812 P.2d 384 (Okla.Crim.App. 1991), F-88-501, Williamson v. State

Docket Nº:F-88-501.
Citation:812 P.2d 384
Party Name:Ronald Keith WILLIAMSON, Appellant, v. STATE of Oklahoma, Appellee.
Case Date:May 15, 1991
Court:Court of Appeals of Oklahoma, Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma
 
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812 P.2d 384 (Okla.Crim.App. 1991)

Ronald Keith WILLIAMSON, Appellant,

v.

STATE of Oklahoma, Appellee.

No. F-88-501.

Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma.

May 15, 1991.

Rehearing Denied Sept. 9, 1991.

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An Appeal from the District Court of Pontotoc County; Ronald L. Jones, District Judge.

Ronald Keith Williamson, Appellant, was tried by jury and convicted of Murder in the First Degree (21 O.S.1981, § 701.7) in Case No. CRF-87-90, in the District Court of Pontotoc County. The jury found the existence of three aggravating circumstances and recommended punishment of death. The trial court sentenced accordingly. From this judgment and sentence Appellant has perfected this appeal. AFFIRMED.

William H. Luker, Asst. Appellate Public Defender, Norman, for appellant.

Robert H. Henry, Atty. Gen., David Walling, Asst. Atty. Gen., Oklahoma City, for appellee.

OPINION

LUMPKIN, Vice-Presiding Judge:

Appellant Ronald Keith Williamson was tried by jury and convicted of Murder in the First Degree (21 O.S.1981, § 701.7), in Case No. CRF-87-90, in the District Court of Pontotoc County. The jury found the existence of three aggravating circumstances and recommended punishment of death. The trial court sentenced accordingly. From this judgment and sentence Appellant has perfected this appeal.

On December 8, 1982, twenty-one (21) year old Debbie Carter was found dead in her garage apartment in Ada, Oklahoma. She was discovered by her father, who had come to check on her at her mother's request, fearing that something might be wrong. Walking up the stairs to the second floor apartment, Mr. Carter observed glass covering the landing and the screen door and front door standing wide open. Walking through to the bedroom, he found Debbie's body laying face down on the floor with a washcloth stuck in her mouth. The police were called and the investigation into the murder began.

Detective Dennis Smith, Ada Police Department, was among the first to arrive at the scene. He testified at trial that the apartment showed signs of a struggle. Broken glass was found on both the inside and outside of the front door. In the living room, the sofa cushions and a nightgown were on the floor. On the wall, written in what was later determined to be fingernail polish, were the words "Jim Smith next will die". On top of the kitchen table was written "don't look fore us or ealse" [sic]. Approaching the bedroom, he saw the bed blocking the entry into the room. The room was in complete disarray with clothing, sheets, blankets and stuffed animals on the floor. Debbie Carter's body, nude except for a pair of white socks, was on the

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floor between the bed and the wall. Written on her back in catsup were the words "Duke Graham". Written on her chest in fingernail polish was the word "die". A blood soaked washcloth was stuffed into her mouth and down her throat. Underneath the body was an electric cord and a belt. The bathroom, connected to the bedroom, showed no signs of a disturbance. Detective Smith stated that he immediately began to fingerprint the scene.

Detective Smith further testified that on March 14, 1983, he interviewed the Appellant at his mother's home. When shown a photograph of the decedent, Appellant stated that he thought he knew her but he was not sure. His mother said that she was sure Appellant had nothing to do with the murder as he was home that night by 10:00 p.m. The Appellant was asked for hair and saliva samples. He cooperated, voluntarily appearing at the police station to comply with the request.

Fred Jordan of the Medical Examiner's Office testified that he performed the autopsy on the decedent on December 9, 1982. He stated that numerous bruises were found on the decedent's face, arms and body, several of which were defensive wounds. Small puncture wounds were also discovered on her nose and cheeks. The inside of her lips and mouth were cut and a semi-circular ligature mark was found on her neck. An internal examination revealed internal bruising and a small metal bottle cap inside her rectum. Dr. Jordan testified that the cause of death was suffocation as a result of the washcloth in her mouth and the ligature tightened around her neck.

