APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-THIRD JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF ST. JAMES, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 72, 64, DIVISION
"C" HONORABLE KATHERINE TESS STROMBERG, JUDGE
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Ricky L.
Babin Lindsey D. Manda
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, RON C. YOUNGBLOOD Ron C.
Youngblood Lieu T. Vo Clark
composed of Judges Marc E. Johnson, Stephen J. Windhorst, and
John J. Molaison, Jr.
E. JOHNSON JUDGE
appeals his convictions and sentences for attempted first
degree murder and felon in possession of a firearm raising
numerous issues, both through counsel and pro se,
including the sufficiency of the evidence, alleged
Batsonviolations, police and prosecutorial
misconduct, the incompleteness of the appellate record, the
denial of a jury instruction regarding an alleged responsive
verdict to the charge of felon in possession of a firearm,
and the excessiveness of his consecutive maximum sentences.
For the reasons that follow, we affirm Defendant's
convictions and sentences.
OF THE CASE
Ron Youngblood, was indicted by a grand jury on August 11,
2015 and charged with two counts of attempted first degree
murder of Deputy Michael Dufresne and Sergeant Dustin
Jenkins, in violation of La. R.S. 14:27 and La. R.S. 14:30
(counts one and two), and one count of felon in possession of
a firearm, in violation of La. R.S. 14:95.1 (count three). He
pled not guilty and proceeded to trial on September 25, 2017.
After a five-day trial, the jury found Defendant guilty on
counts one and three and not guilty on count two (attempted
first degree murder of Sergeant Jenkins). On January 22,
2018, the trial court sentenced Defendant to 50 years at hard
labor on count one and 20 years at hard labor on count three,
both without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of
sentence, to run consecutively to each other. This appeal
24, 2015, the St. James Parish Sheriff's Office
("SJPSO") received a 911 call regarding a
suspicious male, described as a bald-headed "bright
skinned male" wearing a suit, who was walking up and
down Legion Street with a gun. Officers Michael Dufresne and
Dustin Jenkins with the SJPSO responded separately to the
call. Upon their arrival, the officers observed four
African-American males standing near two cars parked on the
side of the roadway, one of whom appeared to match the
description provided to the 911 dispatcher. Officer Jenkins
testified that the dash-cam video from his police unit
depicted the subject matching the description given by the
911 caller holding a shiny object in one of his hands. Both
officers were driving fully marked patrol units and were
dressed in SJPSO department issued uniforms.
officers exited their police units, which they strategically
parked near the four individuals so as to block them in, and
began their approach, one of the men began firing a pistol at
Officer Dufresne who was approximately twenty feet
away. Officer Jenkins explained that when he
exited his vehicle he could hear that Officer Dufresne had
already exited his vehicle, and as he turned around to close
his door, he heard a loud "pop." Officer Jenkins
recalled that he then heard three to four subsequent
"pops," which drew his attention towards the four
subjects where he saw the "tall, slender,
light-skinned" male subject in a tan jumpsuit with his
hand outstretched and "an object in his hand with a
flash coming from it." It was then that Officer Jenkins
registered that the subject was firing a gun pointed in
Officer Dufresne's vicinity. Officer Jenkins testified
that it was at that time that he returned fire.
Officer Dufresne testified that when he exited his vehicle,
he observed one of the male subjects dressed in red run
towards a trailer. As he was ordering the subject to stop,
shots were fired. He indicated that he did not immediately
know which direction the shots were fired from but knew they
were coming from his left side. When he turned toward his
left, the muzzle flash from a gun drew his attention, at
which time he saw the suspect matching the description
provided by the 911 caller shooting at him. Officer Dufresne
testified that the gun was directed straight at him, so he
returned fire. The individual who fired the shots at Officer
Dufresne was later identified as Defendant.
officers' return fire struck Defendant who attempted to
flee while continuing to fire his weapon. Defendant was
subsequently apprehended, and a silver handgun was recovered
approximately ten feet from where he was arrested. A DNA
analysis of the recovered firearm indicated that
Defendant's DNA was on the weapon and that the weapon
had, in fact, been fired at the scene of the
shooting. While Defendant was being detained, a
subsequent shot was fired near the original location of the
other three males that were present at the scene with
Defendant were identified as Roderick Bourgeois, Quindell
Jones, and Tavish Milton. While all three individuals provided
statements to the police, Bourgeois was the only one of the
three to testify at trial. Bourgeois testified that he was
standing next to Defendant when he observed Defendant fire
the first gunshot towards the police car prompting the police
to return fire. He could not recall the exact number of times
Defendant fired his gun after the initial shot was fired but
stated that it was multiple times. Bourgeois further
explained that he did not see the officer holding a weapon at
the time the officer exited his vehicle.
