APPEAL FROM THE SIXTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF IBERIA, NO. 11-74. HONORABLE VINCENT BORNE, DISTRICT JUDGE.
J. Phillip Haney, District Attorney, Robert Vines, Assistant District Attorney, New Iberia, LA, COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: State of Louisiana.
Edward K. Bauman, Louisiana Appellate Project, Lake Charles, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Davian Batiste.
Court composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, Marc T. Amy, and James T. Genovese, Judges.
[15-100 La.App. 3 Cir. 1]
The State alleged that the defendant and three others acted in concert in the armed robbery of three individuals in a barber shop. During the robbery, one of the alleged perpetrators shot and killed the proprietor of the business. A jury convicted the defendant of second degree murder and three counts of armed robbery, as charged, for his role in the crimes. The defendant appeals, asserting that the trial court erred in denying his challenges for cause of two jurors and in its denial of a Batson challenge following the State's use of peremptive strikes to remove three jurors. For the following reasons, we affirm.
Factual and Procedural Background
The State alleged that, on September 23, 2010, Stephen Bell and Craig Gilliams entered Cliff's Impressive Cuts Barbershop in New Iberia, while masked and armed with handguns. The State asserted that Mr. Bell took cash from proprietor Clifton Williams and customer Corey JeanLouis in the front of the store, whereas Mr. Gilliams took property from barber Shawn Evans and customer Dennis Guidry in the rear parlor of the store. During the occurrence, Mr. Bell shot Mr. Williams, resulting in the proprietor's death.
Pertinent to the instant appeal, the State alleged that Mr. Bell and Mr. Gilliams were driven to and from the vicinity of the crime in a vehicle driven by Anthony Daye and in which the defendant, Davian Batiste, was a passenger. The State maintained that the four men, including the defendant, had the knowledge of and the intent to rob the barber shop and that the men knowingly and intentionally killed Mr. Williams during the perpetration of that offense.
By bill of indictment, a grand jury charged the defendant with the second degree murder of Mr. Williams, a violation of La.R.S. 14:30.1. The State further [15-100 La.App. 3 Cir. 2] charged the defendant with three counts of armed robbery with the use of a firearm. See La.R.S. 14:64 and La.R.S. 14:64.3. Following a multi-day trial, a jury convicted the defendant as charged. The trial court thereafter imposed a sentence of life imprisonment without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence on the second degree murder conviction. With regard to the armed robbery convictions, the trial court sentenced the defendant to serve ninety-nine years imprisonment at hard labor for each conviction, without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence and recognized the statutorily-required consecutive, five-year enhancement for the use of a firearm in the commission of the armed robberies. The trial court ordered that the sentences for the convictions be served concurrently.
The defendant appeals, assigning the following as error:
I. The trial court erred in denying defense counsel's challenges for cause.
II. The trial court erred in denying defense counsel's Batson challenge.