Jones v. State

Decision Date21 January 2009
Docket NumberNo. D-2005-599.,D-2005-599.
Citation2009 OK CR 1,201 P.3d 869
PartiesJared William JONES, Appellant v. The STATE of Oklahoma, Appellee.
CourtUnited States State Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma. Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma

C. Thomas Kite, James T. Rowan, Joseph Ashbaker, Angela J. Smith, Oklahoma City, OK, counsel for appellant at trial.

C. Wesley Lane II, District Attorney, Cassandra Williams, Sandra Elliott, Assistant District Attorneys, Oklahoma City, OK, counsel for the State at trial.

William H. Luker, Okla. Indigent Defense System, Norman, OK, counsel for appellant on appeal.

W.A. Drew Edmondson, Attorney General of Oklahoma, Jennifer J. Dickson, Assistant Attorney General, Oklahoma City, OK, Counsel for the State on appeal.

OPINION

LUMPKIN, Judge.

¶ 1 Appellant Jared William Jones was tried by jury and convicted of three counts of First Degree Malice Murder (Counts I, II, and III) (21 O.S.2001, § 701.7(A)), and two counts of Shooting with Intent to Kill (Counts IV and V) (21 O.S.2001, § 652), Case No. CF-2003-2046, in the District Court of Oklahoma County. In Count I, the murder of Pamela Karr, the jury found the presence of one aggravating circumstance, that the defendant knowingly created a great risk of death to more than one person, and set punishment at death. In Counts II and III, the murders of Brian Galindo and Joel Platt, respectively, the jury found the presence of two aggravating circumstances: (1) that the defendant knowingly created a great risk of death to more than one person and (2) that the murder was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel. The jury set punishment for each count at death. Regarding Counts IV and V, the shootings of Tara Platt and Tara Johns, respectively, the jury set punishment at life imprisonment on each count. The trial judge sentenced Appellant in accordance with the jury's determination and ordered all sentences to run consecutively. Appellant now appeals his convictions and sentences.1

¶ 2 Appellant was convicted of shooting Joel Platt, Brian Galindo, Pam Karr, Tara Platt and Tara Johns. Only the last two survived the shootings. The shootings were connected to Appellant's relationship with Carla Phillips, his live-in girlfriend. Appellant and Phillips lived down the street from the Platt residence, where brother and sister, Joel and Tara lived and where the crime in question took place. Eight adults and two children were in the Platts' home at the time of the shootings. Five of the adults testified as witnesses for the State and Appellant testified in his own behalf. While certain details of the circumstances leading up to and including the shootings vary among the witnesses, the State witnesses essentially testified to the following.

¶ 3 On the night of April 11, 2003, Ms. Phillips and her young son went to the Platt residence, while Appellant went to a car show. Before going to the show, Appellant and his friends drank beer and wine and smoked marijuana. Meanwhile, at the Platt residence, Ms. Phillips had joined Tara Platt, Tara Johns, and 2 other women in visiting, playing video games, drinking beer and smoking marijuana. While there were several children at the house early in the evening, by the time of the fatal confrontation, only Tara Platt's two children remained in the house, asleep in their beds. During the evening and into the early morning hours, Ms. Phillips spoke with Appellant several times over the phone. Their conversations included some amount of verbal sparring. After a conversation at approximately 2:36 a.m., April 12, Appellant headed to the Platt residence, armed with two .45 caliber guns in his pockets.2

¶ 4 By this time, Joel Platt, Brian Galindo, Pam Karr, and Ramone Hernandez were at the Platt residence, having been at nightclubs earlier in the evening. Tara Platt was at the front door when she saw Appellant's car drive up. She opened her front door to see Appellant get out of his car, walk to her house and inform her he had come to party with them. He entered the living room and asked for Ms. Phillips. Ms. Platt indicated Ms. Phillips was in the back bedroom and she would get her for Appellant. To get to the back bedroom, Ms. Platt had to walk through the bedroom where her seven year old son was sleeping. Unbeknownst to Ms. Platt, Appellant followed her. He reached around her and pushed open to the door to the back bedroom. Angry that Appellant had followed her into her son's room, she shoved him backwards, causing him to fall over a child size chair.

