FROM THE ELEVENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF SABINE,
NO. 75292 HONORABLE STEPHEN B. BEASLEY, DISTRICT JUDGE
C. Tizzard COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Kentrell D.
Burkett District Attorney Anna L. Garcie Assistant District
Attorney Eleventh Judicial District COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE:
State of Louisiana
composed of Phyllis M. Keaty, John E. Conery, and Van H.
defendant, Kentrell D. McElroy, appeals his convictions for
armed robbery and aggravated kidnapping. For the following
reasons, we affirm the conviction for armed robbery, but
vacate the conviction for aggravated kidnapping.
OF THE RECORD
defendant was charged by bill of information filed on
November 12, 2015, with aggravated kidnapping, a violation of
La.R.S. 14:44, and armed robbery, a violation of La.R.S.
14:64. After waiving his right to trial by jury, a bench
trial was held on January 17, 2017.
evidence at trial established that the victim, Latasha
McKinney, a shift manager at the Many, Louisiana Pizza Hut
restaurant, was taking a deposit to the bank on August 24,
2015, when a man, who was hiding in the backseat of her car,
pointed a gun at her face and ordered her to keep driving. As
she drove on, she noticed a silver car following her car. The
defendant subsequently took Ms. McKinney's phone and the
cash from the money bag and threw five twenty-dollar bills at
her as he exited her car. He then got into the silver car,
which drove off. The evidence established that more than $3,
000.00 was taken from Ms. McKinney.
McKinney first identified the defendant from a photographic
lineup. She later identified him as the perpetrator during
her trial testimony. At the close of the bench trial, the
trial court found the defendant guilty of both aggravated
kidnapping and armed robbery.
defendant filed a motion for post-verdict judgment of
acquittal, which was denied by the trial court. He was then
sentenced to life in prison at hard labor, without the
benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence, on
the aggravated kidnapping conviction, and twenty years at
hard labor, without benefit of probation, parole, or
suspension of sentence, on the armed robbery conviction, with
both sentences ordered to run concurrently.
appeal, the defendant argues that the charge of aggravated
kidnapping was improperly instituted by bill of information
and that the evidence was insufficient to prove that he
committed each of the offenses.
accordance with La.Code Crim.P. art. 920, all appeals are
reviewed for errors patent on the face of the record. After
reviewing the record, we find that there are two errors
patent, one of which is directly raised by the defendant
herein and is addressed in our discussion of his first
assignment of error.
addition, the defendant waived his right to trial by jury and
elected to be tried by a judge alone. While a written waiver
was filed on October 18, 2016, it was signed only by counsel
for the defendant and not signed by the defendant himself, as
required by La.Code Crim.P. art. 780. In addition, the
written waiver referenced only the charge of aggravated
kidnapping. However, the October 27, 2016 court minutes
indicate that the defendant and his attorney were present in
court when the trial court personally addressed the defendant
concerning his right to a jury trial and the waiver thereof.
Thereafter, the trial court found that the defendant had
"knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily waived his
right to a trial by jury[;]" thus, rendering the error