Dodd v. State, No. F-97-26.

CourtUnited States State Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma. Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma
Writing for the CourtJOHNSON.
Citation993 P.2d 778
Docket NumberNo. F-97-26.
Decision Date06 January 2000
PartiesRocky Eugene DODD, Appellant, v. STATE of Oklahoma, Appellee.

993 P.2d 778

Rocky Eugene DODD, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Oklahoma, Appellee

No. F-97-26.

Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma.

January 6, 2000.


Bert Richard, Benjamin Brown, Patrick J. Ehlers, Assistant Public Defenders, Oklahoma City, for Plaintiff at trial.

Susan Caswell, Cassandra Williams, Assistant District Attorneys, Oklahoma City, for the State at trial.

Carolyn L. Merritt, Assistant Public Defender, Oklahoma City, for Appellant on appeal.

W.A. Drew Edmonson, Attorney General of Oklahoma, William L. Humes, Assistant

993 P.2d 780
Attorney General, Oklahoma City, for Appellee on appeal

993 P.2d 779
OPINION

JOHNSON, Judge:

¶ 1 Rocky Eugene Dodd, Appellant, was tried by a jury in the District Court of Oklahoma County, Case No. CF-94-7724, before the Honorable Nancy L. Coats. Dodd was convicted of two counts of First Degree Malice Aforethought Murder, in violation of 21 O.S.1991, § 701.7. After finding the existence of three aggravating circumstances for Count I and four aggravating circumstances for Count II, the jury set punishment at death for each murder conviction.1 The trial court sentenced Dodd accordingly. Dodd now appeals.

¶ 2 Dodd and the victims, Kari Sloniker and Shane McInturff, were next door neighbors in apartments located near the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) in Edmond, Oklahoma. At approximately noon on Saturday, November 5, 1994, Dodd came to Shane's apartment and gave him a check for $70.00. Between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. that same day, Dodd brought Shane a second check for $70.00. Brian Brown testified he saw both checks from Dodd in Shane's wallet at this time. He further testified that the checks were for the purchase of "crank," also known as methamphetamine. Brown left the apartment at approximately 6:30 p.m.

¶ 3 Later that evening, Brown, Lisa Eubanks, Shane and Kari went to The Pool Room in Oklahoma City to play pool. Before leaving, the group smoked marijuana and snorted and smoked crank in Kari and Shane's apartment. Eubanks testified at trial that the marijuana and crank were kept in a box which Kari and Shane usually hid under the couch in the living room. Eubanks stated that she first saw approximately one gram of crank in the box and estimated the group used approximately one-quarter gram of the substance prior to leaving to play pool. The drug box was placed back under the couch prior to the group's departure.

¶ 4 They arrived at The Pool Room at approximately 10:30 p.m. and left at approximately 1:30 a.m. Kari and Shane invited Eubanks to watch a movie and spend the night at their apartment. Consequently, Brian Brown dropped off the group at Kari and Shane's apartment and returned to his home. Upon entering the apartment, Shane asked Kari to roll a joint. When Kari pulled the box from under the couch, the drugs were missing. Shane became extremely angry and loud, kicking the common wall between his and Dodd's apartment. Shane was shouting and accusing Dodd of stealing the drugs. Shane eventually went next door to Dodd's apartment and an argument ensued over the missing drugs. Soon after Shane's return to his apartment, Dodd followed and told Shane to keep the noise down because his child was trying to sleep.

¶ 5 After Dodd left the apartment, Shane and Kari began discussing the possibility of cashing Dodd's checks and telling Dodd's wife that he was using drugs. They believed this would cause problems for Dodd as his wife was unaware he was using drugs again. Due to the "intense" atmosphere at the apartment, Eubanks left at approximately 3:00 a.m. and returned to her dormitory room. This was the last time anyone saw Shane and Kari alive.

¶ 6 Dodd's trip to Shane's apartment and the harsh words exchanged between the two was also witnessed by Dennis Kersh, who lived in a nearby apartment. At approximately 2:00 a.m., Kersh was awakened by a loud noise outside. Believing someone might have hit his car, Kersh went outside to investigate.

