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State v. Brown

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

June 21, 2017

STATE OF LOUISIANA, Appellee
v.
TYRONE JOSEPH BROWN, Appellant

         Appealed from the Twenty-Sixth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Bossier, Louisiana Lower Court Case No. 138, 853 Honorable Jeff Cox, Judge

          LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Paula C. Marx Counsel for Appellant

          J. SCHUYLER MARVIN District Attorney Counsel for Appellee

          ANDREW C. JACOBS JOHN M. LAWRENCE Assistant District Attorneys

          Before BROWN, WILLIAMS, and GARRETT, JJ.

          WILLIAMS, J.

         The defendant, Tyrone Joseph Brown, was charged by bill of indictment with second degree murder, in violation of La. R.S. 14:30.1. Following a jury trial, he was found guilty as charged. He received the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment at hard labor without the benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence. This Court affirmed the defendant's conviction and sentence. State v. Brown, 43, 775 (La.App. 2 Cir. 12/3/08), 999 So.2d 179, writ denied, 2009-0047 (La. 9/15/09), 18 So.3d 81.

         In 2016, the defendant filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence. In accordance with Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460, 132 S.Ct. 2455, 183 L.Ed.2d 407 (2012), and Montgomery v. Louisiana, 577 U.S. __, 136 S.Ct. 718, 193 L.Ed.2d 599 (2016), the trial court amended the defendant's sentence to allow for parole eligibility. The defendant appeals the trial court's ruling. For the following reasons, we affirm.

         FACTS

         On September 27, 2005, the victim, Michael Hunt, checked into a motel in Bossier City, Louisiana. Thereafter, Hunt, accompanied by Curtis Boykins, walked to a nearby ATM to withdraw money. While Hunt was standing at the ATM, he was approached by the defendant and another juvenile, LaDarrius Johnson. The defendant and Johnson followed Hunt and Boykins after they left the ATM.

         During the walk back to the motel, Johnson snatched Hunt's wallet, removed the currency and threw the wallet back to him. The defendant and Johnson proceeded to beat Hunt about his head and body. During the altercation, Hunt fell and struck his head. The assailants fled on bicycles while Hunt and Boykins returned to the motel. Hours later, Hunt was found unconscious in his motel room; he later died as a result of his head injuries.

         The defendant was charged by bill of indictment with second degree murder. After his conviction, he was sentenced to the mandatory term of life in prison without the benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence. The defendant appealed his conviction and sentence, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence and error in instructions to the jury. As stated above, this court affirmed his conviction and sentence.

         Subsequently, the defendant filed a pro se motion to correct an illegal sentence, pursuant to Miller, supra, and Montgomery, supra.[1] The defendant argued that his sentence should be vacated and that he should be resentenced to a "set number of years" and rendered eligible for parole under the manslaughter statute. The defendant made the following assertions: He was raised in a "dysfunctional family";

He had never had the benefit of proper guidance or stability;
He knew his father's name, but he had never had a relationship with him;
He was "left to run wild" in an environment "saturated with" drugs, prostitution and murder;
He was "pushed through school via social promotion";
Due to Hurricane Katrina, he was forced to walk through "water up to [his] neck in pitch black darkness pushing corpses aside and having nothing to eat"; and
During the Hurricane Katrina ordeal, he became separated from his family and was "bounced from state to ...

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