Appeal from the Nineteenth Judicial District Court In and for
the Parish of East Baton Rouge State of Louisiana No.
09-12-0583 Honorable Richard Moore, III, Judge Presiding
Moore District Attorney Dylan C. Alge Assistant District
Attorney Baton Rouge, LA Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellee State
M. Hillman Covington, LA Counsel for Defendant/ Appellant
BEFORE: McCLENDON, WELCH, AND THERIOT, JJ.
defendant, Aaron Williams, was charged by bill of information
with false imprisonment; offender armed with dangerous
weapon, a violation of LSA-R.S. 14:46.1 (count 1); domestic
abuse aggravated assault (minor child thirteen years age or
younger present at residence), a violation of LSA-R.S.
14:37.7 (count 2); and aggravated assault with a firearm, a
violation of LSA-R.S. 14:37.4 (count 3). The defendant pled
not guilty to the charges and, following a jury trial, was
found not guilty on count 1 (false imprisonment) and guilty
as charged on counts 2 and 3. For the domestic abuse
aggravated assault conviction, the defendant was sentenced to
two years imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of
parole, probation, or suspension of sentence; for the
aggravated assault with a firearm conviction, the defendant
was sentenced to three years imprisonment at hard labor. The
sentences were ordered to run consecutively. The trial court
suspended the sentence for the aggravated assault with a
firearm conviction, and placed the defendant on supervised
probation for four years with conditions. The defendant now
appeals, designating two assignments of error. For the
following reasons, we affirm the convictions and sentences.
defendant, his girlfriend Precious Kotte, and Precious'
three-year-old son lived in an apartment in Tigerland on
Alvin Dark Avenue in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. On August 2,
2012, at about 3:30 a.m., the defendant and Precious were
arguing in their bedroom, while Precious's son was asleep
in his bedroom. Precious had slept with another man a year
prior, and the defendant sought information regarding that
incident. Precious refused to tell the defendant anything
about it. The defendant walked to the dresser and removed
from the top drawer Precious's Glock 17 semi-automatic
pistol. The defendant sat on the bed and insisted that
Precious tell him about her past relationship with another
man. When Precious still refused to tell him anything, the
defendant straddled Precious and essentially sat on her
torso, with his knees on either side of her. The defendant
put the barrel of the gun against Precious's left temple
and told her he was going to kill her with her own gun, throw
her body in the river, and no one would ever know. The
defendant then fired the gun just above Precious's head.
The bullet traveled through a picture frame and metal sign on
the nightstand and became lodged in the base of a lamp.
and angry, Precious berated the defendant for firing the gun.
The defendant sat on the edge of the bed, still holding the
gun. He continued to ask about her past relationship, and
Precious told him everything he wanted to know. They talked
for hours and, every once in a while, the defendant put the
gun down and went to the bathroom or to the kitchen. During
most of their conversing, however, the defendant held on to
the gun and repeatedly beseeched Precious to give him one
good reason why he should not shoot her for cheating on him.
They finally came to terms, and Precious, to appease
defendant, agreed to get off of birth control and to marry
him within two weeks. The defendant then put the gun in his
backpack on the dining room table and went to sleep. It was
now approximately 11:30 a.m. Precious took the gun from the
backpack, grabbed her child, and left the apartment.
went to the Baton Rouge City Constable's Office on St.
Louis Street because, in the past, she had seen police around
that area. Frantic and crying, Precious gave her gun to two
constables, who took her inside and called the Baton Rouge
Police Department. Detective Walter Griffin, with the Baton
Rouge Police Department, arrived at the constable's
office a short time later and interviewed Precious. Police
then went to the apartment and arrested the defendant. The
defendant was brought to the police station and gave a
recorded statement. The defendant admitted he had the gun and
that he shot it, but told the detectives that it accidentally
OF ERROR NO. 1
first assignment of error, the defendant argues there is
patent error on the face of the record.
applicable law at the time of the incident is the amended
version of LSA-R.S. 14:37.4, which provides that aggravated
assault with a firearm is an assault committed with a
firearm. Prior to the amendment, which took effect in May of
2012, LSA-R.S. 14:37 .4 provided that aggravated assault with
a firearm is an assault committed by the discharge of a
firearm. The bill of information charged that the defendant
committed the crime of aggravated assault with a firearm by
"discharging a firearm." Following closing
arguments, the trial court instructed the jury that this
crime was an assault committed by the "discharge of a
firearm." The defendant contends that the use of this
language constituted patent error because the discharge of a
firearm is no longer an element of the offense.
error is an error that is discoverable by a mere inspection
of the pleadings and proceedings and without inspection of
the evidence. LSA-C.Cr.P. art. 920(2). We find no patent
error on the face of the record. There is nothing erroneous
about the language used in Count 3, wherein the State charged
that on August 2, 2012, "the defendant assaulted
Precious Kotte, by discharging a firearm[.]" While
discharging a firearm is not an element of the offense of
aggravated assault with a firearm that the State must prove,
the defendant nevertheless assaulted Precious Kotte with a
firearm when he armed himself with a gun, repeatedly pointed
it at Precious, and threatened to kill her. See State v.
Lafleur, 16-467 (La.App. 3 ...