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State v. Perdomo-Paz

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Special Division

July 14, 2015

STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent,
v.
ISAAC PERDOMO-PAZ, Appellant

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Appeal from the Circuit Court of Clay County, Missouri. The Honorable Anthony Rex Gabbert, Judge.

Chris Koster, Attorney General, Richard A. Starnes, Assistant Attorney General, Jefferson City, MO, Attorneys for Respondent.

Rosemary E. Percival, Assistant Public Defender, Kansas City, MO, Attorney for Appellant.

Before Special Division: Mark D. Pfeiffer, Presiding Judge, Gary D. Witt, Judge, and Zel M. Fischer, Special Judge. Gary D. Witt, Judge, and Zel M. Fischer, Special Judge, concur.

OPINION

Mark D. Pfeiffer, Presiding Judge.

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Mr. Isaac Perdomo-Paz (" Perdomo-Paz" ) appeals from the judgment of the Circuit Court of Clay County, Missouri (" trial court" ), upon his conviction by a jury of two counts of the class A felony of murder in the first degree, § 565.020; [1] one count of the class A felony of murder in the second degree, § 565.021; and three counts of the unclassified felony of armed criminal action (" ACA" ), § 571.015. Perdomo-Paz was sentenced by the trial court to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole on each of the first-degree murder counts, life imprisonment on the second-degree murder count, and fifty years imprisonment on each of the ACA counts, all sentences to run consecutively. We affirm.

Facts and Procedural History[2]

On February 25, 2011, several groups of teenagers attended a party in Independence, Missouri. Armin Hamidovic drove seven others--his cousin Adnan Islamovic, Dejan Joksimovic, Carlos Herrera, Timothy Snell, Diana Madera, Georgette Mendez, and Karla Trejo. Irvin Elizondo drove his cousin, Omar Morales, followed by another cousin, Delfino Elizondo. Carlos Campos drove his brother, Jose. Perdomo-Paz, then eighteen years of age, drove Pedro Rodriguez and Itzel Amaro. After the party was broken up by police due to noise complaints, the group drove to Clay County, Missouri, and Hamidovic rented a second-floor room at a Red Roof Inn, where they drank and smoked marijuana.

Trejo was Perdomo-Paz's former girlfriend. She was flirting with Hamidovic and Joksimovic at the party. Witnesses noticed that Perdomo-Paz watched the flirting and become visibly angry. Herrera, Islamovic, and Snell left to get more marijuana. Perdomo-Paz wanted Trejo to leave the party with him, but Trejo refused. Perdomo-Paz grabbed Trejo by the arm and slapped her in the face. Hamidovic confronted Perdomo-Paz and yelled at him about his treatment of Trejo. When Hamidovic and Perdomo-Paz were face-to-face, Perdomo-Paz said, " What did you say?" and pointed a gun at Hamidovic's head. Hamidovic did not say or do anything. Perdomo-Paz shot Hamidovic in the forehead and again in the right cheek. Perdomo-Paz then shot Delfino Elizondo once in the head and shot Joksimovic

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twice, once in the neck and once in the back of the head. All three of the shooting victims died.

Autopsies showed that each victim died as the result of gunshot wounds. Hamidovic had a contact gunshot wound to his left forehead and right cheek caused by a shot fired from two to three feet away. Joksimovic had a gunshot wound to the left back of his head and one to the left side of his neck. Elizondo had a single gunshot wound to his left temple.

At approximately 11:40 p.m. on March 2, 2011, Kansas City, Missouri, police officers Anna Marie Occhipinto and Steven Downing stopped a vehicle when a check of the license plate revealed that the car's registered owner had outstanding warrants. As Officer Downing got the driver's identification and eventually arrested him, Officer Occhipinto approached the passenger side of the vehicle where Perdomo-Paz was sitting and asked for his name and birthdate. Perdomo-Paz gave a false name and birthdate, which did not return any information when entered into the officers' computer system. After correcting what Perdomo-Paz presented as a spelling error on the fake name, Officer Occhipinto ran it through the computer database again, with no results. Officer Occhipinto asked Perdomo-Paz for his social security number, which he did not know, and his age, which he did not know. Officer Occhipinto testified that Perdomo-Paz visibly displayed nervous and evasive behavior during the stop.

When the law enforcement " paddy wagon" arrived to transport the driver to the police station, the officers escorted the driver into the police transport vehicle. Perdomo-Paz, though instructed not to do so, ran from the scene. He was apprehended by Officer Downing after a struggle and placed under arrest.

The next day, March 3, 2011, at the Clay County Sheriff's Department, Detective Ray of the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department homicide unit, and Detective Allen of the Clay County Sheriff's Department investigation unit, conducted a videotaped interrogation of Perdomo-Paz regarding the triple homicide. Perdomo-Paz repeatedly denied being at the Red Roof Inn, claiming that he went to the party in Independence and then went home.

The State charged Perdomo-Paz with three counts of murder in the first degree and three counts of ACA, alleging that Perdomo-Paz, after deliberation, knowingly caused the deaths of Hamidovic, Joksimovic, and Elizondo by shooting them. Pre-trial, defense counsel moved to suppress Perdomo-Paz's March 3, 2011 statement to the police and all evidence and testimony related to his detention and arrest. The trial court overruled the motions after an evidentiary hearing. The trial court denied Perdomo-Paz's motion for judgment of acquittal at the close of all the evidence.

The jury found Perdomo-Paz guilty of first-degree murder for the deaths of Hamidovic and Joksimovic, second-degree murder for the death of Elizondo, and three counts of armed criminal action. The trial court denied Perdomo-Paz's motion for new trial and motion for a parolable sentence. The trial court sentenced him to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole on each of the first-degree murder counts, life imprisonment on the second-degree murder count, and fifty years imprisonment on each of the ACA counts, all sentences to run consecutively.

On appeal, Perdomo-Paz asserts five points. In Points I, II, and III, he asserts that the trial court erred in overruling his motions to suppress and in admitting certain evidence at trial. In Point IV, he

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challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to prove deliberation in order to convict him for the first-degree murder charges. And in Point V, he raises a constitutional challenge to section 565.020.2, which mandates life without the possibility of parole for a juvenile defendant--which Perdomo-Paz was and is not. We affirm.

Additional facts relevant to the disposition of this appeal will be set forth in the analysis of the ...


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