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State v. Davis

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

January 10, 2018

STATE OF LOUISIANA Appellee
v.
GERDERRICK DAVIS Appellant

         Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 319893 Honorable Ramona Emanuel, Judge

          LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT Peggy J. Sullivan Counsel for Appellant.

          JAMES E. STEWART, SR. District Attorney EDWIN L. BLEWER, III J. AARON CRAWFORD REBECCA ARMAND EDWARDS Assistant District Attorneys Counsel for Appellee.

          Before BROWN, PITMAN, and GARRETT, JJ.

          GARRETT, J.

         The defendant, Gerderrick Davis, was convicted of second degree murder of his girlfriend's 17-month-old son, Anthony Scott, in violation of La. R.S. 14:30.1.[1] Following the denial of his motion for post verdict judgment of acquittal, the court imposed the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. Davis appeals, claiming the evidence shows that he was guilty only of manslaughter. For the following reasons, we affirm the conviction and sentence.

         FACTS

         Davis lived in an apartment with his girlfriend, Brittany Scott, and her 17-month-old son, Anthony. Davis frequently cared for Anthony while Brittany worked at a fast food restaurant. Davis was not employed. On the evening of November 26, 2013, Anthony was fine when Brittany left for work. When she returned home at 1:00 a.m. on November 27, Davis was holding Anthony. It is not clear whether the child was conscious. Brittany called 911 and the emergency responders came to the apartment. Anthony was taken to LSU hospital and was pronounced dead. An autopsy revealed that Anthony died of a lacerated liver caused by blunt force trauma which resulted in massive internal bleeding. Numerous other bruises and injuries were noted in the autopsy; all injuries were recent. In interviews with the police, Davis initially denied causing any injuries to the child. Following the autopsy results, he eventually admitted that he struck Anthony twice in the stomach. Davis was arrested and, in recorded telephone conversations to Brittany from jail, Davis again admitted that he struck Anthony.

         Davis was originally indicted for first degree murder. The charge was later amended to second degree murder. At his jury trial, the testimony and evidence established the chain of events leading to Anthony's tragic death. Lisa Scott, the mother of Brittany and Kentrell Scott, and the grandmother of Anthony, testified that she had taken care of Anthony for two days.[2] She said Anthony was a good baby and he never cried. When Lisa dropped Anthony and Kentrell off at Brittany's apartment, Anthony did not have any bruises or marks.

         Kentrell, who was 14 at the time of trial, testified that he was staying with Brittany when Anthony died. He played dominoes with Davis and Anthony would grab a domino from the table and run, or he would throw it at Kentrell and laugh. Kentrell also tried to teach Anthony to catch a soft football. Kentrell did not hear the baby crying that day. Brittany went to work and Anthony went to sleep around 10:00 p.m. Kentrell then played dominoes with Davis and watched television. Kentrell went to sleep around 11:00 p.m. and awoke to Brittany screaming.

         Brittany testified that Anthony was born June 26, 2012. At the time of the child's death, she had been seeing Davis for four months and had been living with him for two months. Brittany stated that her mother kept Anthony for a couple of days prior to this incident and he was fine when she returned him.

         Anthony had asthma and used a nebulizer for breathing treatments. He had an asthma spell about two weeks before his death, but was not having any symptoms immediately before his death. Brittany said that Anthony ran into a wall while playing with Kentrell, but when she bathed Anthony that evening before she went to work, she did not see any marks or bruises.

         Brittany rode to work with a friend and, while she was at work, Davis called to ask when she would be home. Brittany got off work at 1:00 a.m. on November 27. When she arrived home, the door to the apartment was locked, which was unusual. She said it took Davis some time to unlock the door. Davis was pacing the floor holding Anthony. Brittany grabbed the child. Davis said it was too hot in the apartment, and the baby "might have been up under the cover." Brittany did not think the apartment was too hot.

         An emergency call was placed and Brittany rode to the hospital in the ambulance with Anthony. At the hospital, a nurse told her that Anthony "was gone" and she "fell out." Brittany was taken to her uncle's house. She learned the next day that Davis had been arrested. He called from jail to say he was sorry and "told her what he did to Anthony."

         Garrett Wilson, a paramedic with the Shreveport Fire Department responded to the 911 call regarding Anthony. He testified at trial that, upon arrival, there was a lady on a balcony screaming, "What's wrong with my baby? Help my baby." There was a man present who at times was consoling the lady and at other times was "pacing around." The child was lying on a bed and did not have a pulse. The child had obvious bruising on the face and neck and along the jawline. Wilson picked the child up and took him to the ambulance, where pediatric advanced life support was initiated. The child was intubated, an IV was started along with CPR, and attempts were made to restart the heart. Anthony had distention, rigidity, and swelling in the abdomen. He was transported to LSU Health Sciences Center where he was pronounced dead.

         Corporal Robert Morman with the Shreveport Police Department was called to secure a possible crime scene at the apartment. He was informed that a baby had been transported from the apartment to the hospital. Davis and Kentrell were at the apartment when Morman arrived. Davis was outside the apartment talking on the telephone with Brittany. Morman was told that the child had expired for unknown ...


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