Dodd v. Workman

Decision Date02 August 2011
Docket NumberCase No. CIV-06-140-D
PartiesROCKY EUGENE DODD, Petitioner, v. RANDALL G. WORKMAN, Warden, Oklahoma State Penitentiary, Respondent.
CourtU.S. District Court — Western District of Oklahoma

Petitioner, a state prisoner currently facing execution of two sentences of death, appears with counsel and petitions for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging his convictions in the District Court of Oklahoma County, Case No. CF-94-7724, of two counts of first-degree murder. Respondent has responded to Petitioner's Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus (hereinafter "Petition".)1 Petitioner has replied to this Response. The State court record has been supplied.2


Petitioner was convicted by jury in the District Court of Oklahoma County, State of Oklahoma, Case No. CF-94-7724, of the crime of First Degree Murder for each of the deathsof Shane McInturff and Keri Sloniker.3 The jury recommended the imposition of two death sentences, finding the existence oftwo aggravating circumstances as to both murders: (1) that Petitioner had previously been convicted of a felony involving the use or threat of violence to the person; and (2) that Petitioner knowingly created a great risk of death to more than one person.

Petitioner appealed his convictions and his death sentences to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals (hereinafter "OCCA"). The OCCA affirmed Petitioner's convictions and sentences of death in a published opinion dated October 21, 2004. Dodd v. State, 100 P.3d 1017 (Okla. Crim. App. 2004). Petitioner's subsequent petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court was denied on October 3, 2005. Dodd v. Oklahoma, 546 U.S. 835 (2005). Petitioner filed an Application for Post-Conviction Relief which was denied by the OCCA in an unpublished opinion dated May 2, 2005. (Case No. PCD-2002-625.) Petitioner's Second Application for Post-Conviction Relief was denied by the OCCA in an unpublished opinion dated April 3, 2008. (Case No. PCD-2006-1065.)


Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e), when a federal district court addresses "an application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court, a determination of a factual issue made by a State court shall be presumed to be correct." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1). For the purposes of consideration of the present Petition, the Courtprovides and relies upon the following synopsis from the OCCA's opinion summarizing the evidence presented at Petitioner's trial. Following review of the record, trial transcripts, and the admitted exhibits, the Court finds this summary by the OCCA is adequate and accurate. The Court therefore adopts the following extensive and thorough summary of the facts as its own:

