APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 11-1878, DIVISION
"F" HONORABLE MICHAEL P. MENTZ, JUDGE PRESIDING
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Terry M.
Boudreaux Juliet L. Clark, Paul D. Connick, Jr.
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, DAMION SAVAGE Damien Savage
Bertha M. Hillman
composed of Susan M. Chehardy, Fredericka Homberg Wicker, and
Robert A. Chaisson
A. CHAISSON JUDGE
Damion Savage, appeals his convictions and sentences for six
counts of armed robbery with a firearm. We have reviewed the
arguments presented in appellate counsel's brief and
defendant's pro se supplemental brief and find
them to be without merit. Accordingly, we affirm
defendant's convictions and sentences.
18, 2011, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney filed a bill
of information charging defendant with six counts of armed
robbery, in violation of La. R.S. 14:64. Defendant pled not
guilty, and the case proceeded to trial before a
twelve-person jury on February 16-19, 2016. After considering
the evidence presented, the jury found defendant guilty as
charged on all six counts. On February 25, 2016, the trial
court sentenced defendant on each count to fifty-five years
imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of probation,
parole, or suspension of sentence. Further, pursuant to La.
R.S. 14:64.3, the trial court sentenced defendant on each
count to an additional five years imprisonment at hard labor
without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of
sentence. The trial court ordered that the five-year
enhancement on each count be served consecutively to the
fifty-five-year sentence on each count and further ordered
that the six sentences be served concurrently with each
other. Defendant now appeals.
case stems from a series of six armed robberies that occurred
at Jefferson Parish businesses over the course of
approximately two months. The details of each are as follows:
23, 2011 - Armed Robbery of Heather Carmadelle at Subway on
Barataria Boulevard (Count Six)
January 23, 2011, sometime between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m.,
Jayeshkumar Patel,  manager at the Subway restaurant on
Barataria Boulevard in Marrero, and Heather Carmadelle, an
employee, were getting ready to close for the day. Mr. Patel
was in the restroom, and Ms. Carmadelle was washing dishes in
the back of the store when two men, one of whom had a gun,
came into the restaurant. The armed perpetrator told Ms.
Carmadelle to unlock the safe. When Ms. Carmadelle replied
that she did not have a key to the safe, they ordered her to
open the register and lie down on the floor. The two men took
the money from the cash register and left. Ms. Carmadelle
testified that she was unable to see the faces of the men
because they were covered, but that the robbery was recorded
by a surveillance camera.
6, 2011 - Armed Robbery of Ashley Arthur and Jayeshkumar
Patel at Subway on Barataria Boulevard (Counts One and
March 6, 2011, the Subway on Barataria Boulevard was robbed
for a second time while Mr. Patel and another employee,
Ashley Arthur,  were working. On that occasion, two black
men, armed with guns, entered the business. According to Mr.
Patel, one of the robbers demanded that he open the register
or he would kill him. The men then took Ms. Arthur's
purse as well as money from Mr. Patel's pocket and the
cash register. During the course of their investigation, the
officers discovered a Newport brand cigarette butt outside of
the restaurant. Subsequent DNA analysis revealed that the
cigarette butt was consistent with the DNA profile obtained
from the reference sample of co-defendant Isaac.
footage of the robbery was obtained. After viewing the
surveillance videos from the two Subway incidents, Detective
Wayne Rumore of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office
believed the two robberies were committed by the same
suspects based on the similarities between the two incidents.
Detective Rumore explained, "two men entered the
business fully masked, fully covered, both armed with semi
automatic pistols, and there was basically a takeover robbery
where they took over the entire business."
13, 2011 - Armed robbery of Adrian Labeaud and Dana Rhea at
Subway on Jefferson Highway (Counts Three and Four)
March 13, 2011, Dana Rhea and Adrian Labeaud were working at
a Subway on Jefferson Highway when two armed men entered the
restaurant from the back door. One of the perpetrators
ordered Ms. Rhea to crawl on the floor to the cash register
where she then opened the register and gave the man the cash.
While Ms. Rhea was at the cash register, the second assailant
put a gun to Mr. Labeaud's side and instructed him to
keep his face down towards the ground. After learning the
whereabouts of the safe from Mr. Labeaud, the men also
removed money from the safe before instructing Ms. Rhea and
Mr. Labeaud to crawl to the back of the store and wait there.
