Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Fourth Division
Appeal from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis. Honorable Bryan L. Hettenbach.
For Appellant: Lisa M. Stroup, Assistant Public Defender, St. Louis, MO.
For Respondent: Evan J. Buchheim, Assistant Attorney General, Jefferson City, MO.
Patricia L. Cohen, Presiding Judge. Roy L. Richter, J., and Robert M. Clayton III, J., concur.
Patricia L. Cohen, Presiding Judge.
Andre McAfee (Movant) appeals the denial of his Rule 29.07(d) motion to withdraw his guilty plea. Movant claims the motion court erred in denying his motion prior to the imposition of sentence because he did not understand the nature of the offense charged. We affirm.
Factual and Procedural Background
In January 2006, Movant killed Charles Barnes (Victim) by cutting his wrists and repeatedly striking him with an iron skillet. The State charged Movant with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. In September 2012, a trial on these charges ended in a hung jury, and the trial court declared a mistrial. At his trial, Movant admitted that he hit Victim twice with an iron skillet and those injuries resulted in Victim's death.
Following the mistrial, the State agreed to reduce the murder charge from first-degree murder to second-degree murder in exchange for Movant's guilty plea. Pursuant to the parties' agreement, the State amended the charges to second-degree murder and armed criminal action, and Movant pleaded guilty.
At the plea hearing, Movant affirmed that he had agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder so that his sentence would be " soft life as opposed to life without parole . . . ." Movant testified that he had a college education and plea counsel had explained the charges against him. The prosecutor announced that, if the case went to trial, the State would prove that Movant:
Knowingly caused the death of [Victim] by striking and cutting him, and on that same date, same location, the Defendant committed the felony of murder i[n] the second degree by, with and through the knowing use, assistance and aid of a deadly weapon. Back in 2006 [Victim] was found deceased in his apartment. He had been beaten with an iron skillet. . . . [B]ack a couple years and I'm going to guess 2011 the DNA came back as a match on the handle of the skilled to [Movant]. . . . We did try this case and ...