Dermaine Norman conviction upheld

Published 9:42 am Tuesday, December 24, 2019

RESERVE – The Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal handed down its opinion on the appeal filed by Dermaine Norman for his 2016 conviction of Conspiracy to Commit Second Degree Murder. Norman filed an appeal alleging a number of constitutional violations, but the Appellate Court disagreed with Norman and upheld both the conviction and sentence.

On Oct. 12, 2016, Norman was convicted after a two-day long jury trial was held in Edgard regarding the July 17, 2011 murder of Frank Lewis. Lewis was gunned down in front of his home in Reserve while leaving for work. Two other defendants, Carlton Brown and Kentrell Bailey, were charged in the crime. During the investigation with the coordination of efforts of the District Attorney’s Office and the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office, it was learned that Norman had organized the killing of Lewis, Brown had been the getaway driver, and Bailey had been the shooter. It was discovered that at the time of the murder of Lewis, Norman wrongfully believed that Lewis had been involved in an earlier, unrelated shooting of Norman.

Norman was offered immunity for his accurate, complete and truthful testimony against the shooter, Kentrell Bailey. Norman initially agreed and provided numerous statements to police and DA officials. However, at the time of Bailey’s trial, Norman failed to appear to testify. For his failure to keep true to the agreement, prosecutors proceeded with the charges against Norman for his involvement in the conspiracy to commit second degree murder.

During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence from a number of officers and witnesses  detailing the circumstances around the killing of Lewis. Prosecutors also played a recording of Norman’s statement in which he explained that because he had been shot, Frank had to die.

After being convicted, prosecutors charged the defendant as a habitual offender and requested an enhanced sentence under the Louisiana Habitual Offender Law. Evidence was heard by Judge Sterling Snowdy on Oct 19, 2017, where the Court found Norman to be a third-felony offender. Judge Snowdy then sentenced Norman to 33 years with the Department of Corrections.

This case was prosecuted by District Attorney Bridget A. Dinvaut’s office through Assistant District Attorneys Orenthal Jasmin and J. Philip Prescott, Jr. of the 40th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Norman was represented by Lisa Parker and Lashonda Webb of the 40th Judicial District Public Defender’s Office.