Taurus Buchanon

When Buchanan was 16, he murdered a 12-year-old boy by striking him on the head during a fight. The Louisiana Youth Justice Coalition’s profile misrepresents the crime in several ways. First, they omit the brutal facts of the case. While the page emphasizes how these juvenile lifers were “children” when they committed the crimes they received LWOP for they fail to mention that Buchanan’s victim was a child–not a 16-year-old homicidal child, but an actual 12-year-old child. They also decline to mention that Buchanan said, “this is how you do the bitch,” right before hitting the boy. In fact, their profile makes it sound like Buchanan was defending his cousin. They only mention that the victim knocked Buchanan’s cousin into a ditch, but fail to mention that Buchanan’s cousins hit him several times as he tried to flee and pled to be left alone. Below, I list the facts of the case, according to the Court of Appeal of Louisiana, First Circuit, with especially important details in bold. Then I list what the Louisiana Youth Justice Coalition’s profile on Buchanan says.

The Facts

“The victim, twelve year old Joshua “Jacques” Brown, died as a result of injury sustained during a street fight in Baton Rouge on July 15, 1993. Fifteen year old Kyle, twelve year old M.H. (Kyle’s brother), and the sixteen year old defendant (the cousin of Kyle and M.H.), were all involved in the fight. An eye-witness to the fight testified that the defendant said, “this is how you do the bitch,” and struck the victim on the victim’s left temple, with defendant’s right fist.”

State v. Buchanon, 673 So. 2d 663, 664-65 (La. Ct. App. 1996)

“Dr. Alfredo Suarez, the state’s expert in pathology, performed an autopsy on the victim on the day after his death. According to Dr. Suarez, the cause of death was blunt trauma to the left frontal region of the victim’s head. Dr. Suarez identified a bruise he found on the victim’s head between the victim’s temple and the left side of his forehead. The doctor opined that the victim’s neck had been hyperextended after the blow, causing a rupture of his vertebral artery. This rupture caused considerable bleeding at the victim’s brain stem, resulting in loss of consciousness and difficulty in breathing, which may sound like snoring. The doctor gave his opinion that the victim did not see the blow coming. Therefore, his posterior muscles, which keep the head in position, did not have a chance to react. Dr. Suarez stated that the bruise he found on the left frontal region of the victim’s head was the only significant blow to the head which the victim had suffered. When asked whether the victim’s body showed any evidence of being picked up and ‘banged’ on the head, the doctor responded that the result of that trauma would be different from the trauma suffered. When asked if a kick in the head by a tennis shoe could have caused the death of the victim, the doctor answered, ‘yes.'”

State v. Buchanon, 673 So. 2d 663, 665 (La. Ct. App. 1996)

“Detective John Colter was the first witness to testify for the state. The detective identified four photographs of the defendant taken in his office shortly after 3:00 p.m. on the date of the incident. Two of the photographs showed frontal views of the defendant, and two of the photographs showed frontal views of the defendant’s hands. Detective Colter described how the photograph of the defendant’s right hand, middle finger, main knuckle, showed an abrasion or contusion, approximately a quarter of an inch long.”

State v. Buchanon, 673 So. 2d 663, 665-66 (La. Ct. App. 1996)

Mary Rodgers, a resident of Kaufman Street at the time of the incident, testified that she was waiting for the mailman about fifteen to twenty feet away from the ‘fight,’ at the beginning of the incident. Rodgers saw Kyle and the victim walking down Kaufman Street. Suddenly, Kyle began hitting the victim. The victim did not fight back but, rather, pled to be left alone. M.H. (Kyle’s brother), joined his brother in hitting the victim, stating, ‘[N]ow, we’ve got your number, motherfucker, bitch, we’ve got you now. You’re on our street.’ The victim remained standing while Kyle and M.H. were hitting him, even after backing into a ditch while trying to get away. Rodgers moved closer to the boys during the fight, just before the defendant became involved. The defendant approached the boys, said, ‘this is how you do the bitch,’ and struck the victim on the victim’s left temple. The victim did not see the blow coming. The blow jolted the victim enough to make his tennis shoe come ‘halfway off’ The victim fell to the ground, made a snoring sound, and then stopped breathing. Kyle kicked the victim in the chest, and M.H. kicked him in the back. The state asked Rodgers if the defendant had been showing Kyle and M.H. ‘how to hit — inflict some great bodily harm,’ when he struck the victim. Rodgers stated, ‘Yeah.’ Rodgers pointed out the defendant in court as the person she had witnessed strike the victim. Rodgers also stated that if anyone would have body-slammed the victim she would have seen them, and that no one did.”

