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
JEFFREY M. LANDRY Attorney General BROOKE A. HARRIS Assistant
Attorney General Counsel for Appellee
BROWN, WILLIAMS and STEPHENS, JJ.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 ...