State v. Murray

Decision Date17 February 1988
Docket NumberNo. 69152,69152
Citation744 S.W.2d 762
PartiesSTATE of Missouri, Respondent, v. Robert Anthony MURRAY, Appellant.
CourtMissouri Supreme Court

Holly G. Simons, Asst. Public Defender, St. Louis, for appellant.

William L. Webster, Atty. Gen., Deborah L. Ground, Asst. Atty. Gen., Jefferson City, for respondent.

BILLINGS, Chief Justice.

Defendant Robert Anthony (Tony) Murray was convicted of two counts of first degree murder, Section 565.020, RSMo 1986, for the execution-style killing of two robbery victims, Jeffrey Jackson and Craig Stewart, and sentenced to death on both counts. The jury found the following aggravating circumstances: (1) each murder was committed while the defendant was engaged in the commission of another unlawful homicide, Section 565.032.2(2), RSMo 1986; (2) each murder involved torture or depravity of mind and that as a result thereof it was outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman, Section 565.032.2(7); and (3) each murder was committed while the defendant was engaged in the perpetration or the attempt to perpetrate the felony of robbery, Section 565.032.2(11). Affirmed.

Defendant does not question the sufficiency of the evidence to support his conviction. It is helpful, however, to set forth the facts and reasonable inferences arising therefrom which the jury reasonably could have found in arriving at their verdict, ignoring contrary evidence and inferences. See State v. Griffin, 662 S.W.2d 854, 855 (Mo. banc 1983), cert. denied, 469 U.S. 873, 105 S.Ct. 224, 83 L.Ed.2d 153 (1984).

Sometime after 11:00 p.m. on December 5, 1985, Claudia Hennings and Gladys Nutall arrived at Jeffrey Jackson's apartment at 2331 Park Avenue in the city of St. Louis. Already present at the apartment were Jackson and his friend Craig Stewart. Jackson and Stewart were cab drivers for the Laclede Cab Company.

After Hennings and Nutall arrived at the apartment, they, along with Jackson and Stewart, drank and smoked marijuana and cocaine while watching television. About 12:05 a.m., William Murray, the defendant's older brother, came by Jackson's apartment and talked privately with Jackson in the bedroom. Hennings had known William for eight years and considered him to be her "best friend." After concluding his discussion with Jackson, William left the apartment.

He returned, however, a half hour later, at which time he pulled out a pistol and said: "Everybody get on the floor. This is a holdup." While Hennings, Nutall, Jackson, and Stewart were getting down on the floor, the defendant and a third individual entered the apartment. The defendant also had a gun and wore a ski mask. Hennings, who had known the defendant for as long as she had known his brother William, recognized the defendant's voice and told him to take the mask off because she knew who he was. The defendant complied by rolling up his mask.

William asked Jackson if he had "anything else" in the house and Jackson told him to look in his dresser drawer in the bedroom. While William went into the bedroom to search the dresser, the defendant held a gun on the prostrate victims. The defendant continued covering the victims while William and the third individual methodically searched the rest of the apartment. During the search, William constantly asked for money and guns. In furtherance of the quest for money, William took Nutall's purse and Stewart's wallet and the defendant took Hennings' purse and Jackson's wallet. The wallets and the contents of the purses were dumped into a pillow case. Unhappy with the loot they had found, the three men kept saying "it's not enough," and that they were not satisfied.

Eventually, William asked Jackson if anyone was coming to the apartment that night. Jackson replied that Tracy Adams, another Laclede Cab driver, was supposed to come at about 3:15 a.m. to take him to work. When asked if Adams would have any money or guns with him, Jackson said he did not know. Apparently deciding that Adams might have something they wanted, the assailants waited in the apartment for about three hours for him to arrive while the victims remained on the floor.

Towards the end of the three hour wait, William Murray walked up to Nutall, who was still lying on the floor, and kicked her in the side. He then told her to come into the kitchen with him. After they entered the kitchen, William raped her. During this attack, Nutall saw defendant looking in from the living room at her and William. Also during the time of the attack on Nutall, the defendant sexually assaulted Hennings in the living room by rubbing her genital area. After William had finished with Nutall, he ordered her back into the living room.

A short time later, the defendant and William began binding Jackson and Stewart. Jackson's hands were tied behind his back with shoe laces and Stewart's hands were tied behind his back with a sock. A shirt was tied around Jackson's head to serve as a gag and blindfold. Stewart was also gagged and blindfolded by a shirt, as well as other articles of clothing, tied around his head. The defendant then went into the kitchen and returned with a butcher knife and some steak knives. Jackson and Stewart were then taken into the kitchen one at a time. After placing the two men on their knees, the defendant at first, and then William began hitting them. While beating Jackson and Stewart, the defendant and William kept saying: "This ain't enough, man. This ain't enough. You all got something else here?" Then the defendant and William took the knives and began stabbing into the floor beside Jackson and Stewart, trying to scare them more.

