Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Third Division
Appeal from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis. 1122-CR00238-01. Honorable John F. Garvey.
For Appellant: Timothy Forneris, St. Louis, MO.
For Respondent: Chris Koster, Dora A. Fichter, Jefferson City, MO.
Gary M. Gaertner, Jr., Judge. Kurt S. Odenwald, P.J., concurs. Robert G. Dowd, Jr., J., concurs.
Gary M. Gaertner,
Travis Moorehead (Moorehead) appeals the trial court's entry of judgment and sentence upon a jury's verdict finding him guilty of robbery in the first degree. On appeal, he asserts the trial court erred in overruling his motion to strike a venireperson and in admitting identification evidence. We affirm.
The State of Missouri charged Moorehead as a prior offender with the class A felony of first-degree robbery, stemming from the following incident. On the evening of January 13, 2011, Nick Walters (Victim) was delivering pizza when he was approached by two men. One man, whom Victim later identified as Moorehead, held a large, semiautomatic handgun, which Victim believed to be real, and demanded Victim's money. Prior to trial, Moorehead filed a motion to suppress Victim's identification of Moorehead arguing the circumstances of the identification were inherently suggestive and conducive to mistaken identity. After a pre-trial hearing, the trial court denied the motion.
At trial, during voir dire, venireperson Mr. Peck stated he was a retired deputy sheriff for the City of St. Louis. He had worked as a deputy for eighteen years and had been retired for three months. He remained friends with several deputies and knew people who worked for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, although not the witnesses in this case. Peck stated he would have an open mind regarding the testimony of police officers. Defense counsel moved to strike Peck based on his former career as a sheriff's deputy and close connection with law enforcement officers, arguing that although Peck had stated he could be fair, it was better practice to fill the jury panel with persons who are not police officers. The trial court overruled his motion, stating that Peck was retired, not active; he had been a sheriff's deputy, not a police officer; and he did not know any of the endorsed witnesses.
For the State, Victim testified that during the robbery the gunman stood about two arm's lengths, or approximately six feet, ...