Brown v. State

Citation982 So.2d 565
Decision Date28 April 2006
Docket NumberCR-01-1900.
PartiesAnthony Eugene BROWN v. STATE.
CourtAlabama Court of Criminal Appeals

Matthew C. Lamere, Dothan, for appellant.

William H. Pryor, Jr., and Troy King, attys. gen., and Michael A. Nunnelley and Stephen Shows, asst. attys. gen., for appellee.

McMILLAN, Presiding Judge.

The appellant, Anthony Eugene Brown, was convicted of capital murder for the intentional murder of Virginia Keel during the commission of a burglary in the first degree, in violation of § 13A-5-40(a)(4), Ala.Code 1975. Brown had entered pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. By a vote of 10 to 2, the jury returned an advisory verdict of death. Thereafter, the trial court held a separate sentencing hearing and sentenced Brown to death.

Following the sentencing hearing before the trial court, the trial judge issued an order including a summary of the crime and Brown's participation in it. The order summarized the facts of the offense as follows:

"On June 19, 2000, Anthony Eugene Brown did cause the death of Virginia Keel, an eighty-three year old female, by strangling Mrs. Keel with a piece of cloth and by placing cloth as well as tape over her mouth and nostrils. This offense occurred at 22 Trillium Circle, Apartment Number 1007, Dothan, AL., during the course of Anthony Brown unlawfully entering the residence of Virginia Keel.

"Dothan Police Department Records indicate that on June 19, 2000, at approximately 10:56 a.m., the Communications Center received a `911 Call' from Marisa Bowden at the Holiday Inn South, 2195 Ross Clark Circle, Dothan Al. Ms. Bowden reported that a black male with a gun had approached Room 119 and threatened the occupants. Ms. Bowden described the person as black male, approximately 5'10" weighing approximately 160 pounds, and wearing a T-shirt as well as tan pants.

"Corporal Scott Heath was dispatched to the Holiday Inn South and arrived at 11:07 a.m. Witnesses at the scene advised Corporal Heath that the suspect was last seen behind the Hardee's Restaurant headed toward Fieldcrest Apartments.

"Officer Jason Youngblood arrived at Fieldcrest Apartments at approximately 11:10 a.m. and spoke to a maintenance worker at the building. Mr. Tommy Bryan advised Officer Youngblood that he had seen a person matching the descriptions of the suspect walk into the breezeway of Building No. 22 at the Fieldcrest Apartment complex. Building No. 22 consisted of Apartments 1001 through 1008. Officer Youngblood requested that Barbara Rosen, the Apartment Manager, bring the keys to the eight doors in Building No. 22. Corporal Heath and Officer Gill had arrived on the scene. Corporal Heath observed the blinds move on the sliding glass doors in Apartment No. 1007. The officers also observed that the television, which they had heard playing earlier in the apartment, had stopped playing.

"Officer Youngblood obtained the key to Apartment No. 1007 from Ms. Barbara Rosen. The officers knocked on the door of Apt. No. 1007 and did not get anyone to answer the door. The officers unlocked the door and found the chain lock to be latched. The officers then identified themselves as officers of the Dothan Police Department. After still not getting anyone to come to the door, Officer Youngblood forced the door open.

"Officer Youngblood and Corporal Heath then entered the apartment and observed a black male in the kitchen area of the apartment. The black male stated to the officers, `You've got me, you've got me. I did not do anything to her, she is just tied up in there.' Officer Youngblood then secured the black male by handcuffing him. The subject was identified as Anthony Eugene Brown and was placed in the back of Officer Gill's patrol unit.

"Officer Youngblood then went to the bathroom area and found Virginia Keel, an elderly female, on the floor. Mrs. Keel's hands were wrapped approximately six times with an extension cord and tied with a knot. Mrs. Keel's hands were connected to her feet with one strand of cord and the cord was not long enough for Mrs. Keel to be able to stretch out her legs. A portion of a T-shirt had been stuffed in Mrs. Keel's mouth, and black duct tape had been wrapped around Mrs. Keel's head approximately fifteen to twenty times. The remaining portion of the T-shirt was tied around Mrs. Keel's neck in a single knot. The knot was tied so tight that Corporal Heath could not untie the knot and he had to cut the knot.

