State v. Heyward, Appellate Case No. 2017-001542

CourtCourt of Appeals of South Carolina
Citation432 S.C. 296,852 S.E.2d 452
Docket NumberOpinion No. 5776,Appellate Case No. 2017-001542
Parties The STATE, Respondent, v. James HEYWARD, Appellant.
Decision Date14 October 2020

432 S.C. 296
852 S.E.2d 452

The STATE, Respondent,
James HEYWARD, Appellant.

Appellate Case No. 2017-001542
Opinion No. 5776

Court of Appeals of South Carolina.

Heard February 6, 2020
Filed October 14, 2020
Rehearing Denied January 15, 2021

Tara C. Sullivan, Jennifer Hess Thiem, and John Whitney McGreevy, all of K&L Gates, LLP, of Charleston; and Chief Appellate Defender Robert Michael Dudek, of Columbia, all for Appellant.

Attorney General Alan McCrory Wilson, Deputy Attorney General Donald J. Zelenka, Senior Assistant Deputy Attorney General Melody Jane Brown, Assistant Attorney General Susannah Rawl Cole, and Assistant Attorney General William Joseph Maye, all of Columbia; and Interim Solicitor, Heather Savitz Weiss, of Columbia, for Respondent.


432 S.C. 305

In this criminal appeal, James Heyward appeals his convictions for murder, burglary in the first degree, armed robbery, two counts of kidnapping, assault and battery in the first degree, pointing and presenting a firearm, and possession of a weapon by a person convicted of a violent crime. On appeal, Heyward argues the trial court erred in admitting (1) an eyewitness's out-of-court and in-court identifications of him, (2) a fingerprint card obtained from a New Jersey database and expert opinion testimony based on those fingerprints, (3) expert opinion testimony about the operational capabilities of the gun found at Heyward's residence, and (4) autopsy dissection photographs of the victim's internal head injuries. Heyward also argues the trial court erred in allowing his alias "Abdul Muslim" to be included in the indictments and in denying his request to remove his shackles during jury selection. Finally, Heyward argues he is entitled to a new trial due to the cumulative errors committed by the trial court. We affirm.


On October 11, 2015, authorities responded to what they believed to be a burglary in progress and found Alice Tollison (Victim) strangled to death in her home. Her eight-year-old granddaughter (Granddaughter) was bound at her wrists and ankles.

At trial, Investigator Trisha Odom of the Richland County Sheriff's Department was qualified as an expert on latent print analysis. She testified that after uploading fingerprints found at the crime scene (the Crime Scene Fingerprints) into a national database known as the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), the sheriff's department received a match for those fingerprints from New Jersey. The match linked to an FBI number, the name James Heyward, and the associated fingerprints (the N.J. Fingerprints). Investigator Odom compared the N.J. Fingerprints to the Crime Scene Fingerprints, determined they were a match, and wrote three reports. Heyward was subsequently arrested,

432 S.C. 306

and his fingerprints were taken at the jail (the Booking Fingerprints). Investigator Odom completed subsequent reports using both the N.J. Fingerprints and the Booking Fingerprints. Although she did not conduct a minutia comparison between the N.J. Fingerprints and the Booking Fingerprints, she conducted a pattern comparison, and she testified there was no doubt in her mind the same person made the two sets of prints. Heyward objected to the admission of summaries of Investigator Odom's reports, arguing the initial reports used the unauthenticated N.J. Fingerprints and any analysis of later fingerprints is inadmissible because she did not indicate she compared a known standard (i.e. the Booking Fingerprints) with the N.J. Fingerprints. The trial court found the State presented sufficient evidence to satisfy the authentication requirements and overruled Heyward's objection.

The day after Victim's murder, Granddaughter was interviewed at the Assessment and Resource Center (ARC)1 and that interview

852 S.E.2d 457

was video recorded (the Recording).2 Following that interview, while she was still being recorded, Investigator Joe Clarke, an investigator in the Richland County Sheriff's Department's Special Victims Unit, met with Granddaughter. Investigator Clarke showed Granddaughter a lineup, which consisted of six African American men (the Lineup), and Granddaughter selected number three, which was a picture of Heyward. Heyward was subsequently arrested and indicted.

