FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 522-732,
SECTION "I" Honorable Karen K. Herman, Judge.
Christopher A. Aberle LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT COUNSEL FOR
Cannizzaro DISTRICT ATTORNEY, ORLEANS PARISH Donna Andrieu
Irena Zajickova DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, COUNSEL FOR
composed of Judge Terri F. Love, Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano,
Judge Paula A. Brown.
A. Brown Judge.
Blair Taylor, appeals his convictions of two counts of second
degree murder and five counts of attempted second degree
murder, asserting claims of ineffective assistance of
counsel. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm
Defendant's convictions and sentences.
a.k.a. "Blood," along with co-defendants, Joseph
Nelson and Michael Finnie, were indicted on the following
• second degree murder of Terrence McBride
• second degree murder of Jasmine Anderson
• attempted second degree murder of J.R.
• attempted second degree murder of K.R.
• attempted second degree murder of A.R.
• attempted second degree murder of H.C.
• attempted second degree murder of Q.H.
pled guilty to two counts of manslaughter, a lesser charge,
and five counts of attempted second degree murder, and he was
sentenced to seven concurrent terms of twenty-years at hard
a jury trial, Defendant and Nelson were found guilty as
charged.Although Defendant filed a motion for new
trial, the district court sentenced Defendant before ruling
on the motion. Defendant appealed, and this Court dismissed
the appeal without prejudice as the record failed to reflect
a ruling on the motion for new trial. On remand, the district
court denied the motion for new trial, vacated the original
sentences, and resentenced Defendant to life imprisonment at
hard labor on each conviction of second degree murder, and
fifty years at hard labor on each conviction of attempted
second degree murder. All the sentences were ordered to run
concurrently to each other and "any and all other
sentences." Defendant filed a motion to reconsider
sentence which was denied.
Court routinely reviews the record on appeal for errors
patent. State v. Lewis, 15-0773, p. 9 (La.App. 4
Cir. 2/3/16), 187 So.3d 24, 29. A review of the record
reveals one error patent which requires no action by this
sentences are illegally lenient. La. R.S. 14:30.1, second
degree murder, and La. R.S. 14:(27)30.1, attempted second
degree murder, require that the sentence imposed be served
without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of
sentence. The transcript of the resentencing proceeding
reflects the district court failed to order Defendant's
sentences be served without benefit of parole, probation, or
suspension of sentence. Nevertheless, La. R.S. 15:301.1(A)
mandates these restrictions are self-activating:
When a criminal statute requires that all or a portion of a
sentence imposed for a violation of that statute be served
without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of
sentence, each sentence which is imposed under the provisions
of that statute shall be deemed to contain the provisions
relating to the service of that sentence without benefit of
probation, parole, or suspension of sentence. The failure of
a sentencing court to specifically state that all or a
portion of the sentence is to be served without benefit of
probation, parole, or suspension of sentence shall not in any
way affect the statutory requirement that all or a portion of
the sentence be served without benefit of probation, parole,
or suspension of sentence.
no action needs to be taken by this Court. State v.
Williams, 00-1725, p. 10 (La. 11/28/01), 800 So.2d 790,
798-99; State v. Wyatt, 11-0219, p. 20 (La.App. 4
Cir. 12/22/11), 83 So.3d 131, 143.
August 10, 2014, Finnie, along with Defendant and Nelson,
left Finnie's house with the purpose to kill Terrence
McBride. Mr. McBride was located at a neighboring house on
Burgundy Street. Upon arrival, Defendant and Nelson opened
fire on Mr. McBride, along with the other adults, teens, and
children located in the front yard and front porch of the
house. Mr. McBride and sixteen year old Jasmine Anderson
died, and five others, including several young children, were
trial, Finnie testified he lived with his mother at the
intersection of Flood and Burgundy Streets. Mr. McBride would
come to Finnie's residence to buy drugs from Finnie's
mother. A dispute arose between Mr. McBride and Finnie when
Mr. McBride owed Finnie's mother money for pills and
drugs. For this reason, Finnie planned to kill Mr. McBride.
As part of the plan, Finnie contacted Defendant, a friend
since childhood, and told Defendant to obtain a gun for the
purpose of killing Mr. McBride. According to Finnie,
Defendant, along with Defendant's friend, Nelson, drove
to Finnie's home and pulled up to the corner of Flood and
Burgundy Streets. Defendant brought with him an AK-47, and
Nelson had a handgun. When Defendant and Nelson arrived,
Finnie got in the driver's seat, while Defendant rode in
the front passenger's seat with Nelson in the back seat.
The three men proceeded down Burgundy Street, and Finnie
spotted Mr. McBride on the porch of a neighboring house, 5439
Burgundy Street; it was about a half of a block away from
Finnie's home. Finnie recalled that upon arrival at the
neighboring house, Finnie told Defendant that he had changed
his mind about shooting Mr. McBride at that time because too
many people were around. Finnie testified that Defendant
responded that he had not "come way down here for
nothing." Defendant then exited the vehicle and
"started wild gunfire." Defendant told Nelson to
"get out and finish [Mr. McBride] off," and Nelson
obeyed. Finnie stated that after Defendant and Nelson
returned to the vehicle, Finnie drove around the block,
stopped, exited the vehicle, and walked back to his house.
