Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, First Division
Appeal from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis. Hon. Jimmie M. Edwards.
FOR APPELLANT: Maleaner R. Harvey, St. Louis, MO.
FOR RESPONDENT: Chris Koster, Attorney General, Karen L. Kramer, Asst. Attorney General, Jefferson City, MO.
ROBERT G. DOWD, JR., Presiding Judge. Mary K. Hoff, J. and Roy L. Richter, J., concur.
ROBERT G. DOWD, JR., Presiding Judge
Timothy Boykins appeals from the judgment entered after a jury found him guilty of murder in the first degree and armed criminal action for the shooting death of Nathan Reed. On appeal, he claims the trial court erred by allowing testimony regarding anonymous tips identifying Boykins as the shooter. We affirm.
The sufficiency of the evidence is not challenged on appeal. Viewed favorably to the verdict, the evidence relevant to the issues on appeal was as follows. Dante Jones testified at trial that he and Reed went to play dice at a friend's house on the corner of Margaretta and Red Bud in the City of St. Louis one evening in November of 2012. The dice game was in the garage--the overhead door (for cars) faced Red Bud and was open the whole time, and the entry doorway (for people) faced the yard and had no door on it at the time. Numerous people entered and left the garage throughout the game. At some point, Reed left with another friend to go to the store. Shortly thereafter, Jones heard the sound of a gunshot coming from outside the garage. Everybody in the garage started to scatter, and Jones--who uses a wheelchair, but was sitting on a crate at the time--was the last person left inside the garage. He had been dragged off the crate in the melee and was lying on the floor near the entry doorway. From there, Jones saw Boykins chasing Reed from the street through the open overhead doorway, through the garage and out the entry doorway into the yard. Boykins had a black gun in his hand. Jones knew Boykins from the neighborhood, where they had both grown up their whole lives; they saw each other every day and had no
problems between them. Boykins also went by the nickname Y.G..
Jones got himself back onto the crate and was scooting towards his wheelchair, when he heard Reed say " Please Homey Y.G., don't kill me; please don't shoot me no more; please don't kill me." Then Jones heard eight or nine more shots coming from the yard and saw Boykins shoot Reed. He admitted he could see them only from the waist up through a garage window and that it was dark outside; but Jones said he saw the shooter's face clearly and was certain it was Boykins. Then Boykins ran back through the entry doorway into the garage and past Jones, and said " D.J., you didn't see shit" and then ran out the overheard doorway towards Red Bud street. Jones testified at trial that he had also seen Boykins and Reed in another argument and altercation a few weeks before, but it was only some wrestling and tussling.
Corey Williams, another friend of Reed's and Jones's, also testified at trial. Williams was at his house on the same block of Margaretta that night; it was two houses from the corner of Red Bud and across the street from where his friends were playing dice. When he heard gunshots and looked out his front windows, Williams could not see what was going on. So he went outside using the back door because his front door was boarded up at the time. He planned to go around to the front where the gunshot sounds came from, but while in his backyard, he saw a person that he recognized from the neighborhood as Y.G. running down the alley from the direction of Red Bud. Williams was looking through his empty garage and said he had a clear view of the alley through the open entry door and the open overheard door that faced the alley. He saw Y.G. wrapping a pistol up in a dark colored hoodie, which Y.G. then carried like a football and ran off across a lot away from the direction of Margaretta and Red Bud.
Detective Steven Kaiser was the lead investigating officer who responded to the shooting that night. He testified that after reviewing the scene, the investigation was focused on Timothy Boykins. When asked why, Detective Kaiser explained that he learned that night that an anonymous 911 caller had identified the shooter as Y.G. and had given a physical description, which the detective repeated at trial. The defense objected to this testimony, referencing its pretrial motion to suppress this and other out-of-court statements by anonymous tipsters on hearsay grounds. When asked if he " received additional information that helped them progress in their investigation that evening," Detective Kaiser testified that he learned that another anonymous caller had identified the shooter as Timothy and had given other identifying information. He was then asked if he received " any other tips that helped you focus your investigation on Timothy Boykins?" to which the detective responded that, the day after the incident, he learned of another anonymous tipster who had referred to the shooter as Timothy Boykins. The day after that, Detective Kaiser testified, he learned of a fourth anonymous tipster who had identified Timothy Boykins or Y.G. as the shooter. The prosecutor did not ask what particular steps the officers took in response to any of these anonymous tips.
Detective Kaiser was then asked about witnesses he talked to at the scene. He said that he spoke to Jones that evening, who claimed not to have been in a position to see anything, and no one else came forward that night either. But two days after the incident, Williams called in to the police ...