State v. Worley, No. 17633

CourtSupreme Court of West Virginia
Writing for the CourtMILLER
Citation369 S.E.2d 706,179 W.Va. 403
PartiesSTATE of West Virginia, Plaintiff Below, Appellee, v. Danny Lee WORLEY, Defendant Below, Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 17633
Decision Date11 April 1988

Page 706

369 S.E.2d 706
179 W.Va. 403
STATE of West Virginia, Plaintiff Below, Appellee,
v.
Danny Lee WORLEY, Defendant Below, Appellant.
No. 17633.
Supreme Court of Appeals of
West Virginia.
April 11, 1988.

[179 W.Va. 406]

Page 709

Syllabus by the Court

1. "Under Rule 41(c) of the West Virginia Rules of Criminal Procedure, it is improper for a circuit court to permit testimony at a suppression hearing concerning information not contained in the search warrant affidavit to bolster the sufficiency of the affidavit unless such information has been contemporaneously recorded at the time the warrant was issued and incorporated by reference into the search warrant affidavit." Syllabus Point 2, State v. Adkins, --- W.Va. ----, 346 S.E.2d 762 (1986).

2. "Under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article III, Section 6 of the West Virginia Constitution, the validity of an affidavit for a search warrant is to be judged by the totality of the information contained in it. Under this rule, a conclusory affidavit is not acceptable nor is an affidavit based on hearsay acceptable unless there is a substantial basis for crediting the hearsay set out in the affidavit which can include the corroborative efforts of police officers." Syllabus Point 4, State v. Adkins, --- W.Va. ----, 346 S.E.2d 762 (1986).

3. "The general rule is that the voluntary consent of a person who owns or controls premises to a search of such premises is sufficient to authorize such search without a search warrant, and that a search of such premises, without a warrant, when consented to, does not violate the constitutional prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures." Syllabus Point 8, State v. Plantz, 155 W.Va. 24, 180 S.E.2d 614 (1971).

4. "Whether a consent to a search is in fact voluntary or is the product of duress or coercion, express or implied, is a question of fact to be determined from the totality of all the circumstances." Syllabus Point 8, State v. Craft, 165 W.Va. 741, 272 S.E.2d 46 (1980).

5. Where a police officer has by voluntary consent entered a private home, he may arrest a person therein upon probable cause without a warrant or the existence of exigent circumstances.

6. Misrepresentations made to a defendant or other deceptive practices by police officers will not necessarily invalidate a confession unless they are shown to have affected its voluntariness or reliability.

7. " 'The delay in taking a defendant to a magistrate may be a critical factor [in the totality of circumstances making a confession involuntary and hence inadmissible] where it appears that the primary purpose of the delay was to obtain a confession from the defendant.' Syllabus Point 6, State v. Persinger, 169 W.Va. 121, 286 S.E.2d 261 (1982), as amended." Syllabus Point 1, State v. Guthrie, --- W.Va. ----, 315 S.E.2d 397 (1984).

8. "Ordinarily the delay in taking an accused who is under arrest to a magistrate after a confession has been obtained from him does not vitiate the confession under our prompt presentment rule." Syllabus Point 4, State v. Humphrey, --- W.Va. ----, 351 S.E.2d 613 (1986).

9. A defendant does not have the right, by statute or by constitutional mandate, to have his case disposed of by a plea bargain.

10. "A prospective juror's consanguineal, marital or social relationship with an employee of a law enforcement agency does not operate as a per se disqualification for cause in a criminal case unless the law enforcement official is actively involved in the prosecution of the case. After establishing that such a relationship exists, a party has a right to obtain individual voir dire of the challenged juror to determine possible prejudice or bias arising from the relationship." Syllabus Point 6, State v.

Page 710

Beckett, --- W.Va. ----, 310 S.E.2d 883 (1983).

Lee H. Adler, Beckley, for Danny Lee Worley.

[179 W.Va. 407] Jill Miles, Charleston, for State.

