Maples v. State

Decision Date26 March 1999
Citation758 So.2d 1
PartiesCorey MAPLES v. STATE.
CourtAlabama Court of Criminal Appeals

W. Clint Brown, Jr., Decatur; Denise Hill, Decatur; Bryan White, Decatur; and James Ralph Mason, Jr., Decatur, for appellant.

Bill Pryor, atty. gen., and Kathryn D. Anderson, asst. atty. gen., for appellee.

BASCHAB, Judge.

The appellant, Corey Maples, was convicted of two counts of capital murder for 1) the murders of Stacy Alan Terry and Barry Dewayne Robinson II pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct, § 13A-5-40(a)(10), Ala.Code 1975, and 2) the murder of Stacy Alan Terry during the course of committing a robbery, § 13A-5-40(a)(2), Ala.Code 1975. By a vote of 10-2, the jury recommended that the appellant be sentenced to death. The trial court accepted the jury's recommendation and sentenced the appellant to death.

Because the appellant does not specifically challenge the sufficiency of the evidence to support his convictions, a lengthy recitation of the evidence presented is unnecessary. However, we have reviewed all of the evidence and find that it is sufficient to support the appellant's convictions. The following summary of the relevant facts, as prepared by the trial court, may be helpful to an understanding of this case:

"At some time in the late evening hours of Friday, July 7, 1995, or the early morning hours of Saturday, July 8, 1995, Stacy Alan Terry, Barry Dewayne Robinson II, and the Defendant, Corey Ross Maples, arrived at the residence of the Defendant on Mud Tavern Road in Morgan County. All three of the young men were acquaintances. Mr. Terry, whose nickname was Twinky, and the Defendant had spent the evening of July 7 drinking, playing pool, and `riding around' in Mr. Terry's 1995 Camaro. The Defendant and Mr. Terry had attended high school together until the Defendant dropped out his senior year. As evidenced by the testimony of family and friends, the two young men had spent a considerable amount of time together during the week preceding these events.
"Mr. Robinson was new to the area, but had known Mr. Terry and the Defendant for several months. Mr. Robinson asked Mr. Terry for a ride home from the pool hall where all three young men were playing pool.
"Once the three young men arrived at the home of the Defendant, Corey Maples, he left the car and went into the mobile home. The defendant picked up a .22 caliber rifle and walked back outside to the car where Mr. Terry and Mr. Robinson sat getting ready to leave. The Defendant walked to the driver's side of the car and shot Mr. Terry twice in the head and then shot Mr. Robinson twice in the head.
"At some time around 1:00 a.m. on July 8, 1995, the Defendant's half-brother, Daniel Maples, and his friend, Matt Shell, arrived at the residence on Mud Tavern Road and found the body of Stacy Terry lying in the driveway close to the trailer where the Defendant and his half-brother lived with their father and the Defendant's stepmother.
"At some time around 9:00 p.m. on July 8, 1995, the Decatur police received a report of a body found in a creek commonly referred to as Mud Tavern Creek, one mile down the road from the Defendant's residence. The body was identified as that of Barry Robinson II.
"During the ensuing investigation of the two young men's murders, officers of the Morgan County Sheriffs Department obtained information that implicated Corey Ross Maples in the killings of Mr. Terry and Mr. Robinson. The officers began to look for the Defendant and Mr. Terry's missing Camaro with the personalized tag bearing the word `TWINK.'
"In the late evening of August 1, 1995, the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department received a telephone call from an individual who had spotted the Defendant at the Best Rest Motel off I-10 in Nashville. The individual had seen a picture of the Defendant and heard a description of the car from a local television station. Members of the Nashville Police Department apprehended the Defendant at the motel. The Defendant was then transported to the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department where he was held until members of the Morgan County Sheriffs Department arrived. During the early morning hours of August 2, 1995, the Defendant gave Investigators Howard Battles and Byron Whitten of the Morgan County Sheriffs office a statement of confession to the murders.
"Mr. Terry and Mr. Robinson died as a result of gunshot wounds to the head. Both young men were shot twice in the head. The medical examiner determined that each man's death was instantaneous to the shots to the head. The wounds were consistent with an execution-type slaying. The evidence proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the Defendant shot both men. He was armed with a .22 caliber rifle which belonged to his father.
"Evidence, both circumstantial and direct, overwhelmingly supported the foregoing finding: Count I of the indictment charged the Defendant, Corey Maples, in the killing of two people in a single transaction or occurrence as described in Ala.Code [1975,] § 13A-5-40[(a)](10)(1994 repl. vol.). Count II of the indictment charged the Defendant, Corey Maples, with the murder of Stacy Terry during the course of a robbery as described in Ala.Code [1975,] § 13A-5-40[(a)](2)(1994 repl. vol.). The jury returned a verdict of guilty on both counts of capital murder after five plus days of testimony. The Defendant was the sole participant in this brutal double murder of Stacy Alan Terry and Barry Dewayne Robinson II, as well as the murder of Stacy Alan Terry in the course of robbing Stacy Alan Terry of his 1995 Camaro automobile."

