Grayson v. State

CourtAlabama Court of Criminal Appeals
Citation824 So.2d 804
PartiesCarey Dale GRAYSON v. STATE.
Decision Date19 November 1999

824 So.2d 804

Carey Dale GRAYSON


Court of Criminal Appeals of Alabama.

November 19, 1999.

Rehearing Denied March 24, 2000.

824 So.2d 808
Virginia A. Vinson, Birmingham, for appellant

Bill Pryor, atty. gen., and Tracy Daniel, asst. atty. gen., for appellee.

McMILLAN, Judge.

This case was originally assigned to another judge and was reassigned to Judge McMillan.

The appellant, Carey Dale Grayson, was indicted on two counts of capital murder. Count I charged the appellant with the intentional murder of the victim during a kidnapping in the first degree, in violation of ž 13A-5-40(a)(1), Ala.Code 1975. Count II charged the appellant with the intentional murder of the victim during a robbery, in violation of ž 13A-5-40(a)(2), Ala.Code 1975. The appellant pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. Following a trial, the appellant was convicted of capital murder as charged in Count I of the indictment and the lesser included offense of intentional murder as contained in Count II of the indictment. Thereafter, a sentencing hearing was held before the jury, and the jury returned an advisory verdict recommending that the appellant be sentenced to death, by a vote of 12-0 as to Count I. A

824 So.2d 809
presentence report was presented at the separate sentencing hearing before the judge; thereafter, the appellant was sentenced to death by electrocution as to Count I; the appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment as to Count II

The trial court made the following findings of fact concerning the crime and the appellant's participation in it:

"On the night of [February 21, 1994,] Vickie Deblieux, age 37, was dropped off by a friend on 1-59 near Chattanooga, Tennessee, to hitchhike to her mother's home in Louisiana.
"Four teenagers, the defendant, Kenny Loggins, Trace Duncan, and Louis Mangione, all who had been drinking alcohol and using drugs, saw her hitchhiking on 1-59 at the Trussville exit in Jefferson County, Alabama. They offered to take her to Louisiana; instead they took her to a wooded area, on the pretense of picking up another vehicle.
"After arriving in this area, they all got out of the vehicle, and began to drink. The defendant, along with the others threw bottles at Ms. Deblieux, who began to run from them. They tackled her to the ground and began to kick her repeatedly all over her body. When they noticed that she was still alive, one of them stood on her throat, supported by the Defendant, until she gurgled blood and said `Okay, I'll party,' then died.
"They then put her body in the back of a pickup truck and took her and her luggage to Bald Rock Mountain, after removing her clothing and a ring, and they played with her body and then threw her off a cliff.
"They then went to a car wash in Pell City to wash the blood out of the truck. After rummaging through her luggage, they hid the luggage in the woods.
"On their return to Birmingham, they took Mangione home and then returned to Bald Rock Mountain, where they began to mutilate the body by stabbing and cutting her 180 times, removing part of a lung, and removing her fingers and thumbs.
"The next morning defendant's girlfriend found the three of them in Birmingham asleep in the truck all covered in mud and blood. The defendant told her they got blood on them from a dog.
"On [February 26, 1994,] three rock climbers found Ms. Deblieux's body and called the police. Her body was taken to the medical examiner's office.
"The medical examiner found the following injuries; almost every bone in her skull was fractured, every bone in her face was fractured at least once, lacerations on the face over these fractures, a missing tooth, left eye was collapsed, right eye was hemorrhaged, tongue discolored, 180 stab wounds (postmortem), two large incisions in her chest, her left lung had been removed and all her fingers and both thumbs were cut off.
"The medical examiner opined that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and that she was alive during the beating.
"All defendants were later arrested after Mangione began showing one of Ms. Deblieux's fingers to friends. "Defendant's Case:
"Ralph Wiley, the defendant's uncle testified that he was disabled because of a bipolar disorder, which is a prevalent disorder in the defendant's family. That Defendant's mother died when he was age three and his father has been married four or five times. He had not been around defendant in many years.
"Dora Roper, the defendant's second cousin testified that her mother had
824 So.2d 810
mental problems for which she had to be hospitalized.
"Jan Arnett, testified that she was defendant's junior high school teacher when he was ages 13-16. That he was hyperactive in class, not interested in school, and wouldn't do classwork or homework.... She tried to get defendant's father to help the defendant. That defendant was not violent and knew right from wrong....
"Dr. Rebert, a forensic psychologist for the State of Alabama, Department of Mental Health, opined that the defendant at the time of the incident suffered from a mental disease or defect. She described this as a bipolar disorder and said he was in a manic state at the time of the incident; however, he did know the difference between right and wrong and was able to appreciate the nature and quality or wrongfulness of his acts.
"Dr. Goff, a private psychologist who opined that at the time of the incident the defendant suffered from a mental disease or defect, bipolar I disorder, which involves extreme mood swings. However, the defendant did know right from wrong but would not be able to respond to the rightness or wrongness of his acts.
"Jan Deblieux, the victim's mother testified that she was not involved in a lawsuit filed by her daughter's estranged husband."

