Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 334, 115.
Honorable Brady D. O'Callaghan, Judge
LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Edward K. Bauman Counsel for
E. STEWART, SR. District Attorney Counsel for Appellee
RICHARD S. FEINBERG MEKISHA S. CREAL KODIE K. SMITH Assistant
MOORE, GARRETT, and THOMPSON, JJ.
appeal arises from the First Judicial District Court, Parish
of Caddo, the Honorable Brady O'Callaghan presiding.
Defendant Shamichael Edwards was found guilty of carjacking
following a jury trial. Defendant was sentenced as a
fourth-felony offender to 35 years at hard labor without
benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence.
Defendant now appeals. For the following reasons,
Defendant's conviction and sentence are affirmed.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
September 2, 2015, Defendant Shamichael Edwards (hereinafter
"Defendant") was charged by bill of information
with carjacking, a violation of La. R.S. 14:64.2, for an
offense alleged to have been committed on July 10, 2015.
After a trial held May 14-16, 2018, a jury returned a
verdict of guilty as charged.
Defendant's trial, the following facts were elicited: The
victim, Irvin Calhoun, testified that he had known Defendant
for about three weeks prior to the incident on July 10, 2015.
Calhoun stated that he first met Defendant outside of the El
Dorado Casino in Shreveport, Louisiana, Calhoun's place
of employment. Calhoun testified that it was at that first
meeting that he discovered that Defendant was deaf. Calhoun
stated that he offered Defendant a ride to the Mooretown
neighborhood of Shreveport, where Defendant lived. Calhoun
averred that he and Defendant exchanged phone numbers and
were able to communicate through texts, writing and gestures
or body language. Calhoun testified that he found Defendant
attractive, but he denied being in a relationship with him.
testified that he gave Defendant rides to Mooretown several
times. He once bought a pair of shoes for Defendant, and
several times he brought Defendant to his apartment and they
"hung out," which involved him cooking for
Defendant and watching movies together. Calhoun testified
that, on another occasion, Defendant told him that he needed
money for his mom, because he did not have any food.
Defendant came by his apartment and he gave Defendant some
money and a bottle of alcohol. Calhoun testified that he
never expected anything in return for helping Defendant.
addition to working at the casino, Calhoun testified that he
worked as a hairdresser. Calhoun stated that at the time of
the incident in July 2015, he owned a Dodge Nitro, for which
he had just finished paying. Calhoun noted that he had also
just put new rims and tires on the SUV. Calhoun testified
that he kept a lot of personal information, such as his birth
certificate, social security card, checks and his
"statements" in the vehicle in the glove box, which
he kept locked.
testified that around 11:00 p.m. on July 10, 2015, as he was
getting off work, he received a text from Defendant, who
needed a ride from his apartment in Mooretown to his
aunt's house. Calhoun testified that he picked Defendant
up from the Clear Horizons Apartments in Mooretown and drove
him to the Bel Air Apartments, located in the Cedar Grove
neighborhood of Shreveport. Calhoun testified that he felt
uneasy being at the apartments because they were not well
lit. Calhoun testified that Defendant communicated to him
that the people he was there to see had just stepped out of
their apartment and would be right back. Defendant asked him
testified that he realized that a shooting had occurred at
those apartments a couple of weeks before, and he told
Defendant he wanted to leave; Defendant's response was,
"Give me five minutes," and he kept looking back
towards the car. Calhoun testified that he told Defendant he
was ready to go, and Defendant replied, "Hold on."
Calhoun testified that during this encounter, Defendant
appeared very nervous, as though he was looking for someone.
Calhoun testified that Defendant went to the apartments and
came back, and as Calhoun said, "Let's go,"
Defendant reached over Calhoun, snatched the keys out of the
ignition and grabbed Calhoun's phone. Calhoun testified
that Defendant then stepped away from the car and stood
testified that Defendant motioned to him to get out of the
car. Calhoun testified that Defendant communicated with him
through hand gestures that he wanted $300 from Calhoun in
return for his keys. Calhoun stated, "Once I saw his
hand in his pocket and I saw his stance, that's when I
saw the aggression. That's when it was like, I was just
another dude on a corner. You know, I don't know you, but
I want $300 or you're not getting at your keys."
Calhoun testified that he said, "Where am I going to get
$300 from?" Calhoun stated that Defendant pointed at the
nearby liquor store, indicating that he wanted Calhoun to use
the ATM there to get the money.
testified that they began walking towards the liquor store,
with Defendant about five feet from him. Calhoun testified
that whenever he sped up, Defendant would grunt at him in
order to get him to slow down. Calhoun testified that he
thought that, when Defendant continued to look back at the
apartments, he was waiting for someone to come and help him.
Calhoun stated that Defendant kept his left hand in his
pocket, and Calhoun knew that Defendant carried a knife.
