APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 14-987, DIVISION
"L" HONORABLE DONALD A. ROWAN, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Paul D.
Connick, Jr. Terry M. Boudreaux Darren A. Allemand.
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, TROY C. KELLY Sherry A.
composed of Judges Fredericka Homberg Wicker, Hans J.
Liljeberg, and Marion F. Edwards, Judge Pro Tempore.
J. LILJEBERG JUDGE.
Troy C. Kelly, appeals his conviction and sentence for second
degree murder. For the following reasons, we affirm and
remand for correction of the Uniform Commitment Order.
19, 2014, a Jefferson Parish Grand Jury returned an
indictment charging defendant, Troy C. Kelly, with the second
degree murder of two-year-old S.B.,  in violation of La. R.S.
14:30.1. Defendant pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on
June 20, 2014.
February 27, 2014, prior to his indictment and arraignment,
defendant filed a Motion to Allow Independent Autopsy upon
the body of S.B. On February 28, 2014, a commissioner heard
oral argument and denied defendant's motion, noting that
S.B.'s funeral was the following day, and finding that
defendant failed to serve the coroner's office, the
funeral home, or the mother of the deceased child with the
motion. Thus, the trial court noted that, even if it granted
defendant's motion, the court could not stop the burial
from moving forward the following day. The trial court
further noted that defendant would have the right to apply to
have the body exhumed at a later date.
October 19, 2016, the State filed a notice pursuant to La.
C.Cr.P. art. 719, notifying defendant that it intended to
introduce the expert opinion testimony of Dr. Neha Mehta in
the field of child abuse pediatrics. On October 25, 2016,
defendant filed an opposition to the State's notice
asserting Dr. Mehta did not possess the requisite expertise
and knowledge needed to offer her opinion. On October 26,
2016, the trial court denied defendant's opposition to
Dr. Mehta's expert testimony.
commenced before a twelve-person jury on February 14, 2017.
On February 16, 2017, the jury returned a verdict of guilty
as charged. On February 24, 2017, defendant filed motions for
new trial and post-verdict judgment of acquittal, which the
trial court denied on March 2, 2017. After defendant waived
delays, the trial court sentenced defendant to life
imprisonment at hard labor without the benefit of parole,
probation, or suspension of sentence. Defendant filed a
motion for appeal, which was granted by the trial court on
March 7, 2017.
morning of February 21, 2014, Alencia Batiste found her
two-year-old son, S.B., unresponsive in his bed. Defendant,
Alencia's boyfriend, was not in the apartment at the
time. Upon discovering S.B., Alencia carried him into the
kitchen and then called defendant to ask him to return home.
Alencia attempted CPR on S.B. before running to get help from
her neighbor, Audrey Wallace, and calling 9-1-1. Ms. Wallace
also attempted to perform CPR on S.B. to no
Parish paramedic, Hanna Ravain, recalled entering the Batiste
apartment at 7:25 a.m. to find Ms. Wallace performing CPR on
S.B. with Alencia in the room. She recalled that Alencia was
emotionless and provided little information regarding the
circumstances of her son's condition. Ms. Ravain did not
attempt CPR on the child as it was obvious he was deceased
because she saw evidence of rigor and he was cold to the
touch. She explained to the jury that rigor, the stiffening
of the body, typically presents itself a couple of hours
after death. Ms. Ravain further observed bruising to
S.B.'s left arm, right shoulder, lower abdomen, chest and
face, which in her experience was not consistent with CPR
attempts. While outside and before leaving the scene, Ms.
Ravain overheard Alencia's mother, Claudette Batiste, say
to Alencia "[y]ou f**king killed him; I told you; I knew
this was going to happen; you did this."
Detective Jean Lincoln of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's
Office testified regarding his prior experience in the
Personal Violence Division including his specialized training
in the area of child abuse in connection with homicides. He
explained that when he arrived on the scene, he immediately
noticed bruising in the pattern of fingertip impressions
present on S.B.'s chest.
