State v. Wise, No. 73648

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtCOVINGTON
Citation879 S.W.2d 494
PartiesSTATE of Missouri, Respondent, v. Jessie Lee WISE, Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 73648
Decision Date21 June 1994

Page 494

879 S.W.2d 494
STATE of Missouri, Respondent,
v.
Jessie Lee WISE, Appellant.
No. 73648.
Supreme Court of Missouri,
En Banc.
June 21, 1994.
Modified on Denial of Rehearing Aug. 15, 1994.

Page 501

William J. Swift, Office of the State Public Defender, Columbia, for appellant.

Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon, Atty. Gen., Michael J. Spillane, Asst. Atty. Gen., Jefferson City, for respondent.

COVINGTON, Chief Justice.

A jury found appellant Jessie Lee Wise guilty of first degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action, stealing, and first degree robbery, and recommended a sentence of death. The trial court sentenced appellant to death. The postconviction court overruled appellant's Rule 29.15 motion. Appellant raises numerous points of error on appeal. This Court has exclusive appellate jurisdiction. Mo. Const. art. V, § 3. Affirmed.

Appellant does not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence. Viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, the evidence shows that in 1972, appellant, at age eighteen, pled guilty to and was convicted of first degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison. While in prison, appellant met and became friends with fellow inmate, Dexter Davis. Appellant was later released on parole.

In 1988, appellant was hired as a maintenance worker at Shaw Park Condominiums located in Clayton, Missouri. He moved on-site into one of the condominium's units. One of the tenants, Mrs. Geraldine Rose

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McDonald, occasionally had appellant wash and wax her red BMW.

On the morning of August 27, 1988, appellant went to Mrs. McDonald's condominium. Mrs. McDonald let appellant inside and they discussed his washing and waxing her car. Appellant told Mrs. McDonald that he needed thirty dollars in advance. Mrs. McDonald stated that the price was too high, refused to pay, and started walking to the back of the condominium.

As Mrs. McDonald walked away, appellant removed the adjustable jaw and ring from a large pipe wrench that he used for pool maintenance. He put the adjustable jaw and ring into his pocket, walked down the hallway after Mrs. McDonald, and struck her three to four times in the back of the head, shattering her skull. Appellant took Mrs. McDonald's money, jewelry, and credit cards. He returned over the next two days to take more jewelry and Mrs. McDonald's BMW. Appellant traded some of the jewelry for cocaine, gave some of it to his wife, and, with the help of Dexter Davis, pawned the rest.

Mrs. McDonald's husband and two daughters found her body on Monday night, August 29, 1988, lying face down in a pool of blood in the doorway to the master bedroom; blood splatters covered the walls and ceiling. The body was nude from the waist down. Many of the drawers in the bedroom were open, with several jewelry boxes on the floor. The pipe wrench was on a chair next to the body.

On August 30, police decided to question appellant. About one block away from his residence of record at 4113 Flad, they found Mrs. McDonald's parked BMW. When they met appellant in a neighbor's apartment, he initially gave the name Oscar. Upon leaving the apartment, appellant asked his stepson to retrieve his cigarettes, shoes, and jacket. When police accompanied the stepson to an upstairs apartment, they found Mrs. McDonald's car keys on a bedroom table. Inside appellant's jacket pocket they recovered Mrs. McDonald's credit cards. During an inventory search, they recovered a pawn ticket from the Easton Loan Company. At the Easton Loan Pawn Shop police eventually recovered Mrs. McDonald's jewelry.

At the police station, appellant gave an oral statement. He told police that on Friday or Saturday, he went to Mrs. McDonald's apartment to get an advance for washing and waxing her BMW. She became upset over his stated fee and began to walk down the hallway. At that point, appellant said that he felt desperate and he needed money and was not leaving without something. Appellant admitted using the pipe wrench to kill Mrs. McDonald. He stated that he removed the adjustable jaw and ring before he struck her in the back of the head with the wrench at least three times.

