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State v. Martin

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

May 22, 2019

ADAM L. MARTIN Appellant

          Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 331432 Honorable Brady D. O'Callaghan, Judge

          LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Douglas Lee Harville Counsel for Appellant

          JAMES E. STEWART, SR. District Attorney MEKISHA S. CREAL RICHARD SOL FEINBERG Assistant District Attorneys Counsel for Appellee

          Before STONE, MOORE, and STEPHENS, JJ.

          STONE, J.

         In this criminal case, the defendant, Adam Martin ("Martin"), was found guilty by a jury of attempted second degree murder. Pursuant to the Habitual Offender Law, Martin was sentenced as a second-felony offender to 80 years at hard labor without benefit of probation or suspension of sentence. The trial court denied Martin's motion to reconsider sentence, and Martin now appeals his sentence as excessive. For the following reasons, we affirm Martin's conviction and sentence.


         As of the date of the crime, April 12, 2015, Martin had been dating the victim, Jakare Fecunda ("Ms. Fecunda"), on and off for 4 to 5 years. That night, Martin and Ms. Fecunda were at her home on Masters Drive in Shreveport, Louisiana. Around 10 p.m., Ms. Fecunda told Martin she wanted to end her relationship with him. The conversation began at her home, but Martin suggested the two take a walk, and Ms. Fecunda agreed. Before departing from the house, Martin secretly grabbed a kitchen knife to bring with him on the walk. As the pair proceeded along Masters Drive, Ms. Fecunda continued to state that she wanted to end the relationship.

         The pair stopped walking and Martin said to Ms. Fecunda, "I love you." Almost simultaneously with his utterance of those words, Martin turned toward her and stabbed her twice in the stomach with the aforementioned kitchen knife. Ms. Fecunda screamed for help and tried to run, but fell to the ground. Martin grabbed her and attempted to stab her in her face, but she raised her arm to block him and Martin stabbed her in her arm just above her elbow. During the struggle, Martin also stabbed Ms. Fecunda once in her head and twice in her back. As Ms. Fecunda lay on the ground, Martin stood over her while she said, "Please, please."

         Upon realizing that Martin would not stop stabbing her as long as she struggled, Ms. Fecunda pretended to be dead. Thereupon, Martin, apparently believing he had succeeded in killing her, fled the scene. Once Martin got to the end of the street, Ms. Fecunda got up and tried to get help at a nearby house but no one was home. Ms. Fecunda screamed for help. A nearby resident came to her aid and contacted 911. Ms. Fecunda stated that she repeated Martin's name over and over, because she thought she was going to die and she wanted someone to know who stabbed her.

         While Ms. Fecunda was being given first aid, Martin returned to the scene. Martin did not assist in rendering aid to Ms. Fecunda, but "just stood there" and falsely claimed to those present that someone armed with a gun and knife, driving a red car had attacked Ms. Fecunda. However, Ms. Fecunda told those present that Martin was lying and that he was the person who stabbed her.

         Ms. Fecunda was transported by ambulance to an area hospital and was treated by a trauma surgeon. He testified that one of the wounds to her abdomen caused serious arterial bleeding which "shot out like a garden hose," and that she would have been dead within another hour if she had not received emergency care. Ms. Fecunda was hospitalized for three weeks and had four surgeries during that period, including one to remove her right kidney, and another to remove part of her liver.

         Martin was charged by bill of information with the attempted second degree murder of Ms. Fecunda. Subsequently, he filed a motion for appointment of a sanity commission, which was granted. That motion asked that the sanity commission determine whether Martin had the mental capacity to proceed with the trial and report on whether Martin had a mental or neurological condition at the time of the offense. Both doctors appointed to the sanity commission found Martin competent to stand trial, and the trial court ruled accordingly. After trial, the jury found Martin guilty of attempted second degree murder. Martin filed a motion for post-verdict judgment of acquittal and a motion for a new trial. The trial court denied both motions.

         Thereafter, the state filed a habitual offender bill charging Martin as a second-felony offender, [1] and Martin was adjudicated and sentenced as such. Ms. Fecunda provided a victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing. In her testimony, she described the savagery of Martin's attack on her - specifically, her physical injuries, Martin's lies about who attacked her, his lack of remorse, her extensive and painful recovery process, and delaying her college education while she recovered. She also described the psychological trauma that still plagues her and her continuing mental health treatment. Her testimony was demonstrative of how severely Martin's knife attack ravaged her mental well-being as well as her body, and that the extensive scarring to her body will forever serve as a reminder of what Martin did to her.

         Prior to sentencing, Martin's counsel asked the trial court to consider as mitigating factors that "Martin is a young man, that he has had a rough home life, that he has suffered abuse, that he does have some mental health issues, [and] that he had to watch a sibling commit suicide." Defense counsel also requested that the court not impose the maximum sentence. The trial court provided the sentencing range for a second-felony offender, [2] and went through an extensive analysis of the aggravating and mitigating factors from La. C.Cr.P. art. 894.1.

         In aggravation, the trial court found the following factors set forth La. C.Cr.P. art. 894.1 (A) (1), (2) & (3) as well as La. C.Cr.P. art. 894.1 (B) (1), (6), (9), (10) & (21).

A.When a defendant has been convicted of a felony…the court should impose a sentence of imprisonment if any of ...

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