Courts

The murder convictions of two Baton Rouge men and the life prison terms they received in separate 2012 shootings were affirmed Friday by a state appellate court.

Roman Montrell Trosclair was found guilty of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder in the May 14, 2012 slaying of Dederick Droze, 24, and wounding of another man on Oak Park Drive.

Trosclair, 35, was given a mandatory life sentence plus a consecutive 50-year prison term.

In an unrelated fatal shooting six months later in 2012, 27-year-old Benjamin Bailey was found guilty of second-degree murder in the Nov. 6, 2012 home-invasion slaying of Derrick Marioneaux, 34, on Wyandotte Street.

Bailey also received an automatic life prison term.

His 21-year-old brother, Derian Bailey, and their 28-year-old cousin, Juan Herbert, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the killing and were sentenced to 10 years and 25 years in prison, respectively.

The 1st Circuit Court of Appeal on Friday rejected claims by Trosclair and Benjamin Bailey that the evidence was insufficient to support their respective convictions.

In the Trosclair case, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office said Droze and another man picked up Trosclair and drove to a convenience store in the 6000 block of Oak Park Drive. After leaving the store, Trosclair fired shots at Droze and the other man while all three men were in the car, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Detectives used surveillance video from a nearby convenience store to identify Trosclair.

In appealing his convictions and sentences, Trosclair argues the state failed to identify him as the shooter. The man wounded in the shooting initially identified someone other than Trosclair as the triggerman. The wounded man testified he did not know Trosclair but recognized him as the person who shot him after seeing Trosclair’s picture on television.

The 1st Circuit Court of Appeal said the jury chose to believe the wounded victim’s eyewitness testimony.

“Positive identification by only one witness is sufficient to support a conviction,” Circuit Judge Guy Holdridge wrote Friday for a three-judge panel of the court that included Judges Page McClendon and Jewel “Duke” Welch.

Holdridge noted that Trosclair’s DNA was found on the rear, exterior passenger door handle of the car in which the shooting occurred.

“In finding the defendant guilty, the jury clearly rejected the defense’s theory of misidentification,” he wrote. The jury voted unanimously to convict Trosclair.

In the home-invasion case involving the Bailey brothers, Baton Rouge police accused the brothers and their cousin of kicking in Derrick Marioneaux’s front door and opening fire as he sat at his table eating a meal. Derian Bailey, a juvenile at the time, inadvertently shot Herbert during the incident, police said.

Marioneaux’s wife told authorities that two of the men were wearing ski masks.

Benjamin Bailey argues that his identity as one of the perpetrators was not established at his trial. Herbert, who initially told police he was injured in a drive-by shooting on Plank Road, testified that Benjamin Bailey was armed with a shotgun at Marioneaux’s house. Trial testimony indicated the shotgun was fired inside the house.

The same 1st Circuit panel that decided the Trosclair case said in Benjamin Bailey’s case that the evidence established the Bailey brothers and Herbert were together and remained together before, during and after the shooting.

“After a thorough review of the record, we find the evidence negates any reasonable probability of misidentification and supports the jury’s unanimous guilty verdict,” Holdridge wrote.

Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.