Appellant described how he tried to move the body because he thought Mrs. McDonald was still breathing. He then described how he took her condominium key and money and then left to buy cocaine. Finally, he described how he returned the next day and took the jewelry. He then drove away in Mrs. McDonald's BMW and tried to trade the jewelry for cocaine. He admitted returning to the apartment a third time, on Sunday, for more jewelry. He said he traded some jewelry for cocaine and also gave some jewelry to his wife.

Appellant's fingerprints were found on the jewelry boxes in the condominium and on the BMW. Police recovered one of Mrs. McDonald's rings from appellant's wife.

At trial appellant testified that he had been intimately involved with Mrs. McDonald. He denied killing her, but admitted stealing the jewelry.

Additional facts are presented where relevant.

SUPPRESSION OF EVIDENCE ISSUES

Appellant asserts that the police violated his Fourth Amendment rights, applied to Missouri through the Fourteenth Amendment, because they did not have an arrest or search warrant when they arrested him and seized evidence. Appellant also asserts that, because of cocaine intoxication, he was incapable of knowingly and intelligently waiving his Miranda rights. He contends, therefore, that the trial court erred in overruling his

Page 503

pretrial motion to suppress the seized evidence and confession.

Appellate review of motions to suppress is limited to a determination of whether sufficient evidence exists to sustain a trial court's holding. State v. Blair, 691 S.W.2d 259, 260 (Mo. banc 1985), cert. granted, 474 U.S. 1049, 106 S.Ct. 784, 88 L.Ed.2d 762 (1986), cert. dismissed, 480 U.S. 698, 107 S.Ct. 1596, 94 L.Ed.2d 678 (1987). The record of the suppression hearing supports the following factual account. During the investigation of Mrs. McDonald's murder, the police learned that appellant worked as the condominium's maintenance worker and that he had not been seen for two or three days. In the condominium's locked tool storage area, police found an adjustable jaw and ring that appeared to be the missing parts of the murder weapon. The condominium's manager informed police that appellant had the only other key to the tool area. A police computer check revealed appellant's previous murder conviction. The computer check reported appellant's address as 4113-A Flad. Around noon on Tuesday, August 30, Clayton police officers decided to check out the address. The officers found Mrs. McDonald's BMW parked approximately one block from the Flad address.

The building at the Flad address contains two apartment units, one at ground level, the other upstairs. Each unit has its own entry door facing a small front porch. Upon arrival at the apartment building, the officers encountered ten-year-old Angela Crawford standing on the front porch in the open doorway of the downstairs unit. Angela told the officers that appellant sometimes stayed in the upstairs unit, but that he did not live there. She told the police that appellant was using her telephone in the downstairs unit. Through the open doorway to the downstairs apartment unit, police saw appellant in the hallway using the telephone. The police followed Angela inside as she pointed out the appellant. Appellant "stopped dead" when he saw the police. He identified himself as Oscar when questioned, but revealed that he was Jessie Lee Wise when police demanded identification. The officers placed him under arrest and read him the Miranda warnings, but did not question him while at the apartment.

As officers led appellant onto the front porch, he asked his fourteen-year-old stepson, Arbra Martin, to go to the upstairs apartment unit and get his shoes, coat, and cigarettes. Arbra told the police to come with him and that he would give the police the requested items. Arbra told the police that appellant did not live in the upstairs apartment, but that he occasionally visited. Arbra stated that appellant had last stayed at the upstairs apartment over the weekend.

Police followed Arbra into the upstairs apartment unit and proceeded with him to a bedroom. Arbra entered the bedroom to retrieve appellant's shoes and coat. An officer waiting in the bedroom's doorway seized a set of BMW keys that he noticed on a bedroom table. Arbra handed appellant's jacket to a detective who searched the pockets, finding Mrs. McDonald's credit cards. Police asked Arbra if appellant had brought any jewelry into the apartment. Arbra said that he had and gave the officers a small gold chain from the bedroom dresser. During a routine inventory search the police found pawn tickets in appellant's wallet. Police went to the pawn shops with the tickets and found more of Mrs. McDonald's jewelry.