appeal, appellate counsel raises two assignments of error,
both relating to the excessiveness of Defendant's
consecutive maximum sentences. Additionally, Defendant filed
a pro se brief raising 21 assignments of error, all
of which were not properly briefed. Of the assignments of error
that were properly briefed, many overlapped and relate to the
following six issues: sufficiency of the evidence of both
convictions, prosecutorial misconduct, police misconduct,
Batson violation, an incomplete appellate record,
and failure to charge the jury with a responsive verdict.
standard of review for determining the sufficiency of the
evidence 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 beyond a
reasonable doubt. Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307,
99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979). Under the
Jackson standard, a review of a criminal conviction
record for sufficiency of evidence does not require the court
to ask whether it believes that the evidence at trial
established guilt beyond a reasonable doubt but rather
whether any rational trier of fact could have found the
defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt after viewing the
evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution.
State v. Flores, 10-651 (La.App. 5 Cir. 5/24/11); 66
So.3d 1118, 1122.
First Degree Murder
argues that the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable
doubt that he had specific intent to kill Officer Dufresne.
He asserts that the officers' testimonies should not be
considered because they are perjured and that eyewitness
Bourgeois' testimony is insufficient to meet the
State's burden. Defendant also contends the State failed
to prove that he fired the first shot and was not acting in
self-defense when he returned fire. He further avers that the
interviews of Quindell Jones and Tavish Milton establish that
the police started the "gun battle" without
provocation and that the audio recording from Officer
Jenkins' police unit's dash-cam further aids in
proving the police shot first based upon the recorded sounds
establishing the proximity of the gunfire.
was convicted of attempted first degree murder of Officer
Dufresne in violation of La. R.S. 14:27 and La. R.S. 14:30.
La. R.S. 14:30(A)(2) defines first degree murder as the
killing of a human being when the offender has a specific
intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm upon a peace
officer. The crime of attempted first degree murder
requires proof of the specific intent to kill and the
commission of an overt act tending toward the accomplishment
of that goal. La. R.S. 14:27(A); State v. Girod,
94-853 (La.App. 5 Cir. 3/15/95); 653 So.2d 664. Specific
intent is "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). Because specific intent is a
state of mind, it need not be proven as a fact but may be
inferred from the circumstances and actions of the accused.
intent to kill can be inferred from the intentional use of a
deadly weapon such as a knife or a gun. State v.
Knight, 09-359 (La.App. 5 Cir. 2/9/10); 34 So.3d 307,
317, writ denied, 10-2444 (La. 10/21/11); 73 So.3d
376. It may also be inferred from the act of pointing a gun
and firing it at a person. State v. Alsay, 11-562
(La.App. 5 Cir. 12/13/11); 81 So.3d 145, 149, writ
denied, 12-1041 (La. 9/21/12); 98 So.3d 335; State
v. Gonzalez, 07-449 (La.App. 5 Cir. 12/27/07); 975 So.2d
3, 8, writ denied, 08-0228 (La. 9/19/08); 992 So.2d
949. Whether a defendant possessed the requisite intent in a
criminal case is a question for the trier-of-fact, and a
review of the correctness of this determination is guided by
the Jackson standard. State v. Deweese,
13-293 (La.App. 5 Cir. 10/30/13); 128 So.3d 1186, 1192.
evidence at trial established that Defendant pointed and
fired his gun at Officer Dufresne multiple times while the
officer was engaged in the performance of his lawful duty as
a peace officer. Defendant does not contest that he fired a
weapon, only that the State failed to prove he fired the
first shot. Defendant maintains he did not fire the first
shot and, thus, was justified in his actions; however, the
evidence proves otherwise.
neither Officer Dufresne nor Officer Jenkins observed
Defendant fire the initial gunshot, their attention was drawn
toward the shooter because of the initial firing, at which
time they observed Defendant fire the remaining gunshots
directed at Officer Dufresne who was standing approximately
20 feet away. As noted above, specific intent may be
inferred from the act of pointing a gun and firing it at a
person. See Alsay, supra.
eyewitness Bourgeois testified that he was standing next to
Defendant and personally observed Defendant fire the first
gunshot in the direction of the officer's car. Whether
anyone else in the group may have also fired a weapon, as
alluded to by Defendant, is irrelevant because the
officers' testimonies established that they observed
Defendant shoot at Officer Dufresne before they
returned fire. In the absence of internal contradiction or
irreconcilable conflict with physical evidence, the testimony
of one witness, if believed by the trier of fact, is
sufficient to convict. See State v. Addison, 00-1730
(La.App. 5 Cir. 5/16/01); 788 So.2d 608, 613, writ
denied, 01-1660 (La. 4/26/02); 814 So.2d 549.
