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State v. Fontenot

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

May 27, 2015

STATE OF LOUISIANA, Appellee
v.
WILLIAM ALLEN FONTENOT, Appellant

Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of Caddo, Louisiana. Trial Court No. 318,107. Honorable John D. Mosely, Jr., Judge.

CAREY J. ELLIS, III, Louisiana Appellate Project, for Appellant.

DALE G. COX, District Attorney; JESSICA D. CASSIDY, AMANDA SULLIVAN, Assistant District Attorneys, for Appellee.

Before BROWN, STEWART, and MOORE, JJ.

OPINION

[49,835 La.App. 2 Cir. 1] BROWN, CHIEF JUDGE

Defendant, William Allen Fontenot, pled guilty to hit-and-run driving resulting

Page 1216

in a death, a violation of La. R.S. 14:100(C)(2), which provides that:

Whoever commits the crime of hit-and-run driving, when death or serious bodily injury is a direct result of the accident and when the driver knew or should have known that death or serious bodily injury has occurred, shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than ten years, or both.

The trial court sentenced Fontenot to serve nine years' imprisonment at hard labor, to run concurrently with any other sentence and with credit for time served. On appeal, Fontenot contends that the sentence imposed by the trial court is excessive and violative of Art. 1, § 20 of the Louisiana Constitution of 1974. He also contends that the trial judge failed to comply with La. C. Cr. P. art. 894.1, which provides guidelines to be followed by the trial judge in imposing sentence. Specifically, section C of art. 894.1 provides that " The court shall state for the record the considerations taken into account and the factual basis therefor in imposing sentence." Our careful review of the record convinces us that it is necessary to remand this case to the trial court for compliance with La. C. Cr. P. art. 894.1. As such, we do not reach the issue of excessiveness of the sentence imposed. We vacate defendant's sentence, order the trial court to conduct a presentence investigation, and remand for resentencing.

Facts

On the night of September 13, 2013, while operating a pickup truck, defendant struck and killed Kimberly Bickham, a mother of two who was 37 years old. At the time she was struck, Ms. Bickham was sitting cross-legged [49,835 La.App. 2 Cir. 2] in the middle of Dawson Road, a rural parish road, drinking beer and text messaging on her cell phone. After hitting Ms. Bickham, defendant continued driving to his residence, approximately 200 yards down the road, where he remained until he was contacted by sheriff's deputies two hours later. According to his statements to the deputies, defendant thought he hit a dog.

Upon being contacted, defendant fully cooperated with the deputies, answered their questions and submitted to chemical testing. In particular, defendant informed the deputies that he had a beer or two earlier in the day and that he was on a few prescribed medications. A preliminary examination was held wherein a deputy stated that defendant's blood alcohol content registered at .000% or no alcohol, but his blood did test positive for THC, THC metabolites and Xanax; however, no toxicology report was put in the record and the record is inconclusive as to the amount, time and proximity that these were consumed. Other than driving the 200 yards to his residence, defendant did not try to flee or conceal any evidence of the accident--strands of hair and blood were located on the front license plate holder of the pickup truck defendant was driving.

On November 13, 2013, defendant was charged by bill of information with hit-and-run driving that resulted in a death. On January 15, 2014, he pled guilty with an ...


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