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State v. Weston

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

November 14, 2018


          Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 341, 522 Honorable Katherine C. Dorroh, Judge.

          LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Carey J. Ellis, III Counsel for Appellant.

          JAMES E. STEWART, SR. District Attorney, JASON W. WALTMAN TOMMY J. JOHNSON Assistant District Attorneys Counsel for Appellee.

          Before MOORE, PITMAN, and McCALLUM, JJ.

          PITMAN, J.

         A unanimous jury found Defendant Christopher Weston guilty as charged of one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of La. R.S. 14:95.1, and one count of attempted second degree murder, in violation of La. R.S. 14:27 and La. R.S. 14:30.1. The state invoked the firearm sentencing provisions of La.C.Cr.P. art. 893.3, and Defendant was sentenced to 30 years at hard labor without benefits for the attempted second degree murder conviction and 15 years at hard labor without benefits and a $1, 000 fine for the possession of a firearm by a convicted felon conviction, with the sentences to run consecutively. This appeal ensued. For the following reasons, Defendant's convictions and sentences are affirmed.


         On the morning of May 8, 2016, Defendant went to a home on Queens Street in Shreveport and shot Lakordo Jamerson whom he had accused of stealing his cigarette at the RaceWay gas station and convenience store ("the store") on Hearne Avenue. He was charged with attempted second degree murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The following testimony was adduced at trial.

         The victim, Lakordo Jamerson, testified about the events on May 8, 2016, that led to his shooting. He stated that at approximately 10:00 a.m., he went to the store with his sister Alexis Hobbs and his brother Daniel Hobbs because he needed more cigarettes. The three traveled in Daniel's car. After leaving the store, they were going to Kimberly Weeks's house to see his four-year-old niece. He stated that when he arrived at the store, Weeks was already there buying pizza. Before he went into the store, he set his cigarette down on "the brick right there right by the door of the store" so he could recover it when he left the store. He recalled that he was in the store a very short time, just long enough to make his purchase; and, when he came out, he picked up his cigarette. He testified that as he did so, "he [Defendant] walked out behind me" in front of the store and confronted me and said, "y'all just f --- me and just take my cigarette." He told Defendant he had not taken his cigarette and even offered him one, and the two discussed what brands they smoked. He stated that after their discussion, Defendant "gave us a little look" and "just walked to his car," a Ford Explorer, and got on his phone. Jamerson talked with Weeks and ultimately went back to Daniel's car. He identified Defendant in court as the person who confronted him over the cigarette.

         Jamerson further testified that after he got into Daniel's car (a black Impala), they went to Weeks's house and parked in the front of the house. He and Alexis went into the house first, eventually followed by Daniel. Shortly thereafter, Weeks "came rushing in saying there was somebody looking in our [Daniel's] car with a long gun." He "came out to look" and did not see anyone by Daniel's car, but then "looked down the street and that when I seen the Ford Explorer and I guess they seen me come out." He testified that the Explorer was the same one Defendant had gotten into at the store. The Explorer had turned into someone's driveway and was turning around, heading back in his direction, and then "he stopped at a stop sign," as he (Jamerson) was standing at the back of the Impala. He realized that the person with the gun was the same person he had seen about ten minutes earlier at the store. He stated that all he saw "was the back window rolled down" and Defendant drop the gun; then he ran. He testified that when Defendant began shooting, his four-year-old niece and a toddler were outside.

         Jamerson stated that he crouched down in front of the Impala, and he estimated that between 15 and 17 rounds were fired. The first shot hit the trunk of the Impala when he and Daniel were taking cover on the side of the car. He left the protection of the car because his niece was still on the porch and ran "up the hill and tried to get near her in the house," but did not make it because he slipped. He did not know where the shots were going. He tried to get his niece, but someone had already taken her in the house. He tried to run to the corner of the house and could still hear shots being fired, and it was then that he was shot. He stated that he was running with his phone in his hand and that the "gun must have been powerful," because "when it hit [him]," it threw his body "upwards and [his] phone flew all the way under another vehicle."

         Jamerson further stated that he was first hit in his arm and the bullet traveled into his back; the bullet is still in him and cannot be removed because of the danger of paralysis. He stated that "you could see my bone," and there was blood everywhere. The shot in his arm slowed the bullet down and saved him, and he was happy to be alive because he has three children. He was in the hospital for two weeks and has numbness in his right leg because of the bullet that remains in his back. He also testified that he "can't work." The state introduced a box of "Kool short" cigarettes into evidence, which he identified as the type of cigarettes he smoked and bought in the store the day of the shooting.

         Jamerson also testified that he had never seen Defendant prior to the shooting and described the encounter at the store as "nothing," just talk. He stated that the incident could have been avoided and that he had never been through anything like this before in his life. He identified Defendant as the man who shot him, but did not want to look at him.

