FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF ACADIA,
NO. CR 72, 189 I & II HONORABLE KRISTIAN EARLES,
AFFIRMED; SENTENCES VACATED;REMANDED FOR RESENTENCING.
Annette Roach Louisiana Appellate Project, COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Daniel Brandon Prince.
P. Hamilton, Jr. Assistant District Attorney Fifteenth
Judicial District, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE: State of
composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, John D. Saunders, and Shannon J.
D. SAUNDERS JUDGE.
January 15, 2005, the badly-burned bodies of the victims,
Angela Matte and Jackie Campbell, were found at the scene of
a trailer fire in Acadia Parish. Campbell's remains were
found on the floor of the bedroom, and Matte's remains
were found on the bed springs. There was wire wrapped around
Matte's neck. Neither the cause of the fire nor the
victims' deaths were determined. However, evidence
indicated that the women were dead before the fire and that
Matte was strangled. A jailhouse informant told
investigators, and later testified, that Defendant, Daniel B.
Prince, confessed to killing the women and burning their
bodies. The informant stated Defendant was in a bar in the
Rayne area and met the victims. Defendant allegedly left the
bar with them and went to a trailer with the victims. The
informant stated Defendant told him he had sex with the women
in the trailer. According to the informant, Defendant stated
he hit one of the women in the throat and then got on top of
her and strangled her to death. He then grabbed an extension
cord and strangled the other woman. He then placed papers
underneath the mattress and started a fire. A witness later
stated he saw a man he identified as Defendant talking to the
victims on the night of the murders, at the Little Easy, a
bar in Rayne.
was arrested after being involved in a traffic stop while
driving a silver Chevrolet pick-up truck, which had been
reported stolen. Defendant confessed to stealing the truck
and was arrested at that time. It was this arrest and
subsequent incarceration at the Allen Correctional Center
that led to the alleged admission to his jailhouse cell mate.
Police later discovered a witness who saw a silver truck
following the vehicle of one of the victims towards the
trailer on the night of the murders.
Acadia Parish grand jury indicted Defendant on October 11,
2007, charging him with two counts of first degree murder,
violations of La.R.S. 14:30. Defendant entered a plea of not
guilty to both charges on November 5, 2007. On that same
date, the State declared its intent to seek the death
penalty. The parties selected a jury on January 17-28, 2013,
and the jury began hearing evidence on the latter date. On
January 30, a unanimous jury found Defendant guilty as
charged on both counts. In the penalty phase, the jury was
deadlocked. On February 8, 2013, the district court sentenced
Defendant to serve life in prison.
September 30, 2013, Defendant submitted a Motion for Out of
Time Appeal. That motion was denied without a hearing.
Defendant sought review of the trial court's denial of
his Motion for Out of Time Appeal, and on February 10, 2014,
this court remanded the matter to the trial court for a
hearing in accordance with State v. Counterman, 475
So.2d 336 (La.1985). State v. Prince, 13-1349
(La.App. 3 Cir. 2/10/14) (unpublished opinion). Upon remand,
defense counsel submitted a "Motion for Out of Time
Appeal Order (Or in Alternative - Hearing on Out of Time
Appeal Order)" with an affidavit by Defendant's
attorney stating Defendant did not waive his right to appeal.
On July 3, 2014, the trial court signed an "Order on
Motion for Out of Time Appeal, " granting Defendant an
31, 2014, the State filed a writ application in this court,
seeking review of the trial court's grant of the motion
for out-of-time appeal. On August 12, 2014, this court
granted the State's writ application, finding the trial
court erred in granting the motion for out-of-time appeal on
July 3, 2014, without conducting a Counterman
hearing. State v. Prince, 14-789 (La.App. 3 Cir.
8/12/14) (unpublished opinion). This court reversed the trial
court's grant of the out-of-time appeal and remanded for
the evidentiary hearing. Defendant sought review in the
supreme court and was denied relief on April 2, 2015.
State v. Prince, 14-1817 (La. 4/2/15), 163 So.3d
this court's August 12, 2014 dismissal of Defendant's
out-of-time appeal and the pendency of Defendant's writ
in the supreme court, an appeal was lodged in this court on
January 30, 2015. While the appeal was pending in this court,
defense counsel filed a "Motion for Hearing on Out of
Time Appeal Order" in the trial court on April 15, 2015.
