Hill v. State, 6 Div. 898

CourtAlabama Court of Criminal Appeals
Writing for the CourtLEIGH M. CLARK
Citation339 So.2d 1077
Decision Date31 August 1976
Docket Number6 Div. 898
PartiesWarren Theophilus HILL v. STATE.

Page 1077

339 So.2d 1077
Warren Theophilus HILL
v.
STATE.
6 Div. 898.
Court of Criminal Appeals of Alabama.
Aug. 31, 1976.
Rehearing Denied Oct. 12, 1976.

J. Massey Relfe, Jr., Birmingham, for appellant.

William J. Baxley, Atty. Gen., Randolph P. Reaves, Asst. Atty. Gen., Montgomery, for appellee.

LEIGH M. CLARK, Supernumerary Circuit Judge.

Upon trial on an indictment charging murder in the first degree of Reginald Williams, appellant was convicted of murder in the second degree and sentenced to imprisonment in the penitentiary for a term of fifteen years.

No contention is made on appeal that the evidence was not sufficient to justify the verdict of the jury, and we see no reasonable basis for such a contention.

There is little, if any, need for a recitation of any of the evidence, but a brief summary of some of it is here given.

The principal witness for the State was Charles Taylor, an acquaintance of both the

Page 1078

victim and defendant. He testified that on January 11, 1974, at 108 Princeton Avenue, S. W., Birmingham, he and Williams were sitting in the den of the house when defendant entered. He heard a discussion between defendant and Williams, in which each said that he had heard that the other had 'snitched on him.' After further discussion among the three, defendant invited Williams to step outside. The witness said, 'I went out front to see who was out there.', and there he saw defendant's wife in an automobile, went over and talked with her, and while doing so heard some (more than three) shots. He turned around at the first shot, saw defendant and Williams on the porch, saw defendant shooting Williams with a pistol; he saw Williams back up against the porch and holler, 'Oh.' He said defendant then pointed the pistol at Taylor; that he ran and then left the scene in his automobile, returned in about ten minutes and observed Williams lying on the floor of the den, dead.

An autopsy showed that one bullet entered the victim's right chest, one his left chest and one his head, which was fatal.

The testimony of defendant and his wife, the only other witnesses who saw the fatal encounter, was different in some material respects. They testified that defendant and the victim had been talking at the house, that as the victim saw defendant's wife in the automobile, he began to curse her, that a three-person fight took place among the victim, defendant and Charles Taylor, that Charles Taylor had a pistol and that Williams had a knife. In the course of the struggle, defendant grabbed the pistol and shot it four or five times and then he and his wife left the scene in their automobile.

The credibility of the testimony of Taylor was justifiably challenged by defendant by reason of his admitted convictions of some crimes involving moral turpitude and the friendly relationship between the witness and the victim, which included joint participation in one or more of the crimes.

The evidence was sufficient for the jury to have concluded that Taylor was testifying falsely as to material facts, that either defendant was acting in self defense in killing Williams or that he did not voluntarily kill him, but this was in the exclusive province of the jury, and it cannot be said that the verdict was palpably wrong or unjust.

The State was permitted to show by a Birmingham detective, over the objection of defendant, that on February 8, 1973 the victim Williams made a statement to the witness implicating the defendant in a burglary. Before the witness was allowed to answer, a hearing was conducted out of the presence of the jury in which the following occurred:

'THE COURT: What does the statement purport to show--relate to?

'MR. PICKARD: A statement of Reginald Williams to Sgt. Patmon that Warren Hill had borrowed his car and used it in a burglary and sold some of the items taken in the burglary and given him part of the money, which the State claims that this is an exception to the hearsay rule to show motive, design, scheme and plan. There has been evidence brought out on both sides that the defendant snitched on the deceased and the deceased snitched on the defendant.

'THE COURT: Right. Now a motive, scheme, plan or design I don't think that would apply.

'MR. PICKARD: Motive.

'THE COURT: Yes, motive. I'll need to know also exactly what he's going to say about this conversation because it's going to have to be restricted carefully.

All right, now, Mr. Pickard, what--how far are you going to start on this and how far are you going to go?

'MR. PICKARD: The only portion of the statement that I'm interested in is that Warren borrowed the car from Reginald and that he returned with a stolen T.V. in the car and gave him part of the money for it.

'MR. PARKER: Of course I'm going to object to any of this on two grounds. First, that it is hearsay; secondly, it is prejudicial. It is evidence of a separate

Page 1079

offense altogether than this case right here and therefore it becomes prejudicial. It is not a conviction. It is just alleged information concerning an offense.

'THE COURT: All right, I'm going to overrule it. Bring the jury in. Carefully restrict it to that, Mr. Pickard.'

Thereupon, in the presence of the jury the following occurred:

'THE COURT: Proceed, Mr. Pickard.

'Q. (BY MR. PICKARD) Sgt. Patmon, will you tell the ladies and gentlemen of the jury in substance what was told to you?

