from the Fourth Judicial District Court for the Parish of
Morehouse, Louisiana Lower Court Case No. 14460 Honorable
Alvin R. Sharp, Judge
DOUGLAS L. HARVILLE Louisiana Appellate Project Counsel for
S. TEW District Attorney STEPHEN T. SYLVESTER JOHN GATES
SPIRES Assistant District Attorneys Counsel for Appellee
BROWN, PITMAN, and COX, JJ.
John Lee Bass, was charged by bill of information with
forcible rape, in violation of La. R.S.
14:42.1. The charge was amended thereafter when
defendant was charged by grand jury indictment with
aggravated rape, in violation of La. R.S. 14:42. After a jury
trial, defendant was found guilty of the responsive verdict
of forcible rape. He was sentenced to 40 years at hard labor
and ordered to register as a sex offender. On appeal,
defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence and
contends that his sentence is excessive. We affirm
defendant's conviction, amend defendant's sentence to
include the restriction of benefits for the first two years,
and, as amended, affirm, and remand with instructions.
22, 2014, defendant was charged by bill of information with
forcible rape of L.R. on the Jackson Park trail in Morehouse
Parish. At arraignment, defendant pled not guilty. On January
27, 2015, the state filed a grand jury indictment, which
amended the charge to aggravated rape. Defendant entered a
plea of not guilty on January 29, 2015.
December 7, 2015, defendant's trial commenced. At trial,
the state called six witnesses. The state's first witness
was defendant's brother, John Willie Bass, who testified
that he was charged as a co-defendant for the rape of L.R.
John Willie testified that he pled guilty to forcible rape in
exchange for a 20-year sentencing cap. John Willie asserted
that although he pled guilty, he "did not admit to
rapin' nobody" and only pled guilty on the advice of
his lawyer. John Willie admitted that he knew L.R., but
denied that she attended a party at his parents' home
prior to her assault. John Willie also stated that, when he
was questioned by police, he told them that he had consensual
sex with L.R. on several occasions, including the day of the
alleged rape. According to John Willie, he and several of his
"home boys, " Leroy and "Zem, " had sex
with L.R. that day.
factual basis that was read during John Willie's guilty
plea colloquy was played off the record and outside of the
presence of the jury. Once the jury returned to the
courtroom, John Willie testified that the factual basis, read
at his guilty plea, did not accurately portray what occurred
on the night of the alleged rape. John Willie further stated
that when he pled guilty, he was simply acknowledging that he
understood the factual basis, not admitting that it was an
accurate representation of what occurred. A copy of the
minutes stating that John Willie was sentenced to 20 years
for the rape of L.R. was admitted into evidence.
cross-examination, John Willie testified that neither he nor
defendant was with L.R. when she was allegedly raped. He
further stated that he only pled guilty because he was told
by his counsel that he would receive ten years in jail, which
would supposedly "run concurrent with [John
Willie's] parole time, " and that "the deal
didn't go through." He testified that this ten-year
sentence was why he pled guilty to forcible rape. John Willie
then stated he did not understand the charges to which he
pled guilty. John Willie also admitted to being a convicted
Johnson testified next. Ms. Johnson stated that she
encountered L.R. shortly after the alleged rape. L.R. was
walking up the road toward her. Ms. Johnson could see that
L.R. was crying and shaking. L.R. appeared to have been in a
struggle; she had grass in her hair and was visibly upset.
Ms. Johnson testified that she asked L.R. what was wrong, and
L.R. told her that she had been raped. Ms. Johnson called the
police and waited with L.R. until the officers arrived.
testified that she was raped by defendant and his brother,
John Willie, on April 26, 2014. L.R. stated that she attended
a party at defendant's parents' home the evening she
was attacked. At the party, L.R. drank about a 12-pack of
beer and then argued with defendant's cousin,
"Punkin." After the argument, around 11:30 p.m.,
L.R. testified that she left the party alone and began
walking home through Jackson Park. According to L.R., she was
wearing a t-shirt, underwear, and blue jean shorts that
evening. As she walked through the park, L.R. heard a noise
behind her. The noise came closer, frightening L.R., and she
began to run. As L.R. was running, she heard a voice behind
her say, "I told you don't run. I told you don't
run." Someone then grabbed L.R.'s shirt and hair
from behind and threw her to the ground. L.R. testified that
she was lying on her stomach, but she managed to see the
faces of her assailants, whom she identified as John Willie
and defendant. L.R. also testified that she fought John
Willie and defendant, telling them to stop, but neither did.
then testified that while defendant attempted to force his
penis into her mouth, a third person, J.D., came upon the
scene and said, "[n]o, that's wrong." But,
instead of helping her, J.D. left the scene, and the assault
continued. L.R. stated that defendant held her down while
John Willie took off her shorts and raped her. During the
attack, L.R. heard defendant cheer John Willie on, and
defendant stated that "I want some of that too."
