State v. Castoe, No. SD 31117.

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtROBERT S. BARNEY
Citation357 S.W.3d 305
PartiesSTATE of Missouri, Respondent, v. Larry J. CASTOE, Appellant.
Decision Date27 January 2012
Docket NumberNo. SD 31117.

357 S.W.3d 305

STATE of Missouri, Respondent,
v.
Larry J. CASTOE, Appellant.

No. SD 31117.

Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District, Division Two.

Jan. 27, 2012.


[357 S.W.3d 306]

Donald R. Cooley, Springfield, for Appellant.

Chris Koster, Atty. Gen. and Shaun J. Mackelprang, Asst. Atty. Gen., Jefferson City, for Respondent.

ROBERT S. BARNEY, Judge.

Larry J. Castoe (“Appellant”) appeals his conviction by the trial court for one count of the class A felony of assault in the first degree, a violation of section 565.050, and one count of the unclassified felony of armed criminal action, a violation of section 571.015.1 Appellant was sentenced by the trial court to ten years imprisonment on the assault count and three years on the armed criminal action count with the sentences to run concurrently. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Viewing the evidence in light most favorable to the trial court's judgment, State v. Manley, 223 S.W.3d 887, 889 (Mo.App.2007), the record reveals Appellant and Clarence Routh (“Victim”) had been acquaintances and business associates for a number of years prior to the events at issue here.2 At some point in time in April or May of 2007 the parties had a falling out and Victim stopped payment on a $2,000.00 check that had been issued to Appellant. Appellant responded by making numerous threatening phone calls to Victim's home in which he threatened to kill Victim and his family. Several months later, on June 21, 2007, the parties ran into

[357 S.W.3d 307]

each other at a bank and Victim told Appellant that “if he ever threatened [Victim's] family again that [Victim] would whip his ass.” At that time, Victim owed Appellant's wife $300.00 for helping Victim paint a house in Branson.

The following afternoon, on June 22, 2007, Victim went to Jersey's Sports Bar along with his step-daughter, Alayna Lowery (“Ms. Lowery”), and a friend. After arriving at the bar, Victim bought a round of drinks “for everybody” and took a seat with his friends at a table. Shortly thereafter, Appellant arrived and took a seat at the bar. A few minutes later, Victim “noticed [Appellant] at the bar, and [Victim] went over to give him some money for his wife. [Victim] handed it to [Appellant] and [Appellant] threw it in the floor.” Appellant then said, “F-u, I don't want your money,” so “[Victim] picked it back up and went back to [his] table.” Victim “took two to three drinks off [his] drink ...” before Appellant approached his table and “said that he wanted to talk with [Victim] and that he [had] something for [Victim].”

The parties then went outside. Appellant got into his truck on the driver's side and closed the door. As Victim passed the driver's side door of Appellant's pickup Appellant “opened the door as [Victim] turned around and [Appellant] shot [him]” with a shotgun in the right side of his abdomen. Victim grabbed the barrel of the gun and a brief struggle ensued until Victim began to succumb to his injuries by falling to the ground. Victim asked Appellant not to shoot him again and Appellant replied by saying, “I am going to kill you, you son-of-a-bitch. I'm going to watch you bleed to death.”

At that time, Ms. Lowery exited the bar. She saw Victim lying on the ground with “blood everywhere” and Appellant standing nearby holding a gun. Ms. Lowery shouted to Appellant, “Please don't do this. Please don't do this, this is my stepdad. Please don't do this in front of me,” and Appellant replied, “I'm going to kill him, I'm going to reload.” A member of the band that was about to perform at the bar, Eli Stehlik, then exited the building and saw the scene in the parking lot. He called police and an ambulance. Donnie Treadmill and Stanley Beeson (“Mr. Beeson”), other bar patrons, also exited the building to see Victim lying on the ground bleeding and Appellant holding a gun. As Appellant paced back and forth, Mr. Beeson heard Appellant say something like “I want to make sure that he is dead.” As the ambulance crew was arriving, one of the paramedics saw Appellant eject an empty shell from his shotgun and obtain another live shotgun shell. The police then arrived, drew their weapons, and ordered Appellant to put down his gun. After several repeated requests to disarm, Appellant eventually complied and was arrested. Appellant made no statements at the scene to police about whether the incident was self-defense or an accident. Appellant was taken to jail while Victim, who was in “critical” condition, was flown to a hospital. As a result of the shooting, Victim had several surgeries, has limited physical mobility, uses a wheelchair to get around, suffers from seizures, had to have a large portion of his intestines removed, and was unable to return to work in the construction trade.

