State v. Thompson

Decision Date07 January 1966
Docket NumberNos. 39343,39702,s. 39343
Citation273 Minn. 1,139 N.W.2d 490
PartiesSTATE of Minnesota, Respondent, v. T. Eugene THOMPSON, Appellant.
CourtMinnesota Supreme Court

Syllabus by the Court

1. While an indictment must be based on competent evidence, it will not ordinarily be quashed because some incompetent evidence comes before the grand jury if there is sufficient competent evidence to sustain it.

2. When there is prima facie proof of the existence of a conspiracy to commit a crime, the acts and declarations of any of those in the conspiracy made in furtherance thereof become admissible as evidence in the trial of any of the coconspirators. While ordinarily hearsay statements of alleged coconspirators should not be admitted until there is prima facie proof of the conspiracy, the trial court is allowed some latitude in the order of proof; and if an examination of the record as a whole shows facts from which the court could reasonably infer the existence of a conspiracy the case will not be reversed because the proof of a conspiracy came at the wrong time. In this case the evidence sufficiently establishes a conspiracy so that the hearsay 3. Where police officers in their investigation of a crime enter premises on which the crime was committed owned or occupied by one not then suspected of complicity in the crime, with his express or tacit consent, and in the process discover and seize articles or instruments used in the commission of the crime, there is no unlawful invasion of privacy of the owner or occupant of the premises. If upon further investigation the owner or occupant of such premises is charged with complicity in the crime he cannot then retroactively suppress such evidence as the fruits of an unlawful search and seizure.

statements of alleged coconspirators were admissible.

3a. Where defendant's motion to suppress evidence as fruits of an unlawful search and seizure is denied he has sufficiently preserved his record so that the action of the trial court may be reviewed on appeal.

4. After a witness is called and testifies for the prosecution an accused person has the right to examine unprivileged pretrial statements of the witness for the purpose of determining whether he wishes to use such statements for impeachment purposes, without laying any further foundation than showing that such statements were made. If the prosecution objects to the relevancy of the statements, the court shall examine them in camera and excise those portions not relevant to the testimony of the witness. All portions of the statements so excised shall be made a part of the record so that the court's action in denying the accused access to them may be reviewed on appeal.

5. Where it appears that a juror has read newspaper articles discussing certain aspects of a criminal case, before such conduct will furnish grounds for a new trial, it must appear that the juror read such articles and was influenced thereby to the prejudice of the defendant and that, having knowledge of the fact prior to submission of the case to the jury, defendant requested appropriate action by the trial court.

6. Where the venue of the criminal case was changed from Ramsey County to Hennepin County at the request of the accused and no further request was made for a change from Hennepin County, and it does not appear that the 12 jurors accepted to try the case were biased, a new trial will not be granted unless it appears affirmatively that the defendant did not have a fair trial.

7. The evidence in this case contained in a voluminous record has been thoroughly examined and found to be sufficient to sustain the conviction of the defendant. Hearsay evidence of alleged coconspirators admitted after the court has found that there was prima facie proof of conspiracy coupled with circumstantial evidence corroborating such hearsay testimony was sufficient to support the jury's finding of guilt.

8. Where one of alleged coconspirators repudiated his testimony at the trial and a hearing was granted to test the credibility of such repudiation, at which time the alleged coconspirator reaffirmed testimony given at the trial, and the court found that such witness told the truth at the trial rather than at the time of the repudiation, we accept the decision of the trial court in refusing to grant a new trial based on such newly discovered evidence.

C. Paul Jones, Minneapolis, for appellant.

Robert W. Mattson, Atty. Gen., William B. Randall, County Atty., Henry W. Pickett, Jr., Asst. County Atty., St. Paul, for respondent.

KNUTSON, Chief Justice.

Defendant was convicted of first-degree murder and appeals from an order denying The conviction resulted from the brutal murder of defendant's wife, Carol Thompson, on March 6, 1963, admittedly by one Dick W. C. Anderson.

his motion for a judgment of acquittal notwithstanding the verdict of for a new trial; from a supplemental order denying his motion for a new trial on the grounds of newly discovered evidence; and from the judgment of conviction.

