FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 516-468,
SECTION "I" Honorable Karen K. Herman, Judge
A. Cannizzaro, Jr. Donna Andrieu, Chief of Appeals Kyle Daly
Christopher J. Ponoroff COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE/STATE OF
Miller COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, GLYNN HAWKINS
Herrle-Castillo COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, ALEX LEWIS
composed of Judge Roland L. Belsome, Judge Daniel L. Dysart,
Judge Sandra Cabrina Jenkins
L. Dysart Judge
Glynn Hawkins, appeals his convictions of second degree
murder, discharge of a firearm during a violent crime and
obstruction of justice, while defendant-appellant, Alex
Lewis, appeals his conviction of second degree murder. In
this appeal, Mr. Hawkins and Mr. Lewis both raise the issue
of whether the trial court erroneously allowed evidence of
their gang affiliation to be introduced at trial. In
addition, Mr. Hawkins argues that the trial court erroneously
allowed evidence of other crimes to be introduced at trial.
Mr. Lewis raises the separate issue of whether there was
sufficient evidence adduced at trial to support his
no merit to these assignments of error and for the reasons
set forth more fully herein, we affirm the defendants'
convictions and sentences.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
afternoon of March 9, 2013, Bertrand Dezara was murdered in
the courtyard of an apartment building in eastern New
Orleans. Shortly before or around the time of the murder, the
New Orleans Police Department was dispatched to the scene
after a 911 call had been made and an aggravated burglary had
days later, on March 11, 2013, a shootout occurred on
Claiborne Avenue near Washington Avenue in New Orleans
between the occupants of two moving vehicles. A handgun used
during the shootout and recovered from the scene was
determined to have been one of the guns used in the murder of
28, 2013, Mr. Hawkins and Mr. Lewis were jointly indicted by
an Orleans Parish grand jury for the second degree murder of
Mr. Dezara. Mr. Hawkins was also indicted on two other
counts; namely, for the discharge of a firearm during a
violent crime and for obstruction of justice. Both of the
latter charges arose from the March 11, 2013 shootout on
pled not guilty to the charges and filed motions to suppress
the evidence and identifications, which were denied by the
trial court. The State then filed a motion to allow
Prieur  evidence as to Mr. Hawkins and a motion to
allow introduction of evidence of gang association as to both
of the defendants. The State's motions were granted and
Mr. Lewis sought a supervisory writ of review as to the trial
court's ruling on the admissibility of gang association
evidence. This Court denied the writ application on August
trial was held in September, 2015 and defendants were found
guilty on all counts. After motions for a new trial were
denied, defendants waived delays and proceeded to sentencing.
The trial court sentenced Mr. Lewis to life imprisonment at
hard labor, without the benefit of probation, parole or
suspension of sentence. Mr. Hawkins received the same
sentence on the second degree murder count. As to the
conviction of the discharge of a firearm during a violent
crime, Mr. Hawkins was sentenced to twenty years at hard
labor, without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension
of sentence. Mr. Hawkins received the same twenty year
sentence for his conviction of obstruction of justice. All of
Mr. Hawkins' sentences were to run concurrently.
State then filed a multiple bill of information as to Mr.
Hawkins based upon his convictions for discharge of a firearm
and obstruction of justice. A hearing on the multiple bill
was held on November 16, 2015, at which time the trial court
adjudicated Mr. Hawkins to be a third felony offender. His
prior sentences were vacated and the trial court re-sentenced
him to eighty years at hard labor without the benefit of
probation, parole or suspension of sentence on the discharge
of a firearm charge; and forty years at hard labor on the
charge of obstruction of justice, also to be served without
the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.
The trial court ordered these sentences to be served
concurrently with each other and the sentence on the second
degree murder conviction.
Hawkins filed a motion for new trial which was denied by the
trial court. This appeal followed.
19, 2012 murder of Jeffrey Domingue
Justin Rice, who in April, 2012, was a detective with the
homicide division of the New Orleans Police Department
("NOPD"), testified that, on April 19, 2012, he was
the lead investigator of a homicide which occurred on Jackson
Avenue at Carondelet Street. When he arrived at the scene, he
found the victim, Jeffrey Domingue, slumped over in a vehicle
which had crashed into a bus. The victim had been shot
several times and was already deceased. Detective Rice
obtained the license plate number of the suspect's
vehicle, and also learned from eyewitnesses that there were
at least four occupants of that vehicle at the time of the
Rice then determined that the suspect's vehicle had been
rented from Avis Budget Rental by Norman Johnson. Detective
Rice contacted Mr. Johnson who advised that he had rented the
vehicle for Quilla Harris, his girlfriend's daughter.
Detective Rice questioned Ms. Harris, who advised that she
had allowed her cousin, Eric Harris, and his friend,
"Glynn" to use the vehicle.
