Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 338902 Honorable
Katherine Dorroh, Judge
LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Carey J. Ellis, III Counsel
E. STEWART, SR. District Attorney Counsel for Appellee
WALTMAN TRENEISHA HILL Assistant District Attorneys
GARRETT, COX, and BLEICH (Pro Tempore), JJ.
defendant, Amanda Williams, was convicted by a unanimous jury
of the second degree murder of Bryan Savage. Williams was
ordered to serve the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment
at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or
suspension of sentence. On appeal, she claims the evidence
was insufficient to support the conviction. For the following
reasons, we affirm the conviction and sentence.
victim in this murder case was Bryan Savage. Williams had
previously been employed by Elite Services as a sitter and
sat with Savage's elderly father at Savage's home on
Woolworth Road in Shreveport. In the early morning hours of
February 22, 2016, firefighters responded to a fire at the
home. When they entered the house, they found Savage's
dead body lying face up in the living room. He had a gunshot
wound to the chest. He also had wounds on his head and his
body was partially burned. A garden tool was found near the
determined that Williams and an accomplice, Cameron Lewis,
broke into the house; killed Savage; took numerous items from
the residence, including two safes; stole Savage's Ford
F250 work truck; and set fire to the house. On April 14,
2016, Williams was charged by grand jury indictment with the
second degree murder of Savage. On March 8, 2018, Williams was
convicted as charged by a unanimous jury.
filed motions for post verdict judgment of acquittal and new
trial, asserting that the evidence presented was insufficient
to support her conviction and that the verdict was contrary
to the law and evidence. The motions were denied and she was
sentenced to serve the mandatory sentence of life
imprisonment at hard labor, without benefit of parole,
probation, or suspension of sentence. A motion to reconsider
her sentence was denied. Williams appealed her conviction.
OF THE EVIDENCE
appeal, Williams argues that the evidence is insufficient to
support her conviction of second degree murder as a result of
an aggravated burglary and the death of the victim. While she
admits committing a burglary, she claims that she did not
commit an aggravated burglary because she was not the person
who had the weapon that killed the victim. She asserts that
she was not aware that Lewis had a gun and she did not know
or intend for anything to occur, other than a burglary. These
arguments are without merit.
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, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560
(1979); State v. Tate, 2001-1658 (La. 5/20/03), 851
So.2d 921, cert. denied, 541 U.S. 905, 124 S.Ct.
1604, 158 L.Ed.2d 248 (2004); State v. Brooks, 49,
024 (La.App. 2 Cir. 5/14/14), 139 So.3d 1072, writ
denied, 2014-1202 (La. 2/13/15), 159 So.3d 459.
standard, now legislatively embodied in La.C.Cr.P. art. 821,
does not provide the appellate court with a vehicle to
substitute its own appreciation of the evidence for that of
the fact finder. State v. Pigford, 2005-0477 (La.
2/22/06), 922 So.2d 517; State v. Brooks,
appellate court does not assess the credibility of witnesses
or reweigh evidence. State v. Smith, 94-3116 (La.
10/16/95), 661 So.2d 442; State v. Brooks,
supra. A reviewing court accords great deference to
a jury's decision to accept or reject the testimony of a
witness in whole or in part. State v. Brooks,
R.S. 14:30.1 defines second degree murder, in part, as
Second degree murder is the killing of a human being: . . .
(2) When the offender is engaged in the perpetration or
attempted perpetration of . . . aggravated burglary, . . .
even though he has no intent to kill ...