from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of
Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 251, 486 Honorable Ramona L.
LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Edward K. Bauman Counsel for
REBECCA A. EDWARDS WILLIAM J. EDWARDS Assistant District
Attorneys Counsel for Appellee
BROWN, MOORE, and STONE, JJ.
being granted post-conviction relief, defendant, Raymond
Darnell, was resentenced as a second felony offender to
consecutive terms of 90 years at hard labor, without benefit
of parole, probation or suspension of sentence, on an
attempted first degree murder conviction and 45 years at hard
labor without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of
sentence, on an attempted second degree murder conviction. A
timely motion to reconsider was denied by the trial court.
Defendant appeals his sentences as excessive. We affirm.
was charged in a two-count bill of information with the
attempted first degree murder of a Shreveport police officer
and the attempted second degree murder of Arlicia McDonald,
defendant's ex-girlfriend, when Darnell was 21 years old.
Defendant's convictions and sentences were affirmed in
State v. Darnell, 43, 048 (La.App. 2 Cir. 08/13/08),
988 So.2d 870, writ not considered, 08-2258 (La.
05/01/09), 6 So.3d 803. The facts which formed the basis for
these charges were set forth in defendant's previous
appeal. On the evening of May 17, 2006, defendant followed
the victim, Ms. McDonald, from her place of employment,
ultimately striking her vehicle with his own car and pushing
it into a utility pole. Shreveport patrol officer Freddie
Clinton arrived at the scene, and Ms. McDonald ran to him for
protection. Defendant was armed with a .410 gauge single-shot
sawed-off shotgun and, upon seeing the victim and Officer
Clinton across the street, pointed the shotgun directly at
both of them and fired. Thereafter, the following events
Officer Clinton returned fire while at the same time pulling
Ms. McDonald around the rear of his police vehicle to take
cover on the passenger side. Defendant reloaded his shotgun
and moved to the driver's side of Officer Clinton's
marked unit. A second police vehicle driven by Officer Josh
Feliciano arrived and stopped behind Officer Clinton's
unit. The video from this second police vehicle showed that
the door on the driver's side of Officer Clinton's
squad car was open and that defendant alternately pointed the
weapon through the door and then over the hood of the police
car attempting to get a clear shot.
Officer Clinton returned fire with his pistol over the hood
of his police car. Realizing that Officer Clinton had emptied
his magazine, defendant ran around the front of the patrol
unit and pointed his shotgun at both Officer Clinton and Ms.
McDonald as they started to run away. Defendant shot at close
range striking Ms. McDonald in the backside, rear upper thigh
area. Ms. McDonald was only a step behind Officer Clinton at
the moment defendant fired. Defendant then proceeded to hit
Ms. McDonald in the head with his shotgun. Officer Feliciano
fired several shots at defendant, one of which struck him in
the chest and knocked him to the ground. At this point,
defendant started screaming out his lawyer's
State v. Darnell, 988 So.2d at 873.
December 5, 2012, defendant was granted post-conviction
relief, and the matter was remanded for a resentencing
hearing on the grounds of conflict of interest. At the July 15,
2015, proceedings, defendant presented mitigating evidence of
his abuse and alleged mental issues.
evidence included the testimony of Dr. Sarah Deland, an
expert in forensic psychiatry, and two of defendant's
siblings, who testified regarding defendant's childhood
with his five siblings, an abusive father, and the effects of
the abuse on defendant. The witnesses confirmed that
defendant's father's drinking led to the outbursts of
anger, violence, and "moderately severe" physical
confrontations that occurred "very frequently, sometimes
daily, " for a period of several years. As the oldest of
six children, defendant tried to protect some of the younger
children from abuse.
defendant's mental state, Dr. Deland testified that as a
result of the abuse, he manifested symptoms of
"post-traumatic stress disorder, " although she
would not give him "the full-blown diagnosis" due
to lack of sufficient information. These symptoms included
mood instability, irritability, difficulty getting along with
people, trouble sleeping, and paranoia. Dr. Deland also did
not conclude that defendant had a personality disorder, but
found that he had "narcissistic personality traits and
some paranoid personality traits" that lend themselves
to a "conflictual existence with the world." In
fact, defendant's family revealed that he had "very
little frustration tolerance" and did "not handle
limits very well, " i.e., defendant got angry very
quickly and had trouble with "being told no and
authority." Dr. Deland confirmed that defendant was
experiencing sleep disturbance and was sleeping with weapons,
including a butcher knife, for protection in the weeks
preceding the incident. Dr. Deland also learned that
defendant had greatly increased his alcohol intake, which was
"very different" for defendant because he had not
been a substance abuser in the past. Defendant informed Dr.
Deland that he had been drinking up to a case of beer a day,
and in the months leading to the incident, had also ...