FROM THE FOURTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF
CALCASIEU, NO. 17115-16 HONORABLE G. MICHAEL CANADAY,
F. DEROSIER DISTRICT ATTORNEY, FOURTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT
COURT DANIEL VERMAELEN ELIZABETH B. HOLLINS ASSISTANT
DISTRICT ATTORNEYS COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: STATE OF LOUISIANA
K. BAUMAN LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: LADRAY BIAS, JR., LADRAY BIAS, JR.
GENERAL DELIVERY LOUISIANA STATE PENITENTIARY ANGOLA, LA
70712 PRO SE DEFENDANT: LADRAY BIAS, JR.
composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, John D.
Saunders, and D. Kent Savoie, Judges.
D. SAUNDERS, JUDGE
Ladray Bias, Jr., was charged with the attempted second
degree murder of the victim, Brittany Dionne Watson, in
violation of La.R.S. 14:27 and 14:30.1, on September 8, 2016.
He was found guilty as charged on June 15, 2017. The trial
court sentenced him to serve forty years at hard labor with
credit for time served. Defendant filed a motion to
reconsider his sentence, and the trial court denied it on
September 11, 2017.
26, 2017, the State charged Defendant as a third felony
offender pursuant to La.R.S. 15:529.1. The trial court
vacated Defendant's sentence on November 29, 2017, and
resentenced him to serve seventy years at hard labor without
benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence.
Defendant filed a motion to reconsider his habitual offender
sentence, contending the original forty-year sentence was
appropriate. The trial judge denied the motion on December
13, 2017. Defendant now seeks review of his conviction and
sentence. We will address Defendant's first assignment of
error, alleging insufficient evidence for a conviction, in
this opinion. We will address the second assignment of error,
alleging an excessive sentence, in our opinion under docket
number 18-665, the appeal taken after Defendant's
habitual offender adjudication and resentencing.
stabbed the victim four times in her head, neck, chest, and
back during an argument on July 29, 2016.
accordance with La.Code Crim.P. art. 920, all appeals are
reviewed by this court for errors patent on the face of the
record. After reviewing the record, we find that there are no
OF ERROR NUMBER ONE:
contends the evidence at trial was insufficient to convict
him of attempted second degree murder. The standard of review
in a sufficiency of the evidence claim is "whether,
viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the
prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found
proof beyond a reasonable doubt of each of the essential
elements of the crime charged." State v. Leger,
05-11, p. 91 (La. 7/10/06), 936 So.2d 108, 170, cert.
denied, 549 U.S. 1221, 127 S.Ct. 1279 (2007) (citing
Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781
(1979); State v. Captville, 448 So.2d 676
(La.1984)). The Jackson standard of review is now
legislatively embodied in La.Code Crim.P. art. 821. It does
not allow the appellate court "to substitute its own
appreciation of the evidence for that of the
fact-finder." State v. Pigford, 05-477, p. 6
(La. 2/22/06), 922 So.2d 517, 521 (citing State v.
Robertson, 96-1048 (La. 10/4/96), 680 So.2d 1165;
State v. Lubrano, 563 So.2d 847 (La.1990)). The
appellate court's function is not to assess the
credibility of witnesses or to reweigh the evidence.
State v. Smith, 94-3116 (La. 10/16/95), 661 So.2d
factfinder's role is to weigh the credibility of
witnesses. State v. Ryan, 07-504 (La.App. 3 Cir.
11/7/07), 969 So.2d 1268. Thus, other than insuring the
sufficiency evaluation standard of Jackson,
"the appellate court should not second-guess the
credibility determination of the trier of fact," but
rather, it should defer to the rational credibility and
evidentiary determinations of the jury. Id. at 1270
(quoting State v. Lambert, 97-64, pp. 4-5 (La.App. 3
Cir. 9/30/98), 720 So.2d 724, 726-27). Our supreme court has
However, an appellate court may impinge on the fact
finder's discretion and its role in determining the
credibility of witnesses "only to the extent necessary
to guarantee the fundamental due process of law."
State v. Mussall, 523 So.2d 1305, 1310 (La.1988). In
determining the sufficiency of the evidence supporting a
conviction, an appellate court must preserve "'the
factfinder's role as weigher of the evidence' by
reviewing 'all of the evidence . . . in the light most
favorable to the prosecution.'" McDaniel v.
Brown, 558 U.S. ___, ___, 130 S.Ct. 665, 674, 175
L.Ed.2d 582 (quoting Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S.
307, 319, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 2789, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979)). When
so viewed by an appellate court, the relevant question is
whether, on the evidence presented at trial,
"any rational trier of fact could have found
the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable
doubt." Jackson, 443 U.S. at 319, 99 S.Ct. at
2789. Applied in cases relying on circumstantial evidence, .
. . this fundamental principle of review means that when a
jury "reasonably rejects the hypothesis of innocence
presented by the defendant[ ], that hypothesis falls, and the
defendant is guilty unless there is another hypothesis which
raises a reasonable doubt." State v. Captville,
448 So.2d 676, 680 (La.1984).
State v. Strother, 09-2357, pp. 10-11 (La.
10/22/10), 49 So.3d 372, 378.
Our supreme court has provided, "It is the intent to
commit the crime, not the possibility of success, that
determines whether the act or omission constitutes the crime
of attempt." State v. Smith, 94-3116, p. 3 (La.
10/16/95), 661 So.2d 442, 444.
Further, La.R.S. 14:30.1 states:
A. Second degree murder is the killing of a human being:
(1) When the offender has the specific intent to kill or to
inflict great bodily harm[.]
In State v. George, 09-143, pp. 4-5 (La.App. 3 Cir.
10/7/09), 19 So.3d 614, 618, the court explained, in
The essential elements of the crime of attempted second
degree murder are a specific intent to kill the victim and
the commission of an overt act that tends toward the
accomplishment of the victim's death. La.R.S. 14:30.1;
State v. Hollingsworth, 42, 317 (La.App. 2 Cir.
8/15/07), 962 So.2d 1183.
our court has explained:
Reading the pertinent parts of these articles together, the
state in this case had the burden of proving that the
defendant had the specific intent to kill and did an act for
the purpose of and tending directly toward accomplishing it.
State v. Butler, 322 So.2d 189 (La.1975); State
v. Guin, 444 So.2d 625 (La.App. 3 Cir.1983). Specific
criminal intent has been statutorily defined as the state of
mind which exists when circumstances indicate that the
offender actively desired the proscribed criminal
consequences to follow his act or failure to act. La.R.S.
14:10(1). Since specific intent is a state of mind, it need
not be proven as a fact, but rather may be inferred from the
circumstances and the actions of the defendant. State v.
Graham, 420 So.2d 1126 (La.1982).
State v. Hongo, 625 So.2d 610, 613 (La.App. 3 Cir.
1993), writ denied, 631 So.2d 1163 ...