Gaddy v. State

Decision Date26 May 1995
Docket NumberCR-90-1429
Citation698 So.2d 1100
PartiesRichard Eugene GADDY v. STATE.
CourtAlabama Court of Criminal Appeals

William K. DelGrosso, Birmingham, for appellant.

Jeff Sessions and Bill Pryor, attys. gen., Lisa Gunter and David Bjurberg, asst. attys. gen., for appellee.

McMILLAN, Judge.

The appellant, Richard Eugene Gaddy, was charged with capital murder for causing the death of James Caldwell by stabbing him with a knife, during the course of committing a theft, see § 13A-5-40(a)(2), Code of Alabama 1975. The appellant was found guilty as charged and, following a sentencing hearing, the jury returned an advisory verdict of death by electrocution. The final sentencing hearing was held before the trial court and the trial court followed the jury's recommendation, sentencing the appellant to death by electrocution.

The trial court, in its order imposing the death penalty, properly sets out the evidence introduced at trial and the trial judge's findings of fact as follows:

"State's case:

"James A. Caldwell was fifty years of age at the time of his death, lived alone in the East Lake part of Birmingham, Jefferson County, [and] was employed as a math teacher at Huffman High School.

"Co-worker Robert McCary last saw deceased alive on Friday, December 8, 1989.

"On the following Wednesday, McCary and the school principal, Robert Simmons, became suspicious about Mr. Caldwell's absence from work and went to his apartment having called the Birmingham Police Department for an officer to meet them at the home.

"Mr. Caldwell was observed [through] the mail slot in the door lying prostrate in a pool of blood behind the door.

"Mr. McCary, coach and driver's education teacher at Huffman High School, and Robert Simmons, the principal, gave their testimony [regarding] their observations at the Caldwell residence.

"Dr. Gary Simmons, forensic pathologist, described multiple incised wounds (longer than deep) and stab wounds to the person of the deceased, said wounds being depicted as being about the deceased's head, neck, left ear, chest, abdomen and palm of hand. [He also described several abrasions.]

"Dr. Simmons detailed nineteen incised and/or stab wounds as well as detailing evidence of 'severe strangulation,' adduced from 'pinpoint' hemorrhaging in the eyes. Dr. Simmons stated that strangulation was not the cause of death, that the decedent was alive when he was being stabbed as evidenced by the hemorrhaging from the wounds.

"According to Dr. Simmons, toxicology revealed no evidence of drug or alcohol ingestion by the deceased, serology testing revealed no evidence of semen in any body cavity.

"Larry Chapman, deputy sheriff in Saluda [County], South Carolina, stopped the defendant and two other males in the deceased's automobile on December 13, 1989, in Saluda County, South Carolina. The defendant was seated in the back seat of the automobile.

"The jurors were not allowed to hear that a BOLO (be on the lookout) had been issued [regarding] the vehicle because of two robberies committed in South Carolina, the defendant being videoed in the commission of one of the robberies. Prior to being brought to Alabama for the trial of the capital murder of Mr. Caldwell defendant entered guilty pleas to two robbery offenses in South Carolina--the guilty pleas being admitted on cross-examination of the defendant in the guilt phase for purposes of impeachment.

"Larry Chapman and Lt. George Booth with the South Carolina State Police testified about some of their activities with the defendant--testifying from a 'sanitized' or redacted inculpatory statement.

"The defendant's statement[s], post Miranda and deemed voluntary by the undersigned, given to Lt. Booth, comprised the main thrust of the state's case against defendant Gaddy. The statements follow, absent the Miranda preamble.

