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State v. Peterson

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Third Division

July 28, 2015

STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent,
v.
WILLIAM ERNST PETERSON, JR., Appellant

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Morgan County, Missouri. The Honorable Donald Barnes, Judge.

For Respondent: Chris Koster, Attorney General, Evan J. Buchheim, Assistant Attorney General, Jefferson City, MO.

For Appellant: Casey A. Taylor, Assistant Public Defender, Columbia, MO.

Before Division Three: Karen King Mitchell, Presiding Judge, and Lisa White Hardwick and Anthony Rex Gabbert, Judges. Lisa White Hardwick and Anthony Rex Gabbert, Judges, concur.

OPINION

Karen King Mitchell, Presiding Judge

Page 768

William Peterson appeals, following a jury trial, his convictions of trafficking in the first degree, § 195.222,[1] and three

Page 769

counts of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree, § 568.045, for which the court sentenced him, as a prior offender, to a total of fourteen years' imprisonment. Peterson raises two claims on appeal: first, he argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions; and second, he argues that the prosecutor misrepresented the evidence during closing argument. Because the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions and because Peterson has failed to demonstrate any prejudice resulting from the prosecutor's alleged misstatement during closing argument, his convictions and sentences are affirmed.

Background

On April 5, 2012, around 6:20 p.m., Officer Brian Pratt of the Lake Area Narcotics Enforcement Group, went to Peterson's home in Stoutland, Missouri, which Peterson shared with Wife, Stepdaughter (then age 14), Stepson, Daughter-in-law (Stepson's wife), and two grandchildren (Stepson and Daughter-in-law's children, then ages 1 and 2). Officer Pratt was conducting a methamphetamine drug investigation based upon information that all four adult household members (Peterson, Wife, Stepson, and Daughter-in-law) had been purchasing pseudoephedrine in quantities consistent with the manufacture of methamphetamine. When he arrived at the residence, Officer Pratt found Wife and Daughter-in-law outside; another officer advised the women that the officers were investigating possible drug activity on the premises, and they requested consent to search.[2] Wife refused to allow the officers to search. Officer Pratt then asked if Stepson was around. Daughter-in-law indicated that he was, and she brought him outside. Officer Pratt asked Wife and Stepson about recent pseudoephedrine purchases, and both Wife and Stepson produced the pills they had purchased in the preceding two days.

While Officer Pratt was speaking with Wife, another officer advised Officer Pratt that, as he was walking back to his patrol vehicle, he saw in the yard what turned out to be a gas generator--an item of paraphernalia that is used in the " salting out" stage of the one-pot methamphetamine manufacturing process.[3] Officer

Page 770

Pratt then advised Wife, Stepson, and Daughter-in-law of their Miranda warnings[4] and that he was securing the residence pending application for a search warrant. The other officer briefly searched the home to see if anyone else was present, and he found the three minor children, so he brought them outside as well. Peterson arrived at the residence twenty-to-thirty minutes later. At that time, Officer Pratt introduced himself as a narcotics officer, explained why he was at Peterson's residence, ...


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