APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF ST. CHARLES, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 17, 600, DIVISION
"D" HONORABLE M. LAUREN LEMMON, JUDGE PRESIDING
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Joel T.
Chaisson, II, Louis G. Authement
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, CHESTER BARBER Cynthia K.
composed of Judges Marc E. Johnson, Stephen J. Windhorst, and
John J. Molaison, Jr.
E. JOHNSON, JUDGE
Chester Barber, appeals his convictions and sentences for
second degree kidnapping and unauthorized use of a motor
vehicle, claiming he was incompetent to proceed to trial and
that his combined 42-year sentence is excessive. For the
reasons that follow, we affirm Defendant's convictions
was charged in a bill of information on December 8, 2017 with
two counts - second degree kidnapping in violation of La.
R.S. 14:44.1 (count one) and theft of a motor vehicle in
violation of La. R.S. 67.26 (count two). The State
subsequently amended count two on November 5, 2018 to charge
Defendant with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle in
violation of La. R.S. 14:68.4. After being found competent,
Defendant proceeded to trial on November 13, 2018, and was
found guilty as charged on both counts.
February 25, 2019, the trial court sentenced Defendant to 40
years imprisonment on count one, with the first two years to
be served without benefit of parole, probation or suspension
of sentence, and two years imprisonment on count two to run
consecutively. This appeal followed.
October 2017, Defendant moved to Louisiana to live with his
younger half-sister, Dorothy Mackenzie. The two were not
close growing up, but Ms. Mackenzie allowed Defendant to move
in with her in her double-wide trailer on Paul Fredrick
Street in Luling.
night of October 9, 2017, Ms. Mackenzie had driven her
ex-husband, Bill Mackenzie's, truck to the trailer and
put the keys on the kitchen table. Later that night,
Defendant started to say he could not trust anyone and that
the cops were going to come inside the house and get him. The
next morning, Defendant approached Ms. Mackenzie right after
she awoke and tied her to a chair, saying he did not want to
but that he could not trust anyone. He tied both her hands
behind her back, tied her legs together, and placed tape over
her mouth, all while continuing to say that he could not
trust anyone and that the cops were coming to get him.
Defendant then left the trailer.
Mackenzie could not remember the length of time she was tied
but knew that she fell over in the chair and tried to scream
for help. She denied that Defendant hit her, used a weapon,
or hurt her. Ms. Mackenzie was able to reach her cell phone,
which was on the table a few feet away, and call her
testified that she received the call at approximately 7:00
a.m. on October 10th. Patricia recounted that her
mother was crying and told her she needed help. Patricia went
to her mother's home and found a locked padlock on the
outside of the front door and noted that Bill's truck was
not there. She could hear her mother inside and
unsuccessfully tried to enter. Patricia called 9-1-1, and
police arrived at approximately 7:45 a.m.
police were unable to remove the padlock and had to break the
latch of the door to get inside. Upon entering the trailer,
Deputy Adam Coley saw Ms. Mackenzie lying on the floor with
her hands tied behind her back, her feet bound with a
shoelace, and blue tape wrapped around her mouth. After the
bindings were cut off, Deputy Coley was able to see the marks
and bruises on the victim's wrists and hands from being
tightly bound. It appeared that some of the blood flow had
been cut off to her hands as they were cold to the touch and
indentations were visible on her skin where the string was
tied tight. Deputy Coley described Ms. Mackenzie as scared,
very lethargic, and emotionally traumatized. She was taken
out of the house on a gurney, and informed Deputy Coley at
that time that it was Defendant who tied her up.
approximately 9:00 a.m., Sergeant Giovanni Tarullo went to
see Ms. Mackenzie in the emergency room and observed red
ligature marks around her neck, both wrists, and right ankle.
Sergeant Tarullo stated that Ms. Mackenzie was very upset and
told him that Defendant had tied her up.
at approximately 8:50 a.m., Captain Christian Wiggins with
the Franklin Fire Department received a call to investigate a
single-vehicle accident. Upon arrival to the scene, Captain
Wiggins observed a gray Chevy Silverado in a ditch, and
Defendant, who was not inside the vehicle at the time but
nearby, identified himself as the driver of the vehicle.
Defendant was apprehended by police after he attempted to
testified that he is the owner of the gray Chevy Silverado,
and he denied that he ever allowed Defendant to drive his
vehicle. Similarly, Ms. Mackenzie denied that she ever
allowed Defendant to borrow Bill's vehicle on the day of
the incident or at any time. After being contacted by a
towing company, Patricia and Bill drove to Franklin,
Louisiana, to get his vehicle. Inside the truck, Patricia
observed an open duffle bag, with a large dragon knife
sticking out of it, that she knew belonged to Defendant.
appeal, Defendant challenges the trial court's finding
that he was competent to stand trial and asserts his total
42-year sentence is excessive.