The record further indicates that, although the investigation originally involved suspects in Chattanooga because the victim was from that area, the investigation eventually led the police to the Jefferson County jail, where the appellant was incarcerated. He was interviewed by the police at the jail where he agreed to give a statement, indicating that "they were not hanging this case on him and [he wanted] to tell his side of the story." The appellant then gave the following statement which was admitted at trial:

"Kenny, T.R., Louis and myself were all drinking very heavily when T.R. and Louis suggested that we get into a fight. We left and went riding around and found a hitchhiker at 1-59 exit in Trussville, Alabama. We picked her up and took her to the pipeline.... Medical Center East. We were all talking when she made a remark about killing us all when I threw a beer bottle at her, then Kenny hit her with his bottle, Louis hit her with his and T.R. with his. After that she began to run when Kenny got her in the back of the head with another bottle, causing her to fall. We all ran over and began to kick her and hit her. When she stopped moving, Kenny saw she was still alive and stood on her throat [until] she died. Then we took her to Pell City and left the body. We then went to the car wash and washed out the bed of Kenny's truck and we took Louis home. When we got back to my car, T.R. and Kenny asked me to show them the way to the body and I did. When we got there, T.R. and Kenny began to mutilate the body by cutting off the fingers and cutting open the stomach. T.R. had found a bottle and shoved it into the [vagina] while Kenny took out her eyes. After this we dumped the body and left for T.R.'s house. Kenny and I returned to my car and we went ... to Hardee's in Chalkville and all three of us fell asleep in the truck, where Kenny's girlfriend woke us up later that morning."

Upon further questioning, by the authorities, the appellant made other statements concerning the details of the offense. The appellant stated that while T.R. was standing on the victim's throat, he placed his hands on the appellant for balance. He further indicated that, when they dumped

824 So.2d 811
the victim's clothes over the cliff, T.R. took some of the clothing and Kenny took a ring from the victim. The appellant indicated that he took nothing from her. The appellant was then asked why he and his accomplices had killed the victim; the appellant responded that he did not know why they had killed her, "but it was not his problem." The officer who took the appellant's statement noted that he was very cooperative and that his attitude was "almost one of humor. He had a smile during the entire time we were speaking with him."


The appellant argues that the trial court committed reversible error by refusing to allow the defense to question a State's witness concerning a civil suit involving the appellant, because, he says, this questioning would have tended to show the bias of the witness. Specifically, the appellant argues that he was improperly prevented from questioning the victim's mother, Jan Deblieux, concerning a wrongful-death action that had been filed by the victim's estranged husband against the Miller Brewing Company. The appellant argues that the suit was being brought by the decedent's estate and that the decedent's mother clearly had a financial interest in the civil suit, and allowing him to question her about it would prove her bias in seeing that the appellant was convicted.

The record indicates that the victim's mother had testified during the State's case-in-chief to establish that the victim was her daughter, and had also testified that, just before the offense, the victim had telephoned her, stating that she would be traveling home to Louisiana very shortly, by bus or by plane. The witness further testified that she never heard from her daughter after that conversation. Thereafter, during the appellant's presentation of his defense, the victim's mother was called as a witness. She was asked whether she knew an attorney who had been hired by her daughter's estranged husband. She stated...

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