Timothy Bender, employed by the New Orleans Police Department
("NOPD"), was the lead detective for the
investigation of the shootings. He testified that during his
investigation, he received information from confidential
informants ("CIs") and tips through Crime
Bender stated he spoke to a CI who claimed to be standing on
the corner when he/she saw a gray SUV arrive at the corner of
Flood and Burgundy Streets; the gray SUV was occupied by two
individuals. The driver exited the vehicle and Finnie took
his place in the driver's seat. The CI reported to the
detective that the two individuals originally occupying the
vehicle ended up sitting in the passenger seat and the
backseat on the passenger side; one was armed with an AK-47,
and the other was armed with a handgun. Shortly thereafter,
the CI observed Finnie return on foot coming from
"Rampart Street on [F]lood towards Burgundy" and
overheard Finnie say something like "[w]e took care of
Bender testified that three days after the shooting, a CI
sent him a photograph of a dark gray Chevrolet Captiva (the
"gray SUV") and indicated that the vehicle had been
used in the commission of the homicides. The photograph
depicted the vehicle being driven through a parking lot. The
CI informed Detective Bender that the parking lot was in New
Orleans East and Defendant was the driver of the vehicle
depicted in the picture. Detective Bender stated that the CI,
who identified Defendant in a photograph, also confirmed
Defendant was one of the perpetrators of the shooting. The CI
informed the detective that Defendant resided in the Chateau
D'Orleans apartment complex, located in New Orleans East.
Bender enlisted the assistance of the Louisiana State Police
(the "LSP"). Sergeant William Blackwell, employed
by the LSP, assisted Detective Bender by conducting
surveillance on the Chateau D'Orleans apartment complex,
apartment numbers 504, Defendant's apartment, and 1411,
Jeffery Rivers' apartment. Sergeant Blackwell also
surveilled the gray SUV. During his surveillance, Sergeant
Blackwell conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle matching the
description of the gray SUV. Police had learned the gray SUV
had been reported stolen. At the time of the stop, Defendant
exited the vehicle and attempted to flee on foot, but was
apprehended and detained.
Sergeant Blackwell approached apartment 1411 and spoke to the
residents, Rivers and his wife, Vivien Anderson. With the
residents' cooperation, Sergeant Blackwell located a
loaded Smith and Wesson nine-millimeter pistol and a box of
forty-five-caliber ammunition above a kitchen cabinet.
Sergeant Blackwell testified that Ms. Anderson told him the
weapon belonged to "Blood," which he knew to be one
of Defendant's aliases.
who met Defendant through Nelson, recalled that he told the
police, when they searched his apartment, where the pistol
was located, and that it belonged to Defendant. He explained that
Defendant came to his apartment the day after the shooting.
Defendant told Rivers to look at "NOLA.com" and he
"had to smash him"; Rivers took that to mean
Defendant killed someone. According to Rivers, Defendant
placed the pistol in Rivers' apartment above the kitchen
cabinets where it remained until the police recovered it.
Rivers further testified that he received the stolen gray SUV
"from a guy," and he loaned the gray SUV to
Defendant the day before the shooting. Rivers said Defendant
never returned the stolen gray SUV.
determined two weapons were used during the shooting-the
Smith and Wesson nine-millimeter pistol and a 7.62 x 39
caliber AK-47. According to a ballistics expert from the NOPD
crime lab, seven nine-millimeter cartridge cases were
recovered from the crime scene and testing determined these
cases had been fired from the Smith and Wesson
nine-millimeter pistol recovered in Rivers' kitchen. Six
of the projectiles recovered from both the scene and the two
autopsies were also fired from the nine-millimeter pistol.
The ballistics expert further testified that three of the
7.62 x 39 caliber cartridge cases recovered from the scene
were fired from the same weapon, an AK-47. The ballistics
expert, as well as Detective Bender, testified that the
weapon which fired the 7.62 x 39 caliber cartridge cases was
not located; thus, it was not submitted for comparison.
the search of Defendant and Rivers' apartments at Chateau
D'Orleans Apartment, arrests warrants were obtained for
both Defendant and Rivers. The telephone calls Defendant made
while he was incarcerated, which were recorded, were
introduced into evidence. In one call that was played for the
jury, Defendant phoned his girlfriend, Ashley Shorts, and
asked her if she had "moved the hammer" from the
kitchen. Ms. Shorts responded that she had not and the police
had taken it. Detective Bender testified he believed
"hammer" referred to a gun. Based on this phone
call, Detective Bender issued an arrest warrant for Ms.
an eye-witness who was present during the shooting, recalled
that the perpetrators drove a gray vehicle. She testified
that once the car pulled in front of the residence, she heard
gunshots. When the gunshots subsided, she noticed that
"everybody was shot," and she observed someone
emerge from the vehicle, walk up onto the porch, and shoot
Mr. McBride. K.K. identified Nelson as one of the
perpetrators to Detective Bender after ...