¶ 5 The ensuing argument over why Appellant had forced open the door and why Ms. Platt had pushed him, brought Joel Platt and Brian Galindo out from the bedroom. Joel Platt and Galindo tried to calm Appellant down and remove him from the child's bedroom either by placing him between the two of them with each grabbing an arm, or by Joel Platt placing his arm around Appellant's shoulder and pushing him towards the door. Appellant resisted their efforts to remove him from the room, saying he needed to talk with Ms. Phillips. While coming through the doorway from the little boy's room into the living room, an intoxicated Joel Platt fell. He got up and took a "drunken swing" at Appellant, but missed him. Others in the house began telling, with some shouting, Appellant to leave.

¶ 6 Despite continued efforts to get Appellant to leave, Appellant, Joel Platt, and Galindo ended up in the front bedroom which Ms. Platt shared with her two year old daughter. Ms. Platt told the men to leave and climbed onto her sleeping daughter's bed and covered her ears. Backed into a corner, Appellant took out a gun, pointed it at Joel Platt's eyes, and announced he had "two .45's." Joel turned to get Ms. Phillips. She entered the room, briefly spoke with Appellant, then left the house. At the sight of the gun, Galindo put his hands in the air and told Appellant, "we've got children in the house, we don't need this, put the gun away." Appellant fired 4 times at Galindo, striking him in the chest. Galindo fell in the middle of the bedroom floor. Pam Karr rushed in and knelt by his side. Appellant shot her twice in the head. Tara Platt put her head down and covered her daughter. Appellant turned toward her and shot her in the shoulder and thumb.

¶ 7 Tara Johns was standing in the living room when she saw Appellant shoot Galindo. She grabbed a phone to call 911 and turned to see Appellant facing her with a gun in each hand. She also saw Joel Platt facing Appellant. Appellant shot Tara Johns in the hip. She held on to the phone waiting for the dispatcher to pick up. Appellant then shot her in the head. She was able to hold on until the dispatcher answered, then she fell to the floor. The 911 call recorded the rest of the events at the house. Appellant fired two more shots and struck Joel Platt in the back of his head. He fired three more shots into Tara Johns as she lay on the ground.

¶ 8 After having been shot Tara Platt remained in her daughter's bedroom. She heard Appellant's screams and seven more gunshots. She then heard him leave through the front door. She picked up her daughter and started out of the bedroom. However, Appellant met her at the door and forced her back into the house, cornering her near the bathroom door, which adjoined the bedrooms. Attempting to protect her daughter, Tara Platt stood in front of her and begged Appellant not to shoot them. Appellant waved his guns in her face and mockingly said, "don't shoot me." By this time, Appellant's guns were empty. Appellant ran out of the house and Tara Platt ran to look for a phone, unaware that Tara Johns had already called 911.

¶ 9 The State's witnesses all testified that once the shooting started the situation was chaotic. However, they all consistently stated the only physical contact with Appellant was Joel Platt and Galindo attempting to push him out the door. The witnesses testified there was no fighting and no one hit, kick, punched or even threatened Appellant.

¶ 10 By contrast, Appellant testified that during the altercation he felt trapped and described the group in the house as a "crazed mob" that was "tweaked out" on "crank". Appellant testified he was familiar with the drug from previous experience with his brother and his brother's friends, and that he recognized the smell and the crazy behavior its users exhibited.

¶ 11 Appellant said the group used profanity and unnecessary force to remove him from the house, slammed him against a wall, restrained his arms and ultimately choked him. Appellant claimed that as he reached for the guns inside the little girl's bedroom, Joel Platt grabbed him by his throat and began choking, possibly grabbing one of his hands in the process. Appellant claimed he pulled a pistol from his left pocket, but Galindo grabbed that arm. As he was about to black out, he pulled the other pistol from his right pocket and hit Joel with it. According to Appellant, this did not stop the choking. As he and Galindo struggled with the pistol, it went off and fell to the floor. Appellant said Galindo grabbed the gun, but Appellant shot him with the other pistol. Someone grabbed the first pistol and moved toward Appellant, so he shot her. Appellant said he then made his way to the living room, but found Joel coming toward him. He shot Joel and continued shooting as he ran out the front door, stating "they're going to kill me." Appellant offered no explanation for the shootings of Tara Platt and Tara Johns, but said he did not go to the Platt residence with the intention of killing anyone.

¶ 12 Other facts will be discussed as we address Appellant's thirteen propositions of error.

VOIR DIRE ISSUES

¶ 13 In proposition five, Appellant claims voir dire errors violated his right to a fair and impartial jury under the Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Article 2, Sections 7, 9, 19, and 20 of Oklahoma's Constitution. Appellant's...

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