Appellant was charged on December 12, 2007, with assault in the first degree and armed criminal action. A trial was held on October 6, 2010, at which Appellant waived his right to a trial by jury. A bench trial thereafter commenced at which Appellant testified that Victim intimidated him, that it was Victim who suggested they “go outside and take care of business,” and that Victim shoved him as he was getting into his truck such that he grabbed his gun to

[357 S.W.3d 308]

protect himself. He related that Victim grabbed the shotgun in the ensuing struggle and “it went off.” He related that the shooting was a “terrible accident,” but that he grabbed the gun from his truck out of fear that Victim “was going to beat [him] to death.”

At the close of all the evidence, the trial court found Appellant guilty of the crimes charged. He was thereafter sentenced as set out above. This appeal by Appellant followed.

In his first point relied on Appellant maintains the trial court erred in denying his motions for judgment of acquittal and in finding him guilty of the charges against him. He asserts this was error as “the State's case did not present substantial evidence that [Appellant] committed the charged offenses by proof beyond a reasonable doubt to support a verdict by a rational trier of fact.”

The standard of review in a bench-tried case is the same as in a jury-tried case. State v. Johnson, 81 S.W.3d 212, 215 (Mo.App.2002). We will affirm a trial court's denial of a motion...

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5 practice notes
  • State v. Eaton, No. SD 33450
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 19 Mayo 2015
    ...and “[a] claim of plain error places a much greater burden on a defendant than an assertion of prejudicial error.” State v. Castoe , 357 S.W.3d 305, 310 (Mo.App.S.D.2012) (quoting State v. Wright, 216 S.W.3d 196, 199 (Mo.App.S.D.2007) ). We review this case for plain error. “The ‘well-estab......
  • State v. Rousselo, No. SD 31799.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 3 Enero 2013
    ...was sufficient evidence from which reasonable persons could have found the defendant guilty of the charged offense. State v. Castoe, 357 S.W.3d 305, 308 (Mo.App.2012). “When reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence, we review all evidence and inferences reasonably drawn from the evidence i......
  • State v. Rousselo, No. SD31799
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • 13 Diciembre 2012
    ...was sufficient evidence from which reasonable persons could have found the defendant guilty of the charged offense. State v. Castoe, 357 S.W.3d 305, 308 (Mo. App. 2012). "When reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence, we review all evidence and inferences reasonably drawn from the evi......
  • State v. Johnson, No. SD 31437.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 17 Julio 2012
    ...the images themselves) that supported a finding that Johnson was guilty of the crimes charged beyond a reasonable doubt. State v. Castoe, 357 S.W.3d 305, 310 (Mo.App. S.D.2012). Point II is denied. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.GARY W. LYNCH, P.J., and NANCY STEFFEN RAHMEYER, J.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • State v. Rousselo, No. SD 31799.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 3 Enero 2013
    ...was sufficient evidence from which reasonable persons could have found the defendant guilty of the charged offense. State v. Castoe, 357 S.W.3d 305, 308 (Mo.App.2012). “When reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence, we review all evidence and inferences reasonably drawn from the evidence i......
  • State v. Eaton, No. SD 33450
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 19 Mayo 2015
    ...and “[a] claim of plain error places a much greater burden on a defendant than an assertion of prejudicial error.” State v. Castoe , 357 S.W.3d 305, 310 (Mo.App.S.D.2012) (quoting State v. Wright, 216 S.W.3d 196, 199 (Mo.App.S.D.2007) ). We review this case for plain error. “The ‘well-estab......
  • State v. Rousselo, No. SD31799
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • 13 Diciembre 2012
    ...was sufficient evidence from which reasonable persons could have found the defendant guilty of the charged offense. State v. Castoe, 357 S.W.3d 305, 308 (Mo. App. 2012). "When reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence, we review all evidence and inferences reasonably drawn from the evi......
  • State v. Johnson, No. SD 31437.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 17 Julio 2012
    ...the images themselves) that supported a finding that Johnson was guilty of the crimes charged beyond a reasonable doubt. State v. Castoe, 357 S.W.3d 305, 310 (Mo.App. S.D.2012). Point II is denied. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.GARY W. LYNCH, P.J., and NANCY STEFFEN RAHMEYER, J.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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