State v. Segotta, 5685

Citation100 N.M. 18,1983 NMCA 54,665 P.2d 280
Decision Date05 May 1983
Docket NumberNo. 5685,5685
PartiesSTATE of New Mexico, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Lisa Jeanette SEGOTTA, a/k/a Lisa J. Baca, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtCourt of Appeals of New Mexico
Paul G. Bardacke, Atty. Gen., Carol Vigil, Asst. Atty. Gen., Santa Fe, for plaintiff-appellee


Defendant Lisa Segotta appeals her convictions for second degree murder as an accessory in the death of her husband, John Segotta, contrary to Sec. 30-2-1(B), N.M.S.A.1978 (1982 Cum.Supp.), and solicitation to commit murder contrary to Secs. 30-28-3 and 30-2-1(A), N.M.S.A.1978 (1982 Cum.Supp.). Defendant was acquitted of charges of first degree murder and conspiracy. A co-defendant, David Mead (Mead), was convicted of second degree murder and pursues a separate appeal.

We discuss (1) the denial of defendant's severance motion; (2) admission of defendant's statements; and (3) answer other issues summarily. Additional claims listed in the docketing statement and not briefed are deemed abandoned. State v. Edwards, 97 N.M. 141, 637 P.2d 572 (Ct.App.), cert. denied, 97 N.M. 621, 642 P.2d 607 (1981). We affirm.


On the evening of March 30, 1981, defendant and her husband drove to his office at an engineering firm in Albuquerque at her request, so that she could type a paper for a class at the University of New Mexico. Defendant and her husband stayed at the office approximately 30 minutes and then left to return home. As they exited the building, defendant testified that a man grabbed her husband by the neck and she saw another man in the shadows. Defendant ran to a nearby Circle K store.

At the store, defendant related that "they're attacking my husband." A store clerk phoned the police. Defendant, with a customer who had just arrived at the store and three others, ran to the location where defendant stated her husband had been attacked. When defendant and the others arrived at the scene, they found two men lying on the ground. Defendant's husband was dead, having suffered over forty stab wounds. Nearby, Mead, wearing a stocking around his neck, was found gravely wounded and bleeding profusely. Paramedics were summoned. John Brown, a paramedic, testified that upon his arrival Mead was still thrusting a large knife about and he had to wait until police took it away from him before he could render medical assistance. Mead had received a massive wound to his left leg; subsequently the leg was amputated.

According to the testimony of witnesses, when defendant returned to the scene, she ran to the first individual on the ground and said "John, John," and then "Oh, no, that's David." A police investigator, Robert Romero, found a blue Datsun automobile parked nearby with a door open and keys in the ignition. A vehicle registration check revealed that the car was owned by a roommate of Mead. Defendant's fingerprint was found on a wrapper for women's hosiery in the Datsun automobile located at the scene of the crime.

Officer A.J. Romero testified that when he first arrived at the scene defendant told him that two or possibly three people had attacked her husband. After Romero checked the ownership of the Datsun car found nearby, he asked defendant whether she knew the owner of the car; she responded that he was David Mead's roommate and that she had had an affair with Mead. Romero testified that he asked defendant whether her husband had any enemies that she knew of and that she stated that he had none. He said that she told him that she and her husband had previously experienced marital trouble and that she had planned to get a divorce but that they had reconciled. Police officer Tammy LaDue, who arrived later, also spoke with defendant at the scene and recorded the interview on tape.

At trial, defendant testified that while she and her husband were separated, she had met Mead and they had been sexually intimate. Thereafter, defendant and her husband reconciled and resumed living together; however, defendant continued to see Mead. She admitted at trial that earlier on the day of her husband's death she had visited with Mead at lunch.

Mario Guggino, a manager of a K-Mart Department Store, identified both defendant and Mead and testified that he had sold a large sheath knife to them earlier on the day of the killing. He said that defendant paid for the knife with a check. He also identified a knife found at the scene of the stabbing as the same knife he had sold to defendant and Mead.

