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State v. Loyd

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

August 14, 2019


          Appealed from the Fourth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Morehouse, Louisiana Trial Court No. 2017-173F Honorable Marcus Hunter, Judge.

          LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Edward K. Bauman Counsel for Appellant

          ROBERT S. TEW District Attorney JOHN GATES SPIRES Assistant District Attorney Counsel for Appellee

          Before MOORE, GARRETT, and STONE, JJ.

          MOORE, J.

         After a second jury trial, the defendant, Antonio Loyd, was convicted of first degree robbery in violation of La. R.S. 14:64.1. The trial court sentenced Loyd to 25 years hard labor without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence. For the following reasons, we affirm the conviction and sentence.


         Whitney Yates was working as a teller at Ouachita Independent Bank ("OIB") in Bastrop, Louisiana on December 14, 2016, when the defendant entered the bank and approached her station. He handed Ms. Yates a note which said his child had cancer, he needed money, and this was a robbery. Yates testified that, after reading the note, she looked up at him, and "he let me know that he had a gun, and he would shoot me if I did not get him the money." Although she did not actually see a gun, Ms. Yates testified that the defendant indicated he had a gun by reaching into his left pocket. He told her not to press the panic button and demanded large bills. He took the money and left the bank.

         A surveillance video captured the robbery. This video, lasting 1 minute and 13 seconds, was played for the jury. Ms. Yates had a clear view of the defendant's face: He did not wear a mask and only the width of a desk separated the defendant from Ms. Yates. Ms. Yates identified the defendant in open court as the person in the video who robbed her.

         Shortly after the robbery, Captain Leondrio Reed of the Bastrop Police Department interviewed Ms. Yates. He prepared a photographic lineup, (State's Ex. S-1), but Ms. Yates was too shaken over the incident to attempt an identification. A week or so later, Captain Reed again met with Ms. Yates and asked her to review the same photo lineup. (State's Ex. S-2). Yates did not identify anyone in the lineup as the robber.

         In February, 2017, Captain Reed received a crime stoppers tip from April Trahan of Sulphur, Louisiana. April told Reed that she was the sister of Ashley Blakeman, who was Antonio Loyd's girlfriend. Reed traveled to Calcasieu Parish and interviewed Ms. Blakeman. Based upon Blakeman's statement to him, Captain Reed prepared a third photo lineup-this time including a photo of Antonio Loyd (State's Ex. S-5). He met with Ms. Yates, and she positively identified the appellant as the robber.

         Based on information Captain Reed obtained from Ms. Blakeman, Bastrop Police Department Assistant Chief Anthony Evans went to the Super 8 Motel in Monroe and obtained a motel receipt in the name of Antonio Loyd for the night of December 13, 2016. (State's Ex. S-3). Captain Reed went to the Family Dollar store where he was able to obtain surveillance video footage showing Loyd purchasing a pair of pants on the afternoon of the robbery. (State's Ex. S-7).

         Captain Reed testified, without objection, that he confirmed that a person named Antonio Loyd checked into the Westlake Isle of Capri, Lake Charles, Louisiana, on the night of December 14, 2016, and stayed two nights. This was after the robbery occurred earlier in the day on December 14, 2016.

         Ashley Blakeman, Loyd's former girlfriend, testified and identified Loyd as the person with whom she traveled to Bastrop in December, 2016. She said that she and Loyd spent the night at the Super 8 Motel in Monroe on December 13, 2016. She reviewed the Super 8 Motel receipt, (State's Ex. S-3), and confirmed that the signature on the receipt was Loyd's. On December 14, 2016, they drove to Bastrop to visit Loyd's brother. During the day, they left his brother's house and went to Family Dollar store where Loyd bought a pair of sweat pants. He put them on in the car. They rode around a few minutes and then went to a bank. Loyd told her to "lay her seat down." She asked him what was going on and he told her not to worry about it.

         Ms. Blakeman reviewed the bank video with the jury. She identified Loyd in the video and said he was wearing the same clothing he had on when he got out of the car and entered the bank. She said Loyd returned to the car and drove away fast to his brother's home in Bastrop where he pulled up on the side of the house all the way towards the back.[1] After a while, she asked Loyd when they were going to leave, and he said a little bit closer to dark. When they left, they returned to Calcasieu Parish by a different route from that which they traveled to Monroe the night before. About halfway there, Loyd told her they were going to the Isle of Capri.[2] After they checked in, they went to the room where Loyd pulled money from his sweater. She said that it was thousands of dollars. He gave her several hundred dollars.

         Blakeman reviewed a still frame photo from the bank robbery video and identified Loyd. (State's Ex. 4). She stated she got a photo off the Internet which led her to believe Loyd was involved in the robbery. On cross examination, she was asked how she came to get a photo of Loyd related to robbery. She stated that after they arrived at the Isle of Capri, she put two and two together. She typed in (on the computer) Bastrop and the date and multiple things popped up (about the robbery), including a picture of Loyd. When asked why she just did not ask Loyd about it, she answered "I did ask him, and he told me that it was none of my business, not to worry about it." She actually asked him multiple times and she got the same answer. After obtaining Loyd's photograph from the Internet, Blakeman showed it to her sister, April Trahan. Ms. Trahan later contacted Captain Reed.

         On cross-examination, Ms. Blakeman admitted that she was pregnant when the defendant broke off their relationship to go back to his wife. The baby was 10 and ½ months old at the time of trial.

         The jury returned a verdict of guilty of first degree robbery. The trial court ordered a presentence investigation and fixed sentencing for July 19, 2018. Loyd was sentenced to serve 25 years at hard labor, without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence, and was advised of his rights pertaining to post-conviction relief.

         This appeal followed.


         By his first assignment of error, Loyd claims that under the standard of review established by Jackson v. Virginia, 433 U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979), the evidence adduced by the state at trial was insufficient to support a conviction of first degree robbery. Specifically, Loyd focuses on some variations in the testimony of Whitney Yates, the bank teller who identified Loyd as the robber. Additionally, he attacks the credibility of the testimony from his former girlfriend, Ashley Blakeman. Loyd contends that Blakeman's testimony is highly suspect because he broke off his relationship with her to go back to his wife even though she was pregnant with his child.

         Loyd contends that Ms. Yates' identification of him is suspect because she did not identify him as the robber in the first two photo lineups, and it was not until the third photo lineup that she identified him. He notes that she provided no discernable features to police despite the fact that he has a prosthetic leg. Although she told Captain Reed that he had a gun, she actually never saw a gun, but concluded Loyd was armed by the way he had his hands in the sweater he was wearing and because he said he did not want to hurt anyone. Loyd maintains that at trial her testimony varied from what she had earlier told Capt. Reed because she testified that he said he indicated he had a gun and did not want to shoot. Finally, he argues ...

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