Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 303102 Honorable Katherine C. Dorroh, Judge
CAREY J. ELLIS, III Counsel for Appellant
DALE G. COX District Attorney Counsel for Appellee
TOMMY J. JOHNSON DHU THOMPSON Assistant District Attorneys
Before WILLIAMS, MOORE and PITMAN, JJ.
The defendant, Jasmond Osborne, was charged by bill of information with attempted first degree murder, a violation of LSA-R.S. 14:30 and LSA-R.S. 14:27, possession with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance (marijuana), possession with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance (methylenedioxymethcathinone, i.e., ecstasy), violations of LSA-R.S. 40:966, and possession of a handgun while in possession of a controlled dangerous substance, a violation of LSA-R.S. 14:95(E). Pursuant to a plea agreement, the defendant pled guilty to attempted first degree murder. In exchange for the defendant's guilty plea, the state agreed to dismiss the possession of marijuana with intent to distribute charge. Thereafter, the defendant was sentenced to serve 30 years at hard labor, without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence. For the following reasons, we affirm.
The defendant was arrested on January 4, 2012, and was subsequently charged with the attempted first degree murder of Officer Greg Walker, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession with intent to distribute ecstasy and possession of a handgun while in possession of a controlled dangerous substance, marijuana.
A preliminary hearing was conducted January 30, 2012, at which Cpl. Robert Robinson, of the Shreveport Police Department's Narcotics Unit, testified to the following facts with regard to the narcotics investigation and the subsequent arrest of the defendant and his codefendants. During the course of the investigation, a reliable confidential informant ("C.I.") informed law enforcement officers that drugs were being sold from a motel room at the Plantation Inn in Shreveport. A controlled buy was arranged to take place on January 4, 2012. After the C.I. completed the transaction, he informed the officers that he had seen a large amount of marijuana and several firearms in the motel room. The officers performed a field test of the substance purchased by the C.I.; the substance tested positive for marijuana. Subsequently, the officers obtained a search warrant for Room 236.
Cpl. Robinson stated that at 9:41 p.m., the Shreveport Police Department Special Response Team, dressed in tactical gear marked "POLICE, " announced "Shreveport Police, search warrant" and struck the door of Room 236 with a battering ram. According to Cpl. Robinson, the announcements were repeated as the ram was used to break through the door. Shortly thereafter, a gun was fired, and Officer Greg Walker was struck by a bullet in his upper chest, near his throat. The officers left the room and ordered the inhabitants of the room to crawl outside. The defendant and two other men, Sirderrick Wilson and Bandarious Swinney, crawled from the room and were arrested.
One team of police officers continued to investigate the drug bust, while a separate team investigated the shooting of Officer Walker. During the investigation, the police officers learned that the adjoining room, Room 238, was reserved by the same individual as Room 236. The officers obtained and executed a search warrant for Room 238, where they encountered two more individuals who were involved in drug distribution.The officers recovered over $10, 000 in cash, approximately six pounds of marijuana, two ecstasy tablets, ledgers documenting drug transactions, sandwich bags, a digital scale, cell phones, a .32 caliber revolver with five rounds and an empty casing, a .38 caliber revolver and a 9mm handgun. Swinney, Wilson and the defendant admitted to being armed with handguns, explaining that they previously had been victims of a robbery.
Further, the defendant informed the officers that his role in the enterprise was to protect the money and transport it back to Texas after all the marijuana was sold. The defendant also stated that he did not hear the officers yelling "police." He maintained that when he heard a noise outside, he thought they were being robbed. He stated that he responded by firing one shot.
According to Cpl. Robinson, all the suspects, except the defendant, admitted to police officers that they heard the announcements and were aware that the police were entering the room before the defendant fired the gun. Cpl. Robinson also testified that after the officers breached the door to Room 236, Officer Walker was shot as he was preparing to throw a distraction device into the room. The bullet fired by the defendant traveled through a piece of cardboard taped over a broken window to the right of the door before striking the officer in the chest. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court found probable cause existed for the four offenses with which the defendant was charged.
After the jury had been selected (but not sworn), the trial court held a free and voluntary hearing to determine whether the defendant's post-arrest statements to law enforcement officers were admissible at trial. During this hearing, the prosecutor and defense counsel addressed the trial court with regard to plea discussions. The following colloquy took place:
PROSECUTOR: [T]he State had initially offered the defendant to plead to count one as charged to attempted first degree murder of a police officer, to be sentenced by the Court.
No agreements to sentence, we would go into a sentencing hearing, to allow [defense counsel] to present any evidence on behalf of his client, allow the State to present any aggravating factors on behalf of our prospective clients.
I had indicated if he [was] to do that that we would dismiss all other counts in the bill of information pertaining to the possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and his range would be twenty to fifty, in that fashion. I've tendered this offer to [defense counsel]. I know he's had extensive conversations with his client in regard to this offer[.]
DEFENSE COUNSEL: [W]hat [the prosecutor] said is correct, he has made an offer that I felt was a very fair offer. I have recommended to my client that he accept it, that he go through a sentencing hearing. With his total lack of any record that that would be in his favor, plus the fact that he accept the responsibility for his actions.
I have and continue to recommend as strongly as I possibly can that
this is the absolute last moment he can accept that offer. I've recommended it to him but his instructions to me are that he wishes to reject that offer. Is that correct, Jasmond?
DEFENDANT: Yes, sir. I was trying to get a lower charge.
I was asking them in the hallway, you know, about the attempted first degree murder and I was trying to see about ...