State v. Crites, No. SD 31675.

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtWILLIAM W. FRANCIS
Citation400 S.W.3d 828
Docket NumberNo. SD 31675.
Decision Date30 April 2013
PartiesSTATE of Missouri, Respondent, v. Michael CRITES, Appellant.

400 S.W.3d 828

STATE of Missouri, Respondent,
v.
Michael CRITES, Appellant.

No. SD 31675.

Missouri Court of Appeals,
Southern District,
Division One.

April 30, 2013.



Rosalynn Koch, Columbia, MO, for Appellant.

[400 S.W.3d 829]

Chris Koster, Attorney General, Daniel N. McPherson, Assistant Attorney General, Jefferson City, MO, for Respondent.


WILLIAM W. FRANCIS, JR., J.

Michael Crites (“Crites”) appeals the trial court's judgment convicting him of the unclassified felony of forcible sodomy (Count I), in violation of section 566.060; the class A Felony of child kidnapping (Count V), in violation of section 565.115; and the unclassified felony of enticement of a child (Count VI), in violation of section 566.151.1 Crites contends the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress his statements and relying on his written statement to law enforcement in determining guilt. Finding no merit to Crites' claim, we affirm the judgment and sentence of the trial court.

Factual and Procedural Background

Crites does not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence to support his conviction. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the trial court's ruling, State v. Taber, 73 S.W.3d 699, 703 (Mo.App. W.D.2002), the record reveals that on July 15, 2009, Victim, a ten-year-old boy, was swimming with friends at a creek near his Springfield home. Crites was fishing in the creek at the same time. Victim testified he had seen Crites at the creek about five to ten times prior to that day. Victim's friends left before he did and when Victim began to leave, Crites stopped him. Crites told Victim he wanted to show him something, grabbed and tugged his arm, pulled him away, and led Victim along a trail.

Crites told Victim that he would let him go if he looked at a ditch that contained a car hood, a tire, and several pieces of scrap metal. Victim went down into the ditch and looked. Crites grabbed Victim's arm and tried to force him to the ground, telling him that a man was in the area and he needed to hide and get out of sight. When Victim tried to get up, Crites pushed his head to the ground. Crites pulled Victim's shorts down to his knees and then pulled down his own pants. Crites put his penis inside Victim's anus as he held Victim's head down with force to keep Victim from getting away. Victim yelled at Crites calling him a “child molester.” Crites eventually got up, pulled up his pants, and ran off.

Victim ran home, arriving shortly before 7:00 p.m., and told his mother what had happened. The police were called to Victim's home, and Victim led them to the general area of the assault. Victim told the officers that Crites, whom he called “Mike,” had thrown a clear beer bottle with a gold cap into the creek. A forty-ounce Miller Beer bottle matching that description was retrieved from the creek, and it was admitted into evidence at trial. Victim was taken to a hospital emergency room where a Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (“SAFE”) was performed.

On July 16, 2009, Victim was interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center and a videotape of that interview was admitted into evidence. On the same day, Officer Eric Reece (“Officer Reece”) was assigned to the case. Officer Reece worked in “the persons unit, specifically working crimes against children.”

After being assigned to the case and reading the case file, Officer Reece contacted Victim's family and went to the area by the creek where the alleged incident took place. He found a red jacket with an insignia for the “LMS Intellibound Company” next to a drainage pipe. The jacket was similar to a jacket Victim had described

[400 S.W.3d 830]

his assailant as wearing. Officer Reece showed the jacket to Victim, who recognized it as the jacket belonging to “Mike,” the person that had assaulted him. Crites worked at LMS Intellibound in July 2009. The jacket was logged in as evidence and hair samples were obtained from it. The jacket was admitted into evidence at trial. Officer Reece used the company name on the jacket and Victim's description of a car driven by his assailant, to identify Crites as a suspect.

