Hayes v. State

Decision Date28 May 1987
Docket NumberNo. F-82-466,F-82-466
Citation738 P.2d 533
PartiesRoger Dale HAYES, Appellant, v. STATE of Oklahoma, Appellee.
CourtUnited States State Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma. Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma
OPINION

BRETT, Presiding Judge:

Appellant, Roger Dale Hayes, was convicted of Murder in the First Degree in the District Court of Logan County, Case No. CRF-80-160. The jury returned a verdict of guilty and sentenced him to death; judgment and sentence was imposed accordingly.

Carrie Kendall, age 9, was abducted, raped and murdered sometime after 4:00 p.m. on December 14, 1980. Her attacker or attackers killed her by cutting her throat with a very sharp instrument, probably a sharp knife. Her body was found on Monday, December 15th at approximately 9:30 a.m. at a wellsite 3 3/4 miles south of downtown Guthrie where she was last seen near her home. Appellant was arrested and charged singly with murder in the first degree with malice aforethought.

Appellant's first assignment of error is an objection to his arrest and the use of evidence obtained as a direct result of that arrest. The sheriff, undersheriff and an assistant district attorney from Guthrie went to Coyle to pick up appellant where he was staying with his sister and brother-in-law who had a beer bar. Coyle is a community about 12 miles east of Guthrie. These officers arrived around 5:00 p.m. on December 19, and asked appellant to go to town with them to talk to the O.S.B.I. Appellant testified at the hearing on the motion to suppress that he thought he had to go. A short distance from the house the sheriff stopped the car and gave appellant a Miranda warning and then proceeded.

At the Sheriff's Office around 6:00 p.m., two O.S.B.I. agents spoke briefly with appellant then left; around 8:00 p.m., they returned and took him to a nearby motel where they had set up a command post. They began his interrogation at that time and read a Miranda warning to him before proceeding. The Sheriff and the O.S.B.I. agents testified appellant was not under arrest at that time and that his arrest did not come until 2:30 a.m. on the morning of the 20th. In the intervening time two agents questioned appellant; at 11:50 p.m., after another Miranda warning, they taped an incriminating statement that is in the nature of a confession. In his statement appellant claims, while acting alone, that he committed the crime. Many of the details he gave, however, were patently erroneous.

Apparently in an effort to reconcile the known facts of the crime with appellant's statement, the officers took him for a ride between midnight and 2:30 a.m. It was after this that the warrantless arrest was made. Appellant's description of the ride was "[A]nd everytime they'd come by a place they'd say 'Don't that look familiar?' like, trying to tell me, well, that's the place the girl was killed."

The thrust of this issue is a contention by appellant that he was actually under arrest when he went with the sheriff at 5:00 p.m.; he thought he had no choice. There is no question there was no probable cause for an arrest at that time. The State contends they had the right to ask appellant to go to the sheriff's office before questioning and that he went voluntarily. They did not advise him he could refuse to go with them.

The uncontroverted testimony was that an O.S.B.I. agent told appellant, when they started the questioning at 8:00 p.m., that he was not under arrest. At no time was he locked up or handcuffed. During the two hours between his arrival at the Sheriff's Office and going to the O.S.B.I. command post appellant was given something to eat and drink and he waited in the dispatcher's office which is a public area.

Appellant cites Battles v. State, 459 P.2d 623 (Okl.Cr.1969) as a parallel to the instant case. In Battles this Court commented that "the defendant submitted to the officer's request to go to the police department" and it was found to be an arrest. 459 P.2d at 626. In Battles the issue was the question of probable cause for the warrantless arrest not if a "request" to accompany the police was an arrest. The court found the officer had cause to stop Battles and that after the stop there was probable cause to make an arrest. To allow appellant's interpretation would be to take this phrase out of context and create a new body of law not heretofore recognized. We refuse to make this issue a purely semantical argument; an "investigatory detention" may or may not be an arrest. See Davis v. State, 640 P.2d 573 (Okl.Cr.1982).

At the motion to suppress hearing, the only evidence appellant offered was his own testimony. He testified he thought he had to do the bidding of the law enforcement people involved. He did not offer any other evidence to support his claim that he was placed under arrest prematurely or at a time earlier than the time specified by the State. We find Hayes was not under arrest until 2:30 a.m. on December 20. Hommer v. State, 657 P.2d 172 (Okl.Cr.1983).