The trial court held a hearing on May 21, 2015, but
Defendant's trial counsel was not present. The trial
court granted the out-of-time appeal.
1, 2015, appellate counsel informed this court of the May 21,
2015 Counterman hearing and the trial court's
grant of the out-of-time appeal. A few days later, this court
issued a per curiam opinion dismissing Defendant's
appeal. State v. Prince, 15-85 (La.App. 3 Cir.
6/3/15), 173 So.3d 906. It appears this court was not aware
of appellate counsel's June 1, 2015 letter, because this
court stated that the trial court had not yet held the
Counterman hearing and had not granted a new
out-of-time-appeal. Appellate counsel filed an application
for rehearing on June 17, 2015, asking this court to
reconsider its per curiam opinion in light of the trial
court's May 21, 2015 grant of the out-of-time appeal. On
July 29, 2015, this court denied the request for a rehearing.
on August 12, 2015, the State sought review of the trial
court's May 21, 2015 grant of Defendant's out-of-time
appeal by filing a writ application in this court. The State
argued that it was denied its right to cross-examination.
This court granted the State's writ application, stating
WRIT GRANTED AND MADE PEREMPTORY: The State should
have had an opportunity to cross-examine trial counsel at the
hearing conducted on May 21, 2015. The district court's
ruling of that date is vacated, and the case is remanded for
a hearing with live testimony, including the opportunity for
cross-examination of any witnesses and presentation of
evidence by both parties, if deemed appropriate.
State v. Prince, 15-763 (La.App. 3 Cir. 11/20/15)
January 11, 2016, the trial court held a hearing, at which
the State was able to cross-examine Defendant's trial
counsel, Thomas Alonzo. The trial court granted the
out-of-time appeal, and the appeal was lodged in this court
on April 11, 2016.
has filed a brief alleging four assignments of error. For the
reasons that follow, we affirm Defendant's convictions,
vacate Defendant's sentences, and remand Defendant's
sentences to the trial court for imposition of a separate
sentence on each count of first degree murder in accordance
with La.R.S. 14:30.
OF ERROR NO. 1:
first assignment of error, Defendant argues the trial
evidence was insufficient to support his convictions. We find
the trial evidence was sufficient to convict Defendant of
both counts of first degree murder.
Dwayne Thevis responded to a fire on January 15, 2005, around
5:15 in the morning. Foy Credeur, Chief of the Branch
Volunteer Fire Department in 2005, testified that the bodies
of two women were found in the trailer that was on fire. Both
victims were located in the south bedroom of the trailer,
which suffered the heaviest damage. Monte Briggs of the
Acadia Parish Coroner's Office testified that
Campbell's body was on the floor. Matte's body was
removed from the bed springs, at which point Briggs noticed a
wire around her neck. Briggs noted that the wire looked like
standard copper wire used in most electrical cords. Zeb
Johnson of the Calcasieu Parish Coroner's Office
testified that the cord around Matte's neck appeared to
be a lamp cord.
Terry Welke, accepted as an expert in the field of forensic
pathology, was unable to determine the cause of the
victims' deaths. Due to the low level of carbon monoxide
in the victims' bodies, Dr. Welke opined that they were
likely dead before the fire. When asked if the wire around
Matte's neck could have been a necklace, Dr. Welke
testified he did not think so but could not completely
dismiss that possibility.
