APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF ST. CHARLES, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 16, 268, DIVISION
"C" HONORABLE EMILE R. ST. PIERRE, JUDGE PRESIDING
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Joel T.
Chaisson, II Louis G. Authement
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, JAVON WELLS Jane L. Beebe
composed of Judges Jude G. Gravois, Marc E. Johnson, and
Marion F. Edwards, Judge Pro Tempore
F. EDWARDS, JUDGE PRO TEMPORE JUDGE.
appeals his conviction for second degree murder. For the
reasons that follow, defendant's conviction and sentence
20, 2016, a grand jury in the Twenty-Ninth Judicial District
returned a bill of indictment that alleged defendant, Javon
Wells, had committed second degree murder of Kendall Williams
on or about May 4, 2016. On July 26, 2016, defendant pled not
guilty at arraignment. The matter proceeded to a jury trial
on May 23, 2017, and on May 25, 2017, defendant was found
guilty as charged. Defendant's motion for new trial was
denied on July 11, 2017, and, on that same date, he was
sentenced to life in prison at hard labor without benefit of
probation, parole or suspension of sentence. This timely
trial, Isis Miller testified that she had been a classmate of
the victim, Kendall Williams ("Williams"), at
Destrehan High School, and that she and Williams had also
dated prior to his death. Williams would visit Miller in New
Sarpy and they would spend time together at her
grandmother's residence or in the community park.
Williams also had close friends in New Sarpy that he would
spend time with, "Lamar, " and "Lou
Donovan" who lived in close proximity to the park.
Miller stated that she was not aware that Williams had any
enemies who lived in the New Sarpy area.
was with Williams on the day he was killed, first at a
graduation party and later at a pavilion in the park. After
meeting for 45 minutes in the park, Williams walked her back
to her grandmother's house and they made plans to go to
the mall the following day. It was the last time that Miller
saw him. Upon leaving her grandmother's house, she saw
numerous policemen nearby. Later that evening, she learned
that Williams had been shot in the head.
cross-examination, Miller testified that she had told
detectives that she and Williams arrived at the park at 7:00
p.m. and spent approximately one hour there, prior to when he
was shot. She did not recall seeing defendant, Javon Wells,
at the park on that day.
Donovan Wells ("Lou' Donovan") testified that
he knew Williams, and had been friends with him for four
years prior to Williams' death. Lou' Donovan was with
Williams on the date he was shot and had spent time with him
and others, including Lou' Donovan's brother, Lamar
Walker, "under the gazebo" in New Sarpy. Lou'
Donovan grew up in the area near the gazebo, and his home on
East Hoover St. was nearby. To his knowledge, Lou'
Donovan was not aware that Williams had any enemies in the
area. Lou' Donovan stated that Williams was still at the
gazebo with his friends when he left, and later he saw
Williams walking with Isis Miller to her grandmother's
house. Approximately 20 minutes after walking with Isis,
Williams returned to the gazebo alone, and joined Lou'
Donovan, "JJ", Gerald Young, and his brother, Lamar
Donovan saw defendant, who is his first cousin, approach the
gazebo and the two briefly "dapped off, " which is
a form of greeting. Lou' Donovan then started to return
to his bench in the middle of the gazebo, when Williams was
shot. Lou' Donovan did not see defendant draw a weapon
before he shot Williams, who was looking at his phone at the
time. He did see after the shooting, however, that defendant
was holding a small gun in his hand. Williams and defendant
did not argue just before the shooting. After shooting
Williams, defendant walked straight back to the street and
"just left." Lou' Donovan explained that the
entire incident happened very quickly.
Donovan testified that he believed his brother had
"walked off" at the time of the shooting, but came
back shortly thereafter to see Williams on the ground. JJ was
standing behind the middle bench of the gazebo at the time
the single shot was fired.
after the shooting, Lou' Donovan was "in shock,
" became very "emotional" and
"overwhelmed, " and then took off his shirt and
work hat, throwing them into the street. He stayed in that
state until "Miss Branette" arrived and called the
police using his cell phone. When the police arrived, they
put Lou' Donovan and his brother, Lamar, in the back of a
car and drove them to the police station. Lou' Donovan
said that he was a little reluctant to name defendant, his
cousin, as the shooter, but he told detectives the truth
about what happened. Lou' Donovan did not recall if he
told detectives that night whether JJ was present at the time
of the shooting. Lou' Donovan had no doubt that defendant
was the person who killed Williams. Lou' Donovan
identified a map that was shown to him by the State, which he
had used to show the detectives where everyone was located at
the time Williams was shot.
cross-examination, Lou' Donovan denied telling detectives
that he only "thought" defendant had killed
Williams. Lou' Donovan stated that Williams had been back
from walking Isis Miller to her grandmother's house for
approximately 15 minutes before he was shot. He did not call
911 prior to the time that Branette Chopin arrived. Lou'
Donovan said that he never told detectives that he "saw
a guy with dreads" at the scene of the shooting, but
rather that defendant had dreads (dreadlocks). When asked by
defense counsel, Lou' Donovan admitted that he had to be
arrested and held on a material witness bond to compel his
re-direct examination, Lou' Donovan testified that there
was no clock underneath the gazebo. He also stated that he
did not know anything about firearms, nor could he identify
the gun defendant used to kill Williams.
Walker ("Lamar") testified that he and Williams had
known each other since sixth grade and that the two were
close. Lamar and Williams were together on the day of the
shooting at the gazebo across the street from the house where
Lamar grew up. Lamar went to meet Williams after speaking
with him on the phone and learning that Williams and his
brother were going to get together in New Sarpy that day.
Lamar met with Williams, his brother Lou' Donovan, and
Gerald at the gazebo. At some point, Isis Miller came to meet
Williams for approximately one hour around sundown. Williams
walked Isis to her grandmother's house then returned to
the gazebo. While Lamar started walking toward Williams
inside the gazebo, he saw defendant standing over by his
brother. Defendant was wearing a black shirt and had a
dreadlock hairstyle. Lamar then saw defendant walk up to
Williams and shoot him in the back of the head. Lamar only
heard one single gunshot. ...