State v. Ray

Citation354 S.W.2d 840
Decision Date12 February 1962
Docket NumberNo. 48583,No. 1,48583,1
PartiesSTATE of Missouri, Respondent, v. James Earl RAY, Appellant
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri

James Earl Ray, Appellant, pro se.

Thomas F. Eagleton, Atty. Gen., George D. Chopin, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., for respondent.

HOLMAN, Commissioner.

The information herein charged the defendant with robbery in the first degree by means of a dangerous and deadly weapon. See Sections 560.120 and 560.135 (unless otherwise indicated all statutory references are to RSMo 1959, V.A.M.S.). He was also charged with a prior felony conviction. In accordance with the provisions of Section 556.280 the trial court held a hearing outside of the presence of the jury and found that defendant had been priorly convicted of robbery, not armed, in the Superior Court of Cook County, Illinois, and sentenced to confinement in the penitentiary for not less than one nor more than two years and was imprisoned in the penitentiary under said sentence until duly discharged. The jury thereafter found defendant guilty of the offense charged. In compliance with the provisions of Section 556.280(1) the trial court fixed defendant's punishment at imprisonment in the penitentiary for a term of 20 years. Defendant has appealed from the ensuing judgment and sentence.

A brief statement of facts will suffice. There was evidence which would support a finding that defendant, together with one James L. Owens, entered a Kroger Store located at 3417 Ohio Street, St. Louis, Missouri, and took $120 in the manner hereinafter described. The robbery occurred at about 8:45 a. m. on October 10, 1959. Unon entering the store defendant approached the office and, with a gun in his hand, demanded money from the 'cost manager,' Mr. Schaefer. Schaefer avoided giving him any money by stating that he could not open the safe. Defendant then approached the check-out station of Mrs. Hazel Meyer, pointed the gun at her, and demanded that she open the cash register. She opened the register and defendant took the money therefrom. Defendant and Owens left the store and drove away in a black Ford car. Mr. Schaefer obtained the license number on the car and reported it to the police.

One of the customers in the store, Robert Culis, followed the Ford in his car for several blocks until defendant and Owens transferred to another car. Culis obtained the license number on the second car (Plymouth) and it was reported to police headquarters. The information concerning the robbery was broadcast to the police patrol cars and the Plymouth was seen a few minutes later parked near a rooming house located at 2023 Park Avenue. Owens was arrested as he entered the Plymouth. Defendant was arrested on the second floor of the rooming house. According to detective Conners he resisted arrest and Conners had to strike him on the head with the butt of his gun. At that time defendant had $81.36 on his person and a search of his room produced two guns (one of which was identified as the gun used by defendant in the robbery), and a hat and jacket which witnesses identified as being the same or similar to those worn by defendant at the time he was in the store.

There was a great deal of evidence which connected defendant with the offense charged. He was positively identified as the robber by Mr. Schaefer, Mrs. Hazel Meyer, Wayne Chapman, head grocery clerk, and customer Robert Culis. Also, on the day following his arrest, defendant signed a statement in which he admitted participation in the robbery in about the same manner as heretofore detailed.

Defendant testified in his defense of the charge. He denied having committed the robbery in question and repudiated his confession stating that he signed it only after rough treatment and extensive questioning by police.

In his pro se brief defendant first attacks the information upon the ground that it fails to adequately state an offense and also fails to sufficiently connect him with the crime charged. The charging portion of the information is phrased in substantially the same language as the information we approved in the case of State v Perry, Mo.Sup., 233 S.W.2d 717. We accordingly rule that it states an offense under the provisions of Section 560.120.

The next contention briefed is that the court erred in admitting in evidence State's exhibits 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7 'for the reason that at no time during the trial were said exhibits shown to have been the property of, or in the possession of the appellant, or to have been used in the commission of the crime for which the appellant was on trial.' There is no factual basis for this contention. All of these exhibits were found in defendant's room when it was searched immediately following his arrest. Exhibit 1 was identified as the gun used by defendant in committing the robbery. Exhibits 2 and 3 were the hat and jacket which were identified as being the same or similar to those worn by defendant while in the store. Exhibit 5 was the clip, and exhibit 6 was the bullets which were removed from defendant's gun (exhibit 1) after it was found in his room. We are of the opinion that under the circumstances here shown it was not error to admit exhibits 5 and 6, thus showing that the gun used by defendant was loaded when found about thirty minutes after the robbery.

Exhibit 7 was the other gun found in defendant's room. Defendant says it was erroneously admitted because it did not tend to prove the crime charged but could serve only to prejudice the minds of the jurors against him. Defendant admitted ownership of this gun and there was evidence to indicate that it was used by Owens in the commission of the robbery. Under these...

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22 cases
  • State v. Harless
    • United States
    • West Virginia Supreme Court
    • 18 Diciembre 1981
    ...since the actual force on the victim can be presumed to have engendered fear. Thomas v. State, 183 So.2d 297 (Fla.1966); State v. Ray, 354 S.W.2d 840 (Mo.1962), cert. denied, 371 U.S. 868, 83 S.Ct. 129, 9 L.Ed.2d 104; State v. Ball, 339 S.W.2d 783 (Mo.1960); Tones v. State, 48 Tex.Crim.App.......
  • State v. Kimball, 11546
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • 10 Marzo 1981
    ...infer that the victim was put in fear of immediate injury to his person. State v. Reeder, 394 S.W.2d 355, 359 (Mo.1965); State v. Ray, 354 S.W.2d 840, 843 (Mo.1962). As noted, a judgment of conviction must be supported by evidence of the defendant's criminal agency. This is not a case, howe......
  • Chism v. Cowan
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • 11 Septiembre 1967
    ...intentional shotgun assault and wounding of plaintiff by defendant. State v. Wynne, 353 Mo. 276, 182 S.W.2d 294, 299(7); State v. Ray, Mo., 354 S.W.2d 840, 842(2, 3); State v. Cooper, Mo., 259 S.W. 434, Exhibit 12 was identified by Doctor Sunderwirth and Exhibits 13 and 14 were identified b......
  • Dallenbach v. State
    • United States
    • Wyoming Supreme Court
    • 1 Abril 1977 fear when suddenly confronted with a gun in the grasp of a robber is contrary to the universal experience of all mankind. State v. Ray, Mo., 354 S.W.2d 840. The element 'in fear,' as contemplated by the statute, has been Finally, Daellenbach asserts that notwithstanding the disposition o......
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