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State v. Williams

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

May 14, 2015

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
JOHN H. WILLIAMS, JR

Page 1130

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1131

ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA. NO. 11-3894, DIVISION " D" . HONORABLE SCOTT U. SCHLEGEL, JUDGE PRESIDING.

AFFIRMED; REMANDED FOR CORRECTION OF COMMITMENT.

PAUL D. CONNICK, JR., DISTRICT ATTORNEY, Twenty-Fourth Judicial District, Parish of Jefferson, TERRY M. BOUDREAUX, THOMAS J. BUTLER, EMILY E. BOOTH, SETH W. SHUTE, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEYS, Gretna, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE.

SHERRY A. WATTERS, ATTORNEY AT LAW, Louisiana Appellate Project, New Orleans, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT.

Panel composed of Judges Fredericka Homberg Wicker, Marc E. Johnson and Robert A. Chaisson.

OPINION

Page 1132

MARC E. JOHNSON, J.

[14-882 La.App. 5 Cir. 2] Defendant, John H. Williams, Jr., appeals his conviction and sentence for simple rape from the 24th Judicial District Court, Division " D" . For the following reasons, we affirm Defendant's conviction and sentence. Furthermore, the matter is remanded with instructions.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On August 5, 2011, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney filed a bill of information charging Defendant with simple rape upon a known female, D.B. (DOB 4/8/1968), in violation of La. R.S. 14:43 (count one).[1] Defendant was arraigned on August 22, 2011 and pleaded not guilty. On June 5, 2013, the State amended the bill of information to also charge Defendant with simple rape upon a known female, R.L. (DOB 1/2/1975), in violation of La. R.S. 14:43 (count two). [14-882 La.App. 5 Cir. 3] On August 1, 2013, Defendant was arraigned on count two of the amended bill of information and pleaded not guilty. On November 19, 2013, the State amended count two of the bill of information to show that the offense occurred on or between October 28 and November 3, 2009. Defendant was re-arraigned on the amended bill and pleaded not guilty. On November 19 and 20, 2013, Defendant was tried before a six-person jury.[2]

At trial, D.B. testified that in early 2009, she went to River Oaks Psychiatric Hospital to obtain treatment for her drug addiction, after which she " stayed clean" for six or seven months and then relapsed. On October 26, 2009, she checked in to River Oaks a second time to obtain additional treatment for her drug addiction. D.B. explained that she had abused heroin on October 26 and the night before. She further explained that she had not been sleeping or eating; she was very " dope sick; " her body ached and hurt; she was sweating, vomiting, cold and had diarrhea; and she felt like bugs were crawling on her. D.B. felt ashamed and embarrassed and did not want to be around people because she was scared and had hallucinations that someone was " out to get her." When D.B. arrived, she signed a voluntary admission form and was advised of the rules and guidelines, one of which prohibited sexual contact.[3] She asked for " Big John" (Defendant), whom she had met the first time she was at River Oaks, because he was a familiar person, and she needed to feel safe.[4] D.B. was eventually led to

Page 1133

her room and was able to get some rest while she was detoxing.

D.B. subsequently asked Defendant for some towels. Afterward, she went to take a shower. As she did so, she could feel someone rubbing her and bathing her. [14-882 La.App. 5 Cir. 4] When she looked up, she saw Defendant. D.B. told Defendant that he was not supposed to be in there (because males were not supposed to be by themselves in rooms with females), and that he was going to get in trouble. Defendant replied that he was not going to get in trouble, and he left the room. At some point, D.B. got out of the shower, went and smoked a cigarette, and then lied down on her bed. Afterward, she asked for a blanket, and Defendant brought her one.

