State v. Lafleur, 12–1383.

Citation114 So.3d 666
Decision Date05 June 2013
Docket NumberNo. 12–1383.,12–1383.
PartiesSTATE of Louisiana v. Dannie Lee LAFLEUR.
CourtCourt of Appeal of Louisiana (US)

114 So.3d 666

STATE of Louisiana
v.
Dannie Lee LAFLEUR.

No. 12–1383.

Court of Appeal of Louisiana,
Third Circuit.

June 5, 2013.



Edward K. Bauman, Louisiana Appellate Project, Lake Charles, LA, for Defendant/Appellant, Dannie Lee LaFleur.

Dannie Lee LaFleur, Angola, LA, In Proper Person.


Trent Brignac, District Attorney, Gregory J. Vidrine, Assistant District Attorney, Ville Platte, LA, for Appellee, State of Louisiana.

Court composed of SYLVIA R. COOKS, JIMMIE C. PETERS, and BILLY HOWARD EZELL, Judges.

[114 So.3d 667]



PETERS, J.

[3 Cir. 1]A jury convicted the defendant, Dannie Lee Lafleur, of first degree murder, a violation of La.R.S. 14:30, and armed robbery, a violation of La.R.S. 14:64. Thereafter, the trial court sentenced the defendant to serve life in prison without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence on the first degree murder conviction; 1 and to serve twenty-five years in prison, without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence on the armed robbery conviction. The trial court ordered that the sentences run consecutively. In his appeal, the defendant asserts in his sole assignment of error that his convictions and sentences constitute double jeopardy.

The State of Louisiana (state) charged the defendant with the two offenses by grand jury indictment. The indictment reads in pertinent part:

DANNIE LEE LAFLEUR committed the offenses(s) of:

Count # 1: First Degree Murder La.R.S. 14:30

Count # 2: Armed Robbery La.R.S. 14:64

in the Parish of Evangeline in that:

Count # 1: Dannie Lafleur, on or about May 6, 2011, committed the offense of First Degree Murder by the killing of Tuc Thanh Do[.]

Count # 2: Dannie Lafleur, on or about May 6, 2011, committed Armed Robbery of Tat Nail, by use of force or intimidation while armed with a dangerous weapon, to wit: a firearm[.]

Tuc Thanh Do, together with his wife, Thao Thi Thanh Le, owned Tat Nail Salon in Evangeline Parish. On May 6, 2011, the defendant shot and killed Tuc Thanh Do during the commission of an armed robbery of the couple's business establishment.


[3 Cir. 2]Louisiana Revised Statutes 14:30 provides that there are a number factual scenarios which will constitute first degree murder. Although the grand jury indictment does not specify which section of the statute applies to this particular prosecution, the facts presented make it clear that the state brought the charge pursuant to La.R.S. 14:30(A)(1), which provides in pertinent part that “[f]irst degree murder is the killing of a human being ... [w]hen the offender has the specific intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm and is engaged in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of ... armed robbery[.]”

Thus, despite the silence of the grand jury indictment, the defendant was charged with the first degree murder of Tuc Thanh Do based on armed robbery as the underlying felony. In fact, that theory of prosecution was made clear to the jury in the state's closing argument:

Normally I would take that jury sheet and I would go through each and every element of these crimes but what I just or what the State has just told you there's no question that an armed robbery was committed. Money was taken from Mr. Do, from the nail shop in his control by the use of force or armed with a weapon. The Judge is gonna tell you that armed with a weapon, a gun is a weapon. It fits. This is beyond reasonable doubt that this was committed. First Degree Murder requires the killing of a human being. Mr. Do was killed. The offender has specific intent to kill. Again the Judge will instruct you when you have a gun and you point it at somebody from less than three feet that's specific intent to kill and engaged

[114 So.3d 668]

in an armed robbery. Well the armed robbery has been discussed.

A person cannot twice be placed in jeopardy for the same offense. U.S. Const. amend. V; La. Const. art. I, § 15. The defendant argues, and the state acknowledges, that it is well-settled that convictions for both a felony murder and the underlying felony violate double jeopardy protections. See State v. Marshall, 81–3115, 94–461 (La.9/5/95), 660 So.2d 819.2

[3 Cir. 3]Nonetheless, the state asserts on appeal that the defendant's convictions do not violate the constitutional double jeopardy protection because it could have separately charged the defendant with the armed robbery of the victim's wife and that “convictions for felony murder and a felony arising out of the same occurrence are not invalidated when another felony could have served as a predicate offense in the underlying felony murder conviction.” In support of this argument, the state directs us to Neville v. Butler, 867 F.2d 886 (5th Cir.1989), a case which arose from a Louisiana prosecution. While we do not disagree with the holding in Neville, we do not find that it supports the state's position in this case.

The defendant in Neville had been charged with one count of armed robbery of Joyce Bourg and Helen Capitano, and one count of attempted first degree murder of Ms. Capitano. The offenses occurred when he entered a Terrebonne Parish bar owned by Ms. Bourg, where Ms. Capitano worked as a barmaid, and robbed the two women at gunpoint. Ms. Bourg gave the defendant money from the cash register and her purse, but when Ms. Capitano reached for her own purse, the defendant shot her in the leg and ran out of the bar. He pled guilty to both charges, was sentenced, and...

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3 cases
  • Dannie Lee Lafleur La. Doc v. Cain, CIVIL ACTION NO. 6:15-cv-1978 SECTION P
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of Louisiana
    • December 22, 2015
    ...the armed robbery, Tuc Thanh Do was shot and killed. The charges were tried together in the same proceeding. See State v. LaFleur, 114 So.3d 666, 667 (La. App. 3rd Cir. 2013). The transcript of petitioner's post-conviction hearing reveals that prior to his May 12, 2011 arraignment, Alex Cha......
  • State v. Anderson
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Louisiana — District of US
    • December 13, 2017
  • State v. Richards
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Louisiana — District of US
    • June 5, 2013

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