State v. Craig, 63593

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Citation642 S.W.2d 98
Docket NumberNo. 63593,63593
PartiesSTATE of Missouri, Plaintiff, v. Timothy Dale CRAIG, Defendant.
Decision Date09 November 1982

Page 98

642 S.W.2d 98
STATE of Missouri, Plaintiff,
Timothy Dale CRAIG, Defendant.
No. 63593.
Supreme Court of Missouri,
En Banc.
Nov. 9, 1982.
As Modified Dec. 3, 1982.
Rehearing Denied Dec. 3, 1982.

Page 99

James A. Blackwell, St. Charles, for defendant.

John Ashcroft, Atty. Gen., John Jacobs, Asst. Atty. Gen., Jefferson City, for plaintiff.


Timothy Craig was convicted by a jury of murder in the second degree, section 565.004 RSMo 1978; his punishment was fixed at imprisonment for life, section 565.008(2) RSMo. Sentence and judgment were rendered accordingly. Appellant charges the trial court erred in admitting an inculpatory statement made by defendant; by not sustaining defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal; in submitting the cause to the jury upon a charge of capital murder; by allowing the state to open and close argument in the punishment phase of the trial; and in permitting the state to qualify the jury panel for the death penalty. Affirmed.

Defendant and Christina Craig were married on December 15, 1979, and had one daughter, born in May of 1980. The couple had marital difficulties which led to four or five separations and several violent confrontations. During one fight, defendant hit Christina on the head several times with the butt end of a knife and gave her a black eye; the injuries required hospitalization. Because of these difficulties, Christina filed for divorce on July 15, 1980; she continued to date and have marital relations with the defendant. Between the date Christina filed for divorce and her death, the couple continued fighting.

During the evening of October 2, 1980, Norman Craig, the defendant's father, drove to his son's trailer. He saw Christina's car parked by the trailer with the taillights burning, and discovered Christina's body lying across the front seat. Mr. Craig went back to his home, called the police, then returned to the scene. There is conflicting testimony whether Mr. Craig requested that police enter the trailer and check on the well-being of the defendant;

Page 100

investigating officers did observe blood on the trailer's storm door handle and eventually forced the door open. An officer discovered the defendant lying on the floor in a closet; when ordered to move his hands into plain view, the defendant responded accordingly. Paramedics were called to administer to the defendant who had minor cuts on both wrists and appeared sluggish and "kind of starey-eyed." One paramedic testified that the defendant was unresponsive at first; he responded to treatment and was characterized as normal and responsive before he was transported to the hospital. This evaluation was verified by the defendant's attending physician who characterized defendant's condition upon arrival at the hospital as alert and responsive.

During the ambulance ride to the hospital, defendant was given the Miranda warnings and indicated he understood them. The defendant then told officers riding in the ambulance that he and Christina had been arguing over marijuana that evening. During the argument he had gone to his trailer, picked up a knife and returned to Christina's car. Defendant then stated: "I went to the car and she got smart and shit and I killed her." This statement was corroborated by the two police officers and by the paramedic riding with the defendant. The defendant was arrested and charged with murder.

Prior to trial, the defendant moved to suppress certain evidence including the incriminating statement made in the ambulance. The trial court took the motions under advisement and later ruled the statement admissible. During voir dire, the state was allowed to qualify the veniremen for the death penalty, over defendant's objection.

Defendant's version of the homicide was that at approximately 8:00 p.m. on October 2, 1980, he discovered his wife's body lying across the seat of her car. He saw a knife lying across his wife's chest which he picked up and threw. He then attempted to revive her without success. At this point he became nauseated, vomited, then entered his mobile home and barricaded the door. Defendant indicated he lost his head and attempted to kill himself by slashing his wrists; he succeeded only in inflicting minor cuts. Having failed in this attempt, defendant washed his wrists, took several tranquilizers, sat in his closet with his head comfortably resting on a pillow, and prayed. He testified he could remember nothing from that point to 5:00 p.m. on October 3, 1980.


Whether a confession is voluntarily given turns on an evaluation of all the circumstances under which it was made. Brown v. Illinois, 422 U.S. 590, 604, 95 S.Ct. 2254, 2262, 45 L.Ed.2d 416 (1975); State v. Flowers, 592 S.W.2d 167, 169 (Mo. banc 1979). The Miranda warnings are to be considered when determining whether a confession was voluntarily given; they are not the exclusive consideration. Brown, 422 U.S. at 603, 95 S.Ct. at 2261. Physical condition, age, experience, intelligence of the declarant and...

To continue reading

Request your trial
21 cases
  • State v. McDonald, 64057
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • November 22, 1983
    ...deliberate act is one performed in a cool and deliberate state of mind. State v. LaRette, 648 S.W.2d 96, 102 (Mo. banc 1983); State v. Craig, 642 S.W.2d 98, 101-02 (Mo. banc 1982); State v. Strickland, 609 S.W.2d 392, 394 (Mo. banc 1980). No particular time is required to permit a finding o......
  • State v. LaRette, 63569
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • March 29, 1983
    ...the evidence was insufficient to demonstrate the elements of deliberation and premeditation necessary for capital murder. In State v. Craig, 642 S.W.2d 98, 101 (Mo. banc 1982), we said: There need not be direct evidence of premeditation and deliberation to support a capital murder convictio......
  • State v. Williams, 63587
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • May 31, 1983
    ...(Mo.App.1982) on elements of proof of corpus delecti. The elements of capital murder are precisely set forth in § 565.001. See State v. Craig, 642 S.W.2d 98, 101 (Mo. banc 1982); State v. Mannon, 637 S.W.2d 674, 678 (Mo. banc 1982); State v. Strickland, 609 S.W.2d 392, 394 (Mo. banc 1980) o......
  • State v. Thomas, 13587
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • September 27, 1985
    ...v. Sager, supra. The ultimate test of voluntariness is whether or not the statement was the product of the defendant's free will. State v. Craig, 642 S.W.2d 98 (Mo. banc 1982). That determination is to be made upon an evaluation of all of the circumstances under which the statement was give......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT