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State v. Singleton

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

January 16, 2019


          Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 325, 559 Honorable Brady D. O'Callaghan, Judge

          LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Peggy J. Sullivan Counsel for Appellant

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


          Before MOORE, PITMAN, and McCALLUM, JJ.

          McCALLUM, J.

         Kinoy Singleton, who was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, appeals his conviction. We affirm his conviction and sentence.


         At 2:05 a.m. on July 28, 2014, Harry Luzader left Margaritaville Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana, after many hours of drinking and playing blackjack there. Luzader was accompanied by Shavez Taylor ("Taylor"), whom he had met a couple of hours earlier when she approached him at a blackjack table. Luzader and Taylor took a cab to an upstairs garage apartment ("apartment") that Luzader shared with William David Carroll. The apartment was located behind the residence at 3134 Holly Street, a dead-end street in Shreveport, Louisiana. The front door of the apartment was located on the first floor, and there was an interior stairway leading to the apartment.

         Taylor was on her phone during the cab ride, but Luzader did not know if she was texting or playing games on it. Luzader lacked sufficient cash to pay the entire $13 fare to the driver, Demetric Jackson, so he went to the apartment to get the necessary amount. Meanwhile, Taylor remained in the cab and continued to play on her cell phone. Jackson, thinking the situation was strange, asked Taylor to wait outside the cab. Jackson left without receiving the full fare when Luzader returned without the remainder.

         Upon entering the apartment, Luzader introduced Taylor to Carroll and began preparing food for Taylor. After they had been in the apartment for approximately 10-15 minutes, Carroll exited his bedroom and told Luzader that two men were walking up the driveway. Carroll went downstairs to the apartment's front door. When Carroll came back upstairs, he said that the men had the wrong house. Luzader asked Carroll if he had locked the door, and Carroll said yes. Taylor, who was in the den, continued using her phone while this was happening. Unbeknownst to Luzader, Taylor was communicating with the two men outside. After Luzader returned to the kitchen to finish preparing the food, Taylor, who was alone in the den, unlocked the apartment's front door.

         After Luzader came back to the den with the food and sat down on a couch, a man holding a gun burst through a curtain that was used to cover the stairway and demanded money. Luzader believed a second man who had entered the apartment was near the curtain, but Luzader was more focused on the man who was pointing a gun at him. As Carroll began opening his bedroom door, Luzader heard a gunshot. Carroll sustained a gunshot wound to the chest after being shot through the bedroom door. Taylor and the two males then fled the apartment. Luzader estimated that the incident lasted 30 to 40 seconds.

         Freddie Stokes, who lived in a home near the apartment, awoke to Luzader pounding on his front door and screaming that "somebody tried to rob us" and "somebody shot my buddy." While Stokes' wife called 911, Stokes ran to the apartment with Luzader. Stokes discovered Carroll face down on the floor and making a gurgling sound.

         Captain Barry Seidel with the Shreveport Fire Department was dispatched to the apartment at 2:59 a.m. Seidel declared Carroll dead.

         Corporal James Tilley with the Shreveport Police Department described the area around the apartment as secluded and very dark. He thought the apartment was difficult to find and that someone driving down Holly Street would not know there was an apartment in the back. Luzader, who was highly intoxicated, [1] did not give an in-depth description of the two males to Tilley other than to say one was bigger than the other. Luzader told Tilley that he fought for his life and had been pistol-whipped, but Tilley did not see signs of a struggle in the apartment or signs of an altercation on the shirtless Luzader. Luzader was secured in a patrol car, then transported to the homicide unit's office.

         Detective Joe Brown with the homicide unit of the Shreveport Police Department was the lead detective on the case. Brown, who interviewed Luzader at his office, was assisted in the investigation by Detectives Mayfield and Moss. Luzader was considered a possible suspect at the time of his interview.

         Luzader described the gunman as a large black male who was 40 years old and looked like a linebacker. He estimated the man's height to be 6'2" and his weight to be 220 pounds. Luzader stated that the man was wearing shorts and a white shirt with a plaid animal print on it. Luzader described the other man who entered the apartment as a short black male with dreads that looked like a spiderweb on top of his head. He testified that this man was wearing a dark shirt. Luzader explained at trial that by spiderweb dreads he meant short dreads. He told detectives that the second male did not have a gun. Luzader was unable to remember Taylor's name during the interview with detectives.