Defendant argues eyewitness Bourgeois' testimony does not
provide support for the element of specific intent to kill as
he testified that Defendant was shooting towards the
officer's car and not the officer himself, Officer
Dufresne testified that he was standing next to his car when
Defendant was shooting at him. Thus, Bourgeois' testimony
corroborates the officers' testimonies that Defendant was
shooting in the direction of Officer Dufresne.
also attempts to rely on the statements given by Quindell
Jones and Tavish Milton, who were also present on the scene
at the time of the shooting, to prove that the officers
"started the gun battle without provocation";
however, neither Jones nor Milton testified at trial, and
their statements were not introduced into evidence or
considered by the jury. Thus, we do not consider them.
further avers that the dash-cam video establishes that the
first shot fired is "loud and can easily be
distinguished as being right in the immediate vicinity of the
recording device, and the subsequent three to four shots are
easily distinguished as being fired from a distance,"
thus, proving the initial shot was fired by one of the
officers and not him. In conjunction with the witnesses'
testimonies, the jury listened to the audio from the dash-cam
video and apparently rejected Defendant's theory. It is
not the function of the appellate court to assess the
credibility of witnesses or re-weigh the evidence. State
v. Smith, 94-3116 (La. 10/16/95); 661 So.2d 442, 443.
Defendant argues that his actions were done in self-defense.
However, Defendant presented no such evidence or theory at
trial nor was there a jury instruction given by the trial
court as to self-defense. An appellate court need not
consider a claim of self-defense raised for the first time on
appeal. State v. Jackson, 06-565 (La.App. 5 Cir.
12/27/06); 948 So.2d 269, 273.
on the evidence, we find a rationale trier of fact could have
found beyond a reasonable doubt that Defendant had specific
intent to kill Officer Dufresne. Accordingly, we find the
evidence sufficient to sustain Defendant's conviction for
attempted first degree murder.
in Possession of a Firearm
his conviction for possession of a firearm by a convicted
felon, Defendant asserts the evidence was insufficient
because the State failed to prove that the ten-year cleansing
period under La. R.S. 14:95.1(C) had not lapsed.
Specifically, he claims the State erroneously computed the
ten-year cleansing period as to his prior attempted
manslaughter conviction, which was used to charge him with a
violation of La. R.S. 14:95.1. He acknowledges that a
stipulation was agreed upon regarding his prior conviction,
but he maintains the stipulation did not include the
satisfaction of the ten-year cleansing period.
obtain a conviction for possession of a firearm by a
convicted felon, the State was required to prove beyond a
reasonable doubt that Defendant had: (1) possession of a
firearm; (2) a prior conviction for an enumerated felony; (3)
absence of the ten-year statutory period of limitation; and
(4) the general intent to commit the offense. State v.
Chairs, 12-363 (La.App. 5 Cir. 12/27/12); 106 So.3d
1232, 1250, writ denied, 13-0306 (La. 6/21/13); 118
appeal, Defendant only challenges the evidence regarding the
absence of the ten-year cleansing period. However, Defendant
stipulated to the fact that he had been previously convicted
of an enumerated felony and that his conviction was within
the statutory ten-year cleansing period. This stipulation was
reduced to writing and signed by Defendant, his two defense
attorneys, and the State. The jury was advised by the trial
court of the stipulation - that on March 5, 1992, Defendant
was convicted of a felony enumerated in La. R.S.
14:2(B) and that the ten-year cleansing period
as provided in La. R.S. 14:95.1(C) had not passed since the
date of Defendant's parole on December 7, 2012.
Thereafter, the trial court instructed the jury that in order
to convict Defendant of the offense of possession of a
firearm by a convicted felon, it must find Defendant
possessed a Bryco Arms, semi-automatic 9 mm pistol on May 24,
the language of the stipulation, Defendant argues it did not
incorporate the ten-year cleansing period. He contends the
stipulation was ambiguous and, thus, should be construed
against the State and in accordance with his reasonable
understanding of the agreement. He further asserts the
stipulation was not properly filed into the record and,
therefore, should not have been considered as evidence.
appellate record contains a written stipulation that was
filed into the lower court record on the last day of trial,
STATE OF LOUISIANA and the defendant, Ron C. Youngblood (BM,
DOB: 08/14/69), SID: 0001421912, through his undersigned
counsel herein stipulate to the following:
Defendant Ron C. Youngblood (BM, DOB: 08/14/69), charged with
R.S. 14:95.1 Possession of a Firearm by a Person Convicted of
Certain Felonies, arrested on June 12, 2015, and charged by
formal Bill of Indictment on August 11, 2015 is in fact one
in the same person as the Ron C. Youngblood (BM, DOB:
08/14/69), who was arrested on March 5, 1992 by the St. James
Parish Sheriff's Office and convicted of R.S. 14:27(31)
Attempted Manslaughter on September 3, 1992, in the Parish of
And that the ten (10) year cleansing period as provide [sic]
in R.S.14:95.19 © [sic] has not passed since the date of
his parole on December 7, 2012 and that the current charge
complies with the provisions of R.S. 14:95.1 as evidenced by
the exhibit attached hereto from.