MILLER, Justice:

The defendant, Danny Lee Worley, was convicted of first degree murder by a Raleigh County Circuit Court jury in October, 1982. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without mercy. His primary assignments of error are: (1) the admission of evidence seized pursuant to a defective search warrant; (2) the warrantless arrest of the defendant in a private home; (3) the admission of a confession rendered involuntary by improper police promises and deception; and (4) the violation of prompt presentment principles. We find no error and affirm the conviction.

I.

At 7:30 p.m. on October 8, 1981, the West Virginia State Police received a report of an abandoned vehicle in southern Fayette County. Trooper C.E. Shelton of the Oak Hill detachment responded to the call. As he examined the interior of the vehicle, Trooper Shelton observed blood and debris on the passenger seat and door. His suspicions aroused, he opened the trunk and discovered the badly mutilated body of a woman, Teruco Carter.

Inspection of the body revealed that Ms. Carter had sustained four gunshot wounds to the head and shoulders. Her head and upper body bore areas of "blunt-force" injury which resulted in a depression fracture to the skull. There were approximately twenty puncture wounds to the chest, over half of which had perforated into heart and lung tissue. It was the opinion of the medical examiner that the impact wounds to the head were the immediate cause of death, and that the chest wounds were inflicted post mortem.

After the discovery of the body, Trooper Shelton contacted officers at the Beckley detachment and learned that an associate of the deceased was in custody there on unrelated charges. The associate readily volunteered to cooperate in the investigation. He provided the police with a detailed description of various items of jewelry the deceased wore and of a .25 caliber pistol she carried in her purse. He also stated that the deceased was a frequent patron of "Club 41," a bar in Stanaford.

At 2:30 a.m. the next day, Trooper G.S. Whisman interviewed the bartender who had been on duty at Club 41 on October 7, 1981, the day of the deceased's disappearance. He informed the officer that the deceased arrived at the bar at 10:00 p.m. and was seated with the defendant and another man, Bobby "Ungle." The trio departed in the deceased's car at 11:00 p.m. Mr. "Ungle" returned to the bar around midnight and left in the defendant's car. The defendant did not return to the bar. A written statement was prepared and signed by the bartender within an hour.

After the statement was completed, Trooper Whisman appeared before a Raleigh County magistrate and applied for warrants to search the defendant's car 1 and a trailer in Piney View, where the defendant and Mr. "Ungle" were believed to reside. The property sought by the warrants included blood-stained clothes and the pistol and jewelry described by the deceased's associate. The sole ground for probable cause stated in the search warrant affidavit read: "Statement verifying that Danny Worley and Bobby Ungle were last scene [sic] with the victim[,] were also new [sic] leaving with victim in victims vehicle."

After the warrant had been issued, Trooper J.O. Cole advised his superiors that he was acquainted with Lewis Worley, the defendant's father and the owner of the trailer identified in the warrant. Trooper Cole telephoned the elder Worley and requested that he rendezvous with the officers at an intersection one-half mile from the trailer. The police arrived at 5:00 a.m. Trooper Cole explained to Mr. Worley that the defendant was a suspect in a murder investigation and that the officers wanted to search the trailer. He did not

Page 711

refer to the warrant or produce it for inspection. [179 W.Va. 408] Mr. Worley immediately responded: "Jerry, you know you're welcome in my trailer anytime." Trooper Cole then stated that he had a search warrant in his possession, but Mr. Worley assured him that a warrant was unnecessary. He then accompanied the officers to the trailer.

The defendant was asleep in a bedroom when the officers entered the trailer. He was awakened and escorted to a police car, where he was detained while the search progressed. Also present at the trailer was Bobby Hudnell, who had been identified by the bartender as Mr. "Ungle." The police recovered clothes and more than $1,900 in Mr. Hudnell's bedroom. A pistol matching the description in the warrant was seized in the defendant's bedroom. After the recovery of these items, the defendant and Mr. Hudnell were advised of their Miranda rights and transported to the Beckley police detachment.

Two further searches were conducted at the trailer in the early hours of October 9. Mr. Worley telephoned Trooper Cole at the station at 7:00 a.m. and advised that he had discovered some of the stolen jewelry in his son's bedroom. When the officer arrived at the trailer, he asked Mr. Worley to sign a written consent to search. After he did so, Mr. Worley led Trooper Cole to the defendant's bedroom and pointed to a pair of boots on the floor. Jewelry was discovered inside one of the boots. At 10:30 a.m., Trooper Cole was again summoned to the trailer. On this visit, Mr. Worley showed the officer a pistol hidden inside a cinderblock. The pistol was identified by ballistics experts as the weapon which had fired the shots into the deceased's head and shoulders. The jewelry and pistol were seized and admitted at trial.

