Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 348882 Honorable
Katherine Clark Dorroh, Judge
LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Peggy J. Sullivan Counsel for
RAYMOND GEORGE JOHNSON Pro Se
EDWARD STEWART, SR. District Attorney Counsel for Appellee
WAYNE WALTMAN WILLIAM JACOB EDWARDS CHARLES KENNETH PARR
Assistant District Attorneys
COX, McCALLUM, and THOMPSON, JJ.
Johnson appeals his conviction of second degree murder for
the stabbing death of his on-again, off-again girlfriend,
Yolanda Moore.We affirm his conviction and sentence.
approximately 5:44 a.m. on April 29, 2017, Raymond Johnson
placed a 911 call from his cell phone to report that a female
friend had cut him as well as herself at his home in
Shreveport. He requested medical attention and told the 911
operator that his friend "was laying out on the
Fire Department ("SFD") and Shreveport Police
Department ("SPD") personnel arrived at
Johnson's home at 5:52 a.m. Three minutes later,
paramedics confirmed that Moore was dead. Moore was 44 years
old at the time.
emergency responders immediately encountered the bloody
aftermath of a violent episode. Moore, wearing only unzipped
jeans which were not completely pulled up, was on her back
atop a sheet on the dining room floor. Many wounds were
visible on her body, and a fan was positioned to blow on it.
Furniture was overturned in the dining room, the adjoining
living room, and a bedroom. Blood, whether in the form of a
drop, pool, or smear, was present throughout the house, as
well as on a neighbor's porch and on the interior and
exterior of Johnson's car, which was parked in his
driveway. A bloody knife was recovered from the front yard of
Johnson's home. When the emergency responders arrived
they found Moore's lifeless body, Johnson, and no other
Johnson was indicted for the second degree murder of Moore in
violation of La. R.S. 14:30.1. The State filed multiple
notices of its intent to use other crimes evidence against
Johnson. These prior incidents involved domestic abuse
against Moore and another former girlfriend, as well as
violence against a friend of Moore's. The trial court
found the majority of this evidence to be admissible.
filed a motion to suppress statements made to detectives
during custodial interrogation. Johnson contended that the
detectives continued with his interrogation despite his
request for a lawyer. The motion was denied and the matter
proceeded to trial by jury.
Pipkins, who lived next door to Johnson, testified that she
was awakened early on the morning of April 29 by knocking on
her door. Johnson, who was naked, asked Pipkins for a sheet.
Pipkins did not consider Johnson's request unusual
because he often had female companions at his home, and she
surmised that one had run him out of the house. Pipkins was
unsure of the time when Johnson came to her door, but knew
she had gone to sleep at 2:20 a.m. Johnson ran back to his
house after she gave him the sheet.
State introduced a record of Johnson's cell phone calls
which revealed that a call had been made from Johnson's
phone to Moore's phone at 7:29 p.m. on April 28. A call
was made from Johnson's phone to a "Sir Dar.
Pete" at 5:33 a.m. on April 29. This call lasted six
seconds. At 5:35 a.m., a call was made from Johnson's
phone to a "Ronnie." This called lasted six minutes
and 31 seconds. The 911 call followed at 5:44 a.m.
the 911 operator's instructions, Johnson checked Moore
for breathing and responded that he heard wheezing, which he
described as like a "snoring" sound. He reported
cuts to her chest caused by her falling onto a glass table.
He then told the operator that he believed Moore was
Corporals Rodney Medlin and Michael Schulz were the first
emergency responders to enter Johnson's home. Schulz
found Johnson straddling Moore with his hands around her
shoulders. Moore's body was located in the dining room,
approximately 15 feet from the home's front door. Moore
was on a sheet that Pipkins recognized as the one she had
given to clothe Johnson. Medlin recalled that Moore was
nonresponsive and cool to the touch and felt it was
immediately apparent that she was dead.
described the condition of several rooms as indicating that a
struggle had taken place. In the living room, two couches
were flipped over, a glass-topped table had been turned over,
and what looked to be blood splatter was on the walls.
Dressers were turned over in the master bedroom, and there
appeared to be blood on the mattress, floor, and walls in
that bedroom. Medlin also observed what he thought was blood
on the mattress, floors, and in the hallway of a second
the police officers could ensure their safety, paramedics
entered the home. Chris Henry is a fire engineer with SFD.
Examining Moore for signs of life, Henry found that she was
cool to the touch and that her body was showing signs of
rigor mortis and dependent lividity.
noted a pool of what appeared to be blood on the porch, and
that some of it was wet. Henry thought it was peculiar that
while furniture was overturned in the living room, electronic
equipment was untouched. Henry also thought it was strange
that Moore's head was on a pillow and that she had a fan
at her feet.
Jackie Hutchinson of SFD arrived on the scene with Henry. She
found Moore to be without respiration or a pulse. Hutchinson
noted that Moore was cold to the touch and had several
injuries to her chest that were incompatible with life.
Hutchinson, who was a paramedic for 21 years and an emergency
room nurse for 13 years, explained to the jury that rigor
mortis is the sign of a death that had occurred more than one
to two hours earlier. She also explained that dependent
lividity takes one to two hours after death, if not longer,
to occur. Hutchinson thought this case was different from
most other calls that she had responded to because Johnson
was walking around bleeding, Moore's wounds had stopped
bleeding, and there was blood outside.
Johnson was handcuffed, Schulz walked Johnson to his patrol
vehicle for questioning and to read the Miranda
rights to him. Schulz recalled that Johnson stated that he
and Moore began arguing that morning because Johnson had to
go to work. When Moore began throwing things, a struggle
started and they fell through a glass table. Schulz testified
that while Johnson was being treated by paramedics, he
changed his story to say only Moore fell through the table.