Calhoun testified that he did not see a knife, however.
First of all, he's bigger than I am; and I didn't
know how desperate he was. So I wasn't going
to…make the situation worse than what it already was.
I'm a sensible person. I know when I'm in danger. So
I just had to submit and see where this was going to go and
see if I could find a way out of it.
to Calhoun, Defendant indicated that once Calhoun gave him
money, Calhoun would get his keys back. Calhoun stated that
they walked about eight or nine blocks to the liquor store,
but it was closed. Calhoun testified that Defendant then
indicated that they would walk to the Circle K, another eight
or nine blocks away. Calhoun testified that once they got to
the Circle K, Defendant stayed outside the store and hid
behind a tree, watching Calhoun enter the store. Calhoun
stated that when he entered the Circle K, he alerted the
clerk to Defendant's presence, the clerk looked at the
tree behind which Defendant was hiding, and Defendant ran
off. Calhoun testified that he borrowed the phone of a woman
who entered the store and called 9-1-1. Calhoun testified
that he did not want to fight Defendant; he just wanted to
get inside the Circle K and get help.
testified that the police arrived and took his statement, and
at that point he believed that his car was still at the Bel
Air Apartments. Calhoun stated that he then rode around the
Bel Air Apartments and the Mooretown neighborhood with the
police looking for Defendant. Calhoun testified that the
police took him to his apartment, which is in the warehouses
in downtown Shreveport. Calhoun stated that he contacted a
friend/neighbor, and used her phone to text his phone, which
remained in Defendant's possession. Calhoun testified
that he and Defendant began a text exchange about what had
happened. These text messages were admitted into evidence.
Calhoun testified that at that point he was no longer afraid
of Defendant, he was just angry.
testified that he received the following text from Defendant,
"If u have 200 for me then I will have to bring ur
car…that's the deal." Calhoun responded,
"Bring me my car." Calhoun testified that he
understood the text to mean that if he gave Defendant $200,
he would get his car back. At one point, Defendant texted,
"I thought u was going to call the police on me."
Calhoun testified that he lived alone, which Defendant knew,
and his car was the only way he had to get to and from work.
Calhoun stated that he was trying to arrange to meet
Defendant and give him the money in exchange for his car
keys. Calhoun testified that the car cost him $17, 000, and
he put $5, 000 rims on it, so $200 compared to what he had
spent on the car was inconsequential. Calhoun testified that
Defendant sent him all over the place to try and get his car
back, and the texts show that Defendant told Calhoun to meet
him at various locations, including two different casinos, as
well as the city bus station. Calhoun testified that
Defendant never showed up with his car.
testified that he received the following text from Defendant,
"Then so I will tell u that I will bring the car back
for u right now but if u lying to me then I will f*** over u
an still know where u at." Calhoun stated that he took
that text to mean that Defendant would hurt him if he did not
get his way. Calhoun testified that he texted to Defendant,
"Was u waiting on someone else to come help u," to
which Defendant replied, "Nobody…just
testified that his car was eventually found sitting on bricks
with the engine "gone." Calhoun stated that his
personal information from the glove box, the tires and parts
of the engine were missing. Calhoun further testified that
the windows of the car were "busted out," the car
was scratched and the door handles were broken off. Calhoun
testified that he picked Defendant out of a photographic
cross-examination, Calhoun was asked about the discrepancy
between his testimony and what Shreveport Police Detective
Chris Bordelon put in his report; Det. Bordelon's report
stated that Defendant had driven Calhoun to the Circle K,
watched him walk in, and then drove away in the victim's
car. Calhoun affirmed his testimony that he and Defendant had
walked to the Circle K, and Defendant had fled on foot.
testified that, in the texts he sent to Defendant after his
car was taken wherein he stated, "Didn't see as my
friend u could have gotten so much more," and "I
saw me loving you," Calhoun was "play[ing] it
sensitive to get my car back." On redirect, when asked
why he did not run away from Defendant when Calhoun was
walking to the liquor store and Circle K, he testified:
I know he's faster than…if he wanted to catch me,
he could have caught me. That's why I tried to play
everything as calmly as I could, because it was what it was.
I just needed to wait for that moment that I felt in my
spirit that I can't ask for help or change the situation
in my favor.
Police Detective Jeremy Blanchard testified that he was on
patrol on the night of July 10, 2015, when he got called to
the Circle K at 325 W. 70th Street in Shreveport around 1:00
a.m. Det. Blanchard testified that he met with Calhoun, who
told him that he had picked up "Jason" at the Clear
Horizons Apartments, and that "Jason" asked Calhoun
to take him to the Woodlawn Terrace Apartments on 68th Street
and Cliff Avenue. Det. Blanchard testified that Calhoun
related that "Jason" had asked to borrow his phone,
took the keys from the ignition of Calhoun's vehicle, and
communicated to Calhoun that he wanted money in exchange for
Blanchard testified that Calhoun told him that
"Jason" made him walk to the Circle K, which was
about six or seven blocks from the apartments. Once they got
there, "Jason" went across the street and told
Calhoun to go to the ATM. "Jason" watched him walk
into the Circle K. Calhoun borrowed the phone of a person at
the Circle K to call 9-1-1, and "Jason" took off.
