FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 526-096,
SECTION "SECTION D" Honorable Paul A Bonin, Judge
Cannizzaro, Jr. District Attorney Kyle C. Daly Assistant
District Attorney DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE PARISH OF
ORLEANS COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE/ STATE OF LOUISIANA
Katherine M. Franks LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT COUNSEL FOR
APPELLANT/JANERO L. MCBRIDE
composed of Judge Terri F. Love, Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano,
Judge Dennis R. Bagneris, Pro Tempore
R. Bagneris, Pro Tempore Judge.
Janero L. McBride, appeals his convictions and sentences on
three counts of criminal activity. For reasons that follow,
we affirm the convictions and sentences.
August 27, 2015, a grand jury returned an indictment charging
both Janero McBride and Jacob Love with the second degree
murder of Toby Roche, in violation of R.S. 14:30.1; two
counts of attempted second degree murder of Dejon Miguel and
Malik Miguel, in violation of R.S. 14:27; and one count of
obstruction of justice (in connection with the murder of Toby
Roche) when the punishment is death or life imprisonment at
hard labor, in violation of R.S. 14:130.1(B)(1).
February 16, 2017, Jacob Love entered into a plea agreement
with the State on all charges. As for Janero McBride, the
obstruction of justice charge was severed and ultimately
dismissed, while the remaining charges were tried to a jury
that returned a guilty verdict on all charges. McBride was
sentenced to life imprisonment on count one and thirty years
each on counts two and three, all sentences to run
concurrently at hard labor without the benefit of probation,
parole, or suspension of sentence. Defendant timely appeals
his convictions and sentences to this Court.
the course of defendant's two-day trial, the jury heard
testimony from several New Orleans Police Department officers
and detectives who investigated the shooting incident or who
were otherwise involved with the incident; they heard
testimony from the sister of the deceased shooting victim;
testimony from a forensic pathologist; and testimony from
Walter Powers, Commander of the Communications Unit of the
New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), testified that NOPD
received a 9-1-1 call reporting a homicide on May 13, 2015 at
2:29 p.m. from Melba's Café on Elysian Fields
Avenue. The caller described the shooter as a black male
wearing a black T-shirt and black face mask and driving a
burgundy car. The dispatch report further indicated that a
possible suspect was hiding under a house on Spain Street.
Another call received at 2:55 p.m. reported that a victim
named Dejon Miguel had been admitted to University Hospital.
Neither a name nor a physical description of the perpetrator
was provided in either call.
Detective Johnny Magee testified that he was driving to the
police station down North Robertson when he heard gunshots
coming from Melba's on the opposite side of the street.
When he looked in the direction of the gunshots, he observed
a male with a black towel or shirt covering his face who was
shooting at another car. Detective Magee pulled into a
parking lot and called for assistance on his radio. He
observed one of the vehicles exit Melba's parking lot and
drive down Marais Street. Detective Magee pursued a white
Hyundai, but he was unable to maintain its location. When
asked about surveillance video that recorded the incident,
Detective Magee indicated that the video showed a man exit a
white vehicle and shoot at a red vehicle. As the shooter
walked back to his car, the video showed Magee's police
unit passing the scene. Detective Magee admitted that he
could not identify the initial shooter, that he was unaware
of the number of occupants in the vehicle, and that he did
not know the vehicle's license plate number, although he
believed the car had a Florida plate.
Homicide Detective Ryan Vaught testified that the incident
involved several crime scenes, and he assisted in processing
the scene at Melba's. Detective Vaught observed that many
vehicles in the parking lot sustained damage during the
shooting, and the ground was littered with spent cartridge
casings that were collected as evidence. At least one casing
was fired from a forty-caliber Smith and Wesson. Detective
Vaught explained that he was able to obtain the surveillance
footage from Melba's that recorded the incident. He did
not conduct any witness interviews at the scene, however.
Homicide Detective Tindell Murdock, Jr., testified that he
was initially assigned to process the crime scene at
Melba's with Detective Vaught by helping to locate all of
the physical evidence at the scene. Subsequently he was
reassigned to the scene in the 2300 block of Marais Street,
where possible suspects may have discarded evidence from a
vehicle as they fled. At the Marais Street crime scene, Det.
Murdock collected two forty-caliber Glock semi-automatic
weapons, shattered magazine pieces, and several live rounds
that appeared to have been ejected from the broken magazines.