'MR. PARKER: We object to it and assign as grounds it is hearsay and it is an attempt to prejudice this jury against this defendant.

'THE COURT: Overruled.

'MR. PARKER: We except.

'A. Reginald Williams stated that he had loaned his car to defendant, Warren Hill, and that when Warren returned the car to him or came back with the car he had some stolen merchandise in it that was taken in a burglary. He went with Warren, they transferred the stolen property from Reginald Williams' car into Warren Hill's car and they went and sold the T.V. and Reginald Williams got part of the money.

'MR. PICKARD: That's all, Mr. Patmon.'

The record supports the remark of counsel for the State that there was evidence that on the occasion of the fatal altercation, the victim told defendant and the defendant told the victim that the other 'had snitched on him.' As shown by the quoted portion of the record, the State on the trial contended that the evidence of what the victim had said was admissible to show motive. When the State had rested its case, the Court instructed the jury as follows:

'THE COURT: Who is the next witness? . . .. Ladies and gentlement, this testimony with reference to the statements made by Reginald Williams is in for one purpose only. There has been some evidence in the past, yesterday as I recall, about somebody snitching on somebody or somebody...

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6 practice notes
  • Watson v. State, 5 Div. 56
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • September 8, 1987
    ...of the involvement of the defendant must be furnished by "some legitimate evidence" [emphasis added] ); Hill v. State, 339 So.2d 1077 (Ala.Cr.App.), cert. denied, 339 So.2d 1082 (Ala.1976) (wherein the court recognized that, even if the evidence is admissible under an exception, i......
  • Bryars v. State, 3 Div. 304
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • August 30, 1983
    ...dying declaration. Holland v. State, 162 Ala. 5, 50 So. 215 (1909); Kitchens v. State, 251 Ala. 344, 37 So.2d 428 (1948); Hill v. State, 339 So.2d 1077 (Ala.Cr.App.), cert. denied, 339 So.2d 1082 (Ala.1976); Harris v. State, 395 So.2d 1063 (Ala.Cr.App.1980), cert. denied, 395 So.2d 1069 How......
  • Freeman v. State, 6 Div. 933
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • November 25, 1986
    ...So.2d 1049 (Ala.Crim.App.1979), rev'd, 391 So.2d 1060 (Ala.1980), on remand, 391 So.2d 1065 (Ala.Crim.App.1980). See also Hill v. State, 339 So.2d 1077 (Ala.Crim.App.), writ denied, 339 So.2d 1082 (Ala.1976); McAdams v. State, 378 So.2d 1197 Furthermore, the State made no effort to lay the ......
  • Harris v. State, 8 Div. 376
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • October 7, 1980
    ...Kitchens v. State, 251 Ala. 344, 346, 37 So.2d 428 (1948); Holland v. State, 162 Ala. 5, 11, 50 So. 215 (1909); Hill v. State, 339 So.2d 1077, 1080 (Ala.Cr.App.), cert. denied, 339 So.2d 1082 (1976). See also Reaves v. State, 158 Ala. 5, 48 So. 373 (1909); Lakey v. State, 18 Ala.App. 442, 9......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • Watson v. State, 5 Div. 56
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • September 8, 1987
    ...of the involvement of the defendant must be furnished by "some legitimate evidence" [emphasis added] ); Hill v. State, 339 So.2d 1077 (Ala.Cr.App.), cert. denied, 339 So.2d 1082 (Ala.1976) (wherein the court recognized that, even if the evidence is admissible under an exception, i......
  • Bryars v. State, 3 Div. 304
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • August 30, 1983
    ...dying declaration. Holland v. State, 162 Ala. 5, 50 So. 215 (1909); Kitchens v. State, 251 Ala. 344, 37 So.2d 428 (1948); Hill v. State, 339 So.2d 1077 (Ala.Cr.App.), cert. denied, 339 So.2d 1082 (Ala.1976); Harris v. State, 395 So.2d 1063 (Ala.Cr.App.1980), cert. denied, 395 So.2d 1069 How......
  • Freeman v. State, 6 Div. 933
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • November 25, 1986
    ...So.2d 1049 (Ala.Crim.App.1979), rev'd, 391 So.2d 1060 (Ala.1980), on remand, 391 So.2d 1065 (Ala.Crim.App.1980). See also Hill v. State, 339 So.2d 1077 (Ala.Crim.App.), writ denied, 339 So.2d 1082 (Ala.1976); McAdams v. State, 378 So.2d 1197 Furthermore, the State made no effort to lay the ......
  • Harris v. State, 8 Div. 376
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • October 7, 1980
    ...Kitchens v. State, 251 Ala. 344, 346, 37 So.2d 428 (1948); Holland v. State, 162 Ala. 5, 11, 50 So. 215 (1909); Hill v. State, 339 So.2d 1077, 1080 (Ala.Cr.App.), cert. denied, 339 So.2d 1082 (1976). See also Reaves v. State, 158 Ala. 5, 48 So. 373 (1909); Lakey v. State, 18 Ala.App. 442, 9......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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