Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 355, 800 Honorable
Katherine C. Dorroh, Judge
LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Peggy J. Sullivan Counsel for
E. STEWART, SR. District Attorney Counsel for Appellee
F. BERGER-SCHNEIDER JASON W. WALTMAN RICHARD S. FEINBERG
Assistant District Attorneys
PITMAN, GARRETT, and McCALLUM, JJ.
Dustin Charles Eschenbach was found guilty as charged of
aggravated battery and attempted second degree murder. He was
sentenced to 8 years at hard labor for the aggravated battery
conviction and 25 years at hard labor, without benefit of
probation, parole or suspension of sentence for the attempted
second degree murder conviction. He now challenges the
constitutionality of his sentences on appeal. For the
following reasons, we affirm his convictions and sentences.
February 16, 2018, Kimberly Michelle Wright and her
boyfriend, Luther Allen Meshell, were stabbed multiple times
by Defendant, who is Wright's adult son. Defendant was
arrested and charged by bill of information with committing
aggravated battery against Meshell, in violation of La. R.S.
14:34, and attempted second degree murder against Wright, in
violation of La. R.S. 14:30.1 and 14:27. He pled not guilty.
On March 11, 2019, a 12-person jury trial commenced with the
following testimony and evidence.
and Meshell testified that they lived together in Caddo
Parish with Wright's mother and Defendant. Around 5:00
p.m. on February 16, 2018, as they were leaving the home to
have dinner, Defendant said to Wright, "Tonight's
your night." Wright found his comment to be threatening,
but dismissed it as Defendant "talking crazy." When
asked if she thought something was going to happen later, she
answered, "Not nothing like what happened." She
testified that she and her son argued a lot and he had anger
issues, but they had never had any physical confrontations.
Wright and Meshell returned home around 7:00 p.m., all the
interior lights were on, the window blinds were raised and
Defendant was standing in the kitchen. No words were
exchanged as Meshell proceeded to the bedroom and Wright
turned around to lock the front door. As she turned around,
Defendant stabbed her in the neck with a steak knife. She
screamed for help as he continued stabbing her in the head,
upper arm and chest. Meshell returned and fought to get
Defendant off of her. At some point in the struggle,
Wright's finger was nearly severed by the steak knife and
the knife handle was broken off. Once Meshell was able to
free Wright from her son's attack, she ran to the
bathroom, where she called 911 and then applied towels to the
spray of arterial blood coming from her neck. The recording
of Wright's 911 call was played for the jury.
and Defendant continued to struggle. Defendant stabbed at
Meshell's head, upper shoulder and arm, and Meshell
struck blows to Defendant's face and body. Only when
Meshell threatened to gouge out his eye did Defendant stop
and run out of the house. Meshell called 911 and grabbed a
flashlight to help responders find the home in the dark.
testified that he, Wright and Defendant had been living
together without any major conflicts or physical fights for
one to two years; and while Defendant and Wright argued over
"typical stuff," he had never been concerned that
Defendant would be violent. He stated he had no idea what
caused Defendant's behavior.
testified that although Defendant appeared angry all the time
and displayed hate for her, they had never had any physical
altercations, and she did not have any expectation that
Defendant would attack her. She stated that Defendant did not
say anything before or during his attack on her.
was treated at the scene for stab wounds to his arms and
shoulder and cuts to his head. Wright's wounds were more
serious and included an almost two-inch deep cut to her neck,
a badly cut jugular vein, a collapsed lung and an almost
Adam Hall, a paramedic with Caddo Parish Fire District Number
Four, testified that upon responding to the 911 call, he
found Wright barely conscious and bleeding uncontrollably
from her neck. He stated that the amount of blood at the
scene was horrific and that in 22 years, he had never seen so
much blood. He estimated that Wright had lost almost two
liters of blood when he arrived. He testified that the
bright, red blood spurting everywhere indicated that Wright
had a very ...