When John Willie finished raping L.R., he switched positions
with his brother and held L.R. down as defendant raped her.
After defendant finished, the brothers switched positions
again, and John Willie raped L.R. a second time. When the
attack ended, L.R. testified that she struggled to gather her
belongings, and defendant and John Willie left her lying on
the ground. L.R. walked toward the street, where she
encountered Rosheka Johnson. She told Ms. Johnson that she
had been raped by John Willie and defendant. L.R. further
testified that she never had sexual relations with either man
before, and she did not have sex with anyone else on the day
of her attack. During her testimony, L.R. showed the jury the
pair of shorts she was wearing the night of the attack and
stated that defendant and John Willie broke the shorts'
zipper as they were removing them.
cross-examination, L.R. denied having either consensual oral
or vaginal sex with defendant on the day she was attacked.
L.R. also denied ever accusing anyone else of raping
L.R. stated that she had lived with John Willie and
defendant's parents for approximately two years prior to
the attack, but neither brother lived in the home at the same
time as L.R. She also testified that right after the attack,
she did not use the restroom or do anything to alter the
condition of her vaginal area. Finally, L.R. stated that
after the attack, she could not locate her underwear.
Keesonya Lynch,  an officer with the Bastrop Police
Department, testified that on April 26, 2014, she was
dispatched to 501 Jackson Street concerning an alleged
assault. Upon arriving at the scene, Cpt. Lynch made contact
with L.R. and observed that she appeared to have been in an
altercation. According to Cpt. Lynch, L.R.'s hair was
"all over her head, " her shirt was torn, and
L.R.'s shorts were ripped open at the waist. Cpt. Lynch
noted that L.R. was not wearing underwear, and she appeared
to be shaken up. Cpt. Lynch testified that L.R. admitted to
being sexually assaulted by defendant and John Willie. Cpt.
Lynch also testified that she arrested John Willie and
defendant shortly after meeting with L.R. Finally, Cpt. Lynch
noted that she was not present when the rape kit was
collected, and she sent her report to Cpt. Anthony Evans. A
photograph of the Jackson Park trail was admitted during Cpt.
Anthony Evans, another officer with the Bastrop Police
Department, testified next. Cpt. Evans testified that he was
the chief of detectives in April of 2014. Cpt. Evans stated
that on April 26, 2014, he received a call concerning a
sexual assault and first encountered defendant and John
Willie at the police station. Cpt. Evans testified that he
advised defendant of his Miranda rights,
defendant indicated that he understood his rights. Defendant
did not appear to be intoxicated or under the influence of
drugs when he signed the rights waiver form, which was
admitted into evidence. Both Cpt. Evans and Cpt. Lynch were
present during defendant's interview, which took place on
April 27, 2014, between 12:53 and 1:01 a.m. A recording of
defendant's interview was then played for the jury.
During the interrogation, defendant first denied having sex
with L.R. However, after Cpt. Evans indicated that a DNA swab
would be taken from him as part of L.R.'s rape kit,
defendant claimed to have had consensual sex with L.R. in his
bedroom during the party around 11:00 p.m. on April 26, 2014.
The other party guests were in the living room playing cards,
according to defendant. He indicated that he and L.R. have
had a casual sexual relationship since 2008. Defendant
testified that L.R. was extremely intoxicated at the party.
According to defendant, she drank about "six or seven
cases" of beer. When asked about the number of people at
the party, defendant stated that only six people were
Evans testified that on the day after the attack, he took
L.R. to the crime scene, and she pointed out where on the
trail the rape occurred. They tried to locate her missing
underwear, but were unable to do so. Crime scene pictures
taken by Cpt. Evans were admitted into evidence and published
to the jury. Cpt. Evans also testified that he collected the
rape kit, DNA swabs from John Willie and defendant,
L.R.'s shorts, and L.R.'s blood samples ...