Det. Blanchard testified that Calhoun's vehicle was not
at the apartments at that point, and he drove Calhoun around
to look for the car, then took him back to his apartment in
downtown Shreveport. Det. Blanchard testified that Calhoun
described Defendant as 6'4" or 5" and 240-250
cross-examination, Det. Blanchard affirmed that his report
reflected that Calhoun stated that he had known Defendant for
one week and that Calhoun was asked by Defendant to walk from
his vehicle to the Circle K. Det. Blanchard testified that
you could not see Calhoun's car where it was parked at
the Bel Air Apartments from the Circle K. Det. Blanchard
testified that the Circle K was well lit, but the Bel Air
Apartments were not. Det. Blanchard testified that he had
originally charged Defendant with theft.
Mims testified that he lives at 525 W. 74th Street in
Shreveport. Mims stated that he has known Defendant since he
was a child, and that he communicates with Defendant with his
hands. According to Mims, although he does not know sign
language, it was not very hard for him to understand
Defendant, because Mims has family members who are deaf. Mims
testified that he knew Defendant to be "a gentle, sweet,
kind young man." Mims testified that the police came to
his home on July 27, 2015, inquiring about a vehicle
(Calhoun's SUV) in his backyard. Mims stated that he did
not know the vehicle was there until he was told by people
that visited his home that the car was there, and had been
put in the yard by Defendant. Mims testified that Defendant
told him the car belonged to Defendant's cousin, and that
Defendant took the tires off the car to sell in order to get
his cousin out of jail. Mims stated that Defendant did not
get permission from him to put the car in his backyard. Mims
further testified that he did not know Calhoun, and he did
not know the car was stolen.
Police Corporal Torian Wesley testified that he was working
patrol on July 27, 2017,  and was dispatched to Mims' home at
525 W. 74th Street, where he found a stolen vehicle in
Mims' backyard. Cpl. Wesley testified that the car was
sitting on four blocks, without any tires. Cpl. Wesley
corroborated Mims' testimony that Defendant had told Mims
that the car belonged to Defendant's cousin and that he
had taken the rims off the car to sell in order to get his
cousin out of jail. Cpl. Wesley testified that Mims said that
he did not think the car was stolen, because Defendant had
the keys to the car. Cpl. Wesley testified that the
driver's side was dusted for prints.
Police Corporal Rodney Medlin testified that he was
dispatched to assist Cpl. Wesley on July 27, 2017,
525 W. 74th Street in Shreveport. Cpl. Medlin affirmed that
the car in Mims' yard was reported stolen, and was found
without wheels and on cinderblocks. Cpl. Medlin testified
that it appeared that the vehicle was being concealed in the
Bordelon testified that he spoke with Calhoun on July 24,
2015. Det. Bordelon confirmed the victim's testimony
regarding the incident, specifically that Defendant removed
the keys from the ignition, demanded money from Calhoun in
exchange for the keys, and made him walk first to the liquor
store, then to the Circle K to withdraw money in exchange for
his car keys. Det. Bordelon described Calhoun as "timid
and nervous" in relating the crime to him, and stated
that Calhoun was a "meeker person," small in
stature. Calhoun told him that he did not believe he could
get his car back due to the size discrepancy between himself
and Defendant. Det. Bordelon testified that Calhoun stated
that he felt physically threatened by Defendant; Calhoun
described Defendant as tall, muscular and deaf. Det. Bordelon
testified that at the time of the crime, Defendant was
working as a personal trainer, and he weighed about 30 pounds
more than he did at the time of trial.
Bordelon stated that Calhoun picked Defendant out of a photo
lineup. Det. Bordelon testified that Calhoun's texts to
Defendant immediately after the crime were
"bluster," and Calhoun "felt much safer being
at a distance in attempting to regain his vehicle." Det.
Bordelon talked about the discrepancies between his report
and Calhoun's testimony regarding whether Calhoun and
Defendant walked or drove to the Circle K, and said that he
believed he may have written the report incorrectly,
acknowledging that it was "less than perfect police
work." Det. Bordelon stated that he interpreted what
Calhoun related to him as well as he could at the time,
noting that Calhoun was very emotional at the time.
Bordelon testified that Calhoun stated that Defendant's
entire demeanor changed after he took the keys. Det. Bordelon
testified that Calhoun never told him that Defendant touched
him or threatened him with harm through texts or writing.
Det. Bordelon testified that he asked Calhoun why he did not
try to get ...