Appellant's second proposition of error is a claim the inculpatory statement he made to the O.S.B.I. was involuntary. He claims it was involuntary because his arrest was illegal; that he had been in custody for 24 hours before he made the statement; that he has a low I.Q.; that he was handcuffed sometime during the detention in the motel; and that the O.S.B.I. deliberately provoked him by making insulting remarks about his mother and sister. He explained he made the statement to "get them off of my back."

The test to determine if an inculpatory statement or confession is voluntary or involuntary is made by an examination of the "totality of all the surrounding circumstances--both the characteristics of the accused and the details of the interrogation." Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U.S. 218, 226, 93 S.Ct. 2041, 2047, 36 L.Ed.2d 854 (1973); Foster v. State, 657 P.2d 166, 169 (Okl.Cr.1983). Once the issue is presented the burden is on the State to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the statement in question was obtained voluntarily. See Young v. State, 670 P.2d 591 (Okl.Cr.1983).

As explained in the first proposition, we do not find merit in the claim that appellant was under arrest when he was initially questioned by the O.S.B.I. It is claimed by appellate counsel, however, that 24 hours elapsed between the time the sheriff picked up appellant and when he was turned over to the O.S.B.I. At the hearing held pursuant to Jackson v. Denno, 378 U.S. 368, 84 S.Ct. 1774, 12 L.Ed.2d 908 (1964), appellant and his sister testified the sheriff arrived around 5:00 p.m. on the 19th. We find the facts to be that appellant gave the inculpatory statement within 3 to 3 1/2 hours after the interrogation began. We do not find the 3 to 4 hour interrogation to be coercive per se.

Low mentality and educational deficiencies are factors to be considered in determining if a statement or confession was voluntary. Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U.S. 218 at 226, 93 S.Ct. 2041 at 2047. In the instant case appellant was tested by two psychologists who had, at appellant's request, been appointed by the court to give appellant a battery of psychological tests. They administered an IQ test, academic achievement or function test and two personality inventories. Hayes completed the fourth grade, but functions in the mid-second grade range academically. His mental age is eleven years two months; his chronological age was 23 at the time of the tests. He was described as educable, mentally retarded. The doctor said Hayes' behavior is unpredictible, paranoia is indicated and he can be goaded into doing something.

In reference to the confession, one of the doctors testified that appellant's "[m]anipulation aspect relative to ... the confession would be one that if he confessed would indicate he was manipulating them [the O.S.B.I.] by confession." When asked if Hayes could "knowingly and voluntarily realize what he was doing ..." when he waived his rights the doctor said, "I don't think he really understood the total impact of what was going on at the time." The doctor believed Hayes confessed to relieve his immediate anxiety with little regard for the possibility that a confession might result in life in prison or death.

Accuracy and truthfulness are not elements of the test to determine if a confession or statement should be suppressed. Lee v. State, 637 P.2d 879 (Okl.Cr.1981). A defendant's motives for confessing is a factor for the trier of fact to consider at trial. It is undisputed that appellant has low intelligence and is emotionally unstable, but the evidence did not show he was so mentally deficient or emotionally unstable that he was rendered incapable of making a voluntary statement. We will not disturb the trial court's finding the confession was voluntary. Foster v. State, 657 P.2d 166.

Appellant also claims he was handcuffed by the O.S.B.I., although it is not clear when that occurred. The two O.S.B.I. agents present at the interrogation deny he was physically restrained in any way. This is a question of veracity and the trial court believed the agents. We find no cause to hold otherwise. Miller v. State, 642 P.2d 276, 298 (Okl.Cr.1982).

The one remaining circumstance which appellant claimed provoked him to confess involuntarily were remarks made by the O.S.B.I. about his family. Having reviewed these remarks we find they were merely derogatory, not threatening or coercive.

Having reviewed the circumstances surrounding appellant's confession as a whole as well as each individual complaint, we find the trial court's ruling was based on sufficient evidence that the confession was voluntary. Young v. State, 670 P.2d 591; Foster v. State, 657 P.2d 166.

Appellant's third proposition of error is an objection to the District Court denying his motion for a...

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