana Appellate Project, New Orleans, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT, JOSEPH HUMBLES.

Panel composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Jude G. Gravois, and Stephen J. Windhorst.

OPINION

SUSAN M. CHEHARDY, CHIEF JUDGE.

Page 549

[14-643 La.App. 5 Cir. 2] On appeal, defendant challenges his convictions and sentences for second degree murder, attempted second degree murder, and attempted armed robbery. For the following reasons, we affirm.

Procedural History

On February 17, 2011, the Jefferson Parish Grand Jury returned a three-count indictment against defendant as follows: one count of second degree murder, in violation of La. R.S. 14:30.1; one count of attempted second degree murder, in violation of La. R.S. 14:27:30.1; and one count of armed robbery, in violation of La. R.S. 14:64.

Page 550

On March 25, 2014, trial of defendant on these charges commenced. After four days of testimony and evidence, the twelve-person jury, on March 29, 2014, found defendant guilty as charged of second degree murder and attempted second degree murder, and guilty of the responsive verdict of attempted armed robbery. On May 2, 2014, defendant filed a Motion for New Trial on the grounds that " the ends of justice would be served by the granting of a new trial," which the trial judge denied after a hearing on May 5, 2014.

[14-643 La.App. 5 Cir. 3] That same day, after defendant waived sentencing delays, the trial judge imposed concurrent sentences on defendant as follows: for second degree murder, to " the custody of the Department of Corrections[1] ... for life without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence; " for attempted second degree murder, to twenty-five years at hard labor without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence; and, for attempted armed robbery, to fifteen years at hard labor without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence. That day, defendant moved to appeal his convictions and sentences.

Facts

On the evening of Thursday, October 28, 2010, Walter Bailey drove to visit his soon-to-be brother-in-law,[2] Wiley Payton, at Payton's residence on Vouray Drive in Kenner, Louisiana. After Bailey arrived, Payton joined Bailey in his truck and the two men chatted. As the two men sat in Bailey's truck on the street in front of Payton's apartment, two armed men converged on the vehicle from the rear. Payton, who was sitting in the passenger seat, first noticed an armed man about six feet tall with a dark complexion, on Bailey's side of the truck, pointing a gun at Bailey through the vehicle's open window.

When Payton turned to look out his window, he saw a second man, who he described as a black male in his 20's with medium complexion and spiked dreadlocks or " twists" in his hair, pointing a gun at him. The young man said, " Give it up," and Payton opened his door and handed the man $10.00 that he'd just borrowed from Bailey. Almost immediately, Payton saw Bailey " break and run" [14-643 La.App. 5 Cir. 4] so he, too, attempted to run away. As he tried to run to his apartment, Payton was shot in the thigh; the bullet broke Payton's femur and caused damage to his hip.

Unfortunately, as Bailey tried to get to safety, he was shot four times in the back and two times in the hip. Two of the six perforating gunshot wounds pierced his lungs and his aorta and caused Mr. Bailey's death that night.

At 10:58 p.m., the first 9-1-1 call reporting gunfire on Vouray was logged. Kenner Police Department responded and interviewed witnesses, who reported that " two or three black males ran east on Vouray towards Macon" immediately after the gunfire. Another witness saw an older, dark blue, Toyota Camry without its headlights on flee " northbound on Macon" right after the shootings.

That night, crime scene technicians recovered two .40-caliber-class spent casings from the deceased victim's vehicle.[3] Further,

Page 551

during the autopsy of Walter Bailey,[4] one .38-caliber-class projectile was recovered. These findings led the investigators to surmise that at least two weapons were used during this crime.

On October 29, 2010, within hours of the shootings, Kenner Police Detectives showed Payton three photographic lineups to try to develop a suspect but Payton stated that his assailant was not pictured. That same day, seven fingerprint slides were obtained from Bailey's truck.[5] Subsequently, two expert latent fingerprint examiners verified that one fingerprint obtained from the exterior of the rear passenger door matched the left index fingerprint of Joseph Humbles.

Meanwhile, Kenner Police Detective Jesse Johnson, who responded to the crime scene and spoke to witnesses, accessed Kenner's automobile license plate recognition system to search for an older, dark blue Toyota Camry that was [14-643 La.App. 5 Cir. 5] traveling in the area on the night in question. During his search, Detective Johnson found a 1990 Toyota Camry traveling west on Vintage at Williams Boulevard at 10:31 p.m., which was before the crimes, then, after the crimes at 11:08 p.m., traveling south on Loyola Drive at Veterans Boulevard. Detective Johnson researched and learned that the registered owner of that Camry was Joseph Humbles.

On November 2, 2010, Payton was shown a fourth photographic lineup with Joseph Humbles pictured and Payton identified Humbles, defendant-herein, as his assailant. Payton was not able to identify the person that approached Bailey.

Later, on November 2, 2010, after defendant was advised of and waived his rights, he gave a statement to Sergeant Michael Cunningham of the Kenner Police Department. In his statement, defendant admitted that he and his brother had been driving in Kenner that evening. He even admitted that he had driven down Vouray that night but denied that he had stopped his vehicle. Defendant claimed that he drove down Vouray to bring his brother to his brother's house to get clothes for that night. He also stated that he had been at Taco Bell on Loyola Drive that night.

Finally, at trial, FBI Agent Charles Williams, who was accepted as an expert in historical cell site analysis, testified regarding the location of defendant's cellular telephone on the evening of October 28, 2010 for the time between 10:45 p.m. until 11:04 p.m. According to information gained from defendant's cellular telephone service provider, at 10:45 p.m., defendant's cell phone was within calling range of a cell tower located northwest of the intersection of Williams Boulevard and Joe Yenni Boulevard. At 10:46 p.m., defendant's cell phone was within range of the tower transmitting south on West Esplanade Avenue at Loyola Drive. At 10:58 p.m., the first 9-1-1 call, which came from a witness's cell phone, was logged from a tower north of Vintage between Williams Boulevard and East [14-643 La.App. 5 ...


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