Once at the station, the defendant was taken to the captain's office for interrogation. The defendant's father arrived shortly thereafter and was permitted in the room. Mr. Worley told the defendant that he "need[ed] to cooperate with [the police]." It was also represented that Mr. Hudnell had signed a statement implicating the defendant, though such a statement had not yet been obtained. 2 The defendant responded: "It wasn't [my] idea to kill Teruco Carter." After the oral statement, he expressed a willingness to take the officers to the scene...

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42 practice notes
  • State v. Corey, No. 13–0769.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 23 April 2014
    ...officers.See State v. Kilmer, 190 W.Va. 617, 627, 439 S.E.2d 881, 891 (1993). Mr. Corey asserts that the decision in State v. Worley, 179 W.Va. 403, 369 S.E.2d 706 (1988), supports his contention that the search warrant affidavit was invalid. In Worley, the defendant was convicted by a jury......
  • State v. McCartney, No. 101457.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 17 November 2011
    ...prompt presentment rule.” Syllabus Point 4, State v. Humphrey, 177 W.Va. 264, 351 S.E.2d 613 (1986).’ Syllabus Point 8, State v. Worley, 179 W.Va. 403, 369 S.E.2d 706, cert. denied, 488 U.S. 895, 109 S.Ct. 236, 102 L.Ed.2d 226 (1988).” Syllabus Point 2, State v. Fortner, 182 W.Va. 345, 387 ......
  • Kevin E. E. v. Seifert, No. 12-1285
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 1 October 2013
    ...invalidate a confession unless they are shown to have affected its voluntariness or reliability." Syl. pt. 6, State v. Worley, 179 W.Va. 403, 369 S.E.2d 706 (1988). 64. Here, Petitioner alleges that he was coerced at the time he made his alleged confession because of his medication, the pro......
  • State v. Flippo
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 6 November 2002
    ...We have also indicated that "the State must prove the voluntariness of the consent by a preponderance of the evidence." State v. Worley, 179 W.Va. 403, 410, 369 S.E.2d 706, 713 (1988). When it is shown that "the consent to search was not voluntary, the conviction must be set aside unless th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
41 cases
  • State v. Corey, No. 13–0769.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 23 April 2014
    ...officers.See State v. Kilmer, 190 W.Va. 617, 627, 439 S.E.2d 881, 891 (1993). Mr. Corey asserts that the decision in State v. Worley, 179 W.Va. 403, 369 S.E.2d 706 (1988), supports his contention that the search warrant affidavit was invalid. In Worley, the defendant was convicted by a jury......
  • State v. McCartney, No. 101457.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 17 November 2011
    ...prompt presentment rule.” Syllabus Point 4, State v. Humphrey, 177 W.Va. 264, 351 S.E.2d 613 (1986).’ Syllabus Point 8, State v. Worley, 179 W.Va. 403, 369 S.E.2d 706, cert. denied, 488 U.S. 895, 109 S.Ct. 236, 102 L.Ed.2d 226 (1988).” Syllabus Point 2, State v. Fortner, 182 W.Va. 345, 387 ......
  • Kevin E. E. v. Seifert, No. 12-1285
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 1 October 2013
    ...invalidate a confession unless they are shown to have affected its voluntariness or reliability." Syl. pt. 6, State v. Worley, 179 W.Va. 403, 369 S.E.2d 706 (1988). 64. Here, Petitioner alleges that he was coerced at the time he made his alleged confession because of his medication, the pro......
  • State v. Flippo
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 6 November 2002
    ...We have also indicated that "the State must prove the voluntariness of the consent by a preponderance of the evidence." State v. Worley, 179 W.Va. 403, 410, 369 S.E.2d 706, 713 (1988). When it is shown that "the consent to search was not voluntary, the conviction must be set aside unless th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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