State v. Buchanon, 673 So. 2d 663, 666 (La. Ct. App. 1996)

“M.H. testified at trial. According to M.H., on the day in question, his brother, Kyle, and the victim argued, the victim called Kyle names, and they began fighting. M.H. stated that he joined in the fight, although Kyle was beating up the victim. The victim was still standing after M.H. hit him in the back with his fist. Next, his cousin, the defendant, ‘ran out the house,’ and hit the victim in the left temple. The victim fell after the defendant hit him. The victim began making ‘a funny kind of breathing sound, like a snore.’ M.H. stated that, after striking the victim, the defendant stated, ‘[T]hat’s the way you hit a bitch.’ The victim did not see the defendant coming. M.H. kicked the victim once in the back after he was down. M.H. also stated that he knew Cedric Prophet, and that Prophet had not body-slammed the victim.”

State v. Buchanon, 673 So. 2d 663, 666 (La. Ct. App. 1996)

“Kyle was called to the stand, but did not answer many of the questions asked by the district attorney. Kyle would not vouch for his statement, allegedly given to the police; that, after the defendant hit the victim, ‘Ced’ picked the victim up and threw him down on the rocks, and M.H., Troy and Reginald started ‘stomping him.'”

State v. Buchanon, 673 So. 2d 663, 666 (La. Ct. App. 1996)

“Thirteen year old Altorie Smith testified for the state. Smith stated that, on the day of the incident, the victim and he had been riding a bike, on their way to cut someone’s grass. Smith and the victim saw Kyle outside. The victim and Kyle began talking about a fight they had had at school. Kyle whispered something in the defendant’s ear, and told Kyle’s friends to ‘get’ the victim. Kyle grabbed the victim by the shirt and started hitting him. M.H. joined in, and the defendant, who hit the victim in his left temple. Smith did not hear the defendant say anything after hitting the victim, but was not close at that time. Smith also stated that he did not see Prophet body-slam the defendant. Smith pointed to the defense table when asked to point out the person he saw punch the victim.”

State v. Buchanon, 673 So. 2d 663, 666 (La. Ct. App. 1996)

“Reginald Johnson testified that on the day in question Altorie and the victim had come to his house to play. Johnson stated that Kyle remembered something that happened ‘back in the days about school.’ Kyle walked with the victim, and then ran behind him and started fighting him. The defendant entered the fight and hit the victim in the left temple. The victim fell. Johnson believed that the victim saw the punch from the defendant coming, but that the victim was ‘sideways’ when the defendant punched him. Johnson further stated that he heard the defendant say, after punching the victim, ‘[T]his how you hit a nigger.‘ Johnson stated that Cedric Prophet and Demitrius Johnson were his brothers, and Troy Gibson was a cousin. Johnson admitted that when first interviewed by the prosecutor, he said that the defendant did not hit the victim. However, later in the interview, he admitted that was not the truth. Johnson also stated that Prophet had not body-slammed the victim.”

State v. Buchanon, 673 So. 2d 663, 666-67 (La. Ct. App. 1996)

“The defendant presented Romaine Monique Roddy, his aunt, as a witness. Roddy stated that she was at her home on Kaufman Street at the time of the incident. She saw Kyle and M.H., her cousins, ‘stomping that little boy’ (the victim). M.H. was kicking the victim in the stomach and left side. Kyle was kicking the victim in the head, chest and throat. Roddy saw the defendant on the other side of the road standing in Rodgers’ yard.”

State v. Buchanon, 673 So. 2d 663, 667 (La. Ct. App. 1996)

“On cross-examination, however, the state produced written statements given by Roddy to the investigating officers. In the statements, Roddy allegedly said that ‘Taurus and [M.H.] was (sic) stomping and kicking at [the victim],’ and that ‘Taurus might have hit him.’ Roddy did not know whether the defendant had struck the victim because she was not ‘out there when [the victim] was [on] the ground.'”

State v. Buchanon, 673 So. 2d 663, 667 (La. Ct. App. 1996)

https://casetext.com/case/state-v-buchanon-1

The Misrepresentation

http://www.laccr.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Profile-Postcards-4-7.pdf

“When Taurus was 16, he saw his younger cousins fighting with schoolmates on the street. Taurus intervened, hitting a boy who had knocked his cousin into a ditch. The boy fell to the ground where he was kicked by other kids. Tragically, the boy never got back up.”

Research by NOVJM.