Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, First Division
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Appeal from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis. Hon. Robin R. Vannoy.
Gwenda Renee Robinson, St. Louis, MO, for appellant.
Chris Koster, Gabriel Harris, Jefferson City, MO, for respondent.
CLIFFORD H. AHRENS, Judge. Lawrence E. Mooney, P.J., and Glenn A. Norton, JJ., concur.
CLIFFORD H. AHRENS,
Aaron Lucy (" Defendant" ) appeals from the judgment of the trial court entered after a jury convicted him of murder in the first degree (Count 1), abuse of a child resulting in death (Count 3), two counts of armed criminal action (Counts 2 and 4), and tampering with physical evidence (Count 5). Finding no error, we affirm.
Viewed in the light most favorable to the judgment, the evidence is as follows. Defendant and A.N. (" Mother" ) had two children, an older daughter, A.L., and a son, K.L., who was born on April 29, 2008. Defendant and Mother had terminated their relationship by 2009. Mother had custody of the children during the week, and initially Defendant would visit them at his parents' home on the weekends, but in 2010 they began to visit him at his apartment in the City of St. Louis. On December 25, 2010, Mother drove the children to Defendant's apartment to open presents with Defendant and his parents, and she left them there. When Mother left Defendant's apartment K.L. had no injuries. Late that night, Defendant called his parents to pick up the children from his apartment, and they did. Defendant's parents dropped K.L. back at Defendant's apartment on the morning of December 26, 2010, but took A.L. to a play. K.L. had no injuries when they left him with Defendant. Defendant's neighbor, Keenan Bassett, who lived across the hall, saw Defendant and K.L. that morning. K.L. was very excited and showed him some of his Christmas gifts. About an hour later Defendant borrowed some money from Bassett to buy cigarettes, taking K.L. with him. Bassett saw them when they came back, and K.L. was crying because his hands were cold. Bassett went to Defendant's
apartment and gave K.L. some popcorn, which calmed him. Shortly thereafter Defendant went to Bassett's apartment and had Bassett come back to his apartment, where K.L. was crying. Defendant changed his diaper, and K.L. stopped crying. K.L was uninjured at that time. Bassett returned home. Several hours later, around 7:00 p.m., Bassett was dozing on his couch and kept hearing the main door of the apartment building slam. Defendant knocked on the door of Bassett's apartment, and asked him to call his cell phone, which he could not find. Bassett noticed that Defendant had blood on his hand at the time, smearing a bit on his door, and assumed it was from slamming his hand in the door. When asked by Bassett, Defendant told him that K.L. was sleeping. Defendant was fully dressed at that time.
Approximately an hour later, about 8:00 p.m., Defendant was again knocking at Bassett's door in a hysterical state, telling him to call the police and an ambulance. Defendant was naked when Bassett opened the door. Defendant went back to his apartment and Bassett followed. He saw K.L. naked on the floor with Defendant apparently trying to perform CPR. Bassett saw that K.L.'s body was red all over, like it was bruised, with blood on the carpet and around his body. He went back to his home and called 911.
Personnel from the St. Louis City Fire Department (" Fire Department" ) arrived first, followed by police. Charles Poehl, an EMT with the Fire Department was one of the first responders. He observed Defendant outside of the apartment building, naked and wrapped in a blanket, gesturing to the emergency personnel to come inside. Poehl went into Defendant's apartment and saw K.L. on the floor in the middle of the apartment with paramedics working on him. Defendant sat on the floor a few feet away, with blood smeared on many spots of his body. There was broken furniture and debris all around K.L., and the entire apartment was in disarray. Poehl heard Defendant ask several times if it was okay to take a shower. Despite being told not to do so, Defendant got up, went down the hall into the bathroom and proceeded to shower off the blood off of his body.
K.L. was transferred to the hospital, where he subsequently died. His injuries were extensive, with multiple skull fractures, including a comminuted skull fracture, a fractured collarbone, and a lacerated liver. The autopsy showed scratches and bruises all over K.L.s body, with differing patterns indicating that multiple different surfaces came into contact with the body to cause the injuries. There was blunt force trauma to K.L.'s scrotum. In addition to the skull fratures, K.L.'s head had scrapes, bruises, and a puncture wound. The medical examiner concluded that K.L. was not stationary when the injuries occurred based on the varying locations of the injuries. K.L. also suffered brain trauma, and it was the injuries to his brain that killed him.
The police observed and documented evidence in Defendant's apartment. There were blood stains on the front door, a picture frame, a toy, a doorjamb, and the bathroom floor. K.L.'s blood was identified in multiple places: the living room floor, the hallway wall, a hallway doorframe, the hallway floor, a dresser drawer, which was broken, on the bottom of a ...