FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF ACADIA,
NO. CR 80477 HONORABLE KRISTIAN DENNIS EARLES, DISTRICT JUDGE
Annette Fuller Roach COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Jarrett
Keith A. Stutes COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: State of Louisiana
Burleigh G. Doga COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: State of Louisiana
composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, John D.
Saunders, and D. Kent Savoie, Judges.
KENT SAVOIE JUDGE.
Jarrett Andrews, was charged by indictment filed on March 12,
2013, with second degree murder, a violation of La.R.S.
14:30.1. Trial by jury commenced on October 10, 2017, and
Defendant was found guilty as charged on October 11, 2017.
Sentencing was held on October 16, 2017, and Defendant
received a sentence of life imprisonment at hard labor
without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of
sentence. Defendant orally moved for reconsideration of his
sentence, which was denied. A written motion to reconsider
was filed on October 25, 2017, and was found moot on November
9, 2017. A motion for appeal and designation of record was
filed on November 13, 2017, which was subsequently granted.
is now before this court asserting that the evidence is
insufficient to support his conviction for second degree
murder. For the following reasons, we affirm.
accordance with La.Code Crim.P. art. 920, all appeals are
reviewed by for errors patent on the face of the record.
After reviewing the record, we find no errors patent present.
was convicted of the October 13, 2012 killing of Nathaniel
Wiltz. In his only assignment of error, Defendant contends
the State failed to prove that he had the specific intent to
kill Wiltz, which is required to satisfy the elements of
second degree murder and manslaughter. Defendant argues that
Wiltz's death was caused by the careless handling of a
firearm and constituted negligent homicide. Thus, it is his
contention that this court should enter a verdict of
negligent homicide and remand the matter for resentencing.
The standard of appellate review for a sufficiency of the
evidence claim is whether, after viewing the evidence in the
light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier
of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime
proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Jackson v.
Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 2789, 61
L.Ed.2d 560 (1979); State v. Mussall, 523 So.2d 1305
(La.1988). A determination of the weight of evidence is a
question of fact, resting solely with the trier of fact who
may accept or reject, in whole or in part, the testimony of
any witnesses. State v. Silman, 95-0154
(La.11/27/95), 663 So.2d 27, 35. A reviewing court may
impinge on the factfinding function of the jury only to the
extent necessary to assure the Jackson standard of
review. State v. Bordenave, 95-2328 (La.4/26/96),
678 So.2d 19, 20. It is not the function of an appellate
court to assess credibility or re-weigh the evidence.
State v. Macon, 06-481, pp. 7-8 (La. 6/1/07), 957
So.2d 1280, 1285-86
degree murder, a violation of La.R.S. 14:30.1(A)(1), is the
killing of a human being "[w]hen the offender has a
specific intent to kill or to inflict great bodily
harm[.]" Specific criminal intent is defined as
"that state of mind which exists when the circumstances
indicate that the offender actively desired the prescribed
criminal consequences to follow his act or failure to
act." La.R.S. 14:10(1). "Specific intent may be
inferred from the circumstances surrounding the offense and
the conduct of the defendant." State v. Bishop,
01-2548, p. 4 (La. 1/14/03), 835 So.2d 434, 437.
State called four witnesses to prove its case against
Defendant. The first witness was Dr. Terry Welke, who was
accepted as an expert in forensic pathology. Dr. Welke
performed an autopsy on Wiltz on October 15, 2012. Wiltz was
five feet ten inches tall and weighed 178 pounds. Wiltz had
scrapes above the left eyebrow and on the right side of the
chest and had been shot four times. There were four entrance
wounds and one exit wound on Wiltz's body. The entrance
wounds were located below the left collarbone, in the back of
the neck, and on the left outer back. There was another
entrance wound to the back of the left shoulder and an exit
wound at the top of the shoulder. The wound to the neck
caused injuries to the head and brain, and the wound to the
left back caused a broken rib and went through the lung, as
well as the aorta. There was no gun powder residue present on
Wiltz's body. Dr. Welke recovered three small caliber
bullets from Wiltz's body that he thought were consistent
with a .22 caliber bullet. There were no illicit drugs or
alcohol in Wiltz's system.
Welke was questioned about the gunshot wounds as follows:
Q. Okay. If you're presented, hypothetically, with some
situation where someone says that the gunshots or gunshot
wounds were caused, at least once, by a gun discharging while
in that person's pocket; based upon that . . .
. . . .
Q. Is that consistent with your findings in this report?
Q. Okay. And if another allegation is that, hypothetically,
is that a gun discharged either one (1) or more times as a
result of dropping it on the ground, is that consistent with
your findings of the entrance and at least one (1) exit
A. No, sir.
to his report, Dr. Welke testified that the trajectory of the
gunshot to the back of the neck was "'from back to
front and upwards with no significant left/right
deviation.'" In addressing the shot to the left
collarbone, Dr. Welke stated the "'trajectory [was]
from right to left, front to back and slightly
upwards.'" The trajectory of the wound to the left
outer back was "'back to front, left to right, and
upwards.'" The trajectory of the shot to the left
outer shoulder was "'from left to right, and upwards
with no significant front/back deviation.'"
autopsy report listed a three-quarter inch scrape on the left
forehead and a one-fourth inch abrasion on the right outer
chest. The injuries were not healing, so Dr. Welke stated he
"imagine[d]" they occurred "sometime just
prior to death." He did not know if they occurred prior
to or after the gunshot wounds.
Miller lived at the Kennedy Apartments in Iota, Louisiana. At
approximately 4:00 or 5:00 on October 13, 2012, she heard
what she thought were fireworks. Miller opened her door
quickly and spoke to some boys who were playing, but they
were not making the noise. She then described what she saw at
Merdina Ledet's apartment: "I saw a man across from
us, our apartment, laying on the sidewalk by the front door.
And another man running in and then running out and then
speeding off." Miller saw Merdina over the man on the
sidewalk shaking him, crying, and screaming for him to wake
up. The man who was running went into the apartment for a few
seconds, came back out, got into Merdina's car, and drove
off. Miller described him as a "short to medium size
black man." Miller identified Defendant as the man she
Dennis Fruge testified that Wiltz was found just outside the
front door of the apartment to which he had been dispatched.
Four .22 caliber shell casings were found inside the front
room of the residence. However, no gun was found at the
Fruge indicated that Defendant was arrested on October 13,
2012, and was interviewed by him after Defendant was advised
of and waived his rights. During that interview, Defendant
admitted that he shot Wiltz. Detective Fruge testified that
Defendant said, "He shot him once in the arm, and then
when Mr. Wiltz was running out of the apartment he shot him
again when he fell down, the pistol went off." Defendant
did not state that Wiltz attacked him; he did not reveal that
either he or Wiltz were under the influence of drugs or
alcohol; nor did he claim that someone else shot Wiltz. There
were no allegations of a physical altercation. Defendant
referred to the victim as "Trevon."
interview with Detective Fruge, Defendant stated that he had
a child with Merdina, and Wiltz had a child with
Micha. Defendant was questioned by Detective
Fruge as follows:
J.A. I MEAN LIKE THIS AFTERNOON IT WAS LIKE, LIKE EVERYBODY
WAS OVER THERE LIKE WE WAS [sic] FUSSING.
D.F. WHERE, WHO'S EVERYBODY AND WHERE YOU WERE?
J.A. ME, TRAVON, MICHA AND MY BABY MAMA, UH, WAS [sic] LIKE