FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 530-169,
SECTION "K" Honorable Arthur Hunter, Judge.
CANNIZZARO, JR. DISTRICT ATTORNEY ORLEANS PARISH DONNA
ANDRIEU ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY CHIEF OF APPEALS IRENA
ZAJICKOVA ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY COUNSEL FOR
Watters LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT COUNSEL FOR
composed of Chief Judge James F. McKay III, Judge Paula A.
Brown, Judge Dale N. Atkins
F. MCKAY III, CHIEF JUDGE.
defendant, Brandon R. Laurant, appeals his convictions and
sentences for attempted manslaughter and illegal possession
of a firearm by a convicted felon. For the reasons set forth
below, we affirm the defendant's convictions and
OF THE CASE
August 2, 2016, in a two count bill of information, the State
charged the defendant in count 1 with attempted second degree
murder, La. R.S. 14:(27)30.1, and in count 2 with illegal
possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, La. R.S.
14:95.1. The defendant pled not guilty to all charges. The
trial court found probable cause for attempted manslaughter,
La. R.S. 14(27)31, instead of attempted second degree murder.
to the start of trial on September 13, 2018, the State and
defense stipulated to the defendant's two prior felony
convictions.  That same day, the jury found the
defendant guilty of attempted manslaughter and of being a
felon in possession of a firearm.
October 22, 2018, the State filed a multiple bill of
information. The defendant filed a Motion for Post-Verdict
Judgment of Acquittal, which the trial court denied. The
defendant was sentenced to serve twenty years for attempted
manslaughter and twenty years for being a felon in possession
of a firearm, to be served consecutively. Defense counsel
objected to the sentences, but did not file a written motion
to reconsider sentence.
defendant appeals the non-unanimous ten-to-two jury verdict,
finding him guilty of attempted manslaughter. He also argues
that his consecutive sentences are excessive.
27, 2016, at approximately 3:30 a.m., after a night of
celebration with friends in a Warehouse District nightclub,
the victim walked outside to relieve himself in some bushes.
The defendant, in the company of his girlfriend, told the
victim to "take it somewhere else." A brief verbal
confrontation ensued, after which the defendant shot the
victim multiple times and fled the scene in a blue vehicle.
Officer Daniel Oquendo responded to the shooting, which
occurred in the 600 block of Fulton Street. The victim had
been shot in the back and leg and was unable to communicate.
Crime lab technicians photographed and processed the scene
for evidence. Officer Oquendo located six shell casings and a
bullet fragment located at the scene. Witnesses described the
shooter as a thin black male approximately twenty-seven years
old, having a scar on his face, carrying a white,
gold-studded Michael Kors backpack, and wearing a white shirt
and gray jogging pants. After concluding his investigation at
the scene, Officer Oquendo relocated to University Medical
Center. He was unable to interview the victim because he was
in critical condition and unable to speak. Officer Oquendo
learned from medical personnel that the victim sustained
eight gunshot wounds.
cross-examination, Officer Oquendo recalled speaking to
Marcus Gardner, a witness and friend of the victim, from whom
he learned that the shooter fled the scene in either a blue
or black BMW or Altima.
twenty-four hours after the shooting, Detectives Patrick
Guidry and Steve Nolan interviewed the victim at University
Medical Center. Guidry learned that the shooter and a female
companion fled in a blue 2016 Nissan Altima. Det. Guidry
identified a vehicle matching that description from the NOPD
field interview database of traffic stops. Further
investigation identified the vehicle as belonging to Latoya
Chase, who fit the description of the female that witnesses
saw with the shooter on the night of the incident. The victim
viewed a photographic lineup of several females, including
Ms. Chase. However, he was unable to make an
investigation developed the defendant as a suspect. Det.
Guidry explained that he received information that an FBI
confidential informant had knowledge that the defendant, in
the company of his girlfriend, Samira Osgood, shot someone on
Fulton Street. The informant also said that a .38 caliber
pistol was used in the shooting. An investigation of
defendant's criminal history revealed that he had a New
Orleans address and was on parole at the time of the
shooting. The detective compiled two photographic lineups,
each containing a picture of the defendant but different
filler photos. The victim identified the defendant as the
shooter from one of the lineups, and Mr. Gardner identified
the defendant from the other lineup as the person he saw
shoot the victim. Det. Guidry secured an arrest warrant for
the defendant on the charge of attempted murder. The
defendant was arrested at his residence on Pleasant Street in
the company of Ms. Osgood. The eyewitness, Mr. Gardner,
subsequently identified Ms. Osgood from a photo lineup as the
female present with the defendant at the time of the
to the search of the vehicle (a Hyundai Elantra)
located at the defendant's residence, the police
confiscated a Michael Kors brand purse containing two
cellphones, a Munchkin brand backpack, one plastic bag
containing a rocklike substance and a second plastic bag
holding a white powdery substance and nine pain pills. During
his testimony, Det. Guidry identified the items seized from
the defendant's vehicle.
Gardner recounted the March 27, 2016, early morning shooting
in the Warehouse District. Mr. Gardner said he, the victim
and friends were celebrating a cousin's wedding, which
was to take place later in the day. About 3:00 a.m., the
celebrants left a nightclub in the 600 block of Fulton
Street. Mr. Gardner was speaking with someone when he heard
an argument at the end of the block. When he investigated, he
realized that the victim was engaged in a verbal
confrontation with the defendant. There had been no contact
between the victim and the defendant; however, as Mr. Gardner
attempted to defuse the situation, the armed defendant pushed
him. Mr. Gardner convinced the victim to walk away from the
defendant. However, the victim and defendant continued to
exchange words. The victim told the defendant, "F---
you," then turned and walked away. The defendant shot
the victim several times then fled the scene in a blue
Nissan. Mr. Gardner identified the defendant as the shooter
from the photo lineup the police emailed him three weeks
after the incident. During cross-examination, Mr. Gardner
said that the victim and their friends had been partying
since about midnight. Mr. Gardner did not notice that the
defendant was armed until the defendant pushed him. Mr.
Gardner gave an officer at the scene a description of the
shooter and later spoke to a detective at the University
victim testified that prior to the shooting he was employed
for ten years as a boilermaker in Baton Rouge; however,
because of his gunshot wounds he is no longer able to work.
The victim and his wife were in town to attend a wedding, and
he said that about 3:00 a.m., on March 27, 2016, the
Warehouse District night club where he and friends had been
celebrating was closing for the night. Before exiting, he
walked to the rear of the club to use the restroom but the
line was too long so he left. He walked about a block from
the night club and prepared to relieve himself in some
bushes, when the defendant told him he could not do that in
that area. The two exchanged words and the victim's
friend, Mr. Gardner, attempted to quell the confrontation by
placing himself between the victim and the defendant. The
victim cursed the defendant then turned and walked away. The
victim heard someone scream and turned around to see the
defendant shooting at him. He was struck by eight bullets,
the first two to his back. The defendant continued to fire as
the victim fell down. The ...