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State v. McGee

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

May 23, 2018

STATE OF LOUISIANA Appellee
v.
DUMAURIEA LEON MCGEE Appellant

          Appealed from the Third Judicial District Court for the Parish of Lincoln, Louisiana Trial Court No. 65002 Honorable Cynthia T. Woodard, Judge

          LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Edward Kelly Bauman Counsel for Appellant

          JEFFREY M. LANDRY Attorney General BROOKE A. HARRIS Assistant Attorney General Counsel for Appellee

          Before BROWN, WILLIAMS and STEPHENS, JJ.

          STEPHENS, J.

         This criminal appeal arises from the Third Judicial District Court, Parish of Lincoln, State of Louisiana. The defendant, Dumauriea Leon McGee, was charged by grand jury indictment with second degree murder, in violation of La. R.S. 14:30.1. After a jury trial, McGee was found guilty as charged and sentenced to life imprisonment without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence. No motion to reconsider sentence was filed. On appeal, among other assignments of error, McGee argues he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. For the following reasons, we remand this matter to the trial court with instructions for an evidentiary hearing on the issue of ineffective assistance of counsel.

         FACTS

         DeAnthony Mardis was shot and killed on May 30, 2013, in Ruston, Louisiana, while trying to purchase marijuana from McGee, who immediately fled the scene. McGee was arrested in Tallahassee, Florida by officers with the Tallahassee Police Department and was interviewed by Detective Craig Isom on June 3, 2013. United States Marshals transported McGee to Louisiana, where he was taken into custody by the Ruston Police Department on June 13, 2013. McGee was charged by grand jury indictment with the second degree murder of Mardis, and at arraignment McGee pled not guilty. McGee's trial commenced on January 9, 2017, at which he was represented by a court-appointed attorney. The jury was presented with the following testimony and evidence.

          Officer Lloyd Anthony Pollard, who was employed by the Ruston Police Department on May 30, 2013, testified that he was dispatched to a house at 1307 Benton Street in Ruston shortly after 9:00 p.m. in response to a shooting. Upon arriving, Ofc. Pollard observed Mardis lying partially underneath a blue truck parked in the front yard of the residence. Emergency medical services ("EMS") and other officers were already at the scene and informed Ofc. Pollard that Mardis was still alive but had a weak pulse. In an effort to preserve the scene, Ofc. Pollard took photographs prior to EMS taking Mardis to the hospital. He also testified that he believed Mardis crawled under the vehicle in an attempt to hide from his shooter. Mardis was transported to a hospital where he later died.

         Officer Gerald Jenkins of the Ruston Police Department was also dispatched to 1307 Benton Street and sketched the scene, documenting where the following evidence was recovered: a cigarette lighter, a cigarette butt, a digital scale, $11.00 in cash, three .38 caliber cartridges, a shoe impression, a machete, two Corona beer cartons (one of which contained marijuana), and two spent .38 caliber shell casings.

         Officer Jenkins specifically noted that the digital scale was discovered in the ditch by Benton Street. The three live .38 caliber bullets were located near the truck, two on the opposite side of the truck from where Mardis's body was found and one near the rear of the truck. The two spent shell casings were located in the paved parking lot of the Royal Crest Apartment complex where McGee lived, which is next to the house at 1307 Benton Street. While examining the scene, Ofc. Jenkins noted that although there was a large bloodstain near the truck, it was unclear where Mardis began bleeding. Further, there were several shoe prints discovered on the truck's driver's side but none indicated there was a struggle. A machete was discovered in the bushes, but Ofc. Jenkins stated his opinion that it did not appear connected to the crime. The machete was not fingerprinted, nor did defense counsel request it be fingerprinted. A map of the crime scene entered into evidence at the trial indicates the machete was located separately from the marijuana found at the scene.

         Patina Goldsmith testified that she was visiting her sister at 1307 Benton Street on the night of the shooting. Goldsmith heard gunshots around 9:00 p.m., went outside with her sister's boyfriend, Roderick Doss, and discovered Mardis lying underneath her sister's truck. Doss also testified and corroborated Goldsmith's version of events, adding that after the shooting, Doss looked out the window before going outside and observed McGee, whom Doss knew as "Cali, " running toward the apartment complex. Doss did not see anything in McGee's hands. Doss identified McGee in open court as the man he saw running on the night of the shooting.

         Robert Womack testified he discovered bullets and a rusty black gun several months after the shooting while visiting a friend who lives at 1305 Benton Street. The loaded gun was in some underbrush. Womack contacted the police, and Officer Harriet Sykes collected the gun, which was loaded. She brought the gun to the Ruston Police Department. Both Womack and Ofc. Sykes identified the gun in open court.

         Mary Catherine Zoll, a chemist with the North Louisiana Crime Lab ("NLCL"), was accepted as an expert in forensic chemistry and testified that she performed a chemical analysis on the suspected marijuana (State's Exhibit Nos. 9 and 10) collected from the scene. Zoll confirmed at trial that the substance recovered was marijuana. Other expert testimony established that it is common for drug dealers to hide their ...


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