hours before the fire, John Babineaux saw the victims at a
bar, the "Little Easy." Babineaux saw a guy on his
cell phone talking with the victims. Babineaux described the
guy as Caucasian, wearing a white-buttoned up shirt, and
having a tattoo on his arm. When shown a photo line-up,
Bandeaux identified Defendant as the man he saw socializing
with the victims. When Babineaux left the bar at 1:30, the
victims and Defendant were still there. On re-direct,
Babineaux stated that Defendant was shooting pool at the bar
Daigle testified he was with Babineaux at the "Little
Easy" on January 14, 2005. Daigle remembered seeing the
victims at the bar that night. Daigle also remembered that
one of the victims, Campbell, "took interest in" a
guy playing pool. Daigle described the guy as slim, kind of
tall, wearing a white muscle shirt, having a goatee, and
having tattoos on his arm. On cross-examination, Daigle
testified that he thought the guy Campbell was interested in
was named "Dustin." Daigle also read from a
previously made statement wherein he stated he saw another
guy at the bar and that guy was interested in the other
Otten testified that during the early morning hours of
January 15, 2005, she saw the victims being followed by a
truck. The victims lived a few houses down from Otten. Later,
when Otten woke up to use the bathroom, she saw a truck going
really fast out of the victims' driveway. Otten described
the truck as silver and thought the truck was a Chevrolet. On
cross-examination, Otten stated she did not remember seeing
anything in the back of the truck. Although Otten testified
she thought the truck's windows were tinted, she also
stated she did not remember. Otten admitted, however, that in
a statement she gave on September 7, 2005, she said there was
a toolbox in the back of the truck, and she stated the
windows of the truck were tinted.
two weeks after the victims were found dead, Defendant was
apprehended in Lafayette Parish while driving a silver Chevy
truck that had been stolen on December 29, 2004. Sergeant Kim
Verrett of the Vermillion Parish Sheriff's Department
testified that on December 29, 2004, she investigated the
theft of a silver 2005 Chevy truck. The truck was recovered
when it was stopped while being driven by Defendant.
According to Sergeant Verrett, Defendant admitted to taking
the truck. On cross-examination, Sergeant Verrett testified
that she could not see a toolbox in the photograph of the
truck. As for the tint of the windows, Sergeant Verrett
testified the windows appeared to be either rolled down or
Kip Judice testified he took Defendant into custody after
pulling him over and determining he was driving a stolen
truck. According to Deputy Judice, the truck did not have a
toolbox. Deputy Judice also testified the truck's windows
were not tinted.
leather jacket, a black leather jacket, two muscle shirts,
blue jeans, and boxers were collected from the stolen truck
Defendant was driving. No DNA from either victim was detected
on the items recovered from the truck.
Defendant was ultimately determined to be the main suspect in
the murders, Detective Phyllis LeJeune of the Acadia Parish
Sheriff's Office testified that Jason Fruge was
considered a suspect early in the investigation. Fruge was
dating Matte's daughter. Fruge was already at the scene
of the fire when the fire truck arrived, and, according to
one of the deputies, was dressed in his fire gear. Another
person saw Fruge at the scene "standing and
LeJeune testified that one of the officers at the scene told
her that Fruge was acting strangely. According to another
witness, Fruge had been a suspect in other fires in the
Branch area. Detective LeJeune testified that Fruge was a
suspect in a subsequent fire that occurred on June 13, 2005
in a nearby area.
Detective LeJeune took Fruge's statement on January 15,
2005, she noticed that he had bruises on his face and hands.
According to the detective, she later learned that Fruge had
the bruises a week to two weeks before the date in question.
Matte contacted the police and stated he was told by Jason
Fruge that he had started the fire. The police chose to
disregard Jeremy Matte's statement, because he was
related to Angela Matte.
LeJeune developed Defendant as the main suspect because she
received information that he was inside the bar, and she
received a letter and voluntary statement from Michael Hayes
stating Defendant confessed to the murders. Defendant was
identified by John Babineaux in a photographic line-up as a
person he saw talking to Campbell in the Little Easy.
Hayes testified that he and Defendant were in the same dorm
at Allen Correctional Center. During one of their
conversations, Defendant asked Hayes if a fire would destroy
DNA evidence. Defendant eventually told Hayes that he killed
two women. According to Hayes, Defendant told him the
A. He said he was in a bar in Rayne and they had a party
going on. A girl had a birthday. And he was up there drinking
and everything. And he said that they had come up and asked
him to dance, and he said he didn't dance but he ended up
playing pool with them. And he said they bought him some
drinks, and when they pulled out to pay for the drinks there
was some - he noticed a large sum of money and everything. He
said that, you know, that went on for a while and then he
left and he went back to a place he was staying.
