APPEAL FROM THE SIXTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF IBERIA, NO. 10-1971. HONORABLE GERARD B. WATTIGNY, DISTRICT JUDGE.
M. Bofill Duhé , District Attorney, Angela B. Odinet, Assistant District Attorney, St. Martinville, Louisiana, Counsel for Appellee: State of Louisiana.
Peggy J. Sullivan, Louisiana Appellate Project, Monroe, Louisiana, Counsel For Defendant/Appellant: Tristain D. Bartley.
Court composed of John D. Saunders, Elizabeth A. Pickett, and Phyllis M. Keaty, Judges.
[14-1339 La.App. 3 Cir. 1]
Defendant, Tristain D. Bartley, appeals his sentence for manslaughter. For the following reasons, we affirm.
Chiquita Bell left her eighteen-month-old son, Jordan Bell, with Defendant while she went to the store. When she returned, Jordan had second degree burns over his entire body. The lines of demarcation on the body from the burnt to preserved skin showed that Jordan's hands and feet were held while he was submerged in scalding water. Jordan died as a result of his injuries.
Defendant was indicted on November 17, 2010, for first degree murder, a violation of La.R.S. 14:30. Pursuant to a Certificate Outlining Felony Plea Agreement dated February 14, 2014, the State agreed not to charge Defendant as a habitual offender in exchange for Defendant " plead[ing] OPEN ENDED with a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 25 years hard labor" to manslaughter, a violation of La.R.S. 14:31. The outline also contains the hand-written notation, " Best Interest Plea." Defendant accepted the plea agreement on February 18, 2014. At the plea hearing occurring on that same date, and in response to the trial court's question to Defendant regarding how he pled to the charge of manslaughter, he responded, " I plead guilty in my best interest." On April 8, 2014, the trial court sentenced Defendant to twenty years at hard labor without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence. The trial court ordered that the sentence was to run concurrently with Defendant's sentence in another case. Defendant also received credit for time served.
On April 10, 2014, Defendant filed a motion to reconsider his sentence, arguing that it was excessive " because it imposes needless and purposeless pain [14-1339 La.App. 3 Cir. 2] and suffering." Defendant claimed that the trial court failed to " particularize the sentence towards" him and " did not properly consider all mitigating factors." At the July 23, 2014 hearing, the trial court amended the sentence, providing that it was to be served at hard labor without the benefit of probation or suspension of sentence. The trial court affirmed the sentence in all other aspects. Defendant appealed.
On appeal, and in his only assignment of error, Defendant contends that his sentence was unconstitutionally harsh and excessive.