Appeal from the 32nd Judicial District Court In and for the
Parish of Terrebonne State of Louisiana Trial Court No. 656,
389 Honorable John R. Walker, Judge Presiding.
M. Hillman Louisiana Appellate Project Covington, LA Attorney
for Defendant-Appellant, Troy Michael Jackson, Jr.
L. Waitz, Jr. District Attorney Ellen Daigle Doskey Assistant
District Attorney Houma, LA Attorneys for Appellee, State of
BEFORE: HIGGINBOTHAM, HOLDRIDGE, AND PENZATO, JJ.
Troy Michael Jackson, Jr., was charged by amended grand jury
indictment with first degree murder, a violation of La. R.S.
14:30(A)(1) (count one); obstruction of justice by tampering
with evidence, a violation of La. R.S. 14:130.1(A)(1) (count
two); and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, a
violation of La. R.S. 14:95.1 (count three). He pled not
guilty. After a jury trial, defendant was found guilty as
charged on all counts. Thereafter, the trial court denied
defendant's post-trial motions for new trial and
post-verdict judgment of acquittal. On count one, the trial
court sentenced defendant to life imprisonment at hard labor,
without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of
sentence. On count two, the trial court sentenced
defendant to five years at hard labor. On count three, the
trial court sentenced defendant to twenty-five years at hard
labor, without the benefit of parole, probation, or
suspension of sentence. The trial court ordered all three
sentences to run concurrently. Defendant filed a motion for
reconsideration of his sentences, which the trial court
denied. Defendant now appeals, alleging one assignment of
evening of February 23, 2013, Sergio Castellanos (the victim)
went with his friends to a bar in Houma. While out at the
bar, Castellanos met Ciegie Cheramie, who had gone to the bar
with defendant and his girlfriend, Brandy Perdue. According
to trial testimony, Cheramie, Perdue, and defendant went to
the bar that night for Cheramie to meet someone and convince
them to give her money or for Cheramie to meet someone to
have sex with her for money. Ultimately, Castellanos left the
bar with Cheramie, Perdue, and defendant.
leaving the bar, Cheramie drove Castellanos, Perdue, and
defendant to at least one gas station and then around the
Houma area. Castellanos was seated in the truck's
passenger's seat, while defendant and Perdue sat in the
truck's back seat. At some point as they drove, defendant
pulled a gun and shot Castellanos three times, resulting in
his death. The following morning, defendant directed Cheramie
to call her brother, tell him she had shot someone, and ask
for his help in disposing of the body. Cheramie's brother
called the police after Cheramie came to his house and he
observed something slumped in the passenger's seat of her
vehicle. After visiting her brother, Cheramie dumped
Castellanos's body in a grassy area on the side of Bayou
Salle Road. Defendant took some clothing from the victim and
the occupants of the truck, and he disposed of it in a
waterway near Mechanicville.
did not testify at trial, but the state introduced a recorded
interview that he gave to the police. In this statement,
defendant admitted to shooting Castellanos, but stated that
he did so in order to protect Cheramie and Perdue. The state
also introduced evidence of defendant's September 7, 2005
felony conviction for molestation of a juvenile.
sole assignment of error, defendant argues that the state
improperly exercised peremptory challenges against two
prospective jurors on the basis of race.
Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 93-98, 106 S.Ct.
1712, 1721-1724, 90 L.Ed.2d 69 (1986), the United States
Supreme Court adopted a three-step analysis to determine
whether the constitutional rights of a defendant or
prospective jurors have been infringed by impermissible
discriminatory practices. First, the defendant must make a
prima facie showing that the prosecutor has
exercised peremptory challenges on the basis of race. Second,
if the requisite showing has been made, the burden shifts to
the prosecutor to articulate a race-neutral explanation for
striking the jurors in question. Finally, the trial court
must determine whether the defendant has carried his burden
of proving purposeful discrimination. State v.
Handon, 2006-0131 (La.App. 1st Cir. 12/28/06), 952 So.2d
53, 56. See also Foster v. Chatman, ___
U.S. ___, 136 S.Ct. 1737, 1747, 195 L.Ed.2d 1 (2016).
establish a. prima facie case, the defendant must
show: (1) the defendant is a member of a cognizable group and
the prosecutor exercised peremptory challenges to remove
venire members of the defendant's race; (2) the challenge
was peremptory rather than for cause; and (3) relevant
circumstances sufficient to raise an inference that the
prosecutor struck the venire person on account of his being a
member of that cognizable group. See Batson, 476
U.S. at 96, 106 S.Ct. at 1723. Without an inference that the
prospective jurors were stricken because they are members of
the targeted group, the defendant is unable to make a
prima facie case of purposeful discrimination, and
his Batson challenge ...