On the afternoon of Monday, November 7, 1994, the bodies of Shane McInturff and his fiance, Keri Sloniker, were found lying side by side, face-down in a pool of blood, in the bedroom of their Edmond apartment. Appellant lived in an apartment immediately next door to the victims with his wife, Shelly Dodd, and their infant daughter. Appellant and Shane McInturff were also co-workers at a local business. The bodies were found by Shane's father, Robert McInturff, after Appellant reported that Shane had not shown up for work that day. Appellant accompanied Robert McInturff as he gained entry into the apartment. Upon seeing the bodies, Robert McInturff called for help; emergency personnel and police arrived within minutes.
Detectives began processing the scene and interviewing witnesses. McInturff and Sloniker had not been seen by anyone since the early morning hours of Sunday, November 6, 1994. They had spent much of Saturday in the company of two friends, Brian Brown and Lisa Way. Brown testified that while at the victims' apartment on Saturday afternoon, he saw Appellant come over and hand McInturff a check for $70.00. McInturff later showed Brown another $70.00 check that Appellant had given him earlier in the day. Brown stated that the checks were payments for methamphetamine that McInturff had supplied to Appellant.
Later that evening, Brown, Lisa Way, and the two victims went to a local pool hall after smoking marijuana and methamphetamine at the victims' apartment. Lisa Way testified that the victims kept a stash of drugs in a box under their living room couch, and that the box was under the couch when the foursome left to play pool. They arrived at the pool hall at approximately 10:30 p.m. and left at approximately 1:30 a.m. Brown dropped off the rest of the group at the victims' apartment and went home; the victims invited Way to come up and watch a movie and spend the night at their apartment, and Way accepted. Upon entering the apartment, McInturff asked Keri to roll a joint. According to Way's testimony, when Keri pulled the box from under thecouch, she saw that the cache of drugs was missing. McInturff became extremely angry and loud, kicking the common wall between his and the Dodds' apartment, and loudly accusing Appellant of stealing the drugs. McInturff then went next door to Appellant's apartment, where a heated exchange took place. Soon after McInturff returned to his apartment, Appellant followed and told McInturff to keep the noise down because his child was trying to sleep.
Part of the confrontation between Appellant and McInturff was also witnessed by Dennis Kersh, who lived in an apartment across the breezeway of the small complex. At approximately 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning, Kersh was awakened by a loud noise outside. He then heard someone yell "fuck" from the direction of the victims' apartment. From his window, Kersh saw Appellant run over to the victims' apartment. According to Kersh, as Appellant entered the apartment he yelled, "what the fuck is going on."
According to Lisa Way, after Appellant left the apartment, the victims began discussing a plan to cash the two checks Appellant had given McInturff earlier that day, and tell Appellant's wife that he was still using drugs. They believed this would cause problems for Appellant, because Appellant's wife (who happened to be out of town at the time) had threatened to leave Appellant if she ever found out he was using drugs again. Way decided not to stay the night after all, and left the victims' apartment at about 3:00 a.m. on Sunday. This was the last time anyone saw Shane McInturff and Keri Sloniker alive. Later that Sunday, Brown found McInturffs paycheck in his car. At approximately 5:00 p.m., Brown went by the victims' apartment to return the paycheck, but no one answered when he knocked on the door. Appellant, who was sitting outside his apartment, told Brown he had not seen Shane or Keri that day.
Appellant told police that on the morning of Monday, November 7th, he went by the victims' apartment to give McInturff a ride to work. No one responded to his knocks, and McInturff did not report to work that day. Because the victims did not have a telephone, Appellant left several messages throughout the day on the answering machine of Shane McInturffs parents, expressing concern about Shane and Keri's whereabouts. Appellant was off work and at the apartment complex later that afternoon when Robert McInturff arrived to check on his son. The front door was locked, and Mr. McInturff first tried to enter the apartment through a front window, which the victims were known to routinely leave unlocked; however, the window was locked as well, so he obtained a key to the apartment from the landlord.
Upon entering the apartment, Mr. McInturff observed two bodies face-down on the bedroom floor. Mr. McInturff testified that he did not turn on the bedroom light and that Appellant remained near the front door. McInturff yelled for Appellant to call 911. Because of the location and position of the bodies, Mr. McInturff stated that he was unable to determine the manner in which Shane and Keri were killed. He noticed that Shane's wallet was lying open in the living room.
The earliest that any of the emergency personnel or police were able to tell the manner in which the victims had been killed was approximately 9:25 p.m. Monday evening, several hours after the discovery, when the bodies were moved for the first time by the medical examiner, who determined that the victims had their throats cut with a very sharp bladed instrument. Before that, the assumption had been that the victims were shot in the head. Appellant was being questioned at the police station at the time the true cause of death was revealed. In a key piece of evidence, Appellant spoke with Dale Ketler, his supervisor at work, at 6:41 p.m. on Monday evening - a half-hour after the bodies had been found - and informed him that Shane and Keri had been murdered and that their throats had been cut. In another key piece of evidence, at work earlier that day, Appellant returned a large, fixed-blade hunting knife that he had borrowed from a co-worker, Al Ames. He left the knife at Ames' workstation, with a note of thanks for getting to borrow the knife and adding that he never had a chance to use it. When news of the murders spread around the workplace on Tuesday, Ames turned the knife and the note over to police.
Investigation of the crime scene revealed trace evidence that someone may have washed blood down the victims' bathroom sink. A missing hand towel from that bathroom was found in the apartment complex dumpster, stained with blood. DNA analysis could not exclude either victim as the source of that blood. Except for the fact that Keri's purse had been dumped out, the victims' apartment was intact, with nothing of known value taken; Keri's engagement ring was still on her finger. No sign of a weapon was found, and although the victims were positioned as if they might have been bound by the wrists, no ligatures or ligature marks were discovered. No traces of blood were found on the knife Appellant had borrowed from Al Ames. There was no

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