         As Luzader was interviewed, the information he provided was being relayed to the surveillance department at Margaritaville. Sonja Taylor ("Sonja") worked as the surveillance lead at Margaritaville. When she came to work on the morning of July 28, she was asked to determine if Luzader had been at the casino on that date, what time he entered the property, and if she could identify the female who accompanied him as he left the property. Checking the casino's database to determine if Luzader had used his player's card, she learned that Luzader had entered the casino on the afternoon of July 27 and had gambled by himself until just after midnight. She was later asked if the female had arrived with anyone or associated with anyone before Luzader. She was also given a description of a black female with two black males, one of whom was wearing a white shirt with a turquoise print on the front, while the other male was wearing a dark or gray shirt. She was not told that one of the males had a dreadlock hairstyle.

         Sonja saw that the female had entered the casino's gaming area at 11:34 p.m. followed by two men whose appearances Sonja felt were consistent with the police descriptions given to her by her supervisor. One male was wearing a white shirt with an argyle print on the front. The other male was wearing dark colored shorts and a gray shirt. When these three individuals entered the gaming area, their IDs were scanned and photographed as per casino policy. The female's name was Shavez Taylor, and the males' names were Robert Lynn and Kinoy Singleton.

         Margaritaville faxed copies of their IDs to the detectives. Sonja determined that the three had entered the casino at 11:30 p.m. after parking their vehicle in the lot for the nearby Bass Pro Shop. Taylor left the casino's gaming area at 12:14 a.m. with Singleton and Lynn not far behind her.

         A hallway separated the entrances to the men's and women's restrooms just outside the gaming area. The surveillance video showed that Luzader, who had been playing blackjack, headed toward the restroom at 12:14 a.m. before entering it a minute later. Taylor entered her restroom at about the same time. Meanwhile, Singleton and Lynn stood near a bar before Singleton entered the men's restroom. Singleton exited the restroom at 12:16 a.m. Lynn then entered the men's restroom at 12:17 a.m. Luzader and Taylor walked out of their respective restrooms at 12:17 a.m., with Lynn behind them. Taylor, Lynn, and Singleton then gathered behind a column near the bar. Luzader returned to the casino area at 12:18 a.m. He was joined at the blackjack table by Taylor at 12:19 a.m. Lynn and Singleton remained near the bar for a couple of minutes before entering the gaming area and heading toward the slot machines.

         At 12:47 a.m., Taylor joined Lynn and Singleton in the slot machine area. She left them a minute later. She rejoined them in the same area at 12:52 a.m. All three began leaving the slots area at 12:53 a.m., although Taylor stopped along the way at a slot machine while Lynn and Singleton continued walking. At 12:54 a.m., Lynn and Singleton exited the casino. At 12:58 a.m., their vehicle left the parking lot.

         At 12:54 a.m., Taylor returned to the blackjack table where Luzader continued to gamble. Luzader and Taylor left the table together at 1:27 a.m. They waited outside the casino entrance for some time before leaving in a cab at 2:05 a.m.

         Sonja testified that she saw no individuals associate with Taylor other than Lynn and Singleton. Sonja also testified that Taylor, Lynn, and Singleton were the only individuals that she saw who fit the descriptions given to her.

         Based upon the information obtained from the casino, homicide detectives located Taylor and brought her in for an interview. Detective Brown did not have immediate access to the video, but viewed it before interviewing Taylor on the afternoon of July 29. After Taylor identified Singleton and Lynn in separate photo lineups, arrest warrants were obtained for the pair. The residence where Singleton had lived with his wife was searched, and his vehicle was impounded and searched as well.

         Taylor had a phone in her possession during the interview. The number for that phone was 553-7956. [2] Detectives examined the phone and its contact information. It was determined that the phone number of 207-4025 belonged to Lynn, whose nickname was "Trigger" or "Trig." Taylor identified three numbers in her phone as being used by Singleton. Those numbers were listed under the contact names of "DADDY," "DaDDY," and "Lover's Shop." One of the numbers listed under the contacts for Singleton was 422-2093. "Lover's Shop" was the main number at the barbershop where Singleton worked.

         Based upon what he learned from the contact information as well as what Taylor told him, Brown believed that in the hours leading up to the murder, Taylor used the 422-2093 phone while Singleton used a phone with the number 455-5395.