Homicide Detective Rayell Johnson was the lead detective on
the case. He testified that, in addition to the crime scenes
at Melba's and at Marais Street, there was a third crime
scene at the corner of Crozat and Iberville Streets where the
deceased body of Toby Roche was discovered in the passenger
seat of a red Honda Accord. Detective Johnson observed
multiple bullet holes all over the vehicle. Detective Johnson
also testified that Dejon Miguel, another shooting victim,
had been relocated to a nearby hospital where he was treated
for gunshot wounds to his back and both of his hands.
time that the red vehicle was discovered, the doors were
open, spent cartridge casings had collected on the front
windshield, both the windshield and passenger side door were
riddled with bullet holes, and the rear windshield had been
shot out. There was blood on the steering wheel and
throughout the interior, and a loaded handgun was found on
the floorboard behind the passenger seat.
Johnson testified that ballistic testing revealed that the
bullet casings recovered from Melba's parking lot were
fired from the guns found at the Marais Street scene, and the
casings recovered from the deceased's vehicle were fired
from the gun found on the floorboard of the same vehicle.
NOPD Crime Lab ballistics expert, Sean McElrath, testified
that twenty casings at Melba's were fired from one of the
forty-caliber Glock semiautomatic handguns recovered from the
Marais crime scene and eight were fired from the other.
Additionally, eight casings recovered from the search of the
victims' car at NOPD headquarters were fired from a nine
millimeter Smith and Wesson found in the victims'
Detective Johnson finished processing the crime scene at
Crozat and Iberville Streets, he went to the homicide office
to interview a suspect, Jacob Love. Following the interview,
he obtained an arrest warrant for both Love and defendant.
Detective Johnson testified that approximately one month
later, federal marshals located and arrested defendant in
Austin, Texas and returned him to New Orleans. Detective
Johnson took DNA samples from Jacob Love and from defendant,
but neither the suspects' nor the victims'
"identities" were discovered on any of the weapons
Johnson interviewed Dejon Miguel at the hospital, but
"he said he didn't see anything, didn't know
anything, [and] wasn't cooperative." Upon viewing
the surveillance video footage that Detective Vaught had
recovered from Melba's, Detective Johnson agreed that the
footage showed three individuals, identified as the victims,
entering their vehicle in Melba's parking lot when a
white car, belonging to the perpetrators, pulled into the
lot. The footage showed the passenger in the white car firing
a gun multiple times. It appeared to Detective Johnson that
the driver of the white car fired at the victims' vehicle
first, the victims returned fire, and then the passenger door
of the white car opened and the passenger shot at the rear of
the victims' vehicle.
Johnson also pointed out that Officer Magee's police
vehicle appears at the top of the surveillance video frame
just as the shooting began. According to Detective
Johnson's narration of the surveillance footage, the
police unit then pulled into a lot and turned around in time
to chase the perpetrators as they fled in their vehicle. The
footage also shows the victims' vehicle fleeing the
cross-examination, Detective Johnson admitted that all of the
information contained in the warrant for defendant's
arrest was supplied by Jacob Love. He stated that none of the
bullet casings or the weapons discovered at any of the crime
scenes contained defendant's DNA or fingerprints.
Although the crime lab was able to recover DNA from the guns
involved, the DNA recovered from the Victims' gun
belonged to Troy Scott, who he did not believe was in the
victims' vehicle during the shooting. The DNA recovered
from the perpetrator's gun belonged to Cornell Gilbert,
but Jacob Love had not implicated Cornell Gilbert in his
statement. Detective Johnson was not able to locate Troy
Scott or Cornell Gilbert during his investigation of this
Love, the former codefendant in the instant case, testified
that in May of 2015 he was living in the Marigny district
near Spain and Urquhart Streets and had been working as a
waiter at Mandina's for nearly two years. Love stated
that he had known defendant since they were kids; they grew
up together in the Seventh Ward. On May 13, 2015, Love asked
defendant to drive him to his workplace. After defendant
picked up Love from his residence, they drove to Melba's
to conduct a narcotics transaction. While they were waiting
to make the transaction, Love observed three individuals whom
he recognized as residents of the Fourth Ward, including
Dejon Miguel, walking across the street. Love testified that
there had been a continuing feud between the Fourth and
Seventh Ward residents, and he and the defendant and several
others had engaged in a verbal altercation with these
individuals at a concert three days before the shooting. Love
stated that when the three ...