from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of
Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 327218 Honorable Brady
LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Carey J. Ellis, III Counsel
E. STEWART, SR. District Attorney Counsel for Appellee
MONIQUE METOYER MEKISHA SMITH CREAL ERICA N. JEFFERSON
Assistant District Attorneys
MOORE, PITMAN, and COX, JJ.
defendant, Kevin Bowers, was charged with one count of second
degree murder for fatally shooting Dajuan Kennedy, a
violation of La. R.S. 14:30.1. After trial, the jury returned
a guilty verdict of manslaughter, La. R.S. 14:31.
Subsequently, Bowers was adjudicated a fourth-felony
offender, and the court sentenced him to life imprisonment at
hard labor, without the benefit of probation, parole, or
suspension of sentence. Bowers' motion to reconsider
sentence was denied. This appeal followed in which Bowers
challenges the sufficiency of the evidence for the verdict of
manslaughter. For the follow reasons, we affirm the
conviction and sentence.
the early morning hours of August 28, 2014, Shreveport police
officers were dispatched to the residence located at 4136
Jacob Street in response to a shooting reported by a 911
call. At the residence, they found DaJuan Kennedy lying face
down in the driveway. Paramedics had already determined that
Kennedy was dead. Including the victim and the defendant,
there were five men present during the moments before and
during the shooting who testified as witnesses to all or part
of the incident.
Shepard, Kennedy's uncle, testified that he and his
brother, Roderic Kennedy ("Roderic"), were living
in their grandparents' house at 4136 Jacob Street the
night that the shooting occurred. Shepard testified that he
and Roderic were sitting on a little brick patio in the front
of the house. Their nephew, DaJuan Kennedy, arrived around
10:30 p.m. The three men sat in the front yard, talking and
drinking beer, and were later joined by Rajohn Chapman.
testified that around midnight, Bowers drove by the house in
a "burgundy Ford, " and Chapman flagged him down.
Bowers remained in his vehicle while Chapman went out to the
vehicle to talk with him. As Roderic approached the vehicle,
Bowers accused Shepard of sending Roderic out. Shepard denied
sending Roderic, but Bowers began calling Shepard and Kennedy
"bitch-ass niggas." Kennedy was offended and
challenged Bowers to a fight. Kennedy took off his white
T-shirt, stepped onto the home's driveway and asked
Bowers again whether he wanted to fight. Shepard testified
that Bowers got out of his vehicle and walked toward Kennedy,
but Shepard stepped between the two men and broke up the
fight. Shepard pulled Kennedy into the front yard and forced
him to sit down. Bowers returned to his vehicle and drove
off, leaving Shepard, Roderic, and Kennedy in the front yard.
Shepard said that he did not observe a gun or any weapon on
Kennedy when he removed his shirt. When Kennedy sat down, he
put on his shirt, he, Roderic and Dajuan resumed drinking,
thinking that the trouble was over. Shepard said that Rajohn
was no longer with them, but they were soon joined by another
man, Elijah Patton, aka "Poobie."
to Shepard, five minutes later, Bowers returned to 4136 Jacob
Street. He stopped at the front gate of the house. DaJuan and
the defendant began having words again and DaJuan was ready
to fight. Shepard testified that the defendant said,
"y'all bitch-ass niggas really don't want to do
this." He got out of the vehicle and walked toward the
rear of the vehicle. Shepard stated that he was trying to
grab his nephew's (DaJuan) arm and they took off running
toward the back of the house. As Shepard and Kennedy ran
toward the home, Shepard heard two gunshots. Shepard
testified that Kennedy dropped, face first, to the ground
after the second shot. Shepard saw Bowers return to his
vehicle and drive away. DaJuan told him that he was hit and
to call 911. Shepard called 911 and held Kennedy until the
ambulance arrived. Shepard denied seeing Kennedy with a gun
or removing a weapon from Kennedy's person. Shepard also
noted that he was unaware of any prior altercations between
Bowers and Kennedy.
