The Second Circuit Court of Appeal recently upheld the manslaughter conviction and 38-year sentence for a woman who burned a man who later died as a result of his injuries in 2015.
Julia Ann Washington pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced by Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Stephens Winters to 38 years at hard labor.
Court records show that Washington approached the victim, Carl Grant, on Aug. 3, 2015 while he was sitting outside his house drinking beer with a neighbor. She argued with Grant and threw gasoline on him and set him on fire. Court records show she told the neighbor, “You can call 9-1-1 for that M-Fer,” and fled.
On appeal, Washington claimed her sentence was excessive.
“She poured gasoline on Carl Grant and set him on fire five days after repeatedly stabbing him in the arm,” stated the Second Circuit’s ruling. “Considering the horrific nature of Washington’s actions in the present case, her history of crime, and the benefit she received from the plea agreement, the sentence imposed by the trial court does not shock the sense of justice, nor is it grossly disproportionate to the severity of the offense. This appeal is without merit.”
Second Circuit Judge Shonda Stone wrote the Feb. 27 opinion on behalf of a three-judge panel including Chief Judge Felicia Williams and Judge James “Jimbo” Stephens, of Baskin.
“Carl Grant sustained second and third degree burns on 20 to 30 (percent) of his body–primarily to his face, torso, and arms,” stated the Second Circuit opinion. “After undergoing numerous skin grafts and other surgeries, he died of organ failure due to sepsis on August 22, 2015.”
Washington fled the state but was later arrested. As part of her plea agreement, Washington pleaded guilty to manslaughter while Fourth Judicial District Attorney Steve Tew’s office dismissed two counts of aggravated battery against Washington. The Second Circuit opinion pointed out that Washington’s plea agreement with the district attorney’s office did not include sentencing.
Washington argued the sentence was excessive, because her efforts to reform herself had not been sufficiently considered by Winters, the district court judge. A 38-year sentence for a 52-year-old such as herself amounted to a life sentence, she argued. She also pointed out she was a first time felony offender.
Winters referred to Washington’s crime as a “horrific act of setting Carl Grant on fire with gasoline and the unspeakable pain he suffered as a result,” according to the Second Circuit’s ruling.
“The trial court correctly found that Washington is a worst offender,” stated the Second Circuit’s ruling.
“Pouring gasoline on Carl Grant’s face and torso and setting him on fire was cruel, depraved, and horrific. Doubtlessly, he suffered unimaginable pain.”