"December 14, 1989

" 'In the last of October when I left Augusta, Georgia hitchhiking, I was headed nowhere particular, I headed for Atlanta, Georgia. I knew it was big enough to make money and to roll people. I stayed in Atlanta, under a bridge one night. I couldn't find anybody who had anything to roll in Atlanta. So I hitchhiked on down I-20 to Birmingham. I slept outside and I got sick. I went to the Mission when I got to Alabama. I got up with James Sanders. He pulled up and asked me if I wanted to work. I went to work with him at the carnival. I worked one day. That was October 31, 1989. I worked at the race track with his wife. She would get me a visitor's pass. I also helped them around the house. On the 8th of December, James and his wife asked me to leave. I left on Friday and I slept in the park. On Saturday the 9th of December, 1989, I fooled around, I just bought time until dark until I could find somebody to roll and have the cover of night. I got up on 59 or I-20 hitchhiking, a man, a white man, stopped and I got in the car. He asked me if I wanted to get something to eat. I knew then that he was gay. I knew then that it would be easy to get to his house to roll him and to rob him. This was about 6:00 to 6:30. He told me his name was Jim. We went to his house. He turned on the TV and I was cold and I sat by the heater. About 7:30 he started acting like he was going to freak out or something. He was laying on the couch and I was sitting on the couch. His bed was right across from the couch. He was wearing a white T-shirt, black or navy pants, I was wearing blue jeans and insulated coveralls and a red, white and blue jersey shirt and tennis shoes that night. I got up and I moved toward him and reached behind my back for the knife that I had concealed. It was a paring type knife with a 4 1/2 to 5 inch blade. I had filed the blade to a double edge knife and made it a combat point. He grabbed my hand as soon as I came around with the knife. He was lying down and started to sit up. I moved with an upward thrust, stabbing him in the chest. He grabbed my hand and I stabbed again, but I am not sure I stabbed him that time. Jim got the knife and we were fighting. He came up off the couch and I got around behind him in the fight. Jim said, "Just leave. As I tried to get the knife from him he got to the door and got it unlocked but not opened. During that struggle from the bed to the couch to the door, my right hand was cut between the thumb and index finger. My left hand got a puncture in the palm. I reached in my back pocket and got a piece of white nylon rope a quarter inch thick about 40 inches long. I wrapped it around Jim's neck. Jim got the knife between the rope and his neck and cut the rope [in two]. I had some of the rope wrapped around my hand. I let some of it unwrap from my left hand, reached around and grabbed the loose end with my right hand pulled it back around Jim's neck and choked him until he was either dead or passed out. I took the knife and stabbed him three more times in the throat below the Adam's Apple. I let him lay for awhile and searched the rest of the house. The house was junkie. I stole old coins, collections, paper money, loose change, gold and silver rings and a pair of binoculars. I went back over to Jim and I took a small gold ring off his right pinky finger, a nine diamond cluster ring. Then I got his wallet, car keys and money about $60.00 in his pocket and later I found more cash in the wallet and money hid in the old paper money collection. I put it all in a sack, a plastic sack. I turned out all the lights in the house. Before I turned off the lights, I washed the blood off of my hands. When I went out of the house I locked the front door with the key so no one could easily find him. I went out to the car and got in and drove off. I went back and picked up my clothes where I had them stashed. I headed for Augusta, Georgia. When I crossed into Georgia on I-20 I rolled the window down on the passenger's side and threw the knife out while I [was] still moving. When I got to Atlanta, Georgia, I stopped and changed my clothes, I put the clothes I took off in a trash bag and put them back into [the] car. Every 10 to 15 miles I threw out pieces of clothing out the car until they were gone. I was about 5 miles out of Atlanta and threw clothing out the passenger window of the car. When I got back to Bath, I rented a motel room so I could go through the stuff to see what I had, I separated it into what I thought was valuable and what was not valuable. On Monday I started selling some of it. Monday, I went over to a friend's house, Tony Yarborough. I asked him if he would take some rings and money collection to the pawn shop to sell it. He said he could try to sell the rings at the pawn shop. He didn't know anything about the coins but he would try some coin shops. Tony did not know anything about the car being stolen or the murder. We went to the Gordon Military Pawn Shop on Broad Street. Tony and I went in and had him look at all the rings which was about 25 or 30. Some had settings and some were just settings with the setting removed. Some of them were silver. The man said they did not buy silver. There were only 2 rings he wanted. By this time I had read the papers in the car and I knew the man's name was James Caldwell. One of the rings that the man bought at the pawn shop was the ring I took off of Jim's pinky finger. A nine diamond cluster ring. The other was a solid 10K gold ring with the setting removed. The rest of the rings I sold for $5.00 or $10.00 or traded for Crack on Hwy 278 in Aiken County, I believe. I traded the binoculars for crack rock. We took paper money to a coin shop in Augusta and sold some of it for $60.00. I still had some paper money and the coins and stamp collection when I was arrested in Saluda County, December 13, 1989.' "

"December 15, 1989

" 'My name is Richard Eugene Gaddy. The day is Friday, December 15, 1989. The time is 6:00 p.m. I gave a statement on Dec. 14, 1989 about James Caldwell. I told officers that I had thrown my...

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