The Second Circuit Court of Appeal has upheld the sentencing of a man who tried to run over a law enforcement officer during a high-speed chase.
The court ruled that the 19 and a half year sentence for Andrew DeBerry is not excessive, and his age was taken into consideration, in that the sentence for attempted manslaughter carries up to a 20-year sentence.
In 2014, he was charged with attempted first-degree murder of a police officer, illegal possession of stolen things valued at $1,500 or more, aggravated flight from an officer where human life is endangered and resisting a police officer with force or violence.
DeBerry led police on a high-speed chase from Bossier Parish into Webster Parish, and during the pursuit, he drove a stolen vehicle squarely into the direction of a Louisiana State Police trooper, according to court documents.
He has an extensive juvenile record and was convicted of a felony sexual assault as an adult. In DeBerry’s appeal, he claimed the court did not take his age into consideration, as he was 17 years of age at the time of the incident.
“Here, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing DeBerry to 19 ½ [sic] years at hard labor for his attempted manslaughter conviction, regardless of his age,” according to the ruling. “The record makes clear that the trial court specifically considered the applicable sentencing factors set forth in La. C. Cr. P. art. 894.1 and DeBerry’s youthful age.”
The court goes on to say that DeBerry has an extensive criminal history, including a felony sexual assault conviction and several other charges, including burglary of an inhabited dwelling in Texas.
“DeBerry benefited greatly by accepting the state’s plea offer and pleading guilty to a reduced charge of attempted manslaughter,” the ruling continues. “Although DeBerry received an almost maximum sentence for his attempted manslaughter conviction, he received a substantial benefit by accepting the plea agreement, because otherwise he faced a sentence of up to 50 years’ imprisonment for his attempted first degree murder charge.”
Assistant District Attorney Hugo Holland says the court was justified in upholding DeBerry’s sentencing, as it was appropriate for the crime.
“The defendant got what he deserved,” Holland said. “The appellate court wisely deferred to the trial court, which was in a better position to issue an appropriate sentence.”
When he was sentenced by district court, DeBerry was given 19 and a half years at hard labor for attempted manslaughter, five years at hard labor for illegal possession of stolen things, and one and a half years at hard labor for aggravated flight from an officer; the sentences were to run concurrent.