from the Forty-Second Judicial District Court for the Parish
of DeSoto, Louisiana Trial Court No. 16CR27204 Honorable Amy
Burford McCartney, Judge.
LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Peggy J. Sullivan Counsel for
V. EVANS District Attorney.
WINSTON, III Assistant District Attorney.
WILLIAMS, STONE, and STEPHENS, JJ.
Carman pled guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to the
maximum penalty of 40 years at hard labor. He now appeals,
arguing his sentence is unconstitutionally excessive. For the
following reasons, Carman's conviction and sentence are
December 28, 2015, Donovan Carman ("Carman")
contacted his estranged girlfriend, Deidra Nichols
("Nichols"), to arrange the pickup of their
two-year-old daughter, Emma. Nichols advised Carman he could
not pick up Emma because it was "too cold" outside.
Notwithstanding Nichols' objection, Carman left his job
in Bossier City and drove approximately 22 minutes to the
home of Nichols' parents in Stonewall, with whom Nichols
and her three children resided.
arriving at the Nichols residence and knocking on the door,
Carman placed both hands into the front pocket of his hoodie.
Nichols' elderly and disabled father, Bobby Nichols
("Bobby"), opened the front door and Carman pulled
a gun from his pocket and shot Bobby in the head. Bobby
subsequently died from the gunshot wound.
February 25, 2016, Carman was indicted for the second-degree
murder of Bobby. On February 14, 2017, pursuant to a plea
agreement, the State amended the indictment and filed a bill
of information charging Carman with manslaughter to which
Carman subsequently pled guilty. On May 18, 2017, a
sentencing hearing was held and a presentence investigation
(PSI) report was ordered. Thereafter, the trial court
sentenced Carman to 40 years at hard labor. Carman timely
filed a motion to reconsider the sentence, which was denied.
On appeal, Carman argues his 40-year sentence, which is the
maximum sentence for a conviction of manslaughter, is
unconstitutionally harsh and excessive.
trial court has wide discretion in the imposition of
sentences within the statutory limits and such sentences
should not be set aside as excessive in the absence of a
manifest abuse of that discretion. State v.
Williams, 03-3514 (La. 12/13/04), 893 So.2d 7; State
v. Allen, 49, 642 (La.App. 2 Cir. 02/26/15), 162 So.3d
519, writ denied, 15-0608 (La. 01/25/16), 184 So.3d
1289. A trial judge is in the best position to consider the
aggravating and mitigating circumstances of a particular
case, and, therefore, is given broad discretion in
sentencing. State v. Allen, supra; State v. Zeigler,
42, 661 (La.App. 2 Cir. 10/24/07), 968 So.2d 875. On review,
an appellate court does not determine whether another
sentence may have been more appropriate, but whether the
trial court abused its discretion. State v. Jackson,
48, 534 (La.App. 2 Cir. 01/15/14), 130 So.3d 993.
general rule, maximum or near-maximum sentences are reserved
for the worst offenders and the worst offenses. State v.
Cozzetto, 07-2031 La. 02/15/08), 974 So.2d 665;
State v. Hogan, 47, 993 (La.App. 2 Cir. 04/10/13),