State v. Wakefield

Decision Date16 April 1999
Docket NumberNo. 80,320,80,320
Citation267 Kan. 116,977 P.2d 941
PartiesSTATE of Kansas, Appellee, v. Jason M. WAKEFIELD, Appellant.
CourtKansas Supreme Court

Syllabus by the Court

1. When the sufficiency of the evidence is challenged, the standard of review is whether, after review of all the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the prosecution, the appellate court is convinced that a rational factfinder could have found the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

2. It is well established in Kansas law that the mere presence of an accused at the time and place of the crime alleged is not sufficient to make the accused guilty of the crime, but if from the facts and circumstances surrounding the defendant's presence at the time it appears that the defendant's presence did in fact encourage someone else to commit the criminal act, guilt may be inferred.

3. In the absence of anything in a person's conduct showing a design to encourage, incite, aid, abet, or assist in the crime, the trier of the facts may consider failure of such person to oppose the commission of the crime in connection with other circumstances and conclude therefrom that the person assented to the commission of the crime, lent his or her countenance and approval thereto, and thereby aided and abetted the commission of the crime.

4. K.S.A.1998 Supp. 22-2901(1) provides, in part, that when an arrest is made in the county where the crime charged is alleged to have been committed, the person arrested shall be taken without unnecessary delay before the nearest magistrate and a complaint shall be filed forthwith. The statute provides no sanctions in the event there is unnecessary delay in taking a person under arrest before the nearest available magistrate.

5. The purpose of the initial appearance of an accused before a magistrate after an arrest is to safeguard individual rights without hampering effective and intelligent law enforcement. The purpose of the rule is to abolish unlawful detention that provides an opportunity for improper pressure by the police before the arrestee has been informed of his or her rights. It is designed to reduce the opportunity for third-degree practices by the police and to protect the rights of the accused by making certain that he or she is advised of constitutional rights by a judicial officer.

6. An unwarranted delay in taking the accused before a magistrate after he or she has been arrested is not in itself a denial of due process unless it has in some way prejudiced the right of the accused to a fair trial. Whether a delay is prejudicial depends on the facts and circumstances of the case.

7. It is well settled that an extrajudicial confession will not be received in evidence unless it has been freely and voluntarily made. If it has been extorted by fear or induced by hope of profit, benefit, or amelioration, it will be excluded as involuntary. However, the advice or admonition to the defendant to speak the truth, which does not import either a threat or benefit, will not make a following confession incompetent.

8. It is constitutionally required that a search warrant shall particularly describe the place to be searched. A search warrant directed against a multiple occupancy structure generally will be held invalid if it fails to describe the particular room or subunit to be 9. A trial court's denial of a motion to suppress evidence will be upheld on review if supported by substantial competent evidence. When reviewing a decision on a motion to suppress, the appellate court gives great deference to the trial court's factual findings, though the ultimate determination of the suppression of the evidence is a legal question requiring independent appellate determination.

searched with sufficient definiteness to preclude a search of other units.

10. The rule in Kansas is that absent a stipulation of the parties, the results of a polygraph examination are too unreliable to be admissible at trial. The prohibition is based on the reliability of the results to accurately measure truthfulness or deceptiveness and the unique role of the jury as the truthfinder in court.

11. Any person who counsels, aids, or abets in the commission of any offense may be charged, tried, convicted, and sentenced in the same manner as if he or she were a principal.

Richard Ney, of Law Offices of Richard Ney, of Wichita, argued the cause and was on the briefs for appellant.

Debra S. Peterson, assistant district attorney, argued the cause, and Nola Foulston, district attorney, and Carla J. Stovall, attorney general, were with her on the brief for appellee.


Defendant appeals his convictions of premeditated murder, felony murder, aggravated burglary, and felony theft and the trial court's imposition of the hard 40 sentence. Defendant claims the evidence was insufficient to convict for first-degree premeditated murder, his statements to the police should have been suppressed, failure to suppress evidence seized from his residence was error, his warrantless arrest was improper, the court's failure to admit polygraph evidence was error, his sentence for premeditated murder was illegal, and the trial court erred in imposing the hard 40 sentence.

On September 13, 1996, at approximately 7 a.m., Sedgwick County deputy sheriff officers Phillip Gleason and Gary Henderson, were dispatched to a residence in a rural area of Wichita. The dispatcher advised that a 911 caller had reported two dead bodies at the residence.

As officers approached the house, they noted that the back door was open, the kitchen had been ransacked, and the lights did not work. When Officer Gleason called out to identify himself as a police officer, there was no response. The officers walked through the first floor of the residence noting the disarray and other evidence of a burglary. When Officer Gleason reached the stairway to the second floor, he again called out to identify himself. A small child answered from upstairs.

Two children came down the stairs, a boy and a girl, around 4 and 6 years of age. When Officer Gleason asked the boy where his parents were, the child responded, "They're upstairs in the bedroom. They're dead." Their 9-year-old sister had gone to a neighbor's house to call 911. An officer took the children outside the residence to a place of safety.

Officers Gleason and Henderson went up the stairs to the second floor. The officers entered the master bedroom and found the bodies of a man and a woman lying under the covers in the bed. The victims, later identified as Doug and Beth Brittain, had each been shot in the face.

