Hammon v. State, No. F-97-910.

CourtUnited States State Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma. Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma
Writing for the CourtLILE.
Citation999 P.2d 1082,2000 OK CR 7
Decision Date28 March 2000
Docket NumberNo. F-97-910.
PartiesRichard Eugene HAMMON, Appellant, v. STATE of Oklahoma, Appellee.

999 P.2d 1082
2000 OK CR 7

Richard Eugene HAMMON, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Oklahoma, Appellee

No. F-97-910.

Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma.

March 28, 2000.

Rehearing Denied June 5, 2000.


Thomas C. Giulioli, District Attorney Okmulgee County, Norman Thygeson, Assistant District Attorney. Okmulgee, Attorneys for the State at Trial.

James C. Bowen, Oklahoma Indigent Defense System Tulsa Capital Trial Division, Tulsa, Attorney for Defendant at Trial.

Julie L. Gardner, Appellate Defense Counsel, Capital Direct Appeals Div. Oklahoma Indigent Defense System, Norman, Attorney for Appellant on Appeal.

W.A. Drew Edmondson, Attorney General of Oklahoma, Jennifer B. Miller, Assistant Attorney General Oklahoma City, Attorneys for Appellee on Appeal.

999 P.2d 1087
LILE, Judge

OPINION

¶ 1 In 1991 Richard Eugene Hammon, Appellant, was tried by jury in the District Court of Okmulgee County, Case No. CRF-90-144, before the Honorable Anne Moroney, District Judge. Hammon was convicted of Murder in the First Degree (21 O.S.Supp.1989, § 701.7(B)) (Felony-Murder) and was sentenced to death. The conviction was affirmed on appeal, however the case was reversed and remanded for re-sentencing. See Hammon v. State, 1995 OK CR 33, ¶¶ 2-8, 898 P.2d 1287, 1310.1

¶ 2 The Honorable Charles S. Woodson, District Judge, conducted the re-sentencing trial in 1997. The jury set punishment at death after finding four aggravating circumstances:

1) The defendant was previously convicted of a felony involving the use or threat of violence to the person;
2) The defendant knowingly created a great risk of death to more than one person;
3) The murder was committed for the purpose of avoiding or preventing a lawful arrest or prosecution;
4) The existence of a probability that the defendant would commit criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing threat to society;

¶ 3 The court imposed the death sentence in accordance with the verdict. Hammon is before this Court on original appeal of his re-sentencing trial.

999 P.2d 1088
FACTS

¶ 4 Appellant Richard Hammon, 21, and his friend Benny Jones, 18, left Okmulgee, driving toward Muskogee early on Thursday, June 28, 1990. Jones was driving an Oldsmobile Cutlass he had just stolen. They headed for Muskogee, each carrying a loaded.22 revolver. Hammon had fired his weapon a few days earlier and knew that it worked.

¶ 5 About 5:30 a.m. they entered Bud's Convenience Store in Muskogee to rob it. Hammon went to the restroom, and when he came back out said, "No witnesses." Then he pulled his gun and pointed it at the only customer in the store, Charles Reeves, and demanded his money. Reeves gave him his billfold. Meanwhile Jones was robbing the clerk, Richard Dix, and then shot him in the groin with his .22 revolver. Jones and Hammon together stripped Mr. Reeves' billfold and threw it in a trash can. Then Jones went back and shot Mr. Reeves. Both Mr. Dix and Mr. Reeves survived.

¶ 6 Jones then stole a white Firebird, and they drove back to Okmulgee. Hammon said they laid down at the apartment for a while, but Jones kept saying "Let's do one more, let's do one more." They followed a Schwan's delivery truck on its route for some time. The driver of the Schwan's truck, David Stewart, reported this to the police. He was able to see the passenger, and later identified him as Hammon. He also wrote down the Arkansas tag number from the white Firebird. Hammon and Jones stopped at a Sonic drive-in, which was near Truck `N Things, an automotive accessory and parts store in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, owned by Eugene Slape, and from there planned the robbery of Truck `N Things.

¶ 7 Around 11:00 a.m., Hammon and Jones entered Truck `N Things with their guns concealed. They looked around while waiting for a customer to leave. Hammon looked for a surveillance camera and when he was sure there was no camera, he nodded to Jones to commence the robbery. Jones approached Eugene Slape at the front counter, seemingly to purchase merchandise. As Mr. Slape rang up the sale and the cash register drawer opened, Jones pulled out his gun and demanded the money. Jones claimed Mr. Slape appeared to be reaching for a gun, so he shot him three times. Mr. Slape fell to the floor near the cash register.

