FROM THE THIRTIETH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF VERNON,
NO. 89944 HONORABLE VERNON BRUCE CLARK, DISTRICT JUDGE
C. Marx, Louisiana Appellate Project, COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Curtis Cheley.
Asa Allen Skinner, Thirtieth Judicial District Attorney Terry
W. Lambright, First Assistant District Attorney, COUNSEL FOR
APPELLEE: State of Louisiana.
composed of Marc T. Amy, Shannon J. Gremillion, and Phyllis
M. Keaty, Judges.
SHANNON J. GREMILLION JUDGE
Curtis Cheley, appeals his conviction for aggravated second
degree battery and his sentence therefore and, in a
consolidated appeal, his adjudication as a third felony
offender. For the reasons that follow, we affirm his
conviction, vacate his sentence, and remand for proceedings
consistent with this opinion.
AND PROCEDURAL POSTURE
28, 2016, Sergeant Jerol Morrow of the Leesville Police
Department was dispatched by a 9-1-1 operator to an incident
involving Defendant. Sergeant Morrow knew Defendant and where
he was living, so the sergeant proceeded to that location. On
arrival, Sergeant Morrow witnessed Defendant on the ground
struggling with a woman. Defendant was seen striking the
woman and yelling at her, "Where's my kids?
Where's my kids?" Sergeant Morrow, a trailing
officer, and Deputy Paul Davis of the Vernon Parish
Sheriff's Office, attempted to restrain Defendant.
Sergeant Morrow was forced to administer pepper spray to
effect the arrest of Defendant.
woman Defendant battered was unresponsive to Sergeant
Morrow's attempts to speak to her. Her face was very
swollen, and her mouth was bloodied. She was identified as
Ms. Mary Pittmon. Ms. Pittmon had been staying at
Defendant's aunt's house, where Defendant also was
and Ms. Pittmon were alone in the house on the morning of
June 28, 2016. Ms. Pittmon was seated on the couch. Defendant
was talking with someone on his phone, and stated,
"I'm gonna take her out." Ms. Pittmon had no
idea to whom Defendant was referring until he grabbed a red
pipe, tucked it under his arm, and strode toward her with
evident intent to strike her. Defendant struck Ms. Pittmon
twice with the pipe, once on the head and once on her arm.
Ms. Pittmon attempted to stand up, but slipped. Defendant
then began to choke Ms. Pittmon with the pipe. He then lifted
Ms. Pittmon and moved her toward the front door. Outside,
Defendant pushed Ms. Pittmon to the ground on her stomach and
began to punch her with his fists. Defendant was angrily
asking Ms. Pittmon why she did not "feed his kids,
" whom Ms. Pittmon had never met. The beating continued
until Sergeant Morrow intervened.
result of the beating, Ms. Pittmon sustained a broken tooth,
mouth lacerations, and several bruises. She was transported
to Byrd Memorial Hospital in Leesville, then to LSU Medical
Center in Shreveport. This hospital move was necessitated by
tachycardia Ms. Pittmon was experiencing following the
September 6, 2016, the State filed a bill of information
charging Defendant with aggravated second degree battery, a
violation of La.R.S. 14:34.7. The parties selected a
six-member jury on January 17, 2017. The jury began hearing
evidence on the same date. Proceedings continued on the
following day, and the jury found Defendant guilty as
January 31, 2017, the State filed a bill of information
charging Defendant as a third habitual offender, pursuant to
La.R.S. 15:529.1. The trial court heard the matter on the
same date and adjudicated Defendant as charged.On March 14, the
court sentenced Defendant to twenty-two-and-one-half years at
hard labor. In imposing this sentence, though, the trial
court stated that the sentence was imposed without regard to
habitual offender enhancement. Defendant now seeks review by