Mead testified that defendant had told him that her husband had mistreated and assaulted her during the weekend preceding the killing and that she had requested his help. He stated that defendant had suggested that Mead scare her husband so he would leave her alone. He testified that on the day of the killing he and defendant had discussed some sort of confrontation with her husband. Mead said that as a result of this discussion he borrowed a Datsun automobile from his roommate, planning to confront and frighten defendant's husband. He testified that it had been defendant's idea that he wear the stocking over his head during the confrontation, that defendant had told him she would ask her husband to take her to his office after work so she could type a class paper and Mead could confront her husband there. Mead stated that defendant had told him that she and her husband would leave the office around 10:00 p.m.

Mead further testified that after purchasing the knife, defendant drove him to his home where he strapped it to his leg. He said that he then went to a bar and waited there until approximately 9:30 p.m. He drove to the office of Boyle Engineering, parked the car, left the keys in the ignition, and placed the nylon stocking over his head. When defendant and her husband came out of the building, Mead confronted decedent and a fight ensued. Mead stated that defendant's husband grabbed him, that he felt a sharp pain in his leg and saw a knife in John Segotta's hand. He testified that he then grabbed the knife and stabbed decedent several times but could not recall anything thereafter.

Detective Robert Romero interviewed Mead after he was hospitalized. Mead then said that he and the defendant had planned for several weeks to scare John Segotta or beat him up. Mead also told Romero that he was a knife expert and had killed John Segotta after decedent had first stabbed him in the leg. Photographic evidence of the crime scene and the victim introduced at trial indicated that decedent had been stabbed repeatedly and had suffered at least ten separate wounds to his chest and upper torso resulting in massive wounds and profuse bleeding.

Dr. Gary Ritchey, a psychology professor at the University of New Mexico, testified that defendant was enrolled as a student in his class. He testified that the class paper defendant had typed on the evening of her husband's death was taken word-for-word from a textbook used in the class and was unrelated to any class assignment.

At the time of John Segotta's death, defendant was a part-time employee at Alphagraphics in Albuquerque. Another worker in the building employed by a different company, Maurice Landavazo, testified that approximately a week prior to the time decedent was killed, defendant approached him and asked him whether he knew of a "hit man" near where he lived. The following day, defendant again asked him about locating a "hit man" and explained that a friend of hers needed one. Landavazo testified that defendant told him it would be an easy hit and that the intended victim frequently walked to work through an alley-way or in a large open area. Landavazo testified that defendant told him that her friend would pay $500.00 for the hit and $50.00 to defendant for locating the "hit man." Subsequent testimony revealed that defendant's husband frequently walked to work, customarily following a route which took him through an alley and an open field.

Issues Answered Summarily

(A) Defendant was charged with accomplice liability for first degree murder and convicted of the lesser included offense of second degree murder. Defendant contends that the trial court erred in submitting the charge of second degree murder to the jury because the evidence could only sustain a verdict of either first degree murder or acquittal, not a lesser degree of homicide.

This claim is without merit. Defendant relies upon Smith v. State, 89 N.M. 770, 558 P.2d 39 (1976), for the proposition that a conviction predicated upon a lesser degree of homicide is improper where the evidence only supports a conviction for the higher charge of murder.

Defendant's case is readily distinguishable from the facts in Smith. The evidence presented in the instant case is sufficient to support defendant's conviction as an accessory upon every element of the lesser included offense of second degree murder. State v. Nance, 77 N.M. 39, 419 P.2d 242 (1966), cert. denied, 386 U.S. 1039, 87 S.Ct. 1495, 18 L.Ed.2d 605 (1967); State v. Roque, 91 N.M. 7, 569 P.2d 417 (Ct.App.), cert. denied, 91 N.M. 4, 569 P.2d 414 (1977). The trial court instructed the jury, inter alia, as to second degree murder, N.M.Crim.U.J.I. 2.10, N.M.S.A. 1978 (1982 Repl.Pamph.), and aiding and abetting, N.M.Crim.U.J.I. 28.30, N.M.S.A. 1978 (1982 Repl.Pamph.). In reviewing a challenge as to the sufficiency of the evidence to support a conviction, the standard of review on appeal is whether the evidence, viewed in a light most favorable to the State, convinces the reviewing court that a rational fact finder could have found the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. State v. Gonzales, 95 N.M. 636, 624 P.2d 1033 (Ct.App.1981). The evidence warranted the giving of the second degree murder instruction and supports the verdict of the jury.

(B) Defendant contends the trial court erred in denying her motion for directed verdict as to the charge of solicitation and that the State failed to...

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