Appealed from the Fourth Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Morehouse, Louisiana Trial Court No. 13-153F
Honorable Carl V. Sharp, Judge
LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Bertha M. Hillman Counsel for
S. TEW District Attorney Counsel for Appellee
G. SPIRES Assistant District Attorney
MOORE, COX, and BLEICH (Ad Hoc), JJ.
a bench trial, Thomas Casey White was convicted as charged
for the attempted second degree murder of Charles Ashlock.
White was sentenced to 20 years at hard labor, the first 10
years to be served without benefits. White now appeals.
absence in the record evidencing a valid waiver of
White's right to trial by jury requires that we vacate
White's conviction and sentence.
on February 25, 2013, while riding in the passenger seat of a
pickup truck driven by Charles Ashlock on Naff Avenue near
Highway 165 South in Bastrop, Louisiana, Casey White, age 42,
suddenly told Ashlock, "I'm gonna kill you,"
and he pulled out his pocket knife and slashed Ashlock's
throat. Ashlock received several more stab wounds as he
fended off the attack. Meanwhile, Ashlock's truck veered
off the road, knocking out a fence in front of a house before
coming to a stop in the ditch in front of the house. White
jumped out of the truck and fled. Ashlock got out of the
truck and knocked at the door of the house to get help. He
removed his shirt and wrapped it around his neck to help stop
the bleeding. He got back into the truck and, fortunately, he
was able to back it out of the ditch.
north on Martin Luther King South, Ashlock came up behind a
Morehouse Parish Sheriff's vehicle travelling in the same
direction. He began honking his horn behind the police unit.
Hearing the horn, Deputy Sara Coleman stopped her police
unit. She got out and saw the shirtless Ashlock covered in
blood with a "towel" around his neck. Ashlock told
her he had been stabbed by his best friend. Concerned over
his loss of blood, Deputy Coleman put Ashlock in the front
seat of her vehicle and drove him to Morehouse General
Hospital. Although critically injured, Ashlock survived.
went to Ashlock's home searching for White. He was not
there, nor had Ashlock's wife seen White since he left
with her husband earlier in the day. White was well known to
the couple, and he had been living with Ashlock and his wife,
Joanna, who were trying to help White. They knew that White
was schizophrenic and thought he was taking his medication.
spoke with White's grandmother who lived next door to the
Ashlocks. She informed them that White was on several types
of medication, including one for schizophrenia.
next day, White's grandmother notified authorities that
he could be found at the Preferred Inn, Room 364, in Bastrop.
White was taken into custody without incident. He told
officers that he was taken off some of his medications and
was hearing voices. It is also not disputed that White was
experiencing paranoid delusions at that time. In his
statement to police, White said that the night before the
attack, he overheard the Ashlocks talking about getting rid
of something by taking it off. He assumed that they were
talking about getting rid of him.
light of White's history of mental illness, his trial
counsel filed a motion for appointment of a sanity
commission. Drs. James B. Pinkston and John R. Turpin were
appointed to the commission. On June 26, 2014, White was
committed to the Department of Health and Hospitals. On
September 12, 2014, White's doctor at the mental
institution confirmed that he was now competent to stand
entered a plea of not guilty and not guilty by reason of
insanity. At trial, his counsel offered the sanity commission
reports of Drs. Turpin and Pinkston as evidence that White
did not have the capacity to determine right from wrong at
the time of the crime. Dr. Turpin evaluated White and
concluded that he was suffering from chronic paranoid
schizophrenia and was incapable of distinguishing right from
wrong at the time of the offense. Dr. Pinkston also examined
White and noted that White was experiencing paranoid
delusions, but could not ...