(C.R.554-56.) Additional facts are included, as necessary, throughout this opinion.

The appellant raises several issues on appeal that he did not first present to the trial court. The failure to object will not bar our review of an issue in a case involving the death penalty. However, it will weigh against any claim of prejudice. Ex parte Kennedy, 472 So.2d 1106 (Ala.), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 975, 106 S.Ct. 340, 88 L.Ed.2d 325 (1985). Rule 45A, Ala. R.App. P., provides:

"In all cases in which the death penalty has been imposed, the Court of Criminal Appeals shall notice any plain error or defect in the proceedings under review... whenever such error has or probably has adversely affected the substantial right of the appellant."

"[This] plain-error exception to the contemporaneous-objection rule is to be `used sparingly, solely in those circumstances in which a miscarriage of justice would otherwise result.'" United States v. Young, 470 U.S. 1, 15, 105 S.Ct. 1038, 1046, 84 L.Ed.2d 1 (1985) (quoting United States v. Frady, 456 U.S. 152, 163, 102 S.Ct. 1584, 1592, 71 L.Ed.2d 816 (1982)).

I.

The appellant's first argument is that the trial court erroneously denied him discovery of DNA-related evidence. Specifically, he contends that he was entitled to obtain discovery of each of the 12 items enumerated in Ex parte Perry, 586 So.2d 242, 255 (Ala.1991), but that the State provided only 2 of those items: 1) a copy of the report run by the laboratory and issued to the State and 2) chain-of-custody documents. He contends that the State should have produced the 10 other items because he allegedly specifically requested DNA evidence and because the denial of the discovery allegedly prevented him from effectively rebutting the State's inculpatory DNA evidence. Finally, citing Ex parte Hutcherson, 677 So.2d 1205 (Ala. 1996), he argues that such an error can never be harmless.

In Ex parte Perry, 586 So.2d 242 (Ala.1991), the Alabama Supreme Court addressed the admissibility of DNA evidence. After setting forth a three-pronged test for determining the admissibility of DNA evidence, that court held:

"DNA evidence is discoverable, at least by the defendant. The defendant's fair trial and due process rights, Art. I, § 6, Alabama Constitution, as well as Rule 16.1, A.R.Crim.P., clearly require that the prosecution allow the defendant access to the DNA evidence. See also [State v.] Schwartz, 427-28 [(Minn.1989)]. Discovery by the State of DNA evidence in the possession of the defendant should be conducted in accordance with Rule 16.2, A.R.Crim.P.
"To produce uniformly sufficient information to allow a proper, well-informed determination of the admissibility of DNA evidence and to produce uniformity in DNA evidentiary hearings, we further suggest the following guidelines, which we take substantially from [People v.] Castro, 144 Misc.2d [956] at 978-79, 545 N.Y.S.2d [985] at 999 [(Sup.Ct. 1989)]:
"1. The proponent of the DNA evidence, whether defense or prosecution, should give discovery to the adversary, which should include, upon request: (1) Copies of autorads, with the opportunity to examine the originals. (2) Copies of laboratory books. (3) Copies of quality control tests run on material utilized. (4) Copies of reports by the testing laboratory issued to the proponent. (5) A written report by the testing laboratory setting forth the method used to declare a match or non-match, with actual size measurements, and mean or average size measurement, if applicable, together with standard deviation used. (6) A statement setting forth observed contaminants, the reasons therefor, and tests performed to determine the origin and the effects thereof. (7) If the sample is degraded, a statement setting forth the tests performed and the results thereof. (8) A statement setting forth any other observed defects or laboratory errors, the reasons therefor and the effects thereof. (9) Chain of custody documents. (10) A statement by the testing lab, setting forth the method used to calculate the allele frequency in the relevant population. (11) A copy of the data pool for each loci examined. (12) A certification by the testing lab that the same rule used to declare a match was used to determine the allele frequency in the population. (Note that the discovery provisions in (10), (11), and (12) specifically address
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