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State v. Trosclair

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

December 27, 2019

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
ROMAN TROSCLAIR

          On Appeal from the Nineteenth Judicial District Court In and for the Parish of East Baton Rouge State of Louisiana No. 09-12-0701, Sec. III The Honorable Michael R. Erwin, Judge Presiding

          Hillar C. Moore, III District Attorney Dylan C. Alge Assistant District Attorney Baton Rouge, Louisiana Attorneys for Appellee State of Louisiana

          Karl J. Koch Baton Rouge, Louisiana Attorney for Defendant/Appellant Roman Trosclair

          BEFORE: McCLENDON, WELCH, AND HOLDRIDGE, JJ.

          HOLDRIDGE, J.

         The defendant, Roman Trosclair, was charged by grand jury indictment with second degree murder, a violation of La. R.S. 14:30.1 (count 1); and attempted second degree murder, a violation of La. R.S. 14:27 and 14:30.1 (count 2). He pled not guilty and, following a jury trial, was found guilty as charged on both counts. The defendant filed a motion for postverdict judgment of acquittal and/or new trial, which was denied. For the second degree murder conviction, the defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence; for the attempted second degree murder conviction, he was sentenced to fifty years imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. The sentences were ordered to run consecutively. The defendant now appeals, designating one assignment of error. We affirm the convictions and sentence on count 2. We amend the sentence on count 1 (second degree murder) to include that it be served at hard labor, and affirm as amended.

         FACTS

         On the night of May 14, 2012, Joshua Mumphrey was at his apartment on North Sherwood Forest Drive. He was getting ready to go to a club with some people, including his sister Cassandra and his friend, Dedrick Droze. Dedrick was the father of Cassandra's child. Dedrick left the apartment alone in Cassandra's car, a white four-door Oldsmobile Ciera. Dedrick returned to the apartment several hours later with a man he knew, but whom no one else in the apartment knew. The unknown man was later identified as the defendant.

         Joshua, Dedrick, and the defendant left the apartment together. Joshua drove, Dedrick was in the front seat, and the defendant was in the passenger-side of the back seat. Before going to the club, they stopped to pick up marijuana at one house and sell it at another house in the Glen Oaks area. They stopped at Z Food Mart to buy alcohol. It is not clear, based on Joshua's testimony at trial, whether or not a drug transaction was conducted. According to Joshua, they drove to several houses in the Glen Oaks area. They stopped at one particular house where Dedrick picked up a handgun.

         With all three back in the car, the defendant at some point took the gun from Dedrick and told Joshua to pull into a yard. As Joshua tried to put the car in reverse, the defendant shot Joshua in the head. Joshua jumped to the back seat and began fighting the defendant. The defendant shot Dedrick in the back of the head, killing him. The defendant shot Joshua again, in the arm. The defendant got out of the car, and Joshua moved to the driver's seat to try to drive away. The car drove in reverse until it backed into a utility pole (trunk first). Joshua left the car and ran to some houses until someone finally helped him. He was transported by ambulance to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. The shooting likely occurred sometime between 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.

         Lieutenant Rob Chambers, with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriffs Office, investigated the case to determine who shot Joshua and Dedrick. He obtained Dedrick's phone records and found that a number that had been called on Dedrick's phone the night of the shooting was on the subscriber account of Kendall Callaghan.[1] Lieutenant Chambers compiled a six-person photographic lineup, which contained Kendall's picture. Joshua picked out Kendall in the lineup. Cassandra, and a boy who was at the apartment that night (with Joshua and Cassandra), also identified Kendall as the person they had seen in the apartment.

         Lieutenant Chambers arrested Kendall and questioned him. Kendall's home was searched and nothing was found. According to his testimony at trial, Kendall did not know Joshua or Dedrick, had never been to Z Food Mart, and he had never been to Joshua's apartment. Kendall explained that he had two phones on his account, one of which he had given to his (then) girlfriend; so if she had called Dedrick, that call would have shown up on Kendall's account as the subscriber. Kendall also testified that he did not make the call in question and knew nothing about it. Lieutenant Chambers determined he had the wrong suspect and released Kendall.

         Having learned that the shooter, Joshua, and Dedrick had all gone to Z Food Mart together, Lieutenant Chambers obtained video footage from the store. A still photograph of the then-unidentified person was created from the video and shown on television. Two people called in, identifying the person as the defendant. Joshua testified that he recognized the defendant as the person who shot him when he saw his picture on television. Joshua identified the defendant as his shooter in open ...


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