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State v. Knatt

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

February 13, 2019

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
PAUL KNATT

          APPEAL FROM THE SIXTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF IBERIA, NO. 11-1790 HONORABLE LEWIS H. PITMAN, JR., DISTRICT JUDGE.

          M. Bofill Duhe District Attorney, Nicole Burke, W. Claire Howington, Assistant District Attorneys, Counsel for Appellee: State of Louisiana

          Harry Daniels, III Daniels & Washington, Counsel for Defendant/Appellant: Paul Knatt.

          Court composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, Shannon J. Gremillion, and Phyllis M. Keaty, Judges.

          PHYLLIS M. KEATY JUDGE.

         Defendant, Paul Knatt, appeals his conviction and sentence for manslaughter. For the following reasons, Defendant's conviction and sentence are affirmed.

         FACTS & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On September 1, 2011, Ridge Honore approached his cousin, Defendant herein, and asked a derogatory question. Both men began arguing, and Honore told Defendant, "You survived last time, but you won't survive this time." Honore returned to his truck, while Defendant went to his car and retrieved a gun. Defendant thereafter approached Honore, who was sitting inside of his truck with his infant child and shot Honore multiple times. Honore died. No one saw Honore with a weapon, and no weapon was found on his person or in his truck.

         On December 16, 2011, Defendant was charged by bill of information with manslaughter, a violation of La.R.S. 14:31. The bill was thereafter nolle prossed because Defendant was charged by a bill of indictment with second degree murder, a violation of La.R.S. 14:30.1. A jury trial began on June 15, 2015, and ended in a mistrial on June 17, 2015. On September 11, 2017, Defendant's second jury trial commenced after which the jury returned a guilty verdict on the responsive verdict of manslaughter. Defendant was sentenced to serve fifteen years at hard labor. He filed a Motion to Reconsider Sentence, which the trial court denied. Defendant appealed.

         On appeal, Defendant asserts the following assignments of error:

1. The Trial Court erred as a matter of law denying the Accused, Paul Knatt, of his Constitutional right to present a defense when it ruled that the Accused could not present evidence of the January 31, 2010, shooting to show his state of mind, at the time of the September 1, 2011, shooting until he provided a foundation under Louisiana Code of Evidence Article 404 A(2).
2. Did Paul Knatt present appreciable evidence of an overt act or hostile demonstration to allow [the] January 30, 2010 shooting into evidence.
3. The sentence imposed is excessive for this offense and this offender.

         DISCUSSION

         I. ...


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