Rice determined that "Glynn" was likely Glynn
Hawkins (because the Intelligence Division of the NOPD was
aware that Eric Harris and Mr. Hawkins were associates of one
another) and discovered that, on the date of the shooting,
Mr. Hawkins was wearing a GPS ankle monitor. Detective Rice
then obtained the records of Mr. Hawkins' GPS ankle
monitor and learned that, at the time of Mr. Domingue's
murder, Mr. Hawkins was located at the intersection of
Jackson Avenue and Carondelet Street. The records reflected
that, around that time, Mr. Hawkins was moving at a fast
pace, suggestive of his having been in a vehicle travelling
at a high rate of speed on Carondelet Street.
Hawkins was arrested in connection with Mr. Domingue's
murder and pled guilty to accessory after the fact
(See footnote 2, supra). Mr. Hawkins was
released from prison on January 30, 2013.
9, 2013 murder of Bernard Dezara
March 9, 2013, Sergeant Arlen Barnes, who at the time was a
member of the NOPD Task Force assigned to assist with patrols
of the Seventh District, responded, around 2:54 p.m., to a
2:51 p.m. 911 phone call reporting an aggravated burglary at
an apartment complex in eastern New Orleans. When he arrived,
he encountered the decedent, Mr. Dezara, who showed no signs
of life, lying adjacent to Building Q of the apartment
complex. Mr. Dezara's body exhibited several
gunshot wounds. Sergeant Barnes notified the NOPD homicide
division, and Detective Maggie McCourt, of the NOPD homicide
division, arrived and took over the investigation.
to Detective McCourt, while the investigating officers
attempted to locate witnesses shortly after Mr. Dezara's
death, they were unable to do so. She then learned of the
earlier 911 call which had reported the aggravated burglary
and she directed two officers (Detective Jacob Lundy, a
detective with the homicide division, and Detective Vaught)
to the apartment from which the call was made (located in
Building Q). There, the officers found two individuals
- Mr. Bryer and Lance Stewart. According to Detective Lundy,
Mr. Bryer and Mr. Stewart both indicated that they did not
know the identity of the man who had been shot in the
courtyard. At that time, he considered Mr. Bryer and Mr.
Stewart to be victims of the aggravated burglary.
to Detective Lundy, at the apartment, Mr. Stewart relayed
that he had been sitting on the sofa talking on the telephone
when Mr. Bryer entered the room with his hands up and a black
male behind him with a gun. Both he and Mr. Bryer denied
knowing of any connection between the aggravated burglary and
Mr. Dezara's murder. However, several minutes after the
perpetrators left the scene, he heard gunshots.
Stewart advised that, after the aggravated burglary, he
attempted to call the police "but his phone was acting
crazy." He then called his "sister, " Corielle
Brown, to report what had happened.
being interviewed at the apartment, Mr. Bryer and Mr. Stewart
were transported to the police station for interviews and
were placed in separate interview rooms. Detective McCourt
personally viewed the interviews and she testified that Mr.
Bryer and Mr. Stewart gave consistent descriptions of the
perpetrators. She also testified that she observed Mr. Bryer
putting his ear to a wall, in an apparent attempt to hear
what was taking place in the adjacent interview room.
the interviews, the officers were able to obtain telephone
numbers of calls made from Mr. Stewart's phone. They
later obtained a subpoena for those phone records in order to
determine what calls were made before and after Mr.
Dezara's murder. According to Detective McCourt, all but
one call made from Mr. Stewart's phone were to a pre-paid
cellular phone for which there were no records or subscriber
McCourt notified Mr. Dezara's next-of-kin, his mother,
Sonja Miller, of the death of her son. Ms. Miller indicated
that she wanted to retrieve her son's belongings from
Corielle Brown's apartment (the very apartment from which
the 911 call had been made and where Ms. Brown, Mr. Bryer and
Mr. Stewart were found after Mr. Dezara's murder) and on
March 11, 2013, Detective McCourt contacted Ms. Brown about
Mr. Dezara's personal belongings. At that time, Detective
McCourt learned from another officer with the homicide
division that an individual whose nickname was
"G-4" was a possible suspect in Mr. Dezara's
murder. She then learned from Detective Rice (the lead
investigator of the Domingue murder) that "G-4" was
following day, March 12, 2013, Ms. Brown and Mr. Stewart met
with Detective McCourt at the office of the homicide
division. A photographic lineup was shown to Mr. Stewart and
he positively identified Mr. Hawkins as one of the men who
had entered his apartment on the day of Mr. Dezara's
murder. She then obtained an arrest warrant for
couple of days later, Ms. Brown contacted Detective McCourt
and provided her with photograph depicting three individuals;
one was Mr. Bryer and the other was Mr. Hawkins. Detective
McCourt did not recognize the third person; however,
Detective Rice identified him as Mr. Lewis. Another
photographic lineup was conducted with Mr. Stewart who
positively identified the third person as the other person
who had entered the apartment on the day of Mr. Dezara's
murder - Mr. Lewis. Detective McCourt obtained an arrest
warrant for Mr. Lewis.
Brown also testified at trial. She indicated that she lived
in Apartment Q23 with Mr. Stewart and her daughter. While Mr.