Because she was not feeling well and was given medication, D.B. got into bed in the fetal position facing the wall. Someone came into her room, whom she thought was her roommate. D.B. then heard Defendant ask if she was " ready." D.B. explained that she was sick and medicated, and that she felt " paralyzed" and could not say anything, move or resist. Next thing she knew, Defendant was inside of her penetrating her vagina. D.B. testified that she was on her knees on her bed and that Defendant was behind her with his hips going back and forth having sex with her. She next remembered that Defendant was standing at the door zipping up his pants. After crying, D.B. went to the bathroom because her underwear, which was worn when Defendant raped her, was wet from the leakage following the rape.[5]

D.B. testified that she did not tell anyone right away because she was afraid that if she did, they would force her to leave River Oaks. She knew that if that happened, she would start using drugs again and die. At some point, D.B. was moved from the detox unit to the trauma unit to deal with other emotional issues. Approximately one week later, she told Danielle Slavich, one of the technicians, that Defendant raped her. D.B. said that Slavich was the first person she told about the rape. A woman from human resources came and wrote a report, and the [14-882 La.App. 5 Cir. 5] woman told D.B. that it was her responsibility to call the police. D.B. subsequently called the police on her cell phone; however, it was three days before an officer came.

D.B. met with Detective Nicholas Cottone several times and told him what happened. River Oaks subsequently forced D.B. to leave the hospital, even though D.B. and her husband pleaded with them to let D.B. stay for treatment. She testified that she had been " clean" for more than four years since she left River Oaks, and that she assisted others with overcoming addiction. D.B. positively identified Defendant in court as the person who raped her.

Danielle Slavich testified that she was employed at River Oaks as a psychiatric technician in the detox unit. At some point, D.B. was moved to the trauma unit. When Slavich went to see D.B. to make sure she was settled in, D.B. said that she had something to tell her. D.B. was upset that Slavich had not figured out that something had happened to her. When Slavich asked D.B. what she was talking about, D.B. told her that Defendant raped her. D.B. told Slavich that when she got up to go to the bathroom after she was raped, she had a discharge from when Defendant " came" in her.

Page 1134

Mary Preen testified that she worked at River Oaks Hospital. She reviewed assessment forms and progress notes completed at the hospital regarding D.B. Preen stated that the admissions assessment indicated that D.B. was exhibiting detox symptoms: she was tearful; her husband had left her on Saturday; she had relapsed two weeks prior; she was on crack/heroin; and she had tremors, sweats, and chills and was restless and suicidal. Preen further stated that another form indicated that D.B. was not capable of forming judgments for safety; there was an " emergency psychiatric disturbance; " she required medical supervision during detoxification; and she was " gravely disabled." She testified that the note on [14-882 La.App. 5 Cir. 6] October 26, 2009, at 10:20 p.m., showed that D.B. was actively detoxing and not feeling well, and that comfort medications were given to her. The records also showed that on December 7, 2009, D.B. requested a test for sexually transmitted diseases due to a reported sexual assault while in the hospital; and that on December 9, 2009, D.B. reported she was raped.

Detective Nicholas Cottone of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office testified that on January 14, 2010, he took a taped statement from D.B. at the detective bureau. He also prepared a photographic lineup that he showed to D.B. D.B. picked out photograph number two (Defendant) as the individual who raped her. Detective Cottone then prepared a search warrant and obtained D.B.'s records from River Oaks. On August 11, 2010, Detective Cottone took two taped statements from Defendant after he was advised of and waived his rights.

In his first statement dated August 11, 2010, at 3:28 p.m., Defendant said that he went into D.B.'s room. While D.B. was behind the shower curtain, she stuck her face out and asked what he was doing, and that he responded he was doing his rounds and left. Defendant further said that, at the end of his shift, he went into D.B.'s room and saw that D.B. was in the wrong bed. He touched her on her legs and told her she needed to go to the other bed. D.B. moved to the other bed, after which she grabbed his penis and unzipped his pants. Defendant put the tip of his penis near her vagina. When Defendant realized what he was doing, he stopped and said he had to go. Defendant denied penetrating D.B. He indicated that D.B. was on " all fours bent over" in a " doggy style ...


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