from the Fifth Judicial District Court for the Parish of
Franklin, Louisiana Lower Court Case Nos. 2015-193F &
2015-194M Honorable Terry A. Doughty, Judge.
A. LETARD, SR. Counsel for Appellant.
M. LANCASTER District Attorney WILLIAM R. BARHAM AMANDA M.
WILKINS Assistant District Attorneys Counsel for Appellee
MOORE, PITMAN, and GARRETT, JJ.
Kandie Thomas pled guilty to aggravated criminal damage to
property and was sentenced to serve ten years at hard labor.
She appeals, arguing that her sentence is excessive. For the
following reasons, we affirm her conviction and sentence.
March 13, 2015, Defendant and her husband, Odis Wayne Thomas,
were married, but separated. Defendant went to Mr.
Thomas's house to pick up the family dog and drove her
vehicle through the back door of the house and into the
living room area where Mr. Thomas was sitting. He ran out of
the house and down the street and noticed Defendant was
chasing him, so he hid. Responding police officers found
Defendant in the backyard of the house, where she demanded
that Mr. Thomas be arrested because he refused to give her
the family dog. Officers placed Defendant under arrest, which
she resisted. The officers located Defendant's vehicle
down the street from the house and observed two handguns
inside. Mr. Thomas told the officers that the guns had been
locked inside a closet in his house and that Defendant was
not supposed to have any guns.
March 26, 2015, the state filed a bill of information
charging Defendant with one count of aggravated criminal
damage to property in violation of La. R.S. 14:55 and one
count of domestic abuse aggravated assault in violation of
La. R.S. 14:37.7. In a separate bill of information, the
state charged Defendant with one count of violation of
protective orders in violation of La. R.S. 14:79. On April
29, 2015, Defendant entered a plea of not guilty.
28, 2015, defense counsel filed a motion requesting a sanity
commission. Counsel alleged that Defendant had a history of
mental illness and that she may have been insane at the time
she committed the offenses. The district court granted the
motion and ordered that Defendant submit to evaluations by
Dr. John C. Simoneaux and Dr. Philip Scurria in order to
determine her sanity at the time of the commission of the
offenses. After conducting their evaluations, both doctors
filed reports of their conclusions with the district court.
Dr. Simoneaux reported that Defendant could stand trial and
that it was more likely than not that she understood right
from wrong at the time of the alleged offenses. Dr. Scurria
concluded that Defendant was aware of her actions at the time
she committed the offenses and that she is able to work with
her attorney to prepare her defense. At a hearing on January
6, 2016, the district court ruled that Defendant was
competent to assist in her defense and to stand trial.
February 18, 2016, Defendant appeared in court to withdraw
her prior not guilty pleas. The state noted that the parties
agreed, with Judge Terry Doughty's concurrence, that
Judge James Stephens would hear and accept Defendant's
guilty plea and that Judge Doughty would preside over the
sentencing. The state advised the district court that, in
exchange for Defendant's guilty plea as to the charge of
aggravated criminal damage to property, it would dismiss the
charge of domestic abuse aggravated assault and agree to a
sentence cap. Following a guilty plea colloquy, the district
court found that Defendant's guilty plea was knowingly
and voluntarily made, and it accepted her plea of guilty.
Judge Stephens ordered a presentence investigation
("PSI") report and noted that Judge Doughty would
preside over sentencing. The state then advised the district
court that the sentence agreement was for a sentence cap of
ten years at hard labor. The state then dismissed the charges
of domestic abuse aggravated assault and violation of
protective orders. Judge Stephens ordered those matters
dismissed, but stated that he was "not executing the
plea agreement, that will be for Judge Doughty to do."
appeared for sentencing on March 9, 2016, before Judge
Doughty. The district court stated that it had reviewed the
PSI report, which detailed Defendant's criminal history,
consisting of two prior arrests for offenses against her
husband. In July 2008, Defendant was arrested after
discharging a handgun in the direction of Mr. Thomas. She was
charged with aggravated battery and discharge of a firearm.
She pled guilty to the reduced charge of aggravated assault
and paid a fine, and the charge for discharge of a firearm
was nolle prossed. On February 13, 2015-one month before the
instant offense-Defendant was arrested for firing a handgun.
Mr. Thomas told law enforcement officers that he was standing
on a driveway and speaking to Defendant's sister about
company paperwork when Defendant came out of the house and
pointed a gun at him and fired it. Defendant told law
enforcement that she fired the gun into the air over Mr.
Thomas's head because she wanted him to leave the area.
Defendant was charged with aggravated assault with a firearm,
and the charge was still pending when the PSI report was
victim's statement in the PSI report, Mr. Thomas
indicated that probation rather than incarceration would
benefit Defendant. He explained that she needs long-term
counseling and medication for her mental health issues. He
noted that Defendant's behavior had become worse within
the past four to five years and explained that she has
trouble controlling her anger and aggression and suffers from
severe mood swings. He stated that she is manipulative and
intelligent enough to use her words to control people and
that she becomes aggressive when her manipulation fails to
work. He further stated that he did not seek restitution for
damage to the vehicle and the house and that he paid for the
repairs from their joint banking account. He offered to help
pay for Defendant's treatment and stated that, if she
attends counseling and takes her medication, she could be
statement for the PSI report, Theresa Smith, Defendant's
sister, stated that Defendant suffered from seizures and
observed that her seizure medication, Keppra, caused her to
behave strangely. Ms. Smith noted that Defendant recently
began taking lithium and that it had "made a big
difference" in her behavior. Ms. Smith believed that the
seizures, problems with medication and distress caused by the
recent deaths of Defendant's mother and previous husband
overwhelmed Defendant. She indicated that incarceration would
not help Defendant and that probation would help her stay on
statement for the PSI report, Tracy Hanson, Defendant's
sister, reported that Defendant had never been a violent
person until her seizures began. Ms. Hanson noted that
Defendant had benefited from taking lithium. She stated that
incarceration would not help Defendant because she needs to
meet with a doctor on a regular basis. She opined that