Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Fulford

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

January 15, 2020

STATE OF LOUISIANA Appellee
v.
KENNETH FULFORD Appellant

          Appealed from the Fifth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Richland, Louisiana Trial Court No. F-2018-97 Honorable Clay Hamilton, Judge

          LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT Carey J. Ellis, III Counsel for Appellant

          JOHN M. LANCASTER District Attorney

          AMANDA M. WILKINS KENNETH D. WHEELER Assistant District Attorneys Counsel for Appellee

          Before STEPHENS, MCCALLUM, and THOMPSON, JJ.

          THOMPSON, J.

         This criminal appeal arises from the Fifth Judicial District Court, Richland Parish, the Honorable John Clay Hamilton presiding. The defendant, Kenneth Fulford, pled guilty to aggravated arson and aggravated cruelty to animals. He was sentenced to concurrent sentences of 12 years at hard labor, a $500.00 fine and court costs for aggravated arson, and 4 years at hard labor for aggravated cruelty to animals, with no fine or costs.[1] No motion to reconsider sentence was filed. The defendant now appeals challenging only his sentences. For the following reasons, we affirm the defendant's convictions and sentences.

         FACTS

         Kenneth Fulford was initially charged by bill of information with aggravated arson, attempted first degree murder, aggravated cruelty to animals and insurance fraud. The charges arose from a fire set by Fulford on April 6, 2017, in his mobile home that was occupied at the time by Fulford, his disabled wife, Lisa, and her service dog. Fulford lit a paper towel on fire and placed it in the spare bedroom while his wife was watching television. When Mrs. Fulford smelled smoke, Fulford went outside with the dog to check it out and returned stating he did not find anything burning. Once smoke began to fill the mobile home, Fulford stood outside at the door and told his wife to come to his voice to get out. Mrs. Fulford suffered from numerous medical conditions and walked with a walker. At the time of the fire, she could not find her glasses, but somehow managed to get to the door without assistance and Fulford eventually helped her out of the mobile home. Mrs. Fulford sustained third degree burns to her back and shoulder area. Mrs. Fulford's service dog perished in the fire and was found in the hallway near the master bedroom. Fulford was a volunteer fireman and, during the investigation, admitted that he had previously started fires twice at two of his residences and to his truck because he was tired of making payments on it. Fulford also admitted to using the same method for setting the previous fires (lighting paper towels on fire). Fulford admitted setting the instant fire, but denied that he intended to kill his wife. Fulford subsequently agreed, however, that he was trying to end her pain and suffering caused by her medical conditions.

         A plea agreement was reached whereby, on December 12, 2018, Fulford pled guilty to aggravated arson and aggravated cruelty to animals in exchange for the state's dismissing the remaining charges of attempted first degree murder and insurance fraud. There was no agreement as to sentencing except that the sentences would run concurrent, and the court ordered a presentence investigation report. On February 20, 2019, Fulford was sentenced to 12 years at hard labor and a fine of $500.00 plus court costs on the aggravated arson conviction and 4 years at hard labor on the cruelty to animals conviction, to run concurrent, with credit for time served. No motion to reconsider sentence was filed. This appeal followed.

         DISCUSSION

         In his sole assignment of error, Fulford contends that, as a first-felony offender, his concurrent sentences of 12 and 4 years at hard labor are excessive. Fulford submits that the trial court failed to fully consider mitigating factors including: 1) Fulford did not intend to hurt his wife or his dog; 2) he attempted to help his wife when she came to the door; 3) the numerous letters from friends and family, including his wife, requesting leniency in sentencing; and 4) his family requested no jail time be imposed on Fulford.

         The state submits that Fulford is procedurally barred from challenging his sentences due to his guilty plea and the court advised Fulford that he could not appeal the length or severity of his sentence. Additionally, Fulford failed to file a motion to reconsider sentence. Even if Fulford was not barred from review of his sentence, the state argues that the sentences fall well within the statutory sentencing ranges and the court adequately evaluated the relevant factors under La.C.Cr.P. art. 894.1. Fulford intentionally set fire to his home occupied by his disabled wife, with the intent to murder his wife and killed her service dog. The state argues that at the last minute, Fulford had a change of heart and helped his wife out of the door of the burning trailer. The 12- and 4-year sentences do not shock the sense of justice.

         Applicable ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.