Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Second Division
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Appeal from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis. Honorable Margaret M. Neill.
For Plaintiff/Respondent: Evan J. Buchheim, Jefferson City, MO.
For Defendant/Appellant: Maleaner R. Harvey, St. Louis, MO.
Sherri B. Sullivan, P.J. Mary K. Hoff, J., and Mark D. Pfeiffer, Sp.J., concur.
Sherri B. Sullivan, P.J.
Rickey Bates (Appellant) appeals from the trial court's judgment entered upon a jury verdict convicting him of first-degree murder, first-degree robbery, and two counts of armed criminal action. We affirm.
Factual and Procedural Background
The State charged Appellant with first-degree murder, first-degree robbery, and two counts of armed criminal action involving the shooting death of Antoine Shaw (Victim). The evidence presented at trial, viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, is as follows.
At 8:23 p.m. on March 4, 2011, police officers responding to a call of shots fired found Victim's vehicle partially on the sidewalk against a street sign with the engine running and the doors closed and locked. Victim was located in the driver's seat, dead from several gunshot wounds to the head. Victim's pockets were turned inside out and he was holding a plastic bag of marijuana. A second bag of marijuana was found in the center console and $180 in currency was found in the glove box.
Police found four bullet holes in the driver's side door and recovered five .38 caliber bullets from the vehicle. Three bullets were identified as being fired from the same gun, while the other two were too damaged to make a comparison.
Victim had three gunshot entrance wounds on the right side of his face and exit wounds on the left side of his face. Victim also had gunshot wounds to his nose and brow. Stippling or tattooing, which occurs when a gun is fired close to
the skin, was found on the right side of Victim's nose. Two .38 caliber bullets were recovered from Victim's body, one in his left scalp and the other in the cranial cavity on the left side of his skull. Victim suffered extensive skull fractures and devastating brain injuries from the gunshots, resulting in his death. The bullets recovered from Victim's body were fired from the same gun as the three matching bullets recovered from the vehicle.
Quintavian Rogers (Rogers), Appellant's cousin, testified he was friends with Victim and learned from family members that Appellant was involved in his murder. Shortly after learning of Appellant's involvement, Rogers surreptitiously recorded Appellant confessing to the crime with his cell phone while Rogers and Appellant were sitting in Rogers's car. Rogers brought the recording to the police hoping they could help Rogers's mother obtain a sentence reduction on a federal drug conviction and because Rogers believed Appellant was not remorseful for killing Victim.
During this taped conversation, Appellant described how he killed Victim and how Victim's body was positioned. Appellant said he was angry with Victim and planned to rob him. Appellant said Victim gave Appellant some marijuana, and then Appellant " upped" his gun, shot Victim in the head one time, and left. Appellant returned to the car and found Victim was still breathing, so he shot him again, firing a total of five bullets. Appellant stated he shot Victim with a .38 caliber handgun.
Two weeks later, Appellant was arrested by police. After being advised of his rights pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966), Detectives Lon Ray (Det. Ray) and Scott Sailor (Det. Sailor) conducted a recorded interview of Appellant. During this interview, Appellant denied knowing Victim or having anything to do with Victim's murder. When police played Appellant a portion of the recording taken by Rogers, Appellant told detectives that it was not him in the recording. Approximately 15 to 20 minutes later, when Det. Sailor advised Appellant he was being charged with the murder and robbery, Appellant said he wanted to tell the detectives what happened.
The detectives reactivated the camera, advised Appellant of his Miranda rights again, and conducted a second interview. Appellant told the detectives that a man named A.J. or Arkeith Hill (A.J.) contacted Victim to arrange a meeting. A.J. got into the car with Victim and tried to grab the marijuana from Victim, but Victim put A.J. in a headlock. Appellant stated he was carrying a black snubnose .38 caliber handgun that A.J. had given him and that he shot Victim in the head. Appellant took money out of the car's armrest and he and A.J. left the scene. Appellant said A.J. took the gun from Appellant, returned to the car, and shot Victim several more times. Appellant traded the gun for another after the murder.
Det. Ray testified that as part of their investigation he obtained Victim's cell phone records, which showed he received a phone call about an hour before his murder. Det. Ray testified further investigation revealed this call was initiated from Appellant's mother's phone and was the same number Appellant gave as an emergency contact number when he was arrested.
While awaiting trial, Appellant told one of his cellmates, Jarvis Bell (Bell), that he had a disagreement with a man over a marijuana sale. Appellant told Bell he later called this man, ostensibly to buy more marijuana, but when the man arrived for the meeting, Appellant shot him.
The jury found Appellant guilty of first-degree murder, first-degree robbery, and two counts of armed criminal action. The court sentenced Appellant to life in prison without the possibility of parole on the first-degree murder conviction and to concurrent ...