State v. Lambert, No. 14-0438

CourtSupreme Court of West Virginia
Writing for the CourtJUSTICE DAVIS delivered the Opinion of the Court.
Decision Date17 September 2015
PartiesSTATE OF WEST VIRGINIA, Plaintiff Below, Respondent v. JEREMY LAMBERT, Defendant Below, Petitioner
Docket NumberNo. 14-0438

STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA, Plaintiff Below, Respondent
JEREMY LAMBERT, Defendant Below, Petitioner

No. 14-0438


September 2015 Term
Submitted: September 2, 2015
September 17, 2015

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Raleigh County
Honorable Robert A. Burnside, Jr., Judge
Criminal Action No. 12-F-53


Mary Guy Dyer
Thomas G. Dyer
Dyer Law Offices
Clarksburg, West Virginia
Daniel C. Cooper
Cooper Law Offices, PLLC
Bridgeport, West Virginia
Attorneys for Petitioner

Kristen Keller
Raleigh County Prosecutor
Beckley, West Virginia
Attorney for Respondent

JUSTICE DAVIS delivered the Opinion of the Court.

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1. "W. Va. Code, 61-2-1, enumerates three broad categories of homicide constituting first degree murder: (1) murder by poison, lying in wait, imprisonment, starving; (2) by any wilful, deliberate and premeditated killing; (3) in the commission of, or attempt to commit, arson, rape, robbery or burglary." Syllabus point 6, State v. Sims, 162 W. Va. 212, 248 S.E.2d 834 (1978).

2. "An indictment which charges that the defendant feloniously, wilfully, maliciously, deliberately, premeditatedly and unlawfully did slay, kill and murder is sufficient to support a conviction for murder committed in the commission of, or attempt to commit arson, rape, robbery or burglary, it not being necessary, under W. Va. Code, 61-2-1, to set forth the manner or means by which the death of the deceased was caused." Syllabus point 5, State v. Bragg, 160 W. Va. 455, 235 S.E.2d 466 (1977).

3. "In West Virginia, (1) murder by any willful, deliberate and premeditated killing, and (2) felony-murder constitute alternative means under W. Va. Code, 61-2-1 [1987], of committing the statutory offense of murder of the first degree; consequently, the State's reliance upon both theories at a trial for murder of the first degree does not, per se, offend the principles of due process, provided that the two theories are

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distinguished for the jury through court instructions; nor does the absence of a jury verdict form distinguishing the two theories violate due process, where the State does not proceed against the defendant upon the underlying felony." Syllabus point 5, Stuckey v. Trent, 202 W. Va. 498, 505 S.E.2d 417 (1998).

4. "'Lying in wait' as a legal concept has both mental and physical elements. The mental element is the purpose or intent to kill or inflict bodily harm upon someone; the physical elements consist of waiting, watching and secrecy or concealment. In order to sustain a conviction for first degree murder by lying in wait pursuant to W. Va. Code, 61-2-1 [1987], the prosecution must prove that the accused was waiting and watching with concealment or secrecy for the purpose of or with the intent to kill or inflict bodily harm upon a person." Syllabus point 2, State v. Harper, 179 W. Va. 24, 365 S.E.2d 69 (1987).

5. "Gross provocation and heat of passion are not essential elements of voluntary manslaughter, and, therefore, they need not be proven by evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. It is intent without malice, not heat of passion, which is the distinguishing feature of voluntary manslaughter." Syllabus point 3, State v. McGuire, 200 W. Va. 823, 490 S.E.2d 912 (1997).

6. "The question of whether a defendant is entitled to an instruction on a

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lesser included offense involves a two-part inquiry. The first inquiry is a legal one having to do with whether the lesser offense is by virtue of its legal elements or definition included in the greater offense. The second inquiry is a factual one which involves a determination by the trial court of whether there is evidence which would tend to prove such lesser included offense." Syllabus point 1, State v. Jones, 174 W. Va. 700, 329 S.E.2d 65 (1985).

7. "Under Rule 611(a) of the West Virginia Rules of Evidence, a trial court has broad discretion in permitting or excluding the admission of rebuttal testimony, and this Court will not disturb the ruling of a trial court on the admissibility of rebuttal evidence unless there has been an abuse of discretion." Syllabus point 2, Belcher v. Charleston Area Medical Center, 188 W. Va. 105, 422 S.E.2d 827 (1992).