On July 17, 2009, after Crites was identified as a suspect in the assault, Officer Reece and four other officers went to Crites' home to make contact with him. Upon making contact, Crites voluntarily agreed to accompany the officers to the Springfield Police Department for questioning. Officer Reece began the videotaped interview by giving Crites the Miranda2 warning, which Crites waived and signed the statement-of-rights form. Officer Reece talked to Crites for approximately two hours. Reece tried to elicit a response or confession from Crites using the “Reid method,” on which Reece had been trained. Crites initially did not make any confessions and denied having touched Victim stating “he wouldn't hurt a ten-year-old kid.” However, Crites eventually told Officer Reece that Victim had taken off his pants and squatted to go to the bathroom. Crites said that Victim fell as he squatted and he may have touched Victim as he reached out to help him up. Crites told Officer Reece that his hand touched Victim's bottom, but he denied putting either his finger or his penis inside Victim's anus. Crites also drafted a handwritten statement that read as follows:

I got off about 3:00 Pm on wednesday The 15th and went down To the creek off of Scenic To think and talk To people I Talked To kids down there 4 adults and me and [Victim] was by are self so we went down To this Little trail by the creek and he went down by the water to swim and he came Back up and we sat by this tree he had to go to the Restroom so he Pulled down his pants or shorts and went to fall and he fell on his stomach with his shorts still down so I Touched him with my hand then I Asked my self what I was doing I can't do this I was scared and told myself I needed to Leave. every body but me and [Victim] left About 5:30 or so and I Left About between 6:00 pm & 6:30 Pm.3

Throughout the course of the interrogation, Crites never admitted to putting anything in Victim's anus, putting or inserting his penis in Victim's anus, or grabbing Victim's penis.

Crites was charged by “Felony Information” with the unclassified felony of forcible sodomy (Count I), for having deviate sexual intercourse with Victim, in violation of section 566.060; the unclassified felony of statutory sodomy in the first degree (Count II), for having deviate sexual intercourse with Victim, in violation of section 566.062; the unclassified felony of forcible sodomy (Count III), for placing his finger in Victim's anus, in violation of section 566.060; the unclassified felony of statutory sodomy in the first degree (Count IV), in violation of section 566.062; the class A Felony of child kidnapping (Count V), in violation of section 565.115; and the unclassified felony of enticement of a child (Count VI), in violation of section 566.151.

On January 27, 2010, Crites filed a “Motion to Suppress Statements” alleging that the “statements taken from [him] by law

[400 S.W.3d 831]

enforcement agents” were obtained “in violation of [his] rights against self-incrimination, right to counsel, and due process of law[.]” Crites further alleged that: (1) his statements were not voluntary due to the length and nature of his custody, and the nature, interrogation and conditions under which it was conducted; (2) the statements were not an accurate reflection and record of the conversation between Crites and law enforcement; (3) Crites was subjected to mental and physical duress prior to and during the interrogation; (4) Crites' request for legal counsel was ignored; (5) the statements were obtained prior to Crites' “presentation to a judicial officer”; (6) that the statements were made without Crites being advised of his constitutional rights; and (7) the statements were the result of an unlawful arrest.

On March 15, 2010, a motion hearing was scheduled but was continued to April 15, 2010. On April 15, the motion hearing was again continued and rescheduled to May 20, 2010, at which time the motion to suppress was “recessed until 6/29/2010.” On June 29, 2010, Crites filed a “Waiver of Trial by Jury (Felony)” which was accepted by the trial court after sworn testimony. A bench trial and the motion to suppress were set for August 31, 2010.

Thereafter, numerous hearings, pre-trial conferences and trial dates were scheduled and rescheduled, but there was no further hearing or ruling on the motion to suppress until the bench trial held on June 29 and 30, 2011. On June 29, 2011, before the bench trial commenced, the following colloquy took place regarding the motion to suppress:

[STATE]: In addition, I've been looking over the Court docket, and it did not look like the defendant's motion to suppress statements, evidence, and ID had been ruled on or even heard, so I don't know which portions of those need to be taken up.