Bryer did not live with her, he would visit occasionally. The
victim, Mr. Dezara (her boyfriend), had spent the night at
her apartment on the evening before he was murdered. The next
day, after Mr. Bryer and Mr. Stewart had left the apartment
so that Mr. Bryer could apply for a job at a Wendy's
restaurant, she too left to go to her mother's house to
do some laundry. Mr. Dezara remained at the apartment.
being at her mother's house for a couple of hours, Ms.
Brown received a phone call from Mr. Bryer, at which time he
reported that her apartment had been burglarized. She
returned to her apartment and encountered the police. While
she had been unable to enter her apartment at the time, she
was aware that Mr. Dezara had been shot. Ms. Brown admitted
on cross-examination that, when Mr. Bryer called her, he told
her that two men had broken into her apartment, took some
money from her dresser and that Mr. Dezara had been shot. She
also admitted that she did not advise the officers of this
information initially when she was questioned at the station.
to Ms. Brown, on the night of the murder, Mr. Bryer commented
that he "was going to the grave with it, " although
she did not know what this meant.
Brown testified that she and Mr. Stewart were later looking
at some photographs on Instagram when Mr. Stewart became
upset and angry, having recognized some of the individuals in
the photographs. She clarified later on cross-examination
that Mr. Stewart was upset because he did not want to
testify. However, Ms. Brown urged Mr. Stewart to tell the
truth if he knew something. Ms. Brown also testified that she
had numerous conversations with Mr. Bryer; in one of those
conversations, Mr. Bryer told her that, on the day of the
murder, he had invited two people over, but she did not know
to whom he was referring.
Stewart confirmed Ms. Brown's testimony that Mr. Dezara
had spent the night before his death at his and Ms.
Brown's apartment. On the day of Mr. Dezara's murder,
he was at the apartment with Mr. Dezara and Mr. Bryer. Mr.
Stewart confirmed Ms. Brown's testimony that he and Mr.
Bryer left the apartment so that Mr. Bryer could obtain a job
application, at which point he saw Ms. Brown leave the
apartment. Mr. Bryer then decided to return to the apartment.
He borrowed Mr. Stewart's phone to make a call. Two men
then arrived at the apartment and Mr. Bryer allowed them
inside. One went to the bathroom and when he returned, Mr.
Stewart saw him retrieve a gun from his pocket and cock it.
Mr. Stewart heard Mr. Bryer tell the two men "to just go
forward and do what they came to do."
Stewart testified that the two men went in Ms. Brown's
bedroom, where Mr. Dezara was located and brought Mr. Dezara
out of the bedroom. They took him outside the apartment and
within minutes, Mr. Stewart heard multiple gunshots. Being
afraid, Mr. Stewart went into the bathroom and when he
exited, he saw Mr. Bryer walking in the front door. Mr. Bryer
told Mr. Stewart that the men had tried to rob the apartment.
Mr. Stewart, in turn, called Ms. Brown and told her that the
men had tried to rob the apartment.
the police officers arrived at the apartment shortly
thereafter, Mr. Stewart reported that the two men had tried
to rob the apartment. He testified that he related that story
because, at the time, that is what he believed had happened,
and what Mr. Bryer had claimed. Mr. Stewart provided the
officers with a description of the two men who he did not
time later, Mr. Stewart and Ms. Brown were looking at
photographs on Facebook and Instagram and Mr. Stewart found a
photograph with both of the men who had come to the apartment
on March 9, 2013. He advised Ms. Brown that these were the
two perpetrators and they contacted the police. Mr. Stewart
was shown lineups at the police station and he identified Mr.
Hawkins and Mr. Lewis as the two men who took Mr. Dezara out
of the apartment and shot him. Mr. Stewart again positively
identified Mr. Hawkins and Mr. Lewis at trial.
Stewart admitted at trial, on cross examination, that the
second statement he gave to the police varied from the first
statement given on the date of the murder, in which he merely
reported the aggravated burglary and indicated that Mr. Bryer
had walked in with his hands up and the two perpetrators
behind him. He testified that the second statement was the
correct statement. He likewise testified that he was scared
for his life and had not wanted to get involved, and he
agreed that "these [are] the two faces [of Mr. Hawkins
and Mr. Lewis] that [he is] going to remember for the rest of
[his] life." He will remember these faces as those who
"[brought] Bernard Dezara out and [shot] him in the
middle of the courtyard at 3:00 p.m. on a Saturday."
Johnson, the owner of a barbershop, who has known Mr. Lewis
since he was a child, testified that, on the day of Mr.
Dezara's murder, Mr. Lewis was at his shop. Although he
could not recall the precise time, he believed that Mr. Lewis
arrived around 2:00 and left around 4:00. Mr. Lewis had
brought his son with him to get a haircut and the two were
going to a motor cross event that evening. Mr. Johnson
admitted that he did not contact the police because he was
unaware that Mr. Lewis had been charged in connection with
Mr. Dezara's murder. However, Mr. Lewis' father
approached him and asked if Mr. Lewis had been ...