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State v. Ramos

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

November 2, 2017

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
EVANGELISTO RAMOS

         APPEAL FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 524-912, SECTION "F" HONORABLE ROBIN D. PITTMAN, JUDGE

          LEON A. CANNIZZARO, JR. DISTRICT ATTORNEY, ORLEANS PARISH DONNA ANDRIEU ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY SCOTT G. VINCENT ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATORNEY Counsel for Appellee/State of Louisiana

          MARY CONSTANCE HANES LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT Counsel for Defendant/Appellant

          Court composed of Chief Judge James F. McKay III, Judge Edwin A. Lombard, Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano

          JAMES F. MCKAY III CHIEF JUDGE

         The defendant, Evangelisto Ramon, appeals his conviction and sentence. Finding no error, we affirm his conviction and sentence.

         STATEMENT OF CASE

         On May 21, 2015, the defendant was indicted on one count of second degree murder. The defendant appeared for arraignment on June 1, 2015 and entered a plea of not guilty. On July 16, 2015, the trial court denied the defendant's motion to suppress the statement.

         On March 20, 2016, the trial court granted the defendant's motion for a speedy trial. A pre-trial conference was conducted by the trial court on June 10, 2016. Trial was set for June 20, 2016.

         On June 20, 2016, the trial court once again denied the defense motion to exclude the statement. Trial was continued to June 21, 2016.

         The defendant's case proceeded to trial by jury on June 21, 2016 and concluded on June 22, 2016. The defendant was found guilty of second degree murder by a ten of twelve jury verdict.

         The defendant filed a motion for new trial and a motion for post-verdict judgment of acquittal on July 6, 2016. On July 12, 2016, the defendant appeared for sentencing and his motions for new trial and for post-verdict judgment of acquittal were denied. The defendant waived sentencing delays and was sentenced to life imprisonment at the Louisiana Department of Corrections at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence. The defendant filed a motion for appeal on July 12, 2016.

         STATEMENT OF FACT

         On November 26, 2014, the dead body of a woman, later identified as Trinece Fedison (the "victim"), was found inside a trash can in a wooded area behind 3308 Danneel Street in New Orleans.

         Robert Heim ("Mr. Heim"), a code enforcement officer for the City of New Orleans, testified that on the morning of November 26, 2014 between 9:00 and 10:00 am, he was inspecting blighted property in the wooded area behind the house located at 3308 Danneel Street. Mr. Heim noticed trash and various discarded items in the overgrown brush area. The woman who resided nearby called his attention to a trash can in the rear of the alley way and asked him to pull it out to the street. The woman said the trash can did not belong to her. When Mr. Heim attempted to move the trash can, he found it was very heavy. Because he was unable to move the trash can, Mr. Heim lifted the lid and discovered the dead body of a woman, later identified as the victim. He immediately called 911. Mr. Heim said it was apparent the victim was a woman and was deceased.

         Jerome Fedison ("Jerome"), the victim's nephew, testified that on the afternoon before his aunt's body was discovered, he stopped at his cousin's house at about 3:30 p.m. While waiting for a friend, Jerome called his aunt (the victim) on the phone. She told him she was sick. About thirty-minutes later, he saw his aunt walking around the corner. He saw two Spanish men he had never seen before standing on the corner near his aunt. One of the men rode off on a bicycle, and the other remained on the corner. Jerome flashed his truck's lights to let his aunt know he was present and waved at her. She waved back. His aunt then went back to talk to the Spanish man and then went inside the house on the corner with the man. Jerome remained outside his cousin's house for approximately 30-40 minutes and then left. During that time, he never saw his aunt come out of the corner house.

         On Thanksgiving morning, the morning his aunt's body was found, Jerome looked down the street and saw the a man exiting the Spanish man's house. Knowing that the Spanish man was the last person he saw his aunt with, Jerome approached the man in the street and confronted him. Jerome told the man, "I know what you did. You gonna [sic] feel me partner, for real." The man stood silent for ten minutes "like a damn ghost." Jerome identified the defendant at trial as the Spanish man he had last seen with his aunt.

         New Orleans Police Homicide Detective Nicholas Williams ("Detective Williams") testified he assisted in the investigation of the Trinece Fedison murder. He grew up with Trinece and her family. Detective Williams learned from the victim's family that Jerome had information on a possible suspect. He subsequently took a recorded statement from Jerome, which he turned over to Detective Bruce Brueggeman ("Detective Brueggeman"). In his statement, Jerome furnished a description and address of the suspected perpetrator.

         Darryl Schuermann testified he was the operations manager for Romeo Pappa Boats, where the defendant worked as an AB seaman. Romeo Pappa Boats' office was located in Houma, and there was a mobile home located on the property. The trailer was used to lodge outgoing crewmen from out of town for the night before a crew change so that the crewmen did not have to travel in the early morning hours. A retired Coast Guard officer named Gene lived on the property and looked after the property. Gene called Mr. Scheurmann over the weekend and informed him that the defendant had been staying in the trailer for several days.

         When Mr. Scheurmann arrived at work on the Monday morning following Thanksgiving, the defendant came into his office and said he needed to talk to him. The defendant told Mr. Scheurmann that he was sexually involved with a prostitute, the victim, and when she was leaving his house, he heard a commotion. The defendant told Mr. Scheurmann he saw a black SUV with two black men, who were harassing her.

         The defendant stated that after the victim's body was discovered, one of her family members approached him on the street and threatened to kill him, saying; "I know you did it. I'm going to kill you." The defendant explained that he had been staying in the trailer that weekend because he feared for his life. Mr. Scheurmann advised the defendant to talk to the police. The defendant indicated he was willing to talk to the police. Mr. Scheurmann contacted the lead detective and arranged an interview. When questioned relating to the defendant's previous employment, Mr. Scheurmann stated the defendant had been a butcher in New York.

         NOPD Homicide Detective Brueggeman testified he was the lead detective assigned to investigate the the victim's murder. Upon viewing the crime scene, Detective Brueggeman suspected that a sexual assault had occurred, so he requested that a sexual assault kit be completed. He learned that the trash can in which the body was found belonged to a church located across the street from the crime scene. He surmised that the murder probably happened within the immediate area because the trash would have been too heavy to move with the body of a large woman inside. Detective Brueggeman interviewed a neighbor who lived in an apartment ...


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