Patton joined the men just before the shooting occurred. He
testified that he is a friend of the Kennedy family and was
present when Kennedy was shot. Patton testified that he
arrived at the house around 2:00 a.m. He said that as he
pulled up to the home in his vehicle, Bowers drove away from
the home. As Patton got out of his vehicle, he observed
Roderic, Shepard, and Kennedy sitting at a plastic table in
the front yard. Patton said that no one else was present.
to Patton, Kennedy appeared upset. The three men informed
Patton of the argument between Kennedy and Bowers. About five
minutes after Patton arrived, Bowers returned and jumped out
of his vehicle. Bowers began calling the four men
"niggas" and walked up to the fence that surrounds
the home's front yard. Bowers turned back to his vehicle
and retrieved something from the vehicle's trunk. Patton
stated that he immediately ran toward the side of the home
with Roderic, and as he ran, Patton heard two gunshots.
Patton recalled that Kennedy and Shepard were walking toward
Bowers when Patton ran away. When Patton returned to the
front yard, he observed Kennedy face down on the ground of
the driveway. Like Shepard, Patton testified that Kennedy did
not have any weapons on him. Patton also testified that he
did not hear anyone tell Kennedy to shoot Bowers, nor did he
see Bowers with a weapon.
Shepard and Patton, Roderic testified that he had been
sitting in the front yard of 4136 Jacob Street for several
hours the night of the shooting. Roderic was sitting with
Kennedy and Shepard when they were joined by Chapman. Roderic
stated that Chapman spoke with them for a few minutes before
leaving, and Roderic went into the house to get some beer.
When he returned to the front yard, Bowers had arrived and
appeared to be arguing with Kennedy. Moments later, Bowers
drove off just as Patton arrived. Roderic, Kennedy, Shepard,
and Patton sat down and continued drinking in the front yard.
A few minutes later, Bowers returned. According to Roderic,
Bowers got out of his vehicle, mumbled to himself, opened his
vehicle's trunk, and pulled out a rifle. Upon seeing the
rifle, Roderic told everyone to run. Roderic testified that
he ran to the backyard, and as he ran, he heard a gunshot,
followed by a second gunshot about four or five seconds
later. Roderic heard a scream and ran back to the front yard
and saw Kennedy face down on the ground. Kennedy tried to
lift his head, but Roderic instructed him not to move.
Roderic then called 911, and Kennedy died while waiting for
the ambulance. Roderic noted that Bowers fled the scene as
Roderic returned to the front yard.
denied that he had an argument with Bowers or asked him to
return the scale he borrowed from Shepard. Roderic also
testified that Kennedy was unarmed, and he did not tell
Kennedy to shoot Bowers.
Long Jin, the forensic pathologist who performed
Kennedy's autopsy, testified at trial describing the path
of the bullet and the cause of death. Dr. Jin stated Kennedy
was shot in his left back. The bullet moved slightly upward,
through Kennedy's spinal cord, right lung, diaphragm, and
liver, and exited his right chest. Kennedy bled to death as a
result of being shot. Dr. Jin found that the nature of the
wound was consistent with someone running. Dr. Jin also
testified that he believed Kennedy was originally lying face
up on the ground because of abrasions on his body that are
consistent with turning him over. Dr. Jin noted that there
was no soot in the wound; therefore, Kennedy was not shot at
other non-eyewitnesses, police officers and detectives
testified at the trial regarding what they learned, knew or
witnessed near or after the shooting. Sergeant Carter, one of
the several Shreveport Police Department officers who were
dispatched to the scene, testified that he and Corporal John
Madjerick located two shell casings in the front yard about 6
to 8 feet apart. The shell casings appeared to be 5.56
casings typically used in AR-15 type assault rifles.
Apparently a third shell casing of the same caliber was found
nearby. Cpl. Madjerick testified that he located a total of
three spent cartridges and one live round at the
scene. One unfired cartridge was located near
Kennedy's body in the driveway. Cpl. Madjerick testified
that the live round, a 10-mm cartridge, was discovered under
Kennedy's body as it was being removed from the scene. He
stated that the bullet was typically used in a handgun. A
gunshot residue test was not ...