to the stipulation, which as noted above was signed by
Defendant, his defense attorneys, and the State, was
documentation which established the existence of the prior
conviction and Defendant's discharge from custody as
proof that ten years had not passed since completion of his
sentence for his 1992 conviction and the commission of the
offense of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. We
find this stipulation is clear, was properly filed into the
record, and directly contradicts Defendant's allegation
that the satisfaction of the ten-year cleansing period was
not incorporated into the stipulation.
stipulation has the effect of withdrawing a fact from issue
and disposing with the need for proof of that fact. State
v. Seals, 09-1089 (La.App. 5 Cir. 12/29/11); 83 So.3d
285, 320-21, writ denied, 12-293 (La. 10/26/12); 99
So.3d 53, cert. denied, 569 U.S. 1031, 133 S.Ct.
2796, 186 L.Ed.2d 863 (2013). "A stipulation has the
effect of binding all parties and the court . . . . Such
agreements are the law of the case." Id.,
quoting State v. Smith, 39, 698 (La.App. 2 Cir.
6/29/05), 907 So.2d 192, 199. Accordingly, the State only
needed to prove possession and general intent at trial. The
State accomplished this through the testimonies of Officer
Dufresne, Officer Jenkins, and eyewitness Bourgeois who all
testified that they observed Defendant firing a handgun, as
well as through the DNA evidence linking Defendant to the
Bryco Arms semi-automatic 9 mm pistol found near him at the
time of his arrest.
the stipulation and the evidence presented,  we find any
rational trier of fact could have found all of the essential
elements of the offense of possession of a firearm by a
convicted felon were proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Therefore, we find the evidence sufficient to support his
conviction. Prosecutorial Misconduct
several assignments of error, Defendant maintains that the
State through the testimony of Detective Barry Ward,
knowingly relied upon false testimony to obtain a conviction
for attempted first degree murder. In particular, Defendant
avers that the State had access to Detective Ward's
investigative report in which he found that none of the
witnesses were able to state that they observed Defendant
fire the first shot. Thus, he contends that when the State
solicited contrary testimony from Officers Dufresne and
Jenkins at trial, it knowingly solicited the witnesses to
perjure their testimonies.
prosecutor allows a state witness to give false testimony
without correcting it, a reviewing court must reverse the
conviction gained as a result of the perjured testimony, even
if the testimony was only relevant to the credibility of the
witness. Napue v. Illinois, 360 U.S. 264, 269, 79
S.Ct. 1173, 1177, 3 L.Ed.2d 1217 (1959); State v.
Reed, 14-1980 (La. 9/7/16); 200 So.3d 291, 321,
rehearing granted in part on other grounds, 14-1980
(La. 10/19/16); 213 So.3d 384, cert. denied, 137
S.Ct. 787, 197 L.Ed.2d 787, 85 USLW 3407 (2017). To prove a
Napue claim, the defendant must show that the
prosecutor acted in collusion with the witness to facilitate
false testimony. State v. Broadway, 96-2659 (La.
10/19/99); 753 So.2d 801, 814, cert. denied, 529
U.S. 1056, 120 S.Ct. 1562, 146 L.Ed.2d 466 (2000).
false testimony has been given under such circumstances, the
defendant is entitled to a new trial unless there is no
reasonable likelihood that the alleged false testimony could
have affected the outcome of the trial. State v.
Ventris, 10-889 (La.App. 5 Cir. 11/15/11); 79 So.3d
1108, 1126, citing Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S.
150, 92 S.Ct. 763, 31 L.Ed.2d 104 (1972). However, the grant
of a new trial based upon a Napue violation is
proper only if: (1) the statements at issue are shown to be
actually false; (2) the prosecution knew they were false; and
(3) the statements were material. Ventris,
supra at 1126.
claims that both Officer Jenkins and Officer Dufresne offered
perjured testimony when they both initially indicated that
they did not see the first shots fired but later stated,
through prompting by the State, that Defendant fired the
first shot. During Officer Jenkins' direct examination by
the State, he testified that he heard a loud pop as he was
closing the door to his vehicle after exiting. After
registering that the sound he heard was gunfire, Officer
Jenkins stated that he heard three to four more pops, turned
his attention ...