State v. Oldham, SD 36928

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtMARY W. SHEFFIELD, P.J.
Citation642 S.W.3d 350
Parties STATE of Missouri, Respondent, v. Joshua L. OLDHAM, Appellant.
Decision Date18 March 2022
Docket NumberSD 36928

642 S.W.3d 350

STATE of Missouri, Respondent,
v.
Joshua L. OLDHAM, Appellant.

No. SD 36928

Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District, Division Two.

Filed: March 18, 2022


ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT – Richard R. Lozano, Clayton, MO.

ATTORNEY FOR RESPONDENT – Kristen S. Johnson, Jefferson City, MO.

MARY W. SHEFFIELD, P.J.

Joshua L. Oldham ("Oldham") appeals his convictions of murder in the first degree and armed criminal action following a jury trial.1 Oldham raises two points on appeal. First, he claims the trial court erred by denying his motion to continue the trial date because it denied him his right to a representative cross section of the community in that certain venirepersons with COVID issues were later excluded from the jury. In point 2, Oldham argues there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction of murder in the first degree because there was no evidence he acted with deliberation. Because neither point has merit, we affirm the judgment.

Background

On November 4, 2017, Oldham shot Luke Helm ("Victim") multiple times after getting into an argument with him at a barbeque at Victim's parents’ ("the Helmses") home. Oldham frequently attended gatherings at the Helmses’ home and rented a trailer from Victim. On the day of the shooting, Oldham arrived with his girlfriend and began discussing the back rent he owed to Victim. There was no argument, and at the end of the conversation Victim patted Oldham on the shoulder and told him they would "work it out[.]" Oldham and his girlfriend left to go cash a check.

Oldham and his girlfriend returned later to the Helmses’ house. Oldham went inside the house to talk to Victim while his girlfriend waited in the car. Victim's mother

642 S.W.3d 353

testified Oldham seemed "agitated" and argued with Victim. Victim told Oldham he was "tired of it" and to "just get out" of the rental property. Oldham mumbled something to Victim as he walked out the door.

Victim followed Oldham outside where they began "wrestling around on the ground." The fighting eventually stopped. Victim began talking to his nephew, and Oldham got into his car. Oldham's girlfriend testified Oldham grabbed a gun from between the passenger seat and the middle console of the car.

Tobias McGee ("McGee"), a family friend, testified Oldham stood by his open car door and called Victim a "fat f*ck." Victim asked, "What did you call me?" and walked toward Oldham's car. Oldham sat down in the car and Victim came up to the car window. Oldham then shot Victim multiple times. After the first shot, Victim looked down and said, "You shot me" and began backing away. Victim's nephew testified that Victim turned to get away after the second shot and began falling. McGee testified that a few more seconds went by before he heard a third shot. After the last "pop[,]" McGee saw Victim "standing stiff as a board and fall face down in the ground."

Oldham fled and "tore out of the driveway[,]" leaving his girlfriend. The police later located Oldham but never found the gun. Oldham fired four shots in total.2 Three bullets hit Victim in the arm, the jaw, and the side. The medical examiner found no indications of a close-range shooting.

At trial, Oldham did not dispute shooting Victim but argued he did so in self-defense. The jury found Oldham guilty of murder in the first degree and armed criminal action. This appeal followed. For ease of analysis, we address Oldham's points out of order.

Point 2: Sufficiency of the Evidence

Standard of Review

Oldham claims the trial court erred in denying his motion for a judgment of acquittal because there was insufficient evidence from which a reasonable juror could find beyond a reasonable doubt that Oldham knowingly caused Victim's death after deliberation. In reviewing a claim for sufficiency of the evidence, our review is limited to "whether there was sufficient evidence from which a reasonable juror might have found the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt." State v. Naylor , 510 S.W.3d 855, 859 (Mo. banc 2017) (quoting State v. Letica , 356 S.W.3d 157, 166 (Mo. banc 2011) ). This Court does not weigh the evidence, but accepts as true all evidence tending to prove guilt together with all reasonable inferences that support the verdict in determining whether evidence was sufficient to support a conviction and to withstand a motion for judgment of acquittal. Id. at 858-59. Additionally, we do not act as a "super juror" with veto powers but defer to the trier of fact when reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence supporting a criminal conviction. Id. at 859.

Analysis

"A person commits the offense of murder in the first degree if he or she knowingly causes the death of another person after deliberation upon the matter." § 565.020.1 (emphasis added). "Deliberation" means "cool reflection for any length of time no matter how brief[.]" § 565.002(5). "Proof of deliberation does not require proof that the defendant contemplated his actions over a long period of time, only that the killer had ample opportunity to terminate the attack once it began."

642 S.W.3d 354

State v....

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