Dana Troxclair, expert in the field of forensic pathology,
performed the autopsy on S.B. She testified that the child
presented with multiple contusions (bruises) to his body,
including his scalp, chin, chest, arm, abdomen, and a
hematoma (a collection of blood) underneath his scalp. She
noted that rigor was present in the child's face and
upper extremities, which typically begins to form within an
hour or two after death. Dr. Troxclair explained that the
bruises present on the child's chest and back were not
the result of any lifesaving efforts such as CPR, but rather
were possibly fingerprint marks caused from holding the
child. She further opined that the bruises on the child were
"fresh bruises" as indicated by their purple/red
color, establishing they were likely sustained within 24
hours prior to his death. She further explained that the head
injuries suffered by S.B. were not typical of self-inflicted
wounds normally found on a child.
conducting the internal examination of S.B., Dr. Troxclair
observed blood in his abdomen and noted he sustained
fractures to nine of his ribs, causing a lacerated lung. She
also discovered S.B.'s liver and spleen sustained
lacerations caused by blunt force trauma to his abdomen,
along with hemorrhage to his diaphragm also caused by blunt
force trauma. Dr. Troxclair further explained the blood
found in S.B.'s abdomen was the result of his abdomen
being forcefully pushed into his backbone. S.B.'s heart
and kidneys were also pale in color due to the amount of
blood loss, indicating that S.B. "bled out, "
having lost a third of his total blood volume. Dr. Troxclair
opined that a child could only live a couple of hours at most
with the injuries S.B. sustained. Dr. Troxclair also opined
that the injuries S.B. sustained did not occur from simply
pulling the child out of the bathtub by his arm, but could
have been caused by pulling the child from the bathtub and
throwing him against a toilet. S.B.'s death was
classified as a homicide with death caused by multiple blunt
mother, Alencia, testified that in addition to S.B., she has
four other young children. On the night of February 20, 2014,
she ran the water for her children's bath before leaving
to go to the Dollar General Store,  leaving defendant with her
children. When she returned she could not recall whether the
boys were in bed, however, nothing seemed out of the
ordinary. She did recall S.B. was a little more
"whiney" that night so she gave him a dose of
Children's Tylenol. She testified that S.B. shared a room
with his two older brothers, who were six and three years old
at that time, and they all slept on the bottom bunk of a bunk
bed. They would often jump from the top bunk down to the
bottom; but, she was not aware of them engaging in this
behavior on the evening at issue. Alencia noted that after the
children were in bed she heard them playing in their room.
She recalled going into the room and seeing S.B. sitting up
in bed "whining."
went to the police station along with defendant for
questioning after finding S.B. dead. She explained that
defendant moved in with her approximately one month prior to
her son's death and that her mother did not approve of
him. She further testified that she never disciplined her
children, which was a point of contention between herself and
defendant. Alencia recalled an instance when another one of
her sons spit on defendant, who then quickly grabbed the
child and tapped him on the hand. Alencia told defendant to
never put his hands on her children again. Alencia testified
that she initially provided inconsistent answers to the
police regarding what happened on the evening prior to
S.B.'s death, including whether she or defendant bathed
and/or dressed the children that night, because she was in
shock over the death of her son.
Gabriel Faucetta of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office
interviewed defendant while the autopsy of S.B. was taking
place. During the interview, defendant told Deputy Faucetta
that on February 20, 2014, he arrived home from work around
4:00 p.m. The children were home with Alencia, they cooked
dinner and then ate together as a family around 6:00 or 7:00
p.m. Defendant initially told Deputy Faucetta that around
8:00 p.m., the three boys, including S.B., bathed and then
played in their room while he and Alencia watched television
in the living room. He explained that around 8:30 p.m., they
told the boys to go to bed.
asked about the bruises on S.B.'s chest, defendant stated
they were likely caused by falling out of the bed or the
shower, explaining that S.B. and his brothers often engaged
in horseplay with each other. Defendant denied disciplining
the children. When told S.B. had numerous bruises, defendant
stated someone must have punched or poked S.B. Defendant then
recalled that two days prior to S.B.'s death, Alencia
told him the boys were jumping off the bunk
Defendant also stated that Alencia did not hurt S.B.,
explaining that Alencia does not hit her children.