993 P.2d 781
After returning to his bed, Kersh heard someone yell "fuck" from the area of Shane's apartment. Kersh, looking out his window, saw Dodd run from his apartment into Shane's apartment. As Dodd entered the apartment, he yelled "what the fuck is going on."

¶ 7 Later that Sunday, Brian Brown found Shane's pay check in his car. At approximately 5:00 p.m., Brown went by Shane's apartment to return the paycheck. No one answered when Brown knocked on the door. Dodd was sitting outside his apartment and stated that he had not seen Shane or Kari that day. Brown drove by again at 6:30 p.m.; seeing no lights, he did not stop.

¶ 8 On Monday, November 7th, Dodd stated he went by Shane's apartment to give him a ride to work. No one responded to his knocks and Shane did not report to work that day. Robert McInturff, Shane's father, returned home from work at approximately 5:30 p.m. and found four messages from Dodd on his answering machine. The messages were regarding Shane's failure to respond to Dodd's knocks at his apartment door that morning. Concerned, Mr. McInturff went to check on Shane. He arrived at the apartment at approximately 5:50 p.m. Mr. McInturff ran into Dodd as he reached the apartment. Dodd again stated that he had not heard from Shane or Kari that entire day. Unable to open the door to the apartment, Mr. McInturff and Dodd obtained a pass key from the landlord.

¶ 9 Upon entering the apartment, Mr. McInturff observed two bodies on the bedroom floor. Mr. McInturff testified that he did not turn on the bedroom light and that Dodd remained near the front door. McInturff yelled to Dodd to call 911. Both bodies were lying face down, next to each other, and there was a great deal of blood surrounding the victims. Because of the location and position of the bodies, Mr. McInturff stated that he was unable to determine the manner in which Shane and Kari were killed. He further noted that Shane's wallet was lying open in the living room.

¶ 10 Keith Randolph, a City of Edmond fireman, was the first of the emergency personnel to reach the scene. Randolph was unable to tell how the victims died because of the position of the bodies. However, he told EMSA emergency technicians that he believed the victims were killed by gunshots to the head. James Towers, an EMSA technician, was also unable to tell the manner in which the victims were killed. When Edmond Police Officer Lindell McLemore arrived at the scene, he was told that it appeared the victims had been shot. Similarly, when Steve Slater, an investigator with the Medical Examiner's Office, arrived at the scene at approximately 10:30 p.m., he was unable to tell the manner of death until he rolled the bodies over for further examination. At this time, it became apparent the victims' throats had been slashed. Conversely, Rocky Yardley, a technical investigator with the Edmond Police Department, examined the bodies without moving them at approximately 9:25 p.m., and found that Shane's throat had been cut.

¶ 11 The earliest that any of the emergency personnel, police, or technical investigators at the scene were able to tell the manner in which the victims had been killed was 9:25 p.m. In a key piece of evidence, Dodd spoke with his supervisor at Jetta Products at 6:41 p.m. and informed him that Shane and his wife had been murdered and that their throats had been cut. Additionally, on the same day the bodies were discovered, Dodd had returned a hunting knife he had borrowed from a co-worker. The medical examiner testified at trial that the victims' wounds were caused by a weapon with a thick, heavy blade.

¶ 12 Further investigation of the crime scene revealed the trace presence of blood in and around the sink in the victims' bathroom, as if someone had cleaned their hands in the sink. Moreover, a towel appeared to be missing from the bathroom. The missing towel was found in the dumpster located in the apartment complex. A hair found on the towel was consistent with Dodd's hair. DNA testing was also conducted on a blood stain found on the towel.2 Both victims could not

993 P.2d 782
be excluded as possible contributors of the DNA on the towel stain

¶ 13 When questioned about the two $70.00 checks Dodd had given Shane, Dodd claimed he had loaned Shane the money to buy a car from Shane's uncle. Dodd stated that Shane had returned the checks to him on Saturday afternoon,sometime between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., because the uncle was selling the car to someone else. Dodd said he had torn the checks into four or five pieces and placed them in the trash. No checks or check remnants were found. Furthermore, Robert McInturff testified he had made arrangements with Shane to loan Shane money to buy a car from his brother in Arkansas.