Q. And what happened?
A. He returned back to the bar, went in there again and went
to talking to them. If I remember right, he said he had a
friend of his that called him about some other business they
had going on. And then he said they had called for the last
alcohol, the last drink, and he had went outside before they
did. And then when they came out he said, "Luck would
have it, that I just happened to park right next to
them." He said, "We started talking, and they asked
me did I want to go with them?" And he said, "Yeah,
but y'all leave first." And so they left first. He
said there was another person in the parking lot with a girl
leaning over the door, over talking to him, he said, but he
didn't think they'd seen him. And he said, well, they
left and so he pulled out a little bit later so people
wouldn't see him following. And he noticed that they had
pulled over on the side of the road so he kind of slowed down
behind them, flashed the lights and they went on. He said
they came to Branch, Louisiana and went down like a dirt road
to a trailer house.
Q. And what happened?
A. He said that he went to the back with the one lady, and
said that they had had intercourse. And the other girl stayed
up front. And he said they eventually had a conversation
about her coming back there, too, and they had hollered for
her. The other girl had hollered for her but she wouldn't
come back there, so he went up to get her. He said that they
had smoked a joint and went to talking. And then he went on
back to the back and eventually she came back there, and he
said he had intercourse with both of them. He then said that
one girl was kind of getting jealous of the other one,
because the one he was originally back there with was showing
him more attention. And I'm going to say, the heavy set
girl started getting upset and wanted him to leave, and
telling him to leave, that she was going to call the law and
have him throwed out. And he said he hit her in her throat
with his fist and she fell down beside the bed, like gasping
for air. And he got down on top of her and strangled her. He
made a big deal out of the fact that the other girl never
made - she was emotionless. She never screamed, never
nothing. He said he thought that she thought they were going
to be an item or something. And he said after he strangled
her, you know, he knew he couldn't leave a witness so he
grabbed an extension cord from an electric heater and he
strangled the other girl with it. He said then he took the
money they had. He said it was about Twenty-five Hundred
Dollars ($2, 500.00). Then he said he had a lot of trouble
getting the heavy girl back up on the bed, and he thought
about trying to make - start a fire with the electric heater
but he had pulled the extension cord out and he didn't
know how long it would take for that to catch up on fire. So
he piled a bunch of paper underneath the mattress and started
it on fire. And he said it went quicker than he thought it
would go. And so he got out of the house and he got in the
vehicle. He said he started to take their car, but then he
said they could link it to him, so he got in the truck. And
he went up the road and he realized he was going to [sic] the
wrong way. He said there was a woods [sic] between that
trailer then another trailer. And so when he turned around
and come back it was completely engulfed in flames, and he
realized he had left the extension cord around that one
girl's neck. He wanted to make it look like the house
just caught on fire. And he said he left.
the points defense counsel attempted to make at trial was
that Hayes could have learned about the wire found around
Matte's neck from someone other than Defendant. Chief
Credeur testified that although they were instructed not to
say anything about the wire, everyone at the scene knew that
something was wrapped around Matte's neck. When asked if
the wire around Matte's neck was common knowledge in the
Branch community, Chief Credeur replied, "Probably
so." According to Detective Phyllis LeJeune, the fact
that wire was found around Matte's neck was not released
to the public. However, Detective LeJeune acknowledged she
could not keep the information from getting out, but believed
the information did not get out since there were not many
people at the scene when the wire was discovered. Detective
LeJeune did state when she questioned Jeremy Matte, he knew
about the wire. Detective LeJeune did not know how Jeremy
found out about the wire. Jeremy testified he heard a rumor
that a cord was found around Matte's neck. Hayes
testified he did not know any of these facts prior to his
conversation with Defendant.
asked if he was given any benefit or promised anything for
his testimony, Hayes replied, "No." Hayes also
testified he had no grudge against Defendant and testified
because it was the right thing to do.
cross, defense counsel accused Hayes of being a liar because
of his previous convictions of forgery and identity theft. At
the time of his testimony, Hayes was still on parole. When
asked if he was a paid snitch, Hayes replied,
"Absolutely not." Defense counsel showed Hayes a
DOC document that said in July 2009, Hayes had $16, 521.00 in
his prison account. Hayes explained that he worked there for
almost two years. When asked about his prior convictions,
Hayes stated that his first conviction was in 2005 and was
for identity theft. Subsequently, when asked why he told the
trial court in March 2011, that he had only one felony
conviction in 2006 instead of two felony convictions (forgery
and identity theft), Hayes replied:
A. Well, I think it's probably a misunderstanding. And
let me tell you why I think that.
