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State v. Minor

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

September 26, 2018

STATE OF LOUISIANA Appellee
v.
STEVEN MINOR Appellant

          Appealed from the Fourth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Morehouse, Louisiana Trial Court No. 2016-326F Honorable Carl V. Sharp, Judge

          LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT Counsel for Appellant Peggy J. Sullivan

          ROBERT S. TEW Counsel for Appellee District Attorney

          JOHN G. SPIRES STEPHEN T. SYLVESTER Assistant District Attorneys

          Before BROWN, MOORE, and GARRETT, JJ.

          GARRETT, JUDGE

         After a bench trial, the defendant, Steven Minor, was convicted of attempted second degree murder and sentenced to 20 years at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. The defendant appealed, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction and that his sentence was excessive. We affirm the defendant's conviction and sentence.

         FACTS

         On April 22, 2016, the City of Bastrop police were dispatched to Austin Street in reference to a shooting. When police arrived, they found the victim, Rolandus Vaughn, under the carport of a home. He had suffered gunshot wounds to his hip, stomach and wrist. The victim was transported to the hospital by helicopter. Fortunately, he recovered from his injuries, but the bullet in his hip apparently could not be removed.

         Based upon eyewitness accounts, police developed the 18-year-old defendant as the shooter. The eyewitnesses saw the two men argue and the defendant draw a gun before firing shots at the victim. The defendant admitted shooting the victim, but insisted that he only wanted to scare him and did not intend to hurt or kill him. The defendant was arrested and charged with attempted second degree murder.

         After the defendant waived his right to a jury trial, a bench trial was held in June 2017. After considering the evidence and testimony, the trial court found the defendant guilty as charged of attempted second degree murder. In August 2017, the trial judge sentenced the defendant to 20 years at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.[1] A timely motion to reconsider, which only requested the imposition of a sentence of no more than 10 years at hard labor, was summarily denied by the trial court. The defendant appealed.

         SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

         The defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to convict him because the state failed to prove that he had the requisite specific intent to kill necessary to support the verdict of attempted second degree murder. He argues that he should have been convicted of only aggravated battery.

         The state argues that the evidence, when viewed in the light most favorable to the state, was clearly sufficient to satisfy any rational trier of fact that the defendant possessed the specific intent to kill the victim and to support the verdict of attempted second degree murder. The state asserts that the victim's testimony that the defendant pointed a gun at his head and then shot him several times was alone sufficient to establish the crime. Further, the eyewitness accounts corroborated that the defendant approached the victim, argued with him, pulled out a gun, and shot the unarmed man. The state contends that this evidence is sufficient to establish that the defendant faced the victim when he first shot him and then continued to shoot at him after the victim turned to run away. The state points out that further evidence showed that the defendant admitted to arming himself after ...


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