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State v. Trahan

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

May 2, 2018

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
DILLION WADE TRAHAN AKA DILLON WADE

          APPEAL FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF LAFAYETTE, NO. CR 150841 HONORABLE MARILYN C. CASTLE, DISTRICT JUDGE

          Keith A. Stutes District Attorney, Fifteenth Judicial District J.N. Prather, Jr. Roger P. Hamilton, Jr. Assistant District Attorneys COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE: State of Louisiana

          Edward K. Bauman COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Dillion Wade Trahan

          Court composed of John D. Saunders, Elizabeth A. Pickett, and Shannon J. Gremillion, Judges.

          JOHN D. SAUNDERS, JUDGE.

         On May 27, 2015, Defendant, Dillion Wade Trahan aka Dillon Wade, was charged by bill of indictment with the January 28, 2015 second degree murder of Silas Tate, in violation of La.R.S. 14:30.1. On September 7, 2017, a jury found Defendant guilty as charged. On September 14, 2017, Defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence, as required by La.R.S. 14:30.1.

         Defendant now appeals his conviction and sentence, raising a single assignment of error: the evidence introduced at trial is insufficient to support his conviction for second degree murder.

         FACTS:

         Staff Sergeant Michael Hiatt of the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office testified that he was a detective in the "crimes against persons unit" at the time Silas Tate was killed. Sergeant Hiatt testified he was the on-call detective and was called out with information that someone had been shot and there were witnesses and officers on the scene. He stated that when he arrived at the scene Anthony Savoy and Charlotte Broussard were attempting to transport Silas Tate to the hospital; Kelsey Trahan, Dylan Guidry, and Steve Trahan, Jr. were in Steve Trahan, Jr.'s home; and Steve Trahan, Sr. and Heather Trahan were in their home. Anthony, Charlotte, Steve Trahan Sr., and Steve Trahan Jr., live in trailer homes near one another.

         Sergeant Hiatt stated that Charlotte Broussard advised him that she had given Anthony Savoy permission to use a trailer located on the Trahans' property, and that in the process of retrieving the trailer Anthony knocked down the Trahan's gate, which resulted in an altercation in front of Anthony's trailer between her, Anthony Savoy, Silas Tate, Steve Trahan Sr., Steve Trahan, Jr., Dylan Guidry, and Defendant, during which time Heather Trahan made two 9-1-1 calls. Sergeant Hiatt testified that Charlotte advised him that at onset of the altercation Steve Sr. was chasing her with a knife, then he began chasing Silas with it, that she heard gun shots, and saw Silas fall. Initially Charlotte said the shots came from where Dylan Guidry was standing, but later said that the shots came from where Defendant was standing. She also stated that when Silas went down, Steve Sr., Steve Jr., and Dylan Guidry were all in front of her and none of them had a gun.

         The others involved in the altercation were also interviewed. However, the statements given by those witnesses were either evasive, inconsistent, or later recanted.

         Sergeant Hiatt testified that Kelsey and Dylan's stories changed over time. Initially they both stated that they were inside their home when the altercation occurred, had not seen anything, and neither recalled seeing Defendant that night. Later Kelsey stated that Defendant could have been there, although she was not certain. Whereas, Dylan later stated that both he and Kelsey had seen Dillion that night.

         Sergeant Hiatt testified he believed that the Trahan family was trying to cover up Dillion's involvement:

During my interviews with the family, it was a lot of trying to cover up where Dillion was. He wasn't there. Then, some said he was there. Then, some said they never saw him. Some said he was camping. And so it was a bunch ...

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