Defendant was charged by bill of information with the crime of manslaughter (R.S. 14:31) for the killing of one James Otis Baker. After a trial by jury defendant was found guilty as charged and sentenced to five years at hard labor in the custody of the Department of Corrections.
The incident which led to defendant's conviction occurred on November 26, 1976 in Arcadia, Louisiana. On that afternoon defendant and a friend drove to a local bar and arrived just as the victim, James Otis Baker was leaving. The victim, mistaking defendant for a person who had beaten him
Defendant has specified two assignments of error for the purpose of his appeal but has briefed and argued only one of these. The assignment neither briefed nor argued will be considered abandoned. State v. Jones, 340 So.2d 563 (La.1976).
ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR NO. 2
In defendant's only argued assignment he alleges that the trial court erred in denying his motion for acquittal and/or mistrial
Defendant argues that La.C.Cr.P. art. 105 and R.S. 33:1565 mandate in cases involving the apparent commission of a crime preparation a coroner's report certifying the cause of death and a proces verbal of an autopsy. He apparently contends that such "competent evidence of death and the cause thereof" (art. 105 C.Cr.P.) is the only legal evidence of such, and that since there was no autopsy performed in this case there was no legal evidence of that element of the crime (death and the cause thereof) to support his conviction.
Initially we note that the error raised by defendant in this assignment has not been properly preserved for review by this Court. It is well settled that a contention that no evidence was produced to prove an essential element of the crime charged presents a question of law which can be reviewed by this Court. State v. Williams, 354 So.2d 152 (La.1977); State v. Blackstone, 347 So.2d 193 (La.1977). However, the proper procedural vehicle for preserving a "no evidence" issue for appellate review in a jury trial is by motion for new trial. C.Cr.P. art. 851(1). Only in trials by judge alone can such an issue also be raised by motion for judgment of acquittal. C.Cr.P. art. 778. See also, State v. Williams, supra, and State v. Blackstone, supra. Hence, defendant improperly asserted his contention in this jury trial by a motion for a judgment of acquittal (or its counterpart, motion for directed verdict). It was properly denied.
Even if the merit of defendant's contention were to be considered, however, it would be without merit. Although a coroner's autopsy is competent evidence to prove the fact of death and cause of death, the same can be proven by any competent evidence. In State v. Vincent, 338 So.2d 1376 (La.1976) this Court discussed the purpose of Article 105's requiring the coroner to make a written report of his investigation to the district attorney:
See also, State v. Holmes, 258 La. 221, 245 So.2d 707 (1971). While defendant's argument is not frivolous, we find that there was some evidence from which the jury could conclude that the victim died as a result of the gunshot wound inflicted by the defendant. Despite the lack of an autopsy or direct medical testimony as to the cause of the victim's death, several eyewitnesses testified that they saw defendant shoot the victim. These same witnesses also testified that they saw the victim fall to the ground whereupon the pupils of his eyes began to
This assignment lacks merit.
For the foregoing reasons the conviction and sentence of the defendant John Winzer is affirmed.