Q. Okay. All right.
A. You're counting felony arrests. I'm counting as a
was run concurrent. I was put in prison over one (1)
sentence. Later, when Hayes was further questioned about
telling the court he was a first felony offender even though
he was actually a second felony offender, Hayes continued to
explain that he believed he was a first offender since the
sentences were ordered to run concurrently.
questioned about the fact that his sentences were eventually
"reduced" to eight years, Hayes agreed that in 2006
he received a notice from the Department of Corrections that
he was serving a thirteen-year sentence. Hayes explained that
before he went to Phelps Correctional, his prison
"rap" sheet indicated that his sentence was eight
years. When he arrived at Phelps, the "rap" sheet
indicated his sentence was thirteen years. At that time,
Hayes asked the trial court in Sabine Parish to clarify how
it intended the sentences to be served. According to Hayes,
the trial court stated that it intended the sentences to be
served concurrently. When defense counsel asked Hayes if he
had his sentence reduced after becoming a snitch, the
following colloquy took place:
Excuse me. It was clarified for you - - (interrupted)
BY ALONZO - CONTINUED:
Q. So, the clarification in your sentence from thirteen (13)
years to eight (8) years occurred after you became a rat,
BY THE WITNESS:
A. Okay. Will you allow me to explain something?
Q. Sure. Yes, sir.
A. Okay. When I went to prison I got eight (8) years. I
voluntarily revoked myself on the first charge, the five (5)
years. There's no use - I did it. There was no use to
continue to fight anything; do it, get over it and move on in
my life. I voluntarily got with them, I revoked myself. The
Judge - it's in your minutes, also, sir. You can read.
Before I ever wrote a statement on him - that it's eight
(8) years. But every prison you go to has a computation
department. And each one of them people, they read something
differently. At every prison I went to except the last one,
it was always eight (8) years.
Q. Okay. Fair enough. I'm sorry. Were you finished?
A. And when I got to Phelps they did compute (sic) it, read
the five (5) and the eight (8) and made it a thirteen (13). I
argued it out saying it was to be ran concurrently together,
and so it would be the five (5) is ate up by the eight (8),
it would be eight (8) years. I didn't have any of my
paperwork. And I had noone [sic] that could get it, so all I
could do was to write a motion and have the Judge reclarify
it. I did that. They changed it back to the original eight
(8) that it was before I ever, what you want to call,
snitched on him.
testified that he did not know his lawyer sent a letter to
the District Attorney asking for Hayes to be paroled in
exchange for his testimony against Defendant. Defense counsel
introduced a letter written by Hayes' attorney to
District Attorney Mike Harson. In the letter, Hayes'
attorney stated that he wanted the District Attorney's
assistance in getting Hayes paroled in exchange for his
testimony against Defendant. Although he testified he did not
know about the letter, Hayes said he did tell his attorney to
"get this parole fixed for me." When asked if he
had some charges dismissed in December 2007, after he became
a snitch, Hayes responded, "Yes, sir." Hayes
explained that the charges were for "bank fraud"
and were dismissed because "the statute of limitations
run out on them."
LeJeune testified that Hayes never asked for a reduction in
his jail time. The detective testified that she would be
surprised to hear Hayes hired a lawyer to seek a reduction in
his sentence in exchange for his testimony. Detective LeJeune
stated that she believed Hayes.
Richard, a barmaid at the Little Easy in Rayne, testified
that on January 14, 2005, she saw two women at the bar, and
she remembered it was one of the women's birthday.
Richard remembered seeing one of the women trying to flirt
with a man having tattoos and wearing a leather jacket.