¶ 8 Bradley Slape, Eugene Slape's son, was in the back, tinting the window on the left door of a Dodge pickup. Bradley's wife normally worked there also, in the family business. She had been there earlier that morning with their baby, but she and the baby had left with Bradley's mother to go to Tulsa.

¶ 9 Bradley couldn't see the cash register area from where he was working. He heard some loud footsteps, then a popping noise. He thought maybe someone had dropped something. He heard some groaning, and then two more shots (although he didn't realize at that moment that they were gunshots) right after each other, "as fast as you could pull a trigger." He heard the two shots then heard his dad yell out real, real loud, "No!— screamed it like he was in fear of something."

¶ 10 Immediately after Jones shot Eugene Slape the third time, Hammon opened a door and ran to the back room where he found Bradley. He ran towards Bradley screaming. Bradley couldn't understand what he was saying at first. Bradley was standing between the open truck door and the truck. As Hammon approached Bradley, Hammon pointed a gun directly in his face, about two feet from his head. Bradley finally realized what Hammon had been saying. Hammon screamed again: "I said this is a fucking holdup." Bradley realized that he knew Hammon from school, but couldn't remember his name.

¶ 11 Bradley jumped in the pickup seat and begged Hammon not to shoot. Hammon began to run from the room. Bradley raised his head to see where Hammon was, and Hammon stopped running and again pointed his gun at Bradley's head. Bradley ducked down again, and immediately he heard Hammon fire the gun. Bradley could not see in which direction Hammon fired the gun. Hammon ran out through the front, but took time to stop at the cash register, next to where Eugene Slape lay on the floor, to grab some chrome wheel spinners and some car speakers that Jones had left there.

999 P.2d 1089
¶ 12 Within thirty seconds to a minute, Bradley heard the sound of the front door closing, went to the front to check on his father, and found him lying on the floor near the open cash register staring at the ceiling and unable to breathe, like he was holding a big breath of air. Bradley was pushing him and patting his face and screaming, "Tell me what to do, dad, tell me what to do!" Bradley contacted the police and tried to assist his father. Then his dad let out his last breath of air, and blood gushed from his mouth and formed a pool on the floor. The police arrived shortly thereafter and resuscitation measures were attempted, but were unsuccessful

¶ 13 Bradley told Detective Travis Tolar that he knew the man who ran into the back room and pointed a gun at his head. He advised he did not know his name, but could identify him from a high school yearbook. Detective Tolar obtained an Okmulgee High School yearbook, and Bradley identified Hammon as the man who pointed a gun at his head. Police searched for a .22 projectile but were not able to find one. There was testimony that bullets sometimes fragment when they hit cement. It was necessary to read Bradley Slape's testimony from a transcript of the original trial because he had committed suicide before the resentencing trial.

¶ 14 Hammon and Jones continued riding in the stolen white Firebird until they ran out of gas. They were seen laughing, and an acquaintance saw Jones make a gesture with his forefinger and thumb like a gun pointing.

¶ 15 As Detective Tolar was leaving Truck `N Things, he received a tip from an informant that Hammon was "staying at the Projects." Detective Tolar and several other officers proceeded to apartment 603-A in the "Projects." Detective Tolar knocked on the door of 603-A, where he found Hammon and Jones and took them into custody.

¶ 16 After obtaining consent to search from Cassandra Jones, the police found merchandise from Truck `N Things in the apartment. They also found $59.00 hidden under a mattress and $75.00 in a purse. Jackie Alexander, also present during the search, testified that when Hammon and Jones arrived at the apartment at 11:30 a.m., they were carrying a box and some car spinners. Shortly after arriving, Hammon asked Alexander to take his black bag containing two guns to her "mama's house." Instead, she took the bag to her friend Charlotte Beard's apartment and hid it in a closet. Charlotte Beard consented to a search of her apartment where the police seized the black bag containing two .22 caliber weapons, the CDM revolver with six live rounds, and the Ivers Johnson revolver with three live rounds and three spent rounds.

¶ 17 Both Hammon and Jones admitted to OSBI Agent David Page that they had jointly participated in the robbery of Truck `N Things.

¶ 18 In Hammon's statement he admitted planning to rob Truck `N Things. He claimed he went to the back of the store where an employee was working on a pickup, pointed his gun at the employee, and ordered him into the pickup. He returned to the front of the store and grabbed a box of car speakers and some car spinners.