         Taylor was arrested once the police were able to view the text messages for 455-5395 and could see that she was a willing participant in the robbery. The text messages exchanged between the numbers used by Singleton and Taylor late in the evening on July 27 and early in the morning of July 28 are listed below along with the time sent. All of Singleton's texts end with "the Magnificent" as the signature.

11:45 Taylor to Singleton

baby im playing the machine and hittinh

11:50 Singleton to Taylor


11:50 Singleton to Taylor

I got a white cougar

11:52 Taylor to Singleton


12:04 Singleton to Taylor

Dont lose it bacc

12:10 Taylor to Singleton


12:11 Taylor to Singleton

Daddy its dead in here

12:13 Singleton to Taylor

Meet at the front

12:14 Taylor to Singleton


12:40 Singleton to Taylor

Wuz good my Queen

12:41 Taylor to Singleton

Lookin at him win

12:43 Singleton to Taylor

Caught his attention

12:46 Singleton to Taylor

What he playin

12:47 Taylor to Singleton


01:29 Taylor to Singleton

he just invited me to go to his house where are u

01:30 Singleton to Taylor

Not far the Warehouse

01:35 Singleton to Taylor

Ask where he stay

01:35 Taylor to Singleton

We outsidd

01:37 Singleton to Taylor

Ok hold him up

01:38 Taylor to Singleton


01:41 Taylor to Singleton

Sport the cab is here

01:43 Singleton to Taylor

Teyt me wwhere yal goin we alm there

01:43 Taylor to Singleton


01:44 Taylor to Singleton


01:46 Singleton to Taylor

Where r yall now

01:50 Taylor to Singleton

Still here

01:52 Singleton to Taylor

We here

01:53 Taylor to Singleton


01:56 Singleton to Taylor

when yall leavin

01:57 Singleton to Taylor

C me

01:57 Taylor to Singleton

10 min

01:58 Singleton to Taylor

Im behind u

02:01 Taylor to Singleton


02:02 Singleton to Taylor


02:05 Singleton to Taylor

Wuz the deal

02:05 Taylor to Singleton

We inthe cab

02:06 Singleton to Taylor

At elderado

02:06 Taylor to Singleton

His house we leavin now

02:07 Taylor to Singleton

Where are u

02:08 Taylor to Singleton

Kings hwy loction

02:08 Taylor to Singleton

Where the f*** are u

02:10 Singleton to Taylor

headin to kings

02:11 Singleton to Taylor

On Kings

02:11 Taylor to Singleton

Damn what took so f*** in long

02:12 Taylor to Singleton

We too

02:12 Singleton to Taylor


02:13 Singleton to Taylor

We by mcdonalds

02:14 Taylor to Singleton

Make a left on holly st the

02:16 Taylor to Singleton

look for the house for rent sign and its the second house once u go in the drive way towards the back

02:16 Taylor to Singleton

u will see 2 blue porch poles and steps

02:16 Singleton to Taylor


02:17 Taylor to Singleton

dont go pass the white van uve went too far

02:18 Singleton to Taylor


02:18 Taylor to Singleton


02:20 Singleton to Taylor

U with him

02:21 Taylor to Singleton


02:23 Singleton to Taylor

Ok can u leave the door unlocked know where the $ is we here

02:30 Singleton to Taylor

He gnt a gun

02:31 Taylor to Singleton

that i don't know i didnt know it was another one but they tink ur looking for the wrong house

02:34 Singleton to Taylor

Ok we need to know when to come without bein seen asap

02:34 Taylor to Singleton

the door should be unlocked and i dont know where the money is

02:35 Singleton to Taylor

Where the other dude

02:35 Taylor to Singleton

be carwfull the door has steps as soon as u come thru the door

02:36 Taylor to Singleton

in theroom with the door closed

02:37 Singleton to Taylor

Who is in the wind6w

02:39 Taylor to Singleton

No one

02:45 Singleton to Taylor


02:46 Taylor to Singleton

i unlocked the front door where are u

02:47 Singleton to Taylor

We comin

02:47 Taylor to Singleton



         On September 17, 2014, Singleton was indicted for the July 28, 2014, second degree murder of William David Carroll. By amended indictment, Singleton and his codefendants, Shavez Taylor and Robert Lynn, were charged with second degree murder ...

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