Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Second Division
Appeal from the City of St. Louis Circuit Court. Honorable Robin R. Vannoy.
FOR APPELLANT: Ellen H. Flottman, Columbia, Missouri.
FOR RESPONDENT: Karen L. Kramer, Assistant Attorney General, Jefferson City, Missouri.
Philip M. Hess, Judge. Sherri B. Sullivan, P.J. and Mary K. Hoff, J. concur.
Philip M. Hess, Judge
Donald Henningfeld (Movant) appeals the judgment of the motion court denying his Rule 29.15 motion for post-conviction relief following an evidentiary hearing. Movant claims the motion court erred in denying his claim that trial counsel was ineffective for: (1) failing to present evidence of the victim's alleged motive to fabricate the allegations; (2) failing to include a claim in his motion for new trial regarding the State's use of impeachment evidence; and (3) failing to object to the trial court's alleged improper instruction of the jury regarding notetaking during the trial. Movant also contends that appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to raise a plain error claim on direct appeal. We affirm in part, and reverse and remand in part.
Movant was charged with forcible sodomy, second-degree assault, armed criminal action, kidnapping, and attempted forcible sodomy. At the time of the incident,
the 17-year-old victim had been working for Movant doing construction work. One night after work, James Chapman (a co-worker) called Victim at his girlfriend's home and said that he needed Victim's assistance with another co-worker, Chris Napier, who had been injured. Chapman picked up Victim and drove to a vacant house under renovation. When Victim asked what was going on, Chapman pulled out a gun and threatened to kill him. After arriving at the house, Chapman held a gun to Victim's back and forced him to enter the house. Once inside, Chapman pushed Victim up the stairs and took him to a back bedroom where Movant and two other co-workers (Napier and Anthony Correnti) were waiting. As soon as the Victim reached the back bedroom Movant struck him in the head with a wooden board. When Victim fell down, the other men joined in the attack, striking Victim repeatedly with wooden boards, beer bottles, and hammers. Movant then tied Victim's hands behind his back with duct tape, pulled down Victim's pants, and sodomized him. The men then sodomized Victim with a broom stick handle. After being sexually assaulted, Movant and the others beat Victim again before heading into another room to discuss killing Victim. At that point, Victim escaped by jumping from an open window and running away.
As a result of the assault, Victim sustained extensive injuries. During a medical examination, Victim told the doctor that four men had beaten him with fists, a hammer, and wood boards. Victim also indicated that the men had raped him with a broom stick handle and that Movant had forcibly sodomized him. During a subsequent search of the scene, police found several wooden boards, duct tape, a hammer, and a broom. Investigators also conducted tests on DNA recovered from Victim, his T-shirt, and the broom stick handle. DNA found on a rectal swab taken from Victim shortly after the assault was consistent with Movant's DNA.
Movant was subsequently charged with forcible sodomy, second-degree assault, armed criminal action, kidnapping, and attempted forcible sodomy. At trial, Victim testified that Movant and the other men had attacked him and that Movant had forcibly sodomized him. The State also presented Napier's testimony, a co-perpetrator, who corroborated Victim's account of the crimes. Napier also testified that the men had discussed killing Victim before he jumped out the window. The jury convicted Movant on all charges and the trial court sentenced him to a total of life imprisonment plus seventy years. Movant filed a motion for a new trial, which was denied. Movant then filed a direct appeal. On appeal, this court affirmed his convictions by per curiam order in State v. Henningfeld, 233 S.W.3d 766 (Mo. App. E.D. 2007).
Movant subsequently filed a pro se 29.15 motion for post-conviction relief alleging several claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. An amended motion was filed by appointed counsel. Following an evidentiary hearing, the motion court issued its judgment ...