Mary Long, forensic chemist with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI), testified in detail concerning the procedures and results of her analysis of body fluids. She stated that she had received samples of body fluids from approximately twenty (20) subjects, including Appellant and Dennis Fritz, 1 and other items of evidence to test. Her conclusions in relevant part showed that: (1) Debbie Carter was blood type A; (2) Appellant was blood type O and a non-secretor; (3) Dennis Fritz was blood type O and a non-secretor; (4) the sheets from the decedent's bed contained semen and human blood, type A, but no antigen activity was found indicating that the donor could have been a non-secretor; (5) vaginal swabs yielded no antigen activity.

Melvin Hett, forensic chemist with OSBI, also testified in detail to procedures and results in his analysis of hair and fibers retrieved from the crime scene. His results showed: (1) two (2) hairs found on the washcloth were microscopically consistent with scalp hairs from Appellant; (2) two (2) hairs found on the decedent's bedding were microscopically consistent with pubic hairs from the Appellant; (3) two (2) hairs found on the decedent's underwear were microscopically consistent with pubic hairs from Dennis Fritz; (4) seven (7) hairs found on the bedding were microscopically consistent with pubic hairs from Dennis Fritz; (5) two (2) hairs found on the washcloth were microscopically consistent with scalp hairs from Dennis Fritz.

Jerry Peters, crime scene specialist with OSBI, testified that he conducted a fingerprint analysis on a blood stained piece of sheetrock removed from the south wall of the decedent's bedroom. He was unable to match the prints discovered in the blood stain to the Appellant, Dennis Fritz or the decedent. The body of Debbie Carter was exhumed in May 1987, and a new set of prints were taken. The print found on the blood stained wall matched the prints of the decedent.

Gina Vietta testified that she and the decedent worked at the Coachlight Club and that the Appellant and Dennis Fritz frequented the club. Ms. Vietta testified to a conversation with the decedent approximately two weeks before the murder in which the decedent had stated that she felt uncomfortable around the Appellant. Ms. Vietta stated that she received a phone call

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from the decedent at approximately 1:30 a.m. on December 8, 1982, asking her to come to her apartment and pick her up. She said that someone was there and she did not feel comfortable. Ms. Vietta told the decedent that she would come get her; however, a couple of minutes later, the decedent called back and told Ms. Vietta that she "didn't need to bother to come over and pick her up. She had decided to stay there." (Tr. 357) The decedent would not tell Ms. Vietta who was there but asked her to call her in the morning to wake her up for work. That morning, Ms. Vietta was late for work and did not call the decedent until later. When she did, all she could hear over the phone were muffled sounds as if someone had put their hand over the receiver.

The preliminary hearing testimony of Glen Gore, declared to be unavailable to testify at trial, was read to the jury. Mr. Gore testified that he saw both the decedent and the Appellant at the Coachlight Club during the early morning hours of December 8, 1982. When he went up to the bar to get a drink, Debbie Carter asked him if he would "rescue" her. She told him the Appellant was "bugging" her. (Tr. 331) Later, around closing time, when the lights were being turned on, Gore saw the Appellant talking to the decedent.

Donna Walker worked at Love's Country Store and testified that she saw both Appellant and Dennis Fritz in the store often. They were regular customers until December 8, 1982. After that date, they disappeared for several weeks. Upon their return both men had changed drastically in appearance and personality. They appeared unkept and unshaven, wore dirty clothes, and acted belligerent, nervous and paranoid.

Terri Holland was an inmate of the Pontotoc County jail from October 1984, until January 1985. She testified that she had overheard the Appellant, who was periodically in jail during that time, talk about the murder of Debbie Carter. Ms. Holland stated that she overheard Appellant remark to other prisoners that if Debbie Carter had cooperated with him he would never had to kill her. Appellant described the crime stating that "he shoved a coke bottle up her ass and her panties down her throat." (Tr. 575) On another occasion, Ms. Holland overheard a telephone conversation between Appellant and his mother wherein Appellant threatened his mother, telling her if she did not do as he said that he would have to kill her like he did Debbie Carter.

OSBI Agent Gary Rogers testified that he assisted the Ada Police Department in the criminal investigation. He testified that arrest warrants were issued for the Appellant and Dennis Fritz approximately four days after the bloody palm print discovered on the wall was matched to the decedent.

Agent Rogers stated that he interviewed the Appellant on May 9, 1987. After reading the Appellant the Miranda warning and receiving a waiver of his rights, Rogers questioned Appellant about the Carter homicide. Appellant told Rogers that he was at the Coachlight Club on December...

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