Appeals Court upholds conviction, life sentence in carjacking of man who tried to help after accident

Published 6:22 am Tuesday, April 30, 2024

The state’s Appeals Court has affirmed the conviction and life sentence of an Oakdale man who attacked and carjacked a passerby who had stopped to help two people at the scene of an overturned vehicle on La.10.

Arnold Ray Goudeau was convicted by a jury in September 2022 on a charge of carjacking and later sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of probation, parole or suspension as a habitual offender in September 2023.

The conviction and sentence stem from an incident in November 2021 in which the victim had stopped to assist a couple at the scene of an overturned vehicle on La. 10 near the water treatment plant in Oakdale.

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After helping the two occupants out of the car, the victim testified the couple tried to convince him to bring them to Oakdale, although he insisted they call police and paramedics to check on their condition. The victim said he was followed to his vehicle by the pair and attacked by Goudeau, who stole his car.

The car was later found abandoned about three miles from the scene.

Goudeau was found guilty of carjacking in the 31st Judicial District Court in September 2022 and sentenced to life in prison.

A charge of theft of a motor vehicle was dismissed.

In an appeal to the Third Circuit Court of Appeal, Godeau and his attorney, Gregory Cook, argued that the original trial judge should have excused himself because he was the prosecutor in a previous criminal matter involving Goudeau.

In addition, they contend the trial court erred by allowing the state to charge him with a different crime than the one he confessed to committing and that the trial court gave confusing and inconsistent jury instructions causing the jury to find him guilty of carjacking on insufficient evidence. They further contend the trial court erred in failing to advise Goudeau of his rights prior to the habitual offender hearing and that the trial court erred in allowing the hearing.

After reviewing the claims, the Appeals Court judges recently found the claims lacked merit and affirmed the conviction, habitual offender adjudication and sentence.