706 P.2d 456 (Idaho 1985), 14727, State v. Caudill

Docket Nº:14727.
Citation:706 P.2d 456, 109 Idaho 222
Opinion Judge:HUNTLEY,
Party Name:STATE of Idaho, Plaintiff-Respondent, Cross-Appellant, v. William B. CAUDILL, Defendant-Appellant, Cross-Respondent.
Attorney:Stephen S. Hart, Idaho Falls, for defendant-appellant--cross-respondent., Jim Jones, Atty. Gen. and Lynn E. Thomas, Sol. Gen., Boise, for plaintiff-repondent--cross-appellant. Stephen S. Hart, Idaho Falls, for defendant-appellant-cross-respondent. Jim Jones, Atty. Gen. and Lynn E. Thomas, Sol. G...
Case Date:March 15, 1985
Court:Supreme Court of Idaho

Page 456

706 P.2d 456 (Idaho 1985)

109 Idaho 222

STATE of Idaho, Plaintiff-Respondent, Cross-Appellant,


William B. CAUDILL, Defendant-Appellant, Cross-Respondent.

No. 14727.

Supreme Court of Idaho.

March 15, 1985

Page 457

[109 Idaho 223] Stephen S. Hart, Idaho Falls, for defendant-appellant--cross-respondent.

Jim Jones, Atty. Gen. and Lynn E. Thomas, Sol. Gen., Boise, for plaintiff-repondent--cross-appellant.

[109 Idaho 224]

Page 458

HUNTLEY, Justice.

Scott Bean and William Caudill were jointly tried for the October 28, 1981 murder of Neal Walker in Idaho Falls. Both were convicted of first degree murder. Bean was sentenced to a fixed term of life imprisonment, and Caudill was sentenced to an indeterminate term of life imprisonment.



Evidence adduced at trial established that for a time before the murder, Caudill and Bean associated with a group of individuals, at least some of whom were involved with illegal drugs. Members of the group testified to conversations among Caudill, Bean and others in which Caudill and Bean discussed their concern that the victim Walker, was a "narc" and whether he should be killed.

There was testimony to the effect that Caudill, Bean and others drove around looking for Walker with the intent to kill him on two separate occasions prior to the date of the murder.

Caudill told members of the group that he had lured Walker to Kevin Nield's apartment and that he and Bean had stabbed Walker to death. In addition to the admissions separately attributable to Caudill, he and Bean jointly described the murder to other people. Caudill and Bean acted out the murder plan for one witness shortly before the murder.

Upon Nield's return to his apartment, Bean told Nield that he and Caudill had "wasted" Walker.

Witnesses testified that Caudill showed them Walker's body in the bathtub.

In a warranted search of Nield's apartment, police and forensics investigators found a shotgun, three knives, and numerous traces of Type A blood on the gun, the walls, the floor, the mattress cover, the bathtub, tiles on the bathroom floor and on the stairwell. The gun belonged to Bean. Walker's clothing was soaked with Type A blood. Caudill also has Type A blood but had no bleeding injuries. A rug had been removed from the bedroom floor. Walker's body was found wrapped in a rug, together with articles of bloodstained clothing which fit the description of clothing Bean had been wearing earlier that day. Bean arrived at his mother's home that evening wearing someone else's pants. Caudill admitted ownership of a second pair of blood-stained pants which were found wrapped with the body.

Bean spontaneously admitted the killing at the time of his arrest.

At trial, Caudill admitted that he had induced Walker to come to the apartment and that he had been present at the time of the murder. He claimed that he had intended only to rob Walker in order to return money Walker had allegedly taken from Caudill's friends. He also asserted that he had not slashed or stabbed Walker, but had only "poked" him slightly. According to Caudill, Bean was the real killer, and he, Caudill, had been surprised when Bean stabbed Walker. Caudill testified that the witnesses against him had misinterpreted his words or were lying.

After a sentencing hearing, the district court found that the murder occurred during a robbery and was accompanied by a specific intent to kill which is an aggravating factor. The court rejected aggravating factor, I.C. § 19-2515(f)(6), (see footnote 2, infra) that the murder exhibited utter disregard for human life, because this factor required "the exclusion of all other standards."

The sentencing judge found several mitigating factors, including Caudill's youthful age, prior nonviolent nature, lack of prior criminal record, potential for rehabilitation, and remorse. The final mitigating factor found was the fact that the victim, together with the defendant, was engaged in the illegal delivery and use of drugs.



Caudill appeals his conviction, alleging that the trial court erred in failing to sever

Page 459

[109 Idaho 225] his trial from that of his co-defendant and in admitting photographs of the victim into evidence. Caudill claims that the trial court erroneously denied his motion for a change of venue and failed to properly instruct the jury. He further argues that he was denied the right of confrontation and that the evidence adduced at trial was insufficient to support the verdict. The State of Idaho cross-appeals arguing that the trial court erred in considering the victim's prior criminal conduct to be a mitigating factor and in concluding that I.C. § 19-2515(f)(6), describing an aggravating factor, was not applicable.



We first address Caudill's contention that his joint trial with Bean constituted reversible error. Specifically, Caudill argues that he was denied his Sixth Amendment right to confront Bean whose extrajudicial confession implicating both men was admitted into evidence, that he and Bean had antagonistic defenses and that the jury could have found him guilty by association with Bean. We discuss each point in turn.

Caudill testified at the joint trial; Bean did not. One witness, an Officer Hagen, testified to a conversation which had taken place between Bean and an Officer Ericsson at the time Bean was arrested. Hagen stated, "When Ericsson asked him if he was Scott Bean, he said, 'Yes, I am.' Ericsson went to get his cuffs out and Scott Bean stated, 'I am the one you want, no trouble, I did it.' " Hagen also testified, "Mr. Bean stated, 'I have got a cut on my arm'. When we got to the patrol car Ericsson asked him how he got the cut on his arm and he said, 'I stabbed my arm when we killed him'." This testimony, which clearly implicated Caudill, was elicited on direct examination by Caudill's own counsel; it was not introduced by the prosecution.

As a result of the admission of this testimony, Caudill claims that he was denied the right to confront an accomplice since Bean did not testify at the joint trial. In support of this proposition, he relies upon Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123, 88 S.Ct. 1620, 20 L.Ed.2d 476 (1968). In Bruton, in a joint trial of the petitioner and his accomplice, the prosecutor introduced the accomplice's confession...

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