APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 17-231, DIVISION
"P" HONORABLE LEE V. FAULKNER, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Paul D.
Connick, Jr. Terry M. Boudreaux Thomas J. Butler Seth W.
Shute Emily E. Booth
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, EDWARD WEST Jane L. Beebe
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA,
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Jeffrey M. Landry Colin Clark J. Taylor
composed of Judges Fredericka Homberg Wicker, Jude G.
Gravois, and Hans J. Liljeberg
FREDERICKA HOMBERG WICKER JUDGE
Edward West, was convicted before the 24th Judicial District
Court, Parish of Jefferson, of two counts of armed robbery
and one count of felon in possession of a firearm.
Defendant's motion for new trial was denied on November
8, 2018, and Defendant appealed. He assigns error to the
judgment denying the motion for new trial arguing that the
evidence is insufficient to support his conviction for armed
robbery of Ruth Peacock and that his conviction based on a
non-unanimous jury verdict is unconstitutional.
evening of November 19, 2016, at approximately 7:50 p.m.,
Amie Lafrance was heading home from her shift at Sam's
Club, 1527 Manhattan Boulevard, Harvey, Louisiana. After
arriving at her vehicle in the parking lot of Sam's Club,
Ms. Lafrance realized someone had approached her from behind.
Ms. Lafrance turned to see an African-American man wearing
black jeans and a black hoodie, with the hood raised over his
head. He asked Ms. Lafrance where the nearest bus station was
located. She answered, and the man repeated his question,
then stood looking at Ms. Lafrance for several seconds before
moving toward her and lunging at the clutch in her hand. When
Ms. Lafrance did not immediately release the clutch, the man
pulled a short-barreled revolver from somewhere at his side,
pointed it at her, and then pushed her to the ground,
scattering her belongings. After grabbing twenty dollars from
inside Ms. Lafrance's clutch, the suspect fled in the
direction of the Wal-Mart, which is located in the same
parking lot as Sam's Club. Ms. Lafrance immediately
dialed 911 and reported the crime.
Ruth Peacock and her daughter Sandra were walking to their
vehicle after shopping at Wal-Mart. While loading items into
the vehicle, Ms. Peacock heard honking and looked in the
direction of the noise; as she looked she saw a man walking
across the parking lot. Not thinking anything of it, Ms.
Peacock continued loading her vehicle. However, Ms. Peacock
shortly sensed someone approaching and turned just as a
dark-skinned man with dark pants and a dark hoodie passed by
her and grabbed the purse off of her arm. Ms. Peacock yelled,
"My purse!" as the man moved quickly away, at which
point the man turned his head such that Ms. Peacock could see
the "sneer" he flashed her from beneath his hood.
Ms. Peacock's daughter, Sandra, chased after the suspect
as he ran across the Wal-Mart parking lot toward Manhattan
Boulevard. As Sandra continued to follow the man across the
parking lots of Lowes and PetSmart, other shoppers joined in
approximately 7:52 p.m., a witness called 911 to report that
a black male wearing a black hoodie and jeans had just stolen
a woman's purse and ran in the direction of PetSmart. At
the same time, Deputy Henry DeJean was responding to the
first 911 call and met Sandra Peacock and the other witnesses
in the PetSmart parking lot. The excited group ran up to
Deputy DeJean pointing and shouting that the man was crossing
Manhattan heading toward the Twin Tire shop. Deputy DeJean
caught sight of the suspect in his side mirror and quickly
turned his vehicle around to give chase. After making the
turn onto Ute Drive from Manhattan Boulevard, Deputy DeJean
observed the suspect climb over the fence behind the Twin
Tire shop at the 1600 block of Ute Drive. Deputy DeJean
continued to follow the suspect's movements through the
small apartment complex behind Twin Tire as he waited for
back-up to set up a perimeter.
DeJean believed the suspect had entered one of the apartments
at 1628 Ute Drive, and as a perimeter was secured around the
complex, witnesses in the parking lot of the complex pointed
officers in the direction of the same building. As officers
were working to systematically clear each apartment building
looking for the suspect, a K-9 unit arrived and tracked from
where the suspect was seen jumping the fence to the front
door of apartment B. From where Deputy DeJean was standing,
he was able to see inside the kitchen of apartment B where he
observed a black male sitting at the table with a Hispanic
female and two Hispanic males. After clearing the other
apartments in the building, officers knocked on the door of
apartment B and announced their presence.
to Defendant, his mother lives at 1616 Ute Drive, Apartment
E. Defendant claims to have traveled from the seventh ward by
bus on the date in question to see his mother. After stopping
by a certain apartment to buy a bag of weed, Defendant bought
some cigars for rolling weed and a diet coke for his mother
at the RaceTrac gas station. Defendant's mother was not
at home when he arrived at her apartment, so he knocked on
the door of 1628 Ute Drive, apartment B, to borrow Daniel
Jiminez's phone. Jiminez, who was at home that evening
with his sister Martha and her husband Daniel Mota,
remembered Defendant wearing a dark jacket of some sort when
he first answered the door, but after staying outside on the
phone for three to five minutes, Defendant came back inside
the apartment wearing a white button-down shirt.
Deputy DeJean knocked on the door of apartment B, everyone in
the apartment came to the door except Defendant. Jiminez said
that Defendant had been there for about fifteen minutes prior
to Deputy DeJean knocking on the door. Deputy DeJean noticed
that Defendant was wearing an ill-fitting white button-down
shirt and sweating. After asking Defendant to come to the
door, Deputy Dejean observed a cellophane bag containing
marijuana and ecstasy in the front pocket of Defendant's
shirt. Deputy DeJean placed Defendant under arrest at that
time and read him his Miranda Rights. After obtaining consent
to search apartment B, officers recovered a black sweatshirt
lying across the bed in the bedroom used by Daniel Jiminez
and Martha's son. A Smith & Wesson revolver with a
wooden handle and a two or three-inch barrel was recovered
from a dresser drawer inside the bedroom as well.
Lafrance and Ruth Peacock were brought separately to 1628 Ute
Drive to perform a show-up identification. Amie Lafrance
noted that Defendant was dressed differently than when he had
robbed her, but she positively recognized his face. Ms.
Peacock warned officers that she might not be able to
identify the suspect because she did not get a good look at
his whole face. However, although Defendant was wearing a
white shirt instead of the dark coat Ms. Peacock was
expecting, she recognized Defendant as the man who had robbed
her when Defendant turned to give an officer the same
"sneer" she had seen before.
November 23, 2016, officers were dispatched to 1700 Ute
Drive. The owner of the residence found a purse belonging to
Ruth Peacock and a Smith & Wesson .38 snub-nosed revolver
located in the space between a chain-link fence and a wooden
security fence that run parallel to one another ...