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State v. Harper

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

August 9, 2017

STATE OF LOUISIANA Appellee
v.
FABIAN HARPER Appellant

         Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 167, 024 Honorable Ramona L. Emanuel, Judge

          LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Annette Fuller Roach Counsel for Appellant.

          FABIAN HARPER Pro Se.

          JAMES EDWARD STEWART, SR. District Attorney Counsel for Appellee

          LAURA OWEN WINGATE FULCO REBECCA ARMAND EDWARDS Assistant District Attorneys

          Before DREW, GARRETT, and COX, JJ.

          COX, J.

         The defendant, Fabian Harper ("Harper"), was previously convicted for the second degree murder of Miss Eddie Jo Johnson, in violation of La. R.S. 14:30.1, when the defendant was 16 years old. He was sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor, without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence. His conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal. State v. Harper, 27, 278 (La.App. 2 Cir. 8/23/95), 660 So.2d 537, writ denied, 95-2318 (La. 1/12/96), 666 So.2d 320.

         Following the decisions in Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460, 132 S.Ct. 2455, 183 L.Ed.2d 407 (2012), and Montgomery v. Louisiana, 136 S.Ct. 718, 193 L.Ed.2d 599 (2016), as revised (Jan. 27, 2016), the defendant filed a motion to modify his sentence according to the penalty for manslaughter. On November 29, 2016, the trial court denied the motion and resentenced Harper in accordance with the per curiam decision in State v. Montgomery, 13-1163 (La. 6/28/16), 194 So.3d 606, to life imprisonment at hard labor, with eligibility for parole. Harper now appeals. For the following reasons, we affirm the defendant's sentence.

         FACTS

         On September 5, 1990, Harper and his friend, Eddie Sloan ("Sloan"), decided to steal some money and a vehicle. After leaving Sloan's older brother shopping at a Shreveport pawn shop, the two wandered down a side street, tracking a gray truck they wanted to steal. Deciding the truck would be too difficult to steal, the two moved on and spotted a small car with a handicapped license plate coming down the street.

         Pariss Washington and her daughter, Eddie Jo Johnson, had just returned home from the grocery store when a teenage boy knocked on their door looking for someone. After repeatedly telling the young man that the person he sought did not live there, Eddie Jo became alarmed and called to her mother to bring a gun. The young man pulled out a gold-painted .22 caliber gun and shot Pariss Washington in the head, severely wounding her. He then shot Eddie Jo in the head twice, killing her. The young man stole Eddie Jo's purse and ran off with his companion.

         Later that same day, police arrested Sloan, who had in his pocket a check made out to Eddie Jo Johnson. When confronted about the shootings, Sloan confessed he was there, but named Harper as the shooter. The two were subsequently charged with the first degree murder of Eddie Jo Johnson.

         Sloan later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit armed robbery, while Harper's charge was amended to second degree murder, with a second charge added for the attempted second degree murder of Pariss Washington. Harper was found guilty as charged of Eddie Jo Johnson's murder and sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor, ...


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