Appeal of attempted murder conviction denied again by court

Published 6:20 pm Thursday, December 23, 2021

The 3rd Circuit Court has again denied an appeal for a Lake Charles man convicted in 2017 of attempted second-degree murder.

DeWayne A. Sylvester Sr. was found guilty by a jury on April 26, 2017, for stabbing a man at the EZ Aces Casino off of Interstate 10 near Shattuck Street in February of 2016.

Authorities said Sylvester and a child were traveling from Lafayette to Lake Charles and stopped at the casino to use the restroom that night. Sylvester claimed at the trial that Gerald Carter accused him of following him. The two ultimately had a verbal confrontation inside the casino that carried outside into the parking lot.

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Video surveillance presented at the trial shows Sylvester and Carter walking outside the casino where the altercation turned physical. Carter is shown throwing a beer can at Sylvester, who then stabs Carter in the neck and torso with a box cutter.

On May 22, 2017, Sylvester filed a motion for a new trial and it was denied. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison without the benefit of parole.

On July 11, 2017, Sylvester filed a motion to have his sentence reconsidered and it was also denied.

Sylvester was declared a third felony habitual offender on Oct. 17, 2018, and his 15-year sentence was vacated and a new 40-year sentence imposed. He appealed the habitual offender sentence on Nov. 13, 2018, and his motion was granted and the former sentence was reinstated.

Sylvester filed an appeal this year, citing his conviction was made by a non-unanimous jury and based his argument on the Supreme Court’s decision in Ramos v. Louisiana. In that case the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution requires guilty verdicts for criminal trials be unanimous. Only cases in Louisiana and Oregon were affected by the ruling because other states already had this requirement.

The appeals court denied Sylvester’s application, citing his conviction became final well after the Ramos case was decided.