Detective Faucetta advised defendant that the coroner
discovered S.B. had multiple broken ribs, defendant again
mentioned the boys were "horse playing" in their
room before going to bed around 10:00 p.m. Detective Faucetta
then told defendant that S.B.'s injuries were consistent
with compressions. At first, defendant denied touching S.B.,
but then admitted he sometimes grabbed the boys by their
in the interview, defendant admitted that in the past he
picked S.B. up by the torso, underneath his arms, and sternly
asked him about his repeated bathroom accidents. He explained
S.B. used to wet himself almost every day and he picked him
up multiple times to bring him to the toilet. He expressed
his frustration towards Alencia's "potty
training" efforts, stating that he felt S.B. should not
still be wearing diapers. Detective Faucetta discussed in
more detail the injuries S.B. sustained, to which defendant
stated that if he did hurt S.B., he did not intend to hurt
him. He then explained that the night before his death, S.B.
defecated in the bathtub. He stated that he made S.B. remove
the waste from the bathtub with his hands and throw it in the
toilet before Alencia returned home from the store, and then
finished bathing and dressing the boys for bed.
Faucetta explained the importance of finding out what
happened to S.B., at which time defendant said it was
probably from him holding S.B. Then, when asked by the
detective if he was rough with S.B., defendant admitted to
squeezing S.B. He further revealed that he snatched S.B. from
the bathtub by the arm when he defecated in the tub and
tossed him into the toilet to get him out of his way.
Defendant stated he got angry because the boys were playing
in the feces in the bathtub. He then demonstrated the way in
which he picked up S.B., placing both hands underneath
S.B.'s armpits and around his chest area. He admitted he
may have grabbed S.B. too hard when he pulled him out of the
tub and S.B. hit the toilet on his side ribs. Defendant
explained that S.B. made a whining sound like he was hurt and
agreed his actions hurt S.B, even though he did not intend to
hurt him when he threw him against the toilet. Defendant also
admitted Alencia was at the store when S.B. defecated in the
asked about Alencia's mother, Claudette, who often
watched the children, defendant recalled arguing with
Claudette because she did not chastise her grandchildren when
two of them wet the bed. He also recalled an incident when he
and Alencia first started dating when he "popped"
S.B. because of a bathroom accident. Alencia told him she
would not let him hit her kids. Defendant stated kids should
be "whopped" if they are out of line.
in the interview, defendant admitted his actions were more
aggressive than he originally explained, further admitting
that after he got home from work that afternoon he also
"grabbed" S.B. because he wet himself. Defendant
also admitted he did not tell Alencia about the incident in
the bathtub because she would be mad if she knew he grabbed
S.B. from the tub and threw him against the toilet. Defendant
then stated that looking back he should have told Alencia
what occurred because she could have called the ambulance.
next morning when he went to get S.B. out of bed and saw he
was dead, defendant was worried about what happened the night
before. Defendant claimed it was a mistake and he did not
intend to hurt S.B. When asked by the detective how S.B.
died, he stated it was from throwing S.B. into the toilet. He
then agreed that he should go to jail for what he did to
S.B., acknowledging that his actions killed S.B., but not
intentionally. At one point during the interview, Detective
Faucetta left room, and defendant said "Forgive me,
Troy. I'm sorry, Jesus, I'm sorry momma, I didn't
mean -I didn't mean to, I'm not like this, what am I
doing with my life."
mother, Claudette Batiste, testified that she and her
boyfriend, Simon Hicks, watched S.B. and his brother the day
before he was killed. She explained that when she returned
S.B. to Alencia's apartment, he had no marks on his body.
She further recalled that S.B had a cold, but was not whining
or in pain. The next morning, Claudette called Alencia to
tell her to get S.B. ready for an outing at the zoo and about
ten minutes later she received a call back from her daughter
who was screaming that S.B. was unresponsive. When Claudette
arrived at the ...