"Corporal Heath and Officer Youngblood immediately started CPR on Mrs. Keel and continued CPR until the paramedics arrived on the scene. The paramedics started advanced life support on Mrs. Keel, and she was transported to the Southeast Alabama Medical Center.

"Upon arrival at the hospital, Dr. David Williams treated Mrs. Keel. He noted Mrs. Keel to be in status epilepticus, and he initiated anti-seizure therapy. Mrs. Keel was unresponsive, and her prognosis was poor. On June 29, 2000, Mrs. Virginia Keel died at the Southeast Alabama Medical Center Intensive Care Unit as a result of injuries that she had received on June 19, 200[0].

"On June 19, 2000, at approximately 3:00 p.m., Sgt. Michael Cirulli and Investigator Michael Etress interviewed Anthony Eugene Brown at the Dothan Police Department in Dothan, AL.

"Mr. Brown stated that he had no address and was sleeping in railroad cars. He stated that he walked to the Holiday Inn Southside in Dothan, Alabama, and went to one of the motel rooms. Brown stated that he knocked on the door, and a man came to the door. The subject stated that he asked the man if he could talk with him, and the man told him no and to get out of his room. Brown stated that he got mad and pulled a .38 caliber chrome-plated revolver out of his right pants pocket. He stated that the man then started saying that he did not have any money.

"Mr. Brown stated that he then went behind the motel through a wooded area to an apartment complex. The subject saw, through the sliding glass doors, a lady sitting in a chair inside her apartment. The subject stated that he was going to rob the lady and went to knock on her door. The subject stated that the lady came to her door and that he just walked into the apartment. He stated that the lady tried to push him back out the door. Brown stated that he pushed his way on in the apartment and closed the door behind him.

"The subject stated that he told the lady that he needed $500 real bad and that he was going to get himself some dope. Brown stated that the lady told him that she did not have any money. He stated that he then pulled the .38 caliber pistol out of his pocket and said, `[L]isten to me, don't make me kill you, I need some money bad.' Brown stated that he was pointing the pistol at the lady's forehead at this time.

"The subject stated that the lady tried to run to the door twice, but he grabbed her. Brown stated that he tied the lady up with an extension cord and laid her on the floor in a closet. He stated that he tied her hands and feet together, behind her back. Brown stated that she was moaning and asking him not to kill her.

"Mr. Brown stated that the lady was screaming and that he tied a shirt around her mouth in order to make her be quiet. He stated that she kept on moaning and that he went into the kitchen where he found some tape. Brown stated that he took the black electrical tape and wrapped it around her mouth. He stated that he took the tape off her nose in order that she could breathe. Brown stated that the lady told him that she was hot, and he then moved her from the closet to the bathroom where she could get some air.

"The subject stated that the police showed up at the apartments and started ringing the phone. Brown stated that he heard the police knocking on the door. Brown stated that the officers entered the apartment and went straight on into the back. The subject stated that he pointed his gun at the officers, but they did not see him. The subject stated that he was lying on the floor in the kitchen, and he then placed the gun in a garbage can. Brown stated that the officers came back up to where he was and the officers placed handcuffs on him. The subject stated that he told the officers that there was a lady tied up in the bathroom."


Brown argues that the trial court erred by refusing to submit the issue of his competency to stand trial to a jury for its determination. The record indicates that, before trial, Brown filed a motion for a mental evaluation, requesting that a qualified mental-health professional determine his mental condition and competency to stand trial, as well as his mental condition at the time of his offense and at the time he waived his constitutional rights in giving his statement to the authorities. Defense counsel argued in the motion that Brown had informed him that he had previously been treated for mental illness and that he was continuing to suffer from mental illness. Brown's motion made no request for a competency hearing by the jury. Thereafter, the circuit court ordered that Brown undergo a mental examination to determine, among other things, his competency to stand trial, specifically "pertaining to his present ability to understand the nature and object of the proceedings against [him] and his ability to assist defense counsel reasonably in the preparation of his defense." Pursuant to this order, Brown was admitted to Taylor Hardin Secure Medical Facility, where he was examined for just under 30 days by Dr. James Hooper. The lengthy report contained in the record suggests that Brown demonstrated a great deal of problematic behavior, that he attempted suicide, and that he was highly manipulative during his stay. Brown was closely observed, and Dr. Hooper concluded that he "was able to demonstrate adequate knowledge of courtroom procedures and personnel."

Approximately a year later, Brown filed...

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