Viewing the assault going on in the kitchen, Hennings got up off the floor and tried to jump out a window. The defendant, however, caught her and stopped her, telling her not to try it again or he would cut her throat. Hennings was ordered back on the floor and the defendant turned to go back into the kitchen. Hennings moved as if to lie back on the floor, but when the defendant's back was turned, she ran into the bedroom, slamming the door closed behind her. Hennings then threw her body through the closed second floor bedroom window and landed outside on the grass. After hitting the ground, Hennings heard gunshots. She fled down a street, screaming, went to a house, and called the police.

After Hennings' dash into the bedroom, one of the assailants ran into the bedroom, said, "she is gone," and returned to the kitchen where his confederates had remained. Seeing that she was alone in the living room, Nutall looked up and into the kitchen and saw the defendant hold Stewart up and shoot him in the back. Nutall immediately got up and ran out the door of the apartment. She ran part way and fell part way down the stairs to the door of the building. She then ran to a nearby Kroger store where she told a security guard that men had been shot at the apartment on Park Avenue.

When police officers responded to Hennings' call, she gave them the names of the defendant and William Murray as two of the assailants. She also provided descriptions of the two men. The police also responded to a call made by the security guard to whom Nutall had gone to after escaping from the apartment. Both women were returned to the apartment and the police discovered the dead bodies of Jeffrey Jackson and Craig Stewart in the kitchen. Each man had been shot twice in the back.

At defendant's trial a deputy medical examiner for the City of St. Louis testified that both Jackson and Stewart died as the result of gunshot wounds. Jackson had three bullet wounds. One was in the left side of his chest under his arm. The bullet that entered there went through the left lung and through the heart. The second wound was in the right side of Jackson's back, about midway between his neck and his waist. The bullet that entered there went through Jackson's right lung. The third wound was a grazing wound on the surface of the upper part of Jackson's left arm. This wound may or may not have been caused by the same bullet that entered the left side of Jackson's chest. Stewart had two bullet wounds, both on the left side of the back. The bullet causing the lower wound went through the left lung and passed through the heart. The bullet causing the upper and more central wound shattered against one of the vertebrae of Stewart's spine. Gunpowder residue found on the clothing of Jackson and Stewart and around Jackson's arm wound indicated that all the shots were fired within two feet of the bodies of the victims. The deputy medical examiner also testified that he found marks on the wrists of both men which had been caused by their bindings.

Three of the four bullets causing the chest and back wounds were recovered from the victims' bodies. Ballistics tests showed that these three bullets were fired from the same weapon. Pieces of the bullet that shattered against Stewart's vertebrae, were also recovered. Tests to determine whether this bullet was fired from the same weapon as the other three were inconclusive due to its fragmented nature.

Based upon the information from Claudia Hennings that the defendant was one of the assailants, the police learned where he lived and then, on the day after the murders of Jackson and Stewart, police officers went to his home and arrested him. After being advised of his rights, the defendant at first denied his presence at the scene of the crime. Later that night, Gladys Nutall viewed a lineup and positively identified the defendant as the man she saw fire the shot into Craig Stewart's back. Upon being readvised of his rights and being informed that he had been identified from the lineup, the defendant admitted that he had gone to Jackson's Park Avenue apartment, but said he left before anyone was killed. The next day, after he was again advised of his rights, the defendant stated: "I didn't gag nobody, shoot nobody, tie nobody up or kill anybody." At the time ...

To continue reading

Request your trial
139 cases
  • State v. Feltrop
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • January 9, 1991
    ...they enable the jury to better understand the testimony, and where they aid in establishing any element of the state's case." State v. Murray, 744 S.W.2d 762, 772 (Mo. banc), cert. denied, 488 U.S. 871, 109 S.Ct. 181, 102 L.Ed.2d 150 (1988). Photographs are also relevant when they depict th......
  • State v. Greenway
    • United States
    • Arizona Supreme Court
    • December 3, 1991
    ...murders. There is no indication of an intent to allow the imposition ... for one but not all of the offenses. Id.; cf. State v. Murray, 744 S.W.2d 762, 775 (Mo.), cert. denied, 488 U.S. 871, 109 S.Ct. 181, 102 L.Ed.2d 150 (1988) ("[e]vidence that Jackson and Stewart were both taken into the......
  • Schneider v. Delo
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Missouri
    • June 8, 1995
    ...of either a death sentence or a life sentence. Under Missouri law, a juror must be able to consider both sentences. State v. Murray, 744 S.W.2d 762, 768 (Mo.1988); State v. Smith, 649 S.W.2d 417, 425 A review of the merits of this claim requires the Court to examine the state court record. ......
  • State v. Deck
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • June 1, 1999
    ...795 S.W.2d 69 (Mo. banc 1990); State v. Sloan, 756 S.W.2d 503 (Mo. banc 1988); State v. Griffin, 756 S.W.2d 475 (Mo. banc 1988); State v. Murray, 744 S.W.2d 762 (Mo. banc 1988); State v. Young, 701 S.W.2d 429 (Mo. banc In addition, a sentence of death has often been imposed when the murder ......
  • 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