At the time defendant's wife was killed defendant was a practicing attorney of some prominence in the city of St. Paul. He was admitted to the bar in 1955 after having attended Macalester College from 1946 to 1950 and the St. Paul College of Law from 1951 to 1955. After working at some jobs that are not of importance here, he began practicing law and was quite successful, mainly in the fields of personal injury, domestic relations, and criminal law. He was very active in bar association activities and did some teaching at the William Mitchell College of Law.

While attending Macalester College defendant met and married his wife. They have four children, a son born in 1949, and three girls born in 1951, 1953, and 1956. The family moved into the home in which they were living at the time of Mrs. Thompson's death in 1958. The home is located at 1720 Hillcrest Avenue in St. Paul. Both defendant and his wife were active in many community affairs and in their church. Defendant had served as an elder and a trustee of his church. So far as the record shows, their married life was harmonious and they seemed to get along well together, taking many trips with each other.

During the summer of 1960 defendant commenced a social relationship with one Jacqueline Okoneski whom, to begin with, he had represented in a divorce action. The relationship continued on a fairly regular basis until December 1961, and included Dinner dates, visits by defendant to her apartment, some trips to out-state motels, frequent trips to a lake home at Forest Lake, Minnesota, owned by Carol's father, and one trip to Chicago. During 1961 Jackie attended a business school. She paid the tuition and expenses with money borrowed from defendant and upon her completion of this study was employed by defendant as a secretary. She repaid the money borrowed to pay for her education. In December 1961 Jackie began dating one Ronald Olesen, and early in 1962 returned a ring to defendant which he had given her shortly before that time. In the month of January 1962 Jackie terminated her employment with defendant's law firm. After December 1961 she dated defendant only a few times and on those occasions indicated that she was interested in marrying Ronald Olesen. She testified that in February 1962 defendant asked her if, before she made a final decision, she would give him a year or 11 months to get his financial affairs straightened around so as to arrange for the financial well-being of his family, but that she refused to do so. It appears that after the early part of 1962 Jackie saw defendant only a few times, for business purposes. In June 1962 she married Ronald Olesen. Sometime later in the summer of 1962 she came to defendant's office to discuss with him obtaining a divorce from Olesen, and papers were drawn to commence a divorce action. According to Jackie, she had lunch with defendant during the summer of 1962 and he asked her if she would marry him if he put $10,000 in the bank in her name, but she replied in the negative. In September 1962 Jackie's divorce action was commenced by defendant. The papers were personally served upon Olesen by defendant. It appears that in October 1962 a reconciliation was contemplated and defendant requested a friend of Jackie's to discourage her from such reconciliation with her husband. It does appear that in November 1962 Jackie and her husband were reconciled and living together. Defendant called her a few times and in December In January 1962 defendant and his wife traveled to Chicago and visited with acquaintances by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Gove, whom they had known since their days at Macalester College. Mr. Gove was in the insurance business and after being informed that Carol Thompson had very little insurance on her life he strongly urged Thompson to purchase some such insurance. He recommended a $50,000 ordinary life policy. Upon their return to St. Paul defendant had a conversation with his regular insurance agent, James Treanor. Inquiry was made about term insurance, and as a result of this interview and further negotiations defendant purchased insurance, much of which was term insurance with accidental death benefits, or purely accidental death insurance. This brought the aggregate insurance on her life to $1,061,000. The attached chart shows the amount and nature of the term insurance and the time it was purchased.

1962 he had some harsh words with her husband, who would not permit defendant to speak with Jackie. She testified that sometime shortly after Christmas 1962 defendant called her at her work and asked her if she would be interested in taking an apartment in a building he owned, but that she refused. This appears to be the last time he contacted her prior to the death of Mrs. Thompson.

Defendant explained to Treanor and testified at the trial that his desire for this amount of insurance was based on the fact that if he died first his...

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  • State v. Fairchild
    • United States
    • West Virginia Supreme Court
    • November 18, 1982
    ...out-of-court statement of a coconspirator has been described in a variety of manners by different courts. For example, in State v. Thompson, 273 Minn. 1, 139 N.W.2d 490, cert. denied, 385 U.S. 817, 87 S.Ct. 39, 17 L.Ed.2d 56 (1966), the court held that a prima facie case was made if there w......
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