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State v. Allen

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

November 14, 2018

STATE OF LOUISIANA Appellee
v.
QUINDARIUS ALLEN Appellant

          Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 327361 Honorable John D. Mosely, Jr., Judge.

          LOUSIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Douglas Lee Harville, Counsel for Appellant.

          JAMES E. STEWART, SR. District Attorney, Counsel for Appellee.

          WILLIAM JACOB EDWARDS RICHARD SOL FEINBERG BRITNEY A. GREEN Assistant District Attorneys.

          Before WILLIAMS, GARRETT, and STONE, JJ.

          STONE, J.

         The defendant, Quindarius Allen, was charged with second degree murder and attempted second degree murder. Following a jury trial, Allen was found guilty as charged of second degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor, without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence. On the second count, Allen was found guilty of the responsive verdict of attempted manslaughter and sentenced to serve 20 years at hard labor. Allen now challenges the constitutionality of his sentences. For the following reasons, Allen's convictions and sentences are affirmed.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On October 13, 2014, at 10:02 p.m., the Shreveport Police Department received a 911 call of shots fired at the Cajun Inn motel in Shreveport. Shreveport Police Officers Larry McCloskey ("Officer McCloskey") and Jason Allgrun ("Officer Allgrun") responded and found the door to room 205 ajar but observed no damage to the door or door frame. Upon entry into the room, the officers discovered the body of a black male on the floor in a pool of blood just behind the door. The male victim was deceased from what appeared to be a large gunshot wound to the face and neck. Officers McCloskey and Allgrun also observed blood, flesh, and pieces of the victim's beard all over the door, ceiling, and floor. The deceased man was later identified as Gregory Morris ("Morris"), the occupant of the room. A black female, identified as Shreetha Haskins ("Haskins"), was sliding along the floor on her stomach toward the officers, screaming for help. The officers could see that both of Haskins' legs had large wounds that appeared to be made by a shotgun, and half of one leg appeared to be missing. The absence of damage to Morris' motel room door and frame indicated there was no forced entry into the room, and Morris likely knew the shooter.

         During the course of investigation, Quindarius Allen ("Allen") was arrested and indicted by a grand jury on charges of second degree murder, in violation of La. R.S. 14:30.1, and attempted second degree murder, in violation of La. R.S. 14:30.1 and La. R.S. 14:27. The jury trial began November 16, 2017.

         During trial, Lead Detective David Bonillas ("Detective Bonillas") testified that surveillance video from the motel showed that several hours before the shootings, a burgundy Grand Marquis entered the motel parking lot and a black male wearing dark pants, a jacket with a football emblem, a hoodie, and white shoes, exited the vehicle and walked upstairs to Morris' room, before returning to the Grand Marquis.

         At the time of the shootings, the surveillance video from a nearby business and the motel showed the same driver, again, get out of a burgundy Grand Marquis down the street from the motel and walk into the motel from the west. The person walked with a limp this time and gestured to one side. The suspect again went upstairs to Morris' room, and was later seen running through and away from the motel with something in his hands. The officers released a clip of the motel video of the suspect to the media.

         Timar Clark ("Clark") testified Allen was a friend and former roommate, and on multiple occasions, he and Allen went together to Morris' room at the Cajun Inn to buy marijuana from Morris. Clark testified that on the night of the shootings, sometime between 7:00 and 7:30 p.m., he and Allen went to Morris' room to buy marijuana, before Allen returned Clark to Clark's mother's house. Clark testified Allen told him he was going to rob Morris one day and take all the marijuana Morris had. Clark testified he had seen Allen with two handguns and a shotgun, but did not know if he owned them. Clark testified that later that same night, between 11:00 p.m. and midnight, Allen came by Clark's mother's house and told Clark that Morris had been shot and killed. Clark later saw the video the police posted online, recognized Allen as the suspect in the video, and called Allen's mother.

         Allen's mother, Consuela Smith ("Smith"), confirmed Clark called her about the shooting and the online video. Smith testified she recognized her son in the video, and saw he was wearing a jacket she purchased for him. Smith gave police a Facebook picture of Allen, taken several years earlier when he was a student at Huntington High School, and in which he was wearing the same jacket with the distinguishable football emblem. Smith testified she gave the officers the address where Allen was staying and told them he drove a burgundy Grand Marquis.

         Detective Bonillas testified Allen was found at the location Smith provided along with the burgundy Grand Marquis. Detective Bonillas stated Allen refused to come out of the house, so the officers were forced to send in a K-9 unit to apprehend him. Detective Bonillas testified the officers arrested Allen, seized his phone and the car, and subsequently obtained search warrants for the car, the phone, and Allen's DNA. Allen admitted he was at the motel that night and that he was the person seen in the motel surveillance video, but insisted he was merely walking around looking for his cell phone. He denied shooting Morris and Haskins.

         Travis Thomas ("Thomas") testified that on the night of the shootings, he and his brother Richard went with Allen to the Cajun Inn sometime between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. to buy drugs. Thomas testified he and his brother remained in the car while Allen went upstairs and later returned with marijuana and cocaine. Afterwards, they all went to Thomas' house for Richard's birthday party. Thomas testified that sometime around 10:00 p.m. Allen and his friend "B.J." left the party in Allen's car.

         Haskins attested that her boyfriend, Morris, sold drugs from the motel room at the Cajun Inn, and she was staying with him on October 13, 2014. Haskins stated she was in bed asleep when she was awakened by the sound of a gun blast. As she sat up, she saw Morris on the floor behind the door and a black male in a jacket and hoodie standing there with a gun. Haskins indicated she yelled out, and the gunman turned and raised the gun toward her. Haskins said she raised her legs up to protect herself as the gunman fired. Haskins was struck in both legs with the shotgun, which broke both of her legs, tearing the flesh from them, and leaving gaping wounds that exposed her leg bone. Photographs of the motel room taken ...


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