[CRITES' COUNSEL]: I believe the statements had been taken up, from what I understand. The motion to suppress evidence—basically any of those objections that I have I think will be taken up during the trial, Your Honor. I don't think there's any need for a full-blown hearing on it, in any event.

THE COURT: But the same evidence will come out at the bench trial as would be at a motion to suppress, and I just need to rule on them when I rule on the guilt or innocence of your client.

The interview and statements of Crites came up during trial with the State's witness, Officer Reece. During questioning regarding Exhibit 10, the videotaped “Interview of Crites,” the following colloquy took place regarding the motion to suppress:

[STATE]: Your Honor, at this time I'd move to admit State's Exhibit No. 10.

[CRITES' COUNSEL]: Your Honor, I'm going to renew the objections made during the motion to suppress statements...

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7 practice notes
  • Hill v. State, No. 14–0004.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • January 28, 2015
    ...of defendant for first-degree murder where the trial judge relied at least in some part on defendant's statements); cf. State v. Crites, 400 S.W.3d 828, 835 (Mo.Ct.App.2013) (holding admission of defendant's confession was harmless error in bench trial where “there is no indication the tria......
  • State v. Loggins, No. ED98973
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • July 15, 2014
    ...therefrom - that are favorable to the trial court's ruling, and we disregard all contrary evidence and inferences." State v. Crites, 400 S.W.3d 828, 834 (Mo.App.S.D. 2013). 1. Seizure of the iPhone In his second point, Defendant asserts that the trial court erred in overruling his moti......
  • State v. Hood, No. SD 34258
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • June 8, 2017
    ...unless it is clear from the record that the trial judge considered and relied upon the inadmissible evidence.’ " State v. Crites, 400 S.W.3d 828, 834 (Mo. App. 2013) (quoting State v. Bewley, 68 S.W.3d 613, 619 (Mo. App. 2002) ). In his argument, Defendant omits any citations to the re......
  • Kilgore v. Pash, No. 4:15-CV-00794-DGK
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • May 23, 2018
    ...it is clear from the record that the trial judge considered and relied upon the inadmissible evidence." State v. Crites, 400 S.W.3d 828, 834 (Mo. Ct. App. 2013) (internal quotations omitted). And it is clear enough that the trial judge did not rely on any inadmissible evidence here. Pe......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 cases
  • Hill v. State, No. 14–0004.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • January 28, 2015
    ...of defendant for first-degree murder where the trial judge relied at least in some part on defendant's statements); cf. State v. Crites, 400 S.W.3d 828, 835 (Mo.Ct.App.2013) (holding admission of defendant's confession was harmless error in bench trial where “there is no indication the tria......
  • State v. Loggins, No. ED98973
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • July 15, 2014
    ...therefrom - that are favorable to the trial court's ruling, and we disregard all contrary evidence and inferences." State v. Crites, 400 S.W.3d 828, 834 (Mo.App.S.D. 2013). 1. Seizure of the iPhone In his second point, Defendant asserts that the trial court erred in overruling his moti......
  • State v. Hood, No. SD 34258
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • June 8, 2017
    ...unless it is clear from the record that the trial judge considered and relied upon the inadmissible evidence.’ " State v. Crites, 400 S.W.3d 828, 834 (Mo. App. 2013) (quoting State v. Bewley, 68 S.W.3d 613, 619 (Mo. App. 2002) ). In his argument, Defendant omits any citations to the re......
  • Kilgore v. Pash, No. 4:15-CV-00794-DGK
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • May 23, 2018
    ...it is clear from the record that the trial judge considered and relied upon the inadmissible evidence." State v. Crites, 400 S.W.3d 828, 834 (Mo. Ct. App. 2013) (internal quotations omitted). And it is clear enough that the trial judge did not rely on any inadmissible evidence here. Pe......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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