Prior to trial, the trial court conducted a hearing pursuant to Neil v. Biggers3 to determine the admissibility of Granddaughter's identification of Heyward based on the Lineup. During the Biggers hearing, Investigator Clarke testified the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) prepared the Lineup using a database and when he received the Lineup, he evaluated it to ensure it was fair. He also testified as to the contents of the interview, and the trial court viewed the recording of the interview. Granddaughter testified about her

432 S.C. 307

identification based on the Lineup, and when asked if she picked number three because she recognized him, Granddaughter responded affirmatively. Granddaughter pointed to Heyward in the courtroom when asked if that man was in the room. The trial court found there was no undue suggestiveness in Granddaughter's identification based on the Lineup and found the Lineup and the Recording were admissible.

Prior to trial, the trial court also held a hearing on and denied Heyward's motion to strike his alias, "Abdul Muslim," from the indictments. The trial court also denied Heyward's pretrial motion to remove his ankle shackles during jury selection. The trial court agreed to reserve its ruling on a pretrial motion concerning autopsy photographs until after the testimony of Dr. Amy Durso, the State's pathologist. The photographs were admitted at trial following the in camera testimony of Dr. Durso.

At trial, Granddaughter testified she was at Victim's house when someone knocked on the door. Granddaughter later walked into the kitchen, where she found Victim and a man with a duffel bag. The man told her to sit down across the table from Victim before he put a gold rusty gun with two spots for bullets on the table. He demanded money from Victim, and when Victim denied having money, he put his arms around her neck and strangled her to death. The man then took Granddaughter to a closet and closed the door. When he returned and she asked him what was happening, he said Victim was sleeping. The man later took Granddaughter to a different room where he bound her hands and feet. Granddaughter struggled to get loose but eventually fell asleep, and when she woke up, the man was no longer in the home. Granddaughter was able to get to a phone and call 911. She further testified she remembered her interview at ARC and the Lineup, and she identified Heyward in the courtroom.

Mattie Canzater testified that at the time of Victim's murder, Heyward and his wife were renting two rooms in her home. She knew Heyward went by the names of Abdul and Rasheed. The Friday before the murder, she took Heyward to Victim's house to pick up tables for a yard sale, but they did not go inside. The day of Victim's murder, she did not see Heyward before church, and when she returned home after

432 S.C. 308

3:00 P.M., Heyward's family was in the home, but he was not. When Heyward returned, he was carrying a large black trash bag. The next morning, she learned Victim was murdered, and she was afraid because the suspect's description matched Heyward's attire when he came home the day before. She confronted Heyward and told him Victim's gardener told the police she and Heyward had been there, the suspect's description fit him, and she knew he was not home around the time of the murder. Immediately after she confronted Heyward, he shaved his hair.

852 S.E.2d 458

Lieutenant Kevin Isenhoward testified that during a phone call between Heyward and Heyward's wife that occurred while Heyward was incarcerated, Heyward's wife told Heyward she called CrimeStoppers and tried to blame a man named Derek for Victim's murder in an attempt to divert attention away from him. Chief Stan Smith testified a gun that matched the description given to officers by Granddaughter was found in a closet in the home where Heyward was residing. The handgun was admitted into evidence, and the State offered as an expert Investigator David Collins, a fire and tool marks examiner in the forensic sciences laboratory for the Richland County Sheriff's Department. Heyward objected to Investigator Collins as a witness, arguing Investigator Collins would be testifying as to whether or not the gun found at Heyward's residence was operational, which was irrelevant. The trial court overruled Heyward's objection.

Dr. Gray Amick, the laboratory director with the Richland County Sheriff's Department, testified Heyward's DNA was found under Victim's fingernails, on a swab of her neck, and on a swab of a draft stopper found around her neck. There was additional testimony that Heyward's fingerprints were found on the interior side of the entry door at Victim's home, on a jewelry box, and on other items located inside the home.

The jury found Heyward guilty...

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2 cases
  • Pierce v. State, 417, 2020
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Delaware
    • January 4, 2022
    ...Anderson II , 687 S.E.2d at 39 (citing Anderson I , 378 S.C. at 248, 662 S.E.2d 461 ) (emphasis in original). See also State v. Heyward , 432 S.C. 296, 852 S.E.2d 452, 461 (App. 2020), reh'g denied (Jan. 15, 2021) (affirming trial court and finding fingerprints from AFIS database were prope......
  • Pierce v. State, 417
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Delaware
    • January 4, 2022
    ...Id. at 464. [57] Anderson II, 687 S.E.2d at 39 (citing Anderson I, 378 S.C. at 248) (emphasis in original). See also State v. Heyward, 852 S.E.2d 452, 461 (S.C. Ct. App. 2020), reh'g denied (Jan. 15, 2021) (affirming trial court and finding fingerprints from AFIS database were properly auth......

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