Schulz noticed a coffee table with a glass top in the living
room, but the glass was cracked and not shattered.
noted that Johnson had lacerations on his forehead and a
couple of them on his neck, and that some of the wounds were
actively bleeding. Schulz testified that Johnson never told
him that Moore cut him with a knife or another object.
Johnson, a fire engineer with SFD, arrived at the scene in an
ambulance. He placed the defendant in the ambulance to
examine him. Johnson discovered that the defendant had some
lacerations to his arm and one to his forehead; most of these
were superficial and were fresh, and the defendant's skin
was still moist in the area of the lacerations. Johnson
explained that the defendant's lacerations had not
hardened, which is a process that usually begins 20-30
minutes after lacerations occur. Johnson transported the
defendant to the hospital for treatment.
afternoon of April 29, Johnson was brought from the hospital
to the office of SPD's violent crimes unit to be
questioned by Detectives Logan McDonald and Adam McEntee.
They met with Johnson at 2:45 p.m. A recording of the
interrogation was played for the jury.
was dressed in scrubs from the hospital and his head was
bandaged. He was also handcuffed. McDonald did not have
Johnson sign an acknowledgment card after being read his
Miranda rights because his hands were bloody and
because the interview was being recorded.
expressed shock when the detectives told him that Moore had
died. He later uttered during the questioning that he thought
a "corporal" at the hospital was joking when this
officer told him that Moore was dead. However, McEntee
reminded Johnson that he was the one who informed Johnson at
the hospital of Moore's death. McEntee testified that
when he told Johnson at the hospital of Moore's death,
Johnson did not have much of a reaction other than to show a
told the detectives that he was getting ready for work that
morning when Moore, who had been drinking, started a fight
with him.Johnson asserted that Moore had a history
of becoming violent when she drank alcohol. According to
Johnson, Moore began wrecking his house by knocking over
furniture. He asserted that she cut him as she chased him
through his house, and that he bled as he ran. Johnson
continued that as he tried to leave the house, Moore grabbed
him by the testicles, so he pushed her off and picked up a
sheet before leaving the house.
recounted to the detectives that as he spoke with his
neighbor, Moore came onto Johnson's porch and sat on a
chair. When the neighbor remarked that Moore had fallen down,
Johnson ran back to his home, picked Moore up, and brought
her into the house. Johnson insisted throughout the
questioning that he did not know how Moore sustained her
injuries. He contended that he only saw abrasions on her
front when he picked her up off the porch after Johnson had
fallen face first. Johnson attempted to explain to the
detectives that the reason he told the officers earlier that
Moore had been cut by glass from the table was because he had
pushed her in that direction.
in the interrogation, Johnson told the detectives that he did
not know what Moore used to cut him. However, later during
the interview, he stated that she had used a knife. Johnson
also explained that he called a friend to tell him that Moore
had passed out, and the friend recommended that Johnson call
Marcus Mitchell is with SPD's crime scene investigations
unit. Mitchell described the living room and the master
bedroom in Johnson's home as looking like a tornado had
gone through them. He noted that the master bedroom was in a
state of disarray, and he described the mattress there as
being heavily stained with blood.
testified that Johnson had a wound to the top of his
forehead, several injuries to his right shoulder, and an
injury to his arm. He further stated that Johnson's hands
appeared to be stained with blood. Mitchell did not note any
injuries to Johnson's groin area or recall any
significant injuries to his feet.
bloody kitchen knife, found in the yard, had a three-inch
blade. The knife was measured, from the tip of its blade to
the tip of its handle, as being approximately eight inches in
Jessica Esparza, the DNA technical leader at the North
Louisiana Crime Lab, testified about the results of DNA
testing on samples taken from blood evidence at the crime
scene. Johnson's DNA sample was consistent with the DNA
collected in swabs taken from blood atop a hard drive and
from blood on the kitchen floor, the kitchen sink, the
bathroom wall, and a beer can in the refrigerator in
Johnson's home. His DNA sample was also consistent with
the DNA taken from blood found on Perkins's porch.
DNA sample was consistent with the swabs of DNA taken from
blood on the mattress in the guest bedroom, the hallway wall
adjacent to the master bedroom, the cracked television screen
in the master bedroom, and the passenger seat armrest of
of DNA taken from blood on the handle of the knife found in
Johnson's yard, the door handle of the refrigerator in
Johnson's kitchen, a beer can atop the refrigerator, and
from the A-frame on the passenger side of Johnson's car
were consistent with the DNA samples from both Johnson and
of DNA collected from a drop of blood on the fireplace mantel
in the living room of Johnson's home was consistent with
Johnson's DNA. A swab of DNA collected from another blood
spot on the same mantel was a mixture of DNA from two people.
Moore and Johnson could not be excluded as donors.
found on Johnson's bathroom sink, on the mattress in his
master bedroom, and on the blade of the knife found in his
yard contained a mixture of DNA from two people. Johnson and
Moore could not be excluded as donors of that DNA.
James Traylor, a forensic pathologist, performed the autopsy
on Moore. He counted 21 stab wounds, three of which,
individually or collectively, could have caused her
death. Dr. Traylor testified that the stab wounds
were caused by a single-edge knife.
Traylor explained that one fatal wound was on the upper left
chest just below the collarbone, with the blade cutting the
left subclavian artery. A second fatal wound was on the right
side of the upper chest near the midline, with the blade
puncturing the upper lobe of the right lung. The third fatal
wound was on the left chest wall, with the blade puncturing
the lower lobe of the left lung. Dr. Traylor explained that
the wounds were fatal not ...