According to Richard, the man did not seem interested in the
woman. Richard thought the man left before the women left,
but she was not sure. After being shown her previous
statement, Richard testified that the man with the leather
jacket left before the women left. Richard thought the women
left with another man.
owner of the Little Easy Bar, Charmaine Gallet Billings,
testified there were about twenty-five to thirty people in
the bar the night the victims were there. Billings remembered
escorting the victims out of the bar at about 1:45, closing
time. Billings acknowledged that in her statement, she said
the victims left with "a little grey haired man."
Domingue testified that after the fire, he found a duffel bag
in a field about a mile and a half to two miles from the
fire. The duffel bag had a ski mask in it. Defendant was
excluded as a contributor of DNA found on the mask.
Fontenot, the arson and fire investigator for the Louisiana
State Fire Marshal's Office in January 2005, testified
that Jason Fruge was initially a suspect in the fire.
Fontenot testified that although he could not confirm that
Fruge was a suspect in other fires, he knew that Fruge was
involved in other fires. Additionally, Fontenot testified
that Fruge may have been part owner of a property that caught
fire after the fire in question. On cross-examination,
Fontenot acknowledged that he has never arrested Fruge for
Clark, who lived near the scene of the fire, testified he
smelled smoke when letting his dog out at dawn. He walked
towards the fire, and stated when the sheriff shined his
spotlight at the smoking trailer, Jason Fruge appeared in the
smoke. Clark testified that Fruge was not in his fireman
clothes. Accordig to Clark, no other policemen or firemen
were at the scene at that point. Clark stated that Jason
Fruge was the first person he saw come out of the vicinity of
Trahan, Matte's daughter, testified that three days
before she died, Matte expressed displeasure with her other
daughter, Dana, for dating Jason Fruge and for "doing
drugs." According to Trahan, her mom was trying to get
Dana to quit dating Fruge. Two weeks earlier, Trahan had a
conversation with her mom regarding the fact that Fruge knew
her mom did not want him dating Dana. Trahan could not
remember the specifics of the conversation, so defense
counsel had her read her previous statement:
A. (Witness examines document.) "We were sitting down
talking and she was telling me how she was going to have to
find a new place to live and a new job because she just seen
trouble coming there and stuff. Then I asked her, you know,
what was the problem and stuff about her not being around - -
Then I asked her, you know, what the problems and stuff about
her not being around Jason because he wasn't a good
influence on her, and Dana must have told Jason or something
because Jason found out. And at work he had cornered my mom
when she was throwing out trash out the back door, and she,
whenever she was going to go back in the corner, her, and he
put his hand on the screen door or on the door and he told
her, 'Look, you need to keep your f---ing nose out of me
and Dana's business or you're going to find yourself
in a roaring fire and I'm the f---ing person to do
it.' My mom . . ." (Crying by witness.)
asked why she was suspicious of Fruge after her mom was
murdered, Trahan responded:
A. Because he ended up saying that. I mean, naturally you
would think that. As soon as we found out, you know, she was
murdered, we were looking for answers.
Q. But also, he had some marks on his face, remember?
A. He had a scratch under his eye and nose, but my sister -
my sister said - Dana told me that it was whenever he fell
out of the truck. She was with him when it happened before my
mom had passed away. She was in the truck with him.
cross-examination, Trahan stated now she did not think either
Dana or Fruge had anything to do with her mom's death.
Matte, the ex-husband of Angela Matte, testified he spoke
with Matte the day before her death. When asked if Matte
expressed concern about Jason Fruge, Matte responded:
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Tell me specifically what she told you.
A. We got back to her house, and, of course, she got out. She
says, "I need to tell you something."
Q. Would you speak into the speaker phone just - -
A. When I got there - of course, she got out the car. She
says, "I need to tell you something." I said,
"What do you want to tell me." My little girl,
Shelby, was with me, which we made Shelby get out the car and
walk to see her little brothers, her little half-brothers.
She started to cry and she says, "Baby, I was
threatened." I said, "What you mean you was
threatened?". She said, "Jason threatened me. He
said if I didn't stay out of him and Dana's
relationship he was going to kill me and burn me in the
trailer and get away with it because he was a volunteer
fireman." And she cried. I said, "Do you want me to
talk to him?", I said, "There's no danger with
that little worm. He ain't going to do nothing." She
said, "No, don't talk to him. I'm scared."
