Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Third Division
COREY A. WIGGINS, Movant,
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent
from the Circuit Court of St. Louis County. 13SL-CC04554.
Robinson, St. Louis, MO, for appellant.
Koster, Todd T. Smith, Jefferson City, MO, for respondent.
M. Gaertner, Jr., Judge.
A. Wiggins (Movant) appeals the judgment denying his motion
for post-conviction relief under Rule 24.035 without an
evidentiary hearing. Movant argues that he adequately alleged
facts, not refuted by the record, that established his guilty
plea was involuntary. We reverse and remand to the motion
court for an evidentiary hearing.
pled guilty to one count of murder in the second degree and
one count of armed criminal action. Movant's pleas arose
out of an incident during a family gathering on Thanksgiving
Day in 2012, when Movant and the victim got into an argument
and Movant shot the victim. The plea court sentenced Movant
to consecutive terms of life in prison for second-degree
murder, and nine years for armed criminal action.
timely filed his motion under Rule 24.035, alleging that his
plea counsel was ineffective for failing to advise him before
he pled guilty of the viability of proceeding to trial on the
theory that he was guilty of the lesser-included offense of
voluntary manslaughter, rather than second-degree murder.
Movant alleged his plea counsel was aware of the following
facts that would have supported such a defense.
alleged that the victim was a friend of Movant's family
whom Movant had known all his life. Movant described a
history of the victim verbally and sexually abusing Movant
since he was a child. Movant alleged that the victim harassed
and threatened him several times during the days before the
shooting. The morning of Thanksgiving, the victim approached
Movant with a screwdriver and grabbed him by the neck. Movant
also alleged that during the argument later that day, before
Movant stood to shoot the victim, the victim came over to the
table where Movant was seated and stood next to him holding a
screwdriver and making threatening comments. A heated
argument followed, during which the victim told Movant,
" I'll have your ass right now." Movant
believed the victim might do something sexual in nature to
him. Movant alleged that he stood up from the table, and the
victim came at him with the screwdriver. Movant alleged that
at that point he " lost it" and shot the victim
argued in his motion that although his plea counsel was aware
of these facts, he never discussed the possibility of
proceeding to trial and arguing Movant committed voluntary
manslaughter rather than second-degree murder. The motion
court denied Movant's motion without an evidentiary
hearing, finding that the record conclusively refuted his
claim. Specifically, the motion court held that the plea
hearing record showing the prosecutor's recitation of the
factual basis of the case and Movant's agreement to it
refuted the facts alleged in Movant's motion. The motion
court also found that the record refuted Movant's claim
that his counsel was ineffective because Movant repeatedly
assured the plea court that he was satisfied with the
representation provided by his attorney. This appeal follows.
Appellate review of the denial of a motion under Rule 24.035
is " limited to a determination of whether the motion
court's findings of fact and conclusions of law were
clearly erroneous." Rule 24.035(k); see Weeks v.
State, 140 S.W.3d 39, 44 (Mo. banc 2004). Because the
findings of the motion court are presumed to be correct, we
will find them clearly erroneous only if, after a review of
the entire record, this Court is left with the definite and
firm impression that a mistake has been made. Vaca v.
State, 314 S.W.3d 331, 334 (Mo. banc 2010).
order to obtain an evidentiary hearing on a claim of
ineffective assistance of counsel under Rule 24.035, (1) a
movant must raise facts, not conclusions, warranting relief;
(2) the facts alleged must raise matters not refuted by the
record; and (3) the matters complained of must have resulted
in prejudice to the movant. State v. Driver, 912
S.W.2d 52, 55 (Mo. banc 1995). To justify the denial of an
evidentiary hearing, the record must be specific enough to