Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 327544 Honorable
Ramona Emanuel, Judge
LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT Counsel for Appellant By: Douglas
WASHINGTON Pro Se
E. STEWART, SR. Counsel for Appellee District Attorney
L. BLEWER, III REBECCA A. EDWARDS Assistant District
WILLIAMS, MOORE, and STEPHENS, JJ.
a jury trial, Tyrone Washington was convicted as charged of
molestation of a juvenile. The trial court sentenced him to
60 years at hard labor, with the first 25 years to be served
without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of
sentence. He now appeals his conviction and sentence. For the
following reasons, we affirm.
days after M.B. confided to her friend, Jazzmine Nunn, that
Washington, M.B.'s former stepfather, had sexually abused
her when he lived in their home, she saw his car parked
outside her school. Afraid that Washington might be looking
for her, M.B. called Jazzmine on her cell phone. As she told
Jazzmine about the defendant's car parked at her school,
she lost her connection due to a weak battery in her phone.
Jazzmine panicked when the call was suddenly cut off and M.B.
did not immediately call her back or answer when Jazzmine
called her. Worried for M.B.'s safety, she called
M.B.'s mother, S.K., and told her of the situation,
including the sexual abuse.
S.K. learned that her former husband had molested her
daughter, she called the Shreveport police. Shreveport Police
Cpl. Lonnie Haskins interviewed S.K. and M.B. that evening.
At first, M.B. denied that Washington touched her
inappropriately, just as she had done a few years earlier
when S.K. became suspicious that something might be
happening. M.B. then spoke on the phone with Jazzmine, who
apparently persuaded M.B. to tell Cpl. Haskins about the
incidents in which Washington performed sexual acts with her
when he was living with the family.
October 24, 2014, Washington was arrested. He made two
statements to Shreveport Police Detective De'andre Belle.
In his first statement, he denied any wrongdoing. However, in
his second statement, he admitted to having sexual
intercourse with M.B. four times when she was 11 years old
and he was 28. Subsequently, he filed a motion to suppress
the self-incriminating statement; the court denied this after
was charged by amended bill of information for molestation of
a juvenile under the age of 13. A unanimous jury convicted
him of the charge. He filed a motion for post-verdict
judgment of acquittal arguing that the evidence adduced at
trial was insufficient to convict him; this was also denied.
a hearing, the trial court sentenced Washington to serve 60
years at hard labor, with the first 25 years to be served
without the benefit of parole, probation or suspension of
defendant filed a motion to reconsider sentence arguing that
the trial court failed to consider the applicable mitigating
factors when sentencing him to 60 years imprisonment. The
motion was denied, and this appeal followed.
first assignment of error, Washington argues that the trial
court erred when it admitted his incriminating statements
into evidence. Those statements, he alleges, were the product
of duress, inducements or promises; specifically, he cites
Det. Belle's threats of a lengthy prison sentence, and
his erroneous accusation that he had previously committed a
sex crime and a kidnapping. The defendant argues that he
suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder
("PTSD") at the time of his confession, and he was
also under the influence of marijuana.
although not raised as a specifically assigned error,
Washington maintains that there was insufficient evidence to
support his conviction. He argues that M.B. delayed reporting
the molestation, and he testified at trial denying any
inappropriate behavior with her.
state maintains that Washington's statement to police
confessing to the molestation was freely and voluntarily
given, and the evidence against him was sufficient to support
Motion to Suppress
Belle testified at the suppression hearing that he arrested
Washington and advised him of his
Miranda rights, which he waived. Det. Belle said
Washington did not appear to be under the influence of
alcohol or narcotics, and he understood the questions asked
of him. He testified that police did not make any promises to
Washington; nor did they threaten him in any way to obtain
statement, which was divided into two recordings, was played
during the motion to suppress hearing. At the beginning
of the first recording, he was advised of his
Miranda rights,  which he waived, explaining that he
wanted to talk about the allegations against him. He
confirmed that he was previously married to S.K., and he
watched (babysat) M.B. and A.B. when S.K. was at work.
denied that he ever touched M.B. inappropriately. He said
that there was a "lot of confusion" in the home.
M.B. and A.B. competed for his affection, and would come into
his room to get food or movies. When asked why M.B. would
tell police that he had sex with her, Washington replied that
M.B. was upset with him because he had caught her with a boy.
the interview, Det. Belle accused Washington of having
previously been investigated for a sexual offense, but he
denied this, explaining that he was stationed in South
Carolina at the time the alleged prior offense occurred.
Detective Belle dropped the matter. Det. Belle also asked
Washington if he gave S.K. and M.B. a sexually transmitted
disease, which he denied. This interview occurred after the
defendant repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
second recorded statement, Washington once again waived his
Miranda rights. He admitted that he had sex with
M.B., but claimed that she "forced herself on me."
He said that the sexual encounters, four in all, took place
when the family lived at the South Pointe Apartments in
Shreveport. M.B. would come to his room wearing only a white
T-shirt and underwear when he was changing clothes.
Washington denied that he threatened M.B., but he admitted
that he told her that their sexual relationship was "our
little secret." He claimed that M.B. first initiated the
sexual relationship by stopping him as he walked down the
hallway. He said she pulled down his pants and performed oral
sex on him.
Belle testified that there was only about a one-
or-two-minute break between Washington's first and second
recorded statements. He explained that after he turned off
the recording equipment, Washington began making