Richard Uyeda of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office
responded to the armed robbery at the Subway on Jefferson
Highway, spoke to the victims, and obtained descriptions of
the perpetrators. Additionally, as in the March 6, 2011
robbery, a Newport brand cigarette butt was discovered
outside of the restaurant. Subsequent DNA analysis revealed
that the cigarette butt was consistent with the DNA profile
obtained from the reference sample of co-defendant Isaac. The
police also obtained surveillance footage of the robbery,
which depicted similarities to the March 6, 2011 robbery.
24, 2011 - Armed Robbery of Nicholas Ramsak at GameStop on
Belle Promenade (Count Five)
evening of March 24, 2011, Nicholas Ramsak was working at the
GameStop in Marrero when he was robbed at gunpoint. Mr.
Ramsak testified that two men, one of whom was armed with a
gun, entered the store, demanded the money from both cash
registers, took the cash, ordered him to his knees, and then
fled. Mr. Ramsak was unable to see the assailants' faces
because they were covered, but he did provide a clothing
description of one of the men. Fingerprints taken from a
video gaming accessory cabinet located behind the counter and
inaccessible to the public matched co-defendant Isaac's
Rumore thereafter obtained an arrest warrant for Isaac and a
search warrant for his residence. Isaac was arrested and a
pack of Newport brand cigarettes was recovered at the
location of his arrest. Additionally, a search of Isaac's
residence revealed clothing that matched the description of
the clothing worn by one of the suspects from several of the
cellular phone was also seized, and information obtained from
Isaac's phone records indicated that a phone number
registered to defendant's wife, Monique Savage, was
contacted frequently around the times of the robberies.
Moreover, cell phone tower information obtained from
Isaac's and Savage's cell phone records placed both
phones near the location of the robberies at the times they
occurred. Detective Rumore obtained an arrest warrant for
defendant and a search warrant for his residence. The
officers thereafter went to defendant's residence and
executed both warrants. Various articles of clothing,
including a Polo cap, a Polo jacket, a White Sox cap, white
Nike tennis shoes, and t-shirts similar to those worn by the
perpetrators in the surveillance videos, were among items
seized as a result of the search of defendant's residence
defendant's arrest pursuant to the warrant, he was
transported to the investigations bureau to be interviewed.
After being advised of his rights, defendant gave a series of
three statements, in which he admitted to committing the
armed robberies after being confronted with the clothing
seized and the surveillance videos from the robberies.
testified at trial and denied his involvement in the
robberies. He testified that when he was taken in for
questioning he denied any involvement in the robberies.
However, during the course of his interrogation, Lieutenant
Russo became aggressive and threatened to contact
defendant's wife's employer to inform him of a
pending drug charge. According to defendant, things began to
"escalate" between him and Lieutenant Russo, and at
some point, Lieutenant Russo grabbed his clothing to
"rough [him] around a little bit." Defendant
maintained that his statements are not true, that he was
threatened into giving them, and that the only reason he
admitted to the robberies was to protect his
family. At trial, defendant also testified that
during his interview at the investigations bureau, he began
to experience heroin withdrawals.
OF JUROR CHALLENGE (Assignment of Error Number One)
counseled assignment of error, defendant argues that the
trial court erred in denying his challenge for cause as to
prospective juror Marshall Breedlove. Specifically, defendant
contends that Mr. Breedlove's answers as a whole during
voir dire established that he could not be a fair and
impartial juror because Mr. Breedlove's brother-in-law
had been beaten and robbed at gunpoint, and this incident was
"fresh on his mind." Based on this error, defendant
concludes that he was denied his right to a fair and
impartial jury, and thus, his case should be remanded for a
Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees
the accused the right to a trial by an impartial jury.
Further, Article I, §17 of the Louisiana Constitution
guarantees the right to full voir dire examination of
prospective jurors and the right to challenge those jurors
peremptorily. State v. Munson, 12-327 (La.App. 5
Cir. 4/10/13), 115 So.3d 6, 12, writ denied, 13-1083
(La. 11/22/13), 126 So.3d 476. La. C.Cr.P. art. 797(2) allows
the defendant or ...