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Harris v. State

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Fourth Division

November 24, 2015

PATRICK L. HARRIS, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cole County. The Honorable Patricia S. Joyce, Judge.

Rosalynn Koch, Columbia, MO, for appellant.

Rachel S. Flaster, Jefferson City, for respondent.

Before Division Four: Alok Ahuja, C.J., and Victor C. Howard and Gary D. Witt, JJ. All concur.

OPINION

Alok Ahuja, Chief Judge.

Page 228

Following a jury trial, Patrick Harris was convicted in the Circuit Court of Cole County of multiple charges arising from an armed robbery in Jefferson City in October 2009. After his conviction and an unsuccessful direct appeal, Harris filed a motion for post-conviction relief under Supreme Court Rule 29.15. His motion alleged, among other things, that his trial counsel was ineffective for not moving to suppress inculpatory statements Harris made immediately after his arrest, while he was injured. The circuit court denied Harris' motion following an evidentiary hearing. Harris appeals. We affirm.

Factual Background

On January 10, 2011, Harris was convicted by a jury of first-degree assault under § 565.050, RSMo, first-degree robbery under § 569.020, RSMo, armed criminal action under § 571.015, RSMo, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon under § 571.070, RSMo. He was sentenced to life, twenty years, ten years, and ten years, respectively, with the sentences ordered to run consecutively.

The charges stemmed from an October 13, 2009 robbery at a law office in Jefferson City. Our opinion in Harris' direct appeal, State v. Harris, 364 S.W.3d 790, 791-93 (Mo. App. W.D. 2012), contains a detailed account of the facts of the underlying offenses. For present purposes, the relevant facts are as follows. During the robbery, one of the victims exchanged gunfire with Harris, and both the victim and Harris were struck by bullets. Officers testified at Harris' trial that, following a tip and a trail of blood, they found Harris in an apartment above the law office in the early morning hours of October 14, 2009. Harris was hiding behind a curtain in the apartment's laundry room. Harris had suffered a gunshot wound to his hand; his hand was wrapped in a bloody towel, and duct taped. Sergeant Steve Weaver of the Jefferson City Police Department testified that police " immediately called for an ambulance" after taking Harris into custody.

Sergeant Weaver notified Harris of his Miranda rights and Harris indicated that he understood. Sergeant Weaver testified that he then asked Harris about his hand injury. After Harris replied that he had hurt his hand in St. Louis, Sergeant Weaver asked if Harris knew anything about the previous night's robbery and shooting. Harris said that he did not. Sergeant Weaver testified he " told [Harris] I thought he was a liar based on the blood that he had, the blood leading to the apartment, his injuries. And then I told him I thought he was lying to me." Sergeant Weaver described for Harris what Sergeant

Page 229

Weaver believed had transpired. Sergeant Weaver testified that upon hearing this, Harris " dropped his head and said, 'Yeah, it was me.' And then he paused and said, 'Well, I didn't do a robbery. My friend did a robbery.'" Sergeant Weaver again told Harris that he believed Harris was lying. Harris reiterated that his unnamed friend had committed the robbery. Sergeant Weaver again accused Harris of lying, to which Harris responded " Yeah, you're right. I'm the one that did it. I did the robbery