Appellant does not challenge the police's probable cause to arrest. Instead, he asserts that because the police did not have an arrest or search warrant to enter the downstairs apartment unit, the arrest violated the Fourth Amendment. He also asserts that the evidence found in the upstairs apartment unit was illegally seized.

In Jones v. United States, 362 U.S. 257, 267, 80 S.Ct. 725, 734, 4 L.Ed.2d 697 (1960), the United States Supreme Court held that criminal defendants who were "legitimately on the premises" have standing to challenge Fourth Amendment violations. Eighteen years later, in Rakas v. Illinois, 439 U.S. 128, 142, 99 S.Ct. 421, 429, 58 L.Ed.2d 387 (1978), the Court explicitly overruled the Jones test for Fourth Amendment standing as being "too broad a gauge." The Rakas Court stated that Fourth Amendment rights are personal rights that may not be

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vicariously asserted. Id. at 138-40, 99 S.Ct. at 427-29. To have standing to assert Fourth Amendment violations, a defendant must demonstrate a legitimate expectation of privacy in...

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116 practice notes
  • State v. Deck, No. 80821
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 1, 1999
    ...use do not provide for a definition, the court must not give one." State v. Feltrop, 803 S.W.2d 1, 14 (Mo. banc 1991). In State v. Wise, 879 S.W.2d 494, 518, (Mo. banc 1994), a case particularly on point, the defendant claimed the trial court erred in refusing the defendant's tender of an i......
  • State v. Carson, No. 79120
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • March 25, 1997
    ...(emphasis added). This Court has held that the emphasized language does not constitute an "acquittal first" instruction. State v. Wise, 879 S.W.2d 494, 517 (Mo. banc 1994), cert. denied, 513 U.S. 1093, 115 S.Ct. 757, 130 L.Ed.2d 656 (1995); See State v. Parker, 886 S.W.2d 908, 923 (Mo. banc......
  • State v. Kinder, No. 75082
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • December 17, 1996
    ...has been fully addressed in earlier cases and always rejected. See Chambers, 891 S.W.2d at 105; Harris, 870 S.W.2d at 811; State v. Wise, 879 S.W.2d 494, 517 (Mo. banc 1994). This point is Kinder finally contends that the trial court violated his constitutional rights when it denied his mot......
  • State v. Parker, No. 74794
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 25, 1994
    ...the victim as a mother, daughter, friend, and roommate. Parker's failure to Page 923 object at trial waives this claim. State v. Wise, 879 S.W.2d 494, 516 (Mo. banc 1994). Gratuitous review reveals any error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. Point C. Reasonable Doubt Instructions Park......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
77 cases
  • State v. Deck, No. 80821
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 1, 1999
    ...do not provide for a definition, the court must not give one." State v. Feltrop, 803 S.W.2d 1, 14 (Mo. banc 1991). In State v. Wise, 879 S.W.2d 494, 518, (Mo. banc 1994), a case particularly on point, the defendant claimed the trial court erred in refusing the defendant's tender of an ......
  • State v. Carson, No. 79120
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • March 25, 1997
    ...added). This Court has held that the emphasized language does not constitute an "acquittal first" instruction. State v. Wise, 879 S.W.2d 494, 517 (Mo. banc 1994), cert. denied, 513 U.S. 1093, 115 S.Ct. 757, 130 L.Ed.2d 656 (1995); See State v. Parker, 886 S.W.2d 908, 923 (Mo. banc......
  • State v. Kinder, No. 75082
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • December 17, 1996
    ...has been fully addressed in earlier cases and always rejected. See Chambers, 891 S.W.2d at 105; Harris, 870 S.W.2d at 811; State v. Wise, 879 S.W.2d 494, 517 (Mo. banc 1994). This point is Kinder finally contends that the trial court violated his constitutional rights when it denied his mot......
  • State v. Parker, No. 74794
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 25, 1994
    ...the victim as a mother, daughter, friend, and roommate. Parker's failure to Page 923 object at trial waives this claim. State v. Wise, 879 S.W.2d 494, 516 (Mo. banc 1994). Gratuitous review reveals any error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. Point C. Reasonable Doubt Instructions Park......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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