         On cross-examination, Jamerson confirmed that the encounter with Defendant at the store did not involve threats by either party. In addition to his previous testimony, he added that he was able to identify Defendant's vehicle as a white Ford Explorer because his family members had the same type of vehicle. He testified that the vehicle had a flat tire, or a donut tire. He could not recall if the vehicle had damage, a bumper sticker or a license plate, but reiterated that it was "the same truck you know, the same one and the same guy who was at RaceWay was in the back of that truck."

         Jamerson described Defendant as having short dreads. He did not recall what he was wearing, but remembered he had a flip phone.

         When asked about the Ford Explorer arriving at the house, Jamerson testified that he believed that there were two people in the vehicle because he saw Defendant roll the back window down. He also thought the driver was female because "there was a ponytail that sit straight at the top" of her hair; the driver's window was down enough for him to see the ponytail. The driver's hair was black. He did not know the race of the driver and agreed that it could have been a male. He confirmed that the driver had not been with Defendant at the store.

         Jamerson described the gun as having a "brown tip thing" that was long, like a rifle, that he called "a Draco, a Chopper." He confirmed that Defendant was the man with the gun. He recognized his face when he saw "his dreads and stuff and his face hanging out the window." He and Daniel confirmed to each other that this was "the same guy from the RaceWay."

         Jamerson further testified that the shooter shot from the passenger side in the back seat because the house was on the passenger side. He stated that the car was stationary while the shots were fired, and none of the occupants said anything. He did not see the car drive off because he had been shot. He stated that his memory of the events was fine and he "remember[ed] it like yesterday," because this was the first time in his life something serious had happened to him. He denied using drugs or alcohol at the time and was on no medication.

         Jamerson did not know why Defendant shot him or "why it was a problem." He never saw Defendant again; but, about three days after his two-week hospital stay, he was shown a photographic lineup at Weeks's house and he identified Defendant as the man who shot him. He recalled that the lineup contained about six or seven photos on one piece of paper. He had previously been shown a lineup when he was in the hospital, but he was in no condition to identify his assailant. He confirmed that neither detective suggested a certain photograph to him.

         Daniel, Jamerson's older brother, substantially corroborated Jamerson's version of the events that occurred at the store, including his version of what Defendant said to Jamerson, accusing him of taking his cigarette. He identified Defendant as the person he saw come out of the store and stated that he had never seen him before and did not know his name.

         Daniel confirmed that Jamerson asked the man what kind of cigarettes he smoked, and the man said "Newports." He recalled that his brother "pulled out a pack of Kools" and told the man, "we smoke Kool." He saw the man walk to his car, which was at a gas pump, and which appeared to have a flat tire. The man made a phone call. He stated that the man's car was white and it was "like, a Jeep" or SUV. He testified that he and his brother and sister left the store while the man was pumping gas.

         Daniel also corroborated Jamerson's description of their journey to Weeks's house. He confirmed that Weeks came into the house and she asked him and Jamerson if they knew "this guy right here," because he had been following her. He and Jamerson walked outside to see who it was and saw "the same car from RaceWay, the same flat tire, the same everything." He corroborated Jamerson's description of the actions of the white Explorer, but added that once the car parked on the side of the road, he saw "him [Defendant] jump into the back of the car, up in the back of the seat" with a "Draco" or "AK-47." He estimated that he was about three feet from him, standing right at his car. The man pulled out the gun, dropped it and then picked it up and started shooting. He identified Defendant as the shooter.

         Daniel stated that he then got into his car and tried to leave, but a bullet hit his car. He confirmed that Jamerson ran up the hill toward the house and fell. As he started to drive away, he saw Jamerson on the ground, shot, so he picked up Jamerson and noticed that the white car was no longer there. He confirmed that "[a] whole bunch of kids" were outside on the porch when the shots began, although he did not know how many shots were fired.

         Daniel identified a copy of a six-person photographic lineup shown to him and from which he identified Defendant as the shooter. He confirmed that the dispute at the store was only a verbal conversation, started by Defendant, over a cigarette.

         On cross-examination, Daniel testified that the vehicle driven by Defendant was white, "Jeep like," but stated that he was not good with cars. He recalled that the vehicle was a four-door and that there was nothing unusual about it, except that it had a flat or low tire. He stated that when he saw the vehicle at Weeks's house, the tire was still low. He testified that there was only one person in the vehicle at the store, but there were two at Weeks's house, so Defendant must have called somebody.

         Daniel described the second person in the white vehicle as being "chubby, low cut," having "all even hair," and was a medium-toned black male. He stated that no words were exchanged and that Defendant "just fired shots for nothing." He recalled that the barrel of the gun was black; he ...

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