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State v. Lewis

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

April 18, 2018

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
ALBERT LEWIS

          APPEAL FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 256-342, SECTION "G" Honorable Byron C. Williams, Judge.

          Leon Cannizzaro District Attorney Donna Andrieu Assistant District Attorney Chief of Appeals Christopher J. Ponoroff Assistant District Attorney Parish of Orleans, COUNSEL FOR STATE OF LOUISIANA.

          Mary Constance Hanes LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT P. O., COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT /APPELLANT.

          Court composed of Judge Edwin A. Lombard, Judge Rosemary Ledet, Judge Paula A. Brown.

          EDWIN A. LOMBARD JUDGE.

         The defendant, Albert Lewis, appeals his sentence to life imprisonment with possibility of parole. After review of the record in light of the applicable law and arguments of the parties, the defendant's sentence is affirmed.

         Relevant Facts and Procedural History

         In 1976, the defendant and his co-defendant, Kenneth R. Smith, were convicted of the second degree murder of Maria Digiovani. The defendant, seventeen years old at the time of the offense (which took place on July 13, 1976[1]), was sentenced to life imprisonment without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence for forty years.[2]

         Based on an errors patent review, the convictions and sentences of the defendant and his co-defendant were initially affirmed by per curiam opinion. State v. Lewis, 413 So.2d 513 (La. 1982) (table). Subsequently, both defendants were granted an out-of-time appeal and their convictions and sentences were affirmed by this Court. State v. Smith, 623 So.2d 942 (La.App. 4 Cir. 1993). As recited in that opinion, the underlying facts of this case are as follows:

On the morning of July 30, 1976, the body of 74 year old Maria DiGiovanni was found in the bedroom of her home at 1414 Mandeville Street. The apartment was in disarray. The bathroom window was broken and the telephone wire to the receiver was cut.
An autopsy revealed Ms. DiGiovanni was strangled, stabbed over 100 times in the face, shoulder and abdomen, received injuries to her face including black eyes and missing teeth, a broken breastbone and broken ribs, lacerations to her vagina and a head injury so severe that one of her ears was nearly severed. The head injury contained small pieces of metal which matched an aluminum wrapped brick found in the apartment. In addition, a wooden handle with a broken piece of metal on the end was found deep inside her vagina.
Vaginal samples were positive for spermatozoa. Ms. DiGiovanni had type "O" blood. Seminal fluid found on her nightgown and inside her vagina came from a type "B" blood type secretor. Kenneth Smith's blood type is "O". Albert Smith's blood type is "B".
The murder investigation revealed that Ms. DiGiovanni had recently purchased a large color television set which was missing from the apartment. After receiving a telephone call from Smith's sister, Smith and Lewis became the prime suspects in the murder. Both were arrested and taken to police headquarters. There they both waived their rights and gave written statements admitting to the murder.

Smith, 623 So. 2d at 943.

         In addition, both defendants' fingerprints were found inside Ms. DiGiovanni's residence and items belonging to her were ...


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