State v. Jones, 22349

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtHARWELL; NESS, C.J., and GREGORY and CHANDLER, JJ., and JULIUS H. BAGGETT
Citation288 S.C. 1,340 S.E.2d 782
PartiesThe STATE, Respondent, v. Donald Allen JONES, Appellant. . Heard
Docket NumberNo. 22349,22349
Decision Date04 June 1985

Asst. Appellate Defender Tara D. Shurling, of S.C. Office of Appellate Defense, Columbia, for appellant.

Atty. Gen. T. Travis Medlock and Asst. Atty. Gen. Harold M. Coombs, Jr., Columbia, and Sol. John R. Justice, Chester, for respondent.

HARWELL, Justice:

The appellant Donald Allen Jones was convicted of murder, armed robbery, first degree criminal sexual conduct, housebreaking, grand larceny of a motor vehicle, and kidnapping and was sentenced to death. This case consolidates his direct appeal with mandatory review of the death sentence pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 16-3-25 (1976). We affirm.

Mr. and Mrs. Ned W. Plyler, Sr., operated a Sealtest dairy in Lancaster County. The appellant worked at the dairy while a teenager. The parties experienced little animosity other than minor disputes over the amount of the appellant's paycheck.

On Sunday, October 9, 1983, the appellant and a friend broke into a house belonging to the friend's grandfather and stole a .410 gauge shotgun and shotgun shells. The appellant told the friend that he needed help robbing someone and that he would give him $25,000 for his aid. He said he planned to tie the victim and have him write a check payable to the appellant.

On Tuesday, October 11, 1983, the appellant went to the Plylers' country home before they arrived and smashed the glass in a bedroom window. He found a pistol inside and began shooting the wall in the hallway. He also shot the Plylers' three dogs, and stole six or seven silver dollars and some change. He then lay in wait for the Plylers in the garage.

Geraldine Plyler testified that she and her husband reached their home at about 5:30 P.M. Mr. Plyler carried three $100 bills and two checks in his shirt pocket. As he approached the door of his home, the appellant appeared suddenly with a shotgun. He demanded money and shot Mr. Plyler at close range near the heart. The victim fell forward on his face in front of his wife. The appellant produced a pistol, demanded $79,000, and directed Mrs. Plyler to remove the money from her husband's pocket. She was unable to do so, and the appellant retrieved the money. Mr. Plyler groaned, and the appellant shot him in the back of the head. Mrs. Plyler pleaded with the appellant not to shoot him again, but he shot him again in the head.

The appellant then took Mrs. Plyler into the house and told her he had always wanted her. He then raped her at gunpoint. He searched her purse for money and took her into various rooms of the house, tying her in each room to furniture. She finally begged him to kill her, but he refused saying he wanted her alive in the morning to write a check. The appellant tied, bound, and gagged her and left. However, he returned shortly to see whether she had attempted to escape. He then drove away in the Plyler truck. She freed herself and ran through the nearby pastures, trying to reach the home of a nephew. Before she reached there, the appellant returned and began driving down the road looking for her. At one point, he stopped the truck extremely near where she crouched behind a fence, but he drove on. She escaped to the nearby home at about 8:00 P.M. and reported the crimes.

Mrs. Plyler identified the appellant as the attacker. Her identification was corroborated by the fact the appellant had three $100 bills on his person upon his arrest at 10:30 P.M. Also, the appellant's palmprints were found inside the home.

The sole alleged error in the guilt phase of the trial 1 concerns the disqualification of prospective juror Essie Reid. We find no abuse of discretion by the trial judge. See State v. Spann, 279 S.C. 399, 308 S.E.2d 518 (1983). The evidence supports his conclusion that the juror's views on capital punishment would substantially impair the performance of her duties. See Wainwright v. Witt, 469 U.S. ----, 105 S.Ct. 844, 83 L.Ed.2d 841 (1985).

The appellant asserts that the judge committed reversible error in the sentencing phase by allowing the jury to consider kidnapping and criminal sexual conduct as possible statutory aggravating circumstances; he asserts that they were relevant only as to his character. We disagree.

The trial judge charged the jury that they could consider the following aggravating circumstances:

the murder was committed while in the commission of the crime of armed robbery, (2), the murder was committed while in the commission of the act of larceny with the use of a deadly weapon; (3), the murder was committed while in the commission of...

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9 cases
  • Smith v. Black, 88-4790
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • 26 Junio 1990
    ...State v. Mercer, 618 S.W.2d 1, 10 & n. 5 (Mo.) (dicta), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 933, 102 S.Ct. 432, 70 L.Ed.2d 240 (1981); State v. Jones, 288 S.C. 1, 340 S.E.2d 782, 784 (1985); Stout v. Commonwealth, 237 Va. 126, 376 S.E.2d 288, 292 (1989), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 109 S.Ct. 3263, 106 ......
  • State v Morris, 98-00679
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • 10 Julio 2000
    ...within short period of time, precise sequence was not dispositive of whether aggravating circumstance was applicable); State v. Jones, 340 S.E.2d 782, 784 (S.C. 1985)(rape of second victim occurred after murder but aggravating circumstance applied because the offenses were a continuous seri......
  • State v. Kornahrens, 22618
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 16 Septiembre 1986 not excessive or disproportionate to the penalty imposed in similar cases. S.C.Code Ann. § 16-3-25(C)(3) (1985). See, State v. Jones, 288 S.C. 1, 340 S.E.2d 782 (1985); State v. Smith, 286 S.C. 406, 334 S.E.2d 277 (1985); State v. Damon, 285 S.C. 125, 328 S.E.2d 628 (1985); State v. Luca......
  • Kornahrens v. Evatt, 94-4008
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • 3 Octubre 1995
    ...that property ... was stolen in a continuing sequence of criminal acts at the time of the murders." Id. (emphasis added). State v. Jones, 288 S.C. 1, 340 S.E.2d 782 (1985), vacated on Page 1357 other grounds, 476 U.S. 1102, 106 S.Ct. 1943, 90 L.Ed.2d 353 (1986), is instructive and, we belie......
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