The officers secured the crime scene. In the kitchen, Officer Gleason found a .22 caliber sawed-off rifle on the kitchen counter which contained one live round in the chamber, but the gun was not operational. In the backyard of the residence, the officers found a purse containing a driver's license issued to Beth Brittain. Subsequent investigation revealed that some of the electric breaker switches had been pulled shutting off electricity to parts of the house. Numerous items taken from the Brittain home included televisions, a suitcase, stereo boom box, carrying case, VCR, vacuum sweeper, stereo, and several guns.

The day after the murders, police officers made a routine traffic stop of a car in which Gavin Scott was a passenger. Noting the suspicious behavior of the occupants in the In the search of the car, the officers found a magazine clip and a Raven .25 semiautomatic pistol near where Scott had been sitting. The officers arrested Scott for possession of a firearm after a felony conviction. Further investigation revealed that the Raven was one of several guns stolen in the burglary of the Brittain residence. When questioned by officers, Scott confessed to being a participant in the burglary. Scott was later charged with aggravated burglary and felony theft, two counts of premeditated first-degree murder, and possession of a firearm after a felony conviction.

car, the officers obtained the driver's consent to search the car.

Based on information known to the officers, a search warrant was obtained for 1638 N. Woodlawn, Wichita, Kansas, the property where Scott and several others lived. The property included a primary residence, 1638 N. Woodlawn, and a smaller secondary residence, 1636 N. Woodlawn, which was attached to the primary residence at the roof line. The defendant, Jason Wakefield, lived in the secondary residence.

When the officers executed the search warrant at 7 a.m. on September 17, 1996, Wakefield was found hiding in the attic of the secondary residence. Wakefield was arrested and taken to jail. Items seized in executing the search included: ammunition, a 9mm Beretta handgun, television, VCR, video camera, vacuum sweeper, wallet, and stereo.

After Wakefield's arrest in the early morning hours of September 17, 1996, and before his first appearance on the afternoon of September 19, 1996, he gave three videotaped statements to law enforcement officers. On September 19, 1996, Wakefield was charged with aggravated burglary, two counts of premeditated first-degree murder, and one count of felony theft.

Upon motion of the State, Wakefield's and Scott's trials were severed. Prior to trial, Wakefield filed a motion to suppress the evidence seized during the execution of the search warrant at his residence, a motion to suppress statements elicited from him following his arrest, a motion to quash his arrest and suppress evidence obtained as a result of the arrest, and a motion to admit the results of polygraph tests which the sheriff's officers administered to him during their investigation of the crimes. Hearings were held on Wakefield's motions on April 23 and 25, 1997. The trial court denied each motion.

The jury trial commenced on April 28, 1997. The jury convicted Wakefield of one count of felony theft, two counts of premeditated murder, two counts of felony murder, two counts of...

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69 cases
  • State v. Ackward, No. 91,755.
    • United States
    • Kansas Supreme Court
    • February 10, 2006
    ...this court considered the argument that repeated police use of false information overcame the defendant's will: "In State v. Wakefield, 267 Kan. 116, 977 P.2d 941 (1999), this court considered whether the defendant's statements were coerced when officers falsely represented that they had in......
  • State v. Scott, No. 83,801.
    • United States
    • Kansas Supreme Court
    • May 16, 2008
    ...evidence necessary to support his convictions. A narrative of the underlying facts and circumstances as reported in State v. Wakefield, 267 Kan. 116, 977 P.2d 941 (1999), was largely replicated in this proceeding. Additional facts will be provided where appropriate under the issues raised o......
  • State v. Jackson
    • United States
    • Kansas Supreme Court
    • September 9, 2005
    ...charged, tried, convicted, and sentenced in the same manner as if he or she were a principal. [Citation omitted.]" State v. Wakefield, 267 Kan. 116, 142, 977 P.2d 941 (1999). Because it was reasonably foreseeable that Combs and Clanton would continue to confine Williams and drive to Kansas ......
  • State v. Morton
    • United States
    • Kansas Supreme Court
    • July 3, 2008 a suspect about the strength of the evidence do not, by themselves, render the suspect's confession involuntary. State v. Wakefield, 267 Kan. 116, 128, 977 P.2d 941 (1999). Rather, they must be viewed in conjunction with the totality of the circumstances surrounding the confession to det......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
  • Pardon Me, May I . . . ? Consent Searches in Kansas
    • United States
    • Kansas Bar Association KBA Bar Journal No. 83-4, April 2014
    • Invalid date
    ...701 F.3d 1300, 1319-20 (10th Cir. 2012); State v. Tatum, 40 Kan. App. 2d 846, 196 P.3d 441 (2008); State v. Wakefield, 267 Kan. 166, 127, 977 P.2d 941 (1999). [32]Eidson v. Owens, 515 F.3d 1139, 1146 (10th Cir. 2008). [33]Id. (officer's threat to hold suspect up to 3 days while a warrant wa......
  • Pardon Me, May I ...? Consent Searches in Kansas
    • United States
    • Kansas Bar Association KBA Bar Journal No. 83-4, April 2014
    • Invalid date
    ...701 F.3d 1300, 1319-20 (10th Cir. 2012); State v. Tatum, 40 Kan.App.2d 846, 196 P.3d 441 (2008); State v. Wakefield, 267 Kan. 166, 127, 977 P.2d 941 (1999). [32] Eidson v. Owens, 515 F.3d 1139, 1146 (10th Cir. 2008). [33] Id. (officer’s threat to hold suspect up to 3 days while a warrant wa......

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