¶ 19 Both defendants admitted they had been involved a few hours earlier in the early morning robbery and shooting incident in Muskogee. Hammon admitted carrying and pointing a loaded .22 revolver at and robbing the customer in Muskogee, and admitted pointing the loaded .22 revolver at Bradley Slape during the Okmulgee robbery. However, he denied shooting at Bradley, or otherwise discharging the firearm in the premises. Hammon claims he did not shoot the gun during either robbery, did not intend to shoot anybody, and did not know Jones was going to shoot anybody. Hammon admitted, however, that he knew prior to the Slape shooting...

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19 practice notes
  • Smith v. Trammell, Case No. CIV-09-293-D
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. Western District of Oklahoma
    • September 16, 2014
    ...no plain error in prosecutor's repeated use of terms monster and evil to describe defendant); Hammon v. State, 2000 OK CR 7, ¶¶ 56, 60, 999 P.2d 1082, 1095-96 (finding no error in prosecutor's reference to defendant as "Ruthless Richard" where name was one defendant used to describe himself......
  • Frederick v. State, No. D-1998-293.
    • United States
    • United States State Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma. Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma
    • November 21, 2001
    ...first makes the threshold finding that there is a doubt as to the defendant's present competency. Hammon v. State, 2000 OK CR 7, ¶ 48, 999 P.2d 1082, 1094, cert. denied, 531 U.S. 1090, 121 S.Ct. 812, 148 L.Ed.2d 697 (2001). If Appellant's argument were correct, every post-examination compet......
  • Browning v. State, No. D-2003-363.
    • United States
    • United States State Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma. Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma
    • April 24, 2006
    ...counsel mentions it but does not suggest that the comment itself warranted a challenge for cause. 22. In Hammon v. State, 2000 OK CR 7, 999 P.2d 1082, 1095, cert. denied, 531 U.S. 1090, 121 S.Ct. 812, 148 L.Ed.2d 697 (2001), the trial court did not err in excusing hard-of-hearing jurors at ......
  • Mitchell v. State, No. D-2002-1427.
    • United States
    • United States State Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma. Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma
    • May 30, 2006
    ...1124, 1153-54 (armed robbery), cert. denied, 543 U.S. 1063, 125 S.Ct. 889, 160 L.Ed.2d 793 (2005); Hammon v. State, 2000 OK CR 7, ¶ 35, 999 P.2d 1082, 1091-92 (armed robbery); Carter v. State, 1994 OK CR 49, ¶¶ 50-51, 879 P.2d 1234, 1250-51 31. See, e.g., Lott, 2004 OK CR 27, ¶ 116, 98 P.3d......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
19 cases
  • Smith v. Trammell, Case No. CIV-09-293-D
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. Western District of Oklahoma
    • September 16, 2014
    ...no plain error in prosecutor's repeated use of terms monster and evil to describe defendant); Hammon v. State, 2000 OK CR 7, ¶¶ 56, 60, 999 P.2d 1082, 1095-96 (finding no error in prosecutor's reference to defendant as "Ruthless Richard" where name was one defendant used to describe himself......
  • Frederick v. State, No. D-1998-293.
    • United States
    • United States State Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma. Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma
    • November 21, 2001
    ...first makes the threshold finding that there is a doubt as to the defendant's present competency. Hammon v. State, 2000 OK CR 7, ¶ 48, 999 P.2d 1082, 1094, cert. denied, 531 U.S. 1090, 121 S.Ct. 812, 148 L.Ed.2d 697 (2001). If Appellant's argument were correct, every post-examination compet......
  • Browning v. State, No. D-2003-363.
    • United States
    • United States State Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma. Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma
    • April 24, 2006
    ...counsel mentions it but does not suggest that the comment itself warranted a challenge for cause. 22. In Hammon v. State, 2000 OK CR 7, 999 P.2d 1082, 1095, cert. denied, 531 U.S. 1090, 121 S.Ct. 812, 148 L.Ed.2d 697 (2001), the trial court did not err in excusing hard-of-hearing jurors at ......
  • Mitchell v. State, No. D-2002-1427.
    • United States
    • United States State Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma. Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma
    • May 30, 2006
    ...1124, 1153-54 (armed robbery), cert. denied, 543 U.S. 1063, 125 S.Ct. 889, 160 L.Ed.2d 793 (2005); Hammon v. State, 2000 OK CR 7, ¶ 35, 999 P.2d 1082, 1091-92 (armed robbery); Carter v. State, 1994 OK CR 49, ¶¶ 50-51, 879 P.2d 1234, 1250-51 31. See, e.g., Lott, 2004 OK CR 27, ¶ 116, 98 P.3d......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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