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State v. Williams

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

December 19, 2018

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
RAYNE WILLIAMS

          APPEAL FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 511-729, SECTION "B" Honorable Tracey Flemings-Davillier, Judge

          Leon A. Cannizzaro, Jr., District Attorney Donna Andrieu, Assistant District Attorney Kyle Daly, Assistant District Attorney PARISH OF ORLEANS COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE / STATE OF LOUISIANA

          Holli Herrle-Castillo LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT / DEFENDANT

          Court composed of Chief Judge James F. McKay, III, Judge Rosemary Ledet, Judge Sandra Cabrina Jenkins

          SANDRA CABRINA JENKINS JUDGE

         Defendant, Rayne Williams, was charged by bill of information on May 17, 2012, with one count of attempted second degree murder, a violation of La. R.S. 14:(27)30.1. His co-defendant, Greenville Mahogany, was also charged in the same bill of information with one count of attempted second degree murder and one count of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, in violation of La. R.S. 14:98(F).[1] On February 21, 2014, at the conclusion of a joint bench trial, the trial court found each defendant guilty as charged. The trial court sentenced defendant to ten years at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence, with credit for time served.

         Defendant then filed this appeal of his conviction and sentence, raising two assignments of error. In a prior opinion, State v. Williams, 16-0982 (La.App. 4 Cir. 9/20/17), 225 So.3d 1124 ("Williams I"), this Court concluded that the case should be remanded to the trial court for an evidentiary hearing to determine whether defendant knowingly and intelligently waived his right to a jury trial. In addition, this Court pretermitted and preserved for appellate review defendant's remaining assignment of error as to the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain his conviction.

         Defendant sought supervisory review in the Louisiana Supreme Court, arguing that this Court erred in remanding the case without first considering defendant's assignment of error as to the sufficiency of the evidence. The Louisiana Supreme Court granted defendant's writ, reversed this Court's decision, and remanded to this Court for a decision on the pretermitted issue of the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain defendant's conviction, pursuant to State v. Hearold, 603 So.2d 731, 734 (La. 1992). State v. Williams, unpub., 17-1816 (La. 9/21/18).

         Upon review of the evidence and testimony presented to the trial court in this case, viewed in the light most favorable to the prosecution, we find the evidence was sufficient to establish that defendant committed attempted second degree murder. However, as discussed in this Court's prior opinion, we find that the record does not reflect whether defendant knowingly and intelligently waived his right to a jury trial. Williams I, supra Thus, we remand this case to the trial court for an evidentiary hearing to make that determination.

         STATEMENT OF FACT[2]

         At the bench trial of this case, the following testimony and evidence was presented:

         NOPD Officer Zenia Smith Williams responded to the November 20, 2011, shooting of Winfield Brazile on Downman Road. She testified that Christopher Baham was arrested, convicted of the shooting, and received a twenty-year sentence.

         Winfield Brazile, III, the victim, testified that he was a lifelong resident of New Orleans and the CEO of Life or Death Record Company. His job involved staging music concerts, videos, and internet advertisements. One of the venues for his music concerts was the Sports Café ("the club") on Downman Road. The victim recalled an incident that occurred at the club on October 9, 2011, at about midnight. The victim saw his "godbrother" and Baham involved in a verbal altercation. The victim's "godbrother" told the victim that he did not know Baham and then walked away. Baham then told the victim, "It's going down," as soon as the victim left the premises. The club's D.J. informed the victim that Baham was his cousin, and he would handle the matter with Baham outside. As Baham left the club with the D.J., he told the victim he was armed. The victim told the group still inside the club he did not want any trouble. Shortly thereafter, Baham and one of his friends re-entered the club, stood next to the victim, and began sizing him up. Once again, the victim told Baham that he did not want any trouble. Fearing Baham would attack him, the victim struck Baham in the face while exiting the club and ran. The victim encountered the police in the parking lot and explained he was threatened by someone inside the club, after which the police advised the victim to leave the area.

         On the night of November 20, 2011, the victim had another concert at the Sports Café. At about 2:30 a.m., the victim noticed Greenville Mahogany enter the club with a friend. Recognizing Mahogany from the previous incident at the club, the victim was uncomfortable in Mahogany's presence and decided to leave. When the victim went out to his car, Mahogany was leaning on the vehicle in front of the victim's car. The victim then looked over his shoulder and observed Baham running at him holding a gun. The victim recognized Baham as the man he had hit in the face during the previous incident at the club. When he saw Baham approaching with the gun, the victim turned and ran to a service station on Dwyer and Downman Road. As he fled, the victim heard gun shots and felt the impact of being hit in his side and his back.

         The victim spent four days in a hospital recovering from his gunshot wounds. After the victim was released from the hospital, he did some "Facebook research" to learn the identity of the people involved in the incidents at the club. He relayed to the police the information and pictures he gathered online.

         On December 19, 2011, as the victim stopped to speak with a friend at a mechanic shop on the I-10 Service Road and Morrison Avenue, he noticed a white Dodge Charger enter the parking lot and drive past him. The victim noticed that the defendant was driving the Charger.[3] The victim told his friend that he had to leave because he believed that the men in the Charger had something to do with him being shot in the earlier incident. As the victim drove from the parking lot, he observed the Charger follow his car. The victim drove on the I-10 Service Road and turned onto Mayo Boulevard with the Charger following him. At the next intersection, the victim's passage was blocked by a truck. At that point, the Charger pulled alongside the victim's car. The victim saw Mahogany, riding as a passenger in the Charger, lean out of the window, pull a gun, and start shooting at the victim. Mahogany fired several shots into the ...


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