¶ 14 While incarcerated in the Oklahoma County Jail awaiting trial, Dodd spoke with another inmate, Kenneth Bryant. Bryant testified that while watching the O.J. Simpson trial on television in the jail common area, Dodd appeared interested in the DNA portion of the trial and asked Bryant if he thought police could obtain DNA evidence if blood got on a nugget ring or the velcro portion of a watch band. Bryant testified he asked Dodd if he committed the murders to which Dodd replied, "Yes ... but proving it will be a different thing." Dodd allegedly told Bryant that he had gone to the victims' apartment to retrieve the checks he had given Shane and to take whatever drugs were there and that things "went wrong." Dodd explained that he did not want his wife to find out about the checks. He was worried she would find out he was using drugs. Bryant further testified that Dodd stated he figured his co-worker, who had loaned him the hunting knife, would know that he had the murder weapon.

¶ 15 On appeal, Dodd raises eighteen propositions of error. However, finding error requiring reversal, we need only address Proposition IV(E) which deals specifically with informant Bryant's testimony. After Dodd's preliminary hearing, Bryant recanted his...

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29 practice notes
  • Lovitt v. Warden, Record No. 012663.
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • September 12, 2003
    ...of an "informer" must be weighed with greater care than the testimony of an "ordinary" witness. See Dodd v. State, 993 P.2d 778, 784 (Okla.Crim.App.2000). Lovitt's contention is without merit because the law of this Commonwealth does not require a fact finder to give dif......
  • State v. Patterson, No. 17367.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • December 20, 2005
    ...Cir.1986); People v. Dela Rosa, 644 F.2d 1257, 1259-60 (9th Cir.1980); Moore v. State, 787 So.2d 1282, 1286 (Miss.2001); Dodd v. State, 993 P.2d 778, 784 (Okla.Crim.App.2000); see also 2 K. O'Malley, J. Grenig & W. Lee, Federal Jury Practice and Instructions (5th Ed. 2000) § 15.02, pp. ......
  • State v. Arroyo, No. 18031.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • July 21, 2009
    ...the thrill of playing detective, fear, and survival"). 11. One other state court also has reached this conclusion. See Dodd v. State, 993 P.2d 778, 784 (Okla.Crim.App.2000); see also State v. Grimes, 295 Mont. 22, 31, 982 P.2d 1037 (1999) ("when a government informant motivated by......
  • State v. Gutierrez, No. S-05-979.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • January 26, 2007
    ...to meaningfully confront the testimony of a jailhouse informer at trial and challenge the witness' credibility. See, also, Dodd v. State, 993 P.2d 778, 784 (Okla.Crim.App. 2000) (explaining that court-adopted procedure identical to § 29-1929 was intended "to ensure complete disclosure ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
27 cases
  • Lovitt v. Warden, Record No. 012663.
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • September 12, 2003
    ...that the testimony of an "informer" must be weighed with greater care than the testimony of an "ordinary" witness. See Dodd v. State, 993 P.2d 778, 784 (Okla.Crim.App.2000). Lovitt's contention is without merit because the law of this Commonwealth does not require a fact finder to give diff......
  • State v. Patterson, No. 17367.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • December 20, 2005
    ...Cir.1986); People v. Dela Rosa, 644 F.2d 1257, 1259-60 (9th Cir.1980); Moore v. State, 787 So.2d 1282, 1286 (Miss.2001); Dodd v. State, 993 P.2d 778, 784 (Okla.Crim.App.2000); see also 2 K. O'Malley, J. Grenig & W. Lee, Federal Jury Practice and Instructions (5th Ed. 2000) § 15.02, pp. 364-......
  • State v. Arroyo, No. 18031.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • July 21, 2009
    ...as] the thrill of playing detective, fear, and survival"). 11. One other state court also has reached this conclusion. See Dodd v. State, 993 P.2d 778, 784 (Okla.Crim.App.2000); see also State v. Grimes, 295 Mont. 22, 31, 982 P.2d 1037 (1999) ("when a government informant motivated by perso......
  • State v. Gutierrez, No. S-05-979.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • January 26, 2007
    ...to meaningfully confront the testimony of a jailhouse informer at trial and challenge the witness' credibility. See, also, Dodd v. State, 993 P.2d 778, 784 (Okla.Crim.App. 2000) (explaining that court-adopted procedure identical to § 29-1929 was intended "to ensure complete disclosure so th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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