8. "Where the out-of-court statements of a non-testifying individual are introduced into evidence solely to provide foundation or context for understanding a defendant's responses to those statements, the statements are offered for a non-hearsay purpose and the introduction of the evidence does not violate the defendant's rights under Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 124 S. Ct. 1354, 158 L. Ed. 2d 177 (2004) and State v. Mechling, 219 W. Va. 366, 633 S.E.2d 311 (2006)." Syllabus point 4, State v. Lambert, 232 W. Va. 104, 750 S.E.2d 657 (2013).

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9. "An expert witness may testify about facts he/she reasonably relied upon to form his/her opinion even though such facts would otherwise be inadmissible as hearsay if the trial court determines that the probative value of allowing such testimony to aid the jury's evaluation of the expert's opinion substantially outweighs its prejudicial effect. If a trial court admits such testimony, the jury should be instructed that the otherwise inadmissible factual evidence is not being admitted to establish the truth thereof but solely for the limited purpose of informing the jury of the basis for the expert's opinion." Syllabus point 3, Doe v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 210 W. Va. 664, 558 S.E.2d 663 (2001).

10. "Several basic rules exist as to cross-examination of a witness. The first is that the scope of cross-examination is coextensive with, and limited by, the material evidence given on direct examination. The second is that a witness may also be cross-examined about matters affecting his credibility. The term 'credibility' includes the interest and bias of the witness, inconsistent statements made by the witness and to a certain extent the witness' character. The third rule is that the trial judge has discretion as to the extent of cross-examination." Syllabus point 4, State v. Richey, 171 W. Va. 342, 298 S.E.2d 879 (1982).

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Davis, Justice:

This is a criminal appeal by Jeremy Lambert (hereinafter "Mr. Lambert") from his conviction and sentence by the Circuit Court of Raleigh County. Mr. Lambert was convicted of first-degree murder without mercy. He was sentenced by the circuit court to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. In this appeal, Mr. Lambert has made the following assignments of error: (1) erroneous rulings on felony-murder and lying-in-wait murder theories, (2) error in refusing to give a voluntary manslaughter jury instruction, (3) improper examination of a rebuttal witness by the State, (4) error in admitting a recording of a psychiatric interview of Mr. Lambert, (5) error in limiting the testimony of Mr. Lambert's expert, (6) improper cross-examination of Mr. Lambert's expert, and (7) prejudice resulting from the cumulative effect of the errors. After a careful review of the briefs, the record submitted on appeal, and listening to the arguments of the parties, we affirm.


The facts of this case involve the killing of twenty-five-year-old Cyan Maroney (hereinafter "Ms. Maroney"). In 2011, Ms. Maroney shared an apartment with three roommates in Beckley, West Virginia.1 Ms. Maroney was a professional ballet dancer who

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performed with the West Virginia Dance Company and Theatre West Virginia.2 She was also employed at the Tamarack in Beckley. Mr. Lambert began a relationship with Ms. Maroney in May 2011. The relationship ended in September 2011.

The events leading up to Mr. Lambert's prosecution for the murder of Ms. Maroney began in the early evening hours of October 2, 2011. On that date, at around 6:42 p.m., Mr. Lambert went to a Walmart store in Beckley and purchased a 14-inch Bowie knife. After purchasing the knife, Mr. Lambert sat in his car in the Walmart parking lot for a short while before driving to Ms. Maroney's apartment.3 Mr. Lambert reached Ms. Maroney's apartment at around 8:15 p.m. According to Mr. Lambert, Ms. Maroney came out of the apartment and met him at his car. They spoke briefly before she returned to the apartment. Ms. Maroney came back outside and spoke with Mr. Lambert a second time before again returning to her apartment.

After Ms. Maroney returned to her apartment the second time, Mr. Lambert hid the Bowie knife in his pants and entered her apartment.4 One of Ms. Maroney's roommates, Katherine Houff ("Ms. Houff"), saw Mr. Lambert enter the apartment and walk into Ms.

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Maroney's bedroom.5 While inside the bedroom, Mr. Lambert stabbed Ms. Maroney twenty-three times. Stab wounds were inflicted to her thoracic aorta, esophagus, face, stomach, diaphragm, liver, lungs, kidney, spleen, and skull. Ms. Maroney's roommates heard her screaming during the attack and came to her bedroom door, but did not enter. Ms. Houff testified that she saw Mr. Lambert leaving Ms. Maroney's bedroom carrying a large "bloody knife."6 Ms. Houff testified further that, as Mr. Lambert left the apartment, she believed he stated, "That'll show that m . . . f . . . to leave me." Ms. Maroney bled to death...

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