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State v. Rivers

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Second Division

September 2, 2014

STATE OF MISSOURI, Plaintiff/Respondent,
v.
DONNELL RIVERS, Defendant/Appellant

Appeal from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis. Honorable Michael P. David.

Robert J. Bartholomew, Jefferson City, MO, For Plaintiff/Respondent.

Timothy J. Forneris, St. Louis, MO, For Defendant/Appellant.

Sherri B. Sullivan, P.J. Mary K. Hoff, J., and Philip M. Hess, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 863

Sherri B. Sullivan, P.J.

Introduction

Donnell Rivers (Appellant) appeals from the trial court's judgment entered upon a jury verdict convicting him of first-degree murder, three counts of first-degree assault, four counts of armed criminal action and one count of unlawful use of a weapon. We affirm.

Factual and Procedural Background

The State charged Appellant with first-degree murder, three counts of first-degree assault, four counts of armed criminal action, one count of unlawful use of a weapon, one count of second-degree burglary and one count of misdemeanor stealing. The evidence presented at trial, viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, is as follows.

Larazus Baber (Baber) and Cynthia Williams (Williams) lived together in a one-bedroom apartment on St. Louis Avenue. Appellant, whose nicknames were " Four" and " Fo," stayed in an apartment with his brother and mother, Eunice Rivers (Rivers), directly across from Baber and Williams. The two apartments faced each other. Baber's and Williams's living room and bathroom were situated in the front of the apartment while the bedroom was in the back corner of the apartment.

On December 19, 2010, Baber left the apartment around 8:00 p.m. to pick up Williams from work. When they returned to the apartment, Baber saw Appellant run from the doorway of their apartment and duck into Rivers's apartment. Baber's and Williams's door was forced open, the furniture was moved around, and their television, game console and some knickknacks were missing. When they exited the apartment, Rivers's door was open and Baber could see his television sitting on Rivers's couch. Williams called the police, who responded to the scene. Police officers knocked on Rivers's door in an attempt to arrest Appellant but Rivers refused to open the door or to cooperate with the police. The police placed a wanted for second-degree burglary on Appellant.

Later that evening, Baber's friend Carlos Rogers (Rogers) and Williams's friend Wanda Rodgers (Rodgers) came to the apartment. The friends were sitting in the living room talking and socializing when they heard people arguing outside.

Rodgers and Rogers each testified they were familiar with Appellant, whom they knew as Fo, had spoken with him prior to that evening, and they recognized Appellant's ...


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