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Winans v. State

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, First Division

April 8, 2015

DARREN J. WINANS, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF JASPER COUNTY. Honorable David C. Dally, Circuit Judge.

For Appellant: Margaret M. Johnston, of Columbia, Missouri.

For Respondent: Chris Koster, Attorney General and Evan J. Buchheim, Assistant Attorney General, of Jefferson City, Missouri.

WILLIAM W. FRANCIS, JR., C.J./P.J. - OPINION AUTHOR. JEFFREY W. BATES, J. - Concurs. DANIEL E. SCOTT, J. - Concurs.

OPINION

Page 913

WILLIAM W. FRANCIS, JR.

Darren J. Winans (" Winans" ) appeals from the judgment of the motion court denying his amended Rule 24.035[1] motion to set aside his convictions for second-degree murder, armed criminal action, and burglary. Because the motion court's decision to deny relief after an evidentiary hearing was not clearly erroneous, we affirm.

Factual and Procedural Background

On September 1, 2009, Winans and Matthew Laurin (" Laurin" ) were each charged with two counts of the class A felony of first-degree murder, in violation of section 565.020; [2] two counts of felony armed criminal action, in violation of section 571.015; and one count of the class B felony of first-degree burglary, in violation of section 569.160, following the October 11, 2008 stabbing deaths of Robert and Ellen Sheldon. The cases were later severed.

After Winans behaved erratically during booking at the Jasper County Jail, Winans was evaluated by Dr. Tammy Neil (" Dr. Neil" ), a psychologist and medical provider utilized by the jail. Dr. Neil prepared a one-page report summarizing the evaluation.[3]

Page 914

On January 15, 2010, the State filed a notice of aggravating circumstances and its intent to seek the death penalty against Winans. Two attorneys from the Capital Litigation Division of the Missouri State Public Defender's Office, Charlie Moreland (" Moreland" ) and Tom Marshall (" Marshall" ) (collectively " defense counsel" ), entered an appearance on Winans' behalf.

The State provided defense counsel with a copy of Dr. Neil's report, and defense counsel later deposed Dr. Neil about her report. The report purportedly stated that Winans made " admissions relative to the charges in this case" to Dr. Neil. Specifically, Winans admitted he had been involved in the planning and execution of the robbery that resulted in the victims' deaths, and that he was on drugs at the time.

On February 28, 2011,[4] the parties appeared before the court to announce a plea agreement as contained in a " Petition to Enter plea of Guilty" that had been explained to and signed by Winans. Defense counsel also signed the petition and affirmed they had " investigated the circumstances of this case and have explored all avenues ...


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