That's about all she had to say on that.
next witness for the defense, Kayla Comeaux, testified that
Jason Fruge dated her cousin, Tessa. A few months after the
fire, Comeaux heard Fruge say that he started the fire
because he was mad at Tessa. Comeaux further explained:
"They were fighting. I guess he said it to scare her,
but he said he put a gallon of gas over some candles and
that's how he did it."
final witness to testify was Dr. Dean Foster, who was
accepted as an expert in corrections and sentencing.
According to Dr. Foster, Michael Hayes was in Allen
Correctional Center in December 2006, for twenty-three days-a
time during which Defendant was also there. After about a
week of being in the same dorm as Defendant, Hayes contacted
the Fire Marshal's Office. Dr. Foster testified that he
was asked to look at Hayes' file for any unusual
occurrences after Hayes came forward as an informant.
According to Dr. Foster, some really good things began
happening to Hayes right after he became an informant. Hayes
was transferred to a better prison and was ultimately placed
in the lowest security state prison. Second, he was quickly
promoted to inmate counsel substitute. Third, Dr. Foster
mentioned the fact that Hayes' sentences were amended
from consecutive to concurrent. Dr. Foster explained how the
modification occurred as follows:
A. I mean, there is a sentencing history there. He got the
five (5) year sentence initially, and then the next year he
came back on additional charges and got an eight (8) year
sentence. And as he explained in Court yesterday afternoon,
he had his probation revoked at that time, although not
exactly under the circumstances that he described, but had
his probation revoked and the Judge at that time, at the
probation revocation the Judge imposed a five (5) year
sentence on him and did not specify in the minutes whether it
was to be concurrent or consecutive. And the rule is under
the Code of Criminal Procedure 883, that if it's not
specified concurrent, then it becomes consecutive. So, the
DOC officials were just following their rules, which says if
the Judge doesn't say concurrent, it's consecutive.
So, as far as they were concerned, he was serving an eight
(8) year sentence and a five (5) year sentence. So, you have
to serve one (1), or half (1/2) of one under his Good Time
rules before you get into serving the other half (1/2), the
Q. And just to be clear, that became - excuse me - that
changed after he became a snitch?
A. After he became a snitch he went back to Sabine and the
two (2) sentences were rolled back into one (1) eight (8)
year concurrent sentence.
asked what happened when Hayes went to work for the work
release program in Lake Charles, Dr. Foster explained:
A. I've read through the reports, yes. He was supposed to
be working at one address, but he was being delivered each
day to a different address, which was a house, according to
the reports, that were [sic] owned by either him or his
girlfriend, and spending time there during the day instead of
being on the job site where he was supposed to be working.
Q. Was he committing any kind of fraud upon the State by
A. He was violating the terms of work release, so he was
subject to any charges that would result from that.
Q. I'm trying to determine, was he double-dipping,
working somewhere else and getting paid somewhere else, too;
do you know?
A. I have no idea about his finances. What appears in the
record is how much money he had in his account at the halfway
house when he was sent back into State custody for violating
the terms of work release, which was Sixteen Thousand Five
Hundred and Twenty-one Dollars ($16, 521.00) that he had
accumulated in the fifteen (15) months that he was working at
the work release facility.
Q. Did you find that unusual?
A. It's a good sum of money. It depends upon that job
that he has, you know, how much he's working and other
things. It's more than ordinary. I was involved with
halfway house facilities in Lafayette, and somebody who was
working offshore at a good job that really couldn't spend
much money out of their account would sometimes accumulate,
you know, One Thousand Dollars ($1, 000.00) a month or more.
So, not obviously fraudulent or anything incorrect about it.
Q. Okay, that's fair.
A. But unusual. I mean, it was more money than most inmates
would earn; yes.
Q. And did anything else happen that was unusual after he
gets charged with the escape? He goes up -- What happens
A. Well, he's returned to State custody. He's put in
jail in Calcasieu then he's transferred back into Hunt,
which is the Adult Reception Diagnostic Center at St.
Gabriel. He goes back to Hunt for a few weeks. He has his
disciplinary hearing there, in which -- Well, it's
postponed twice, and then when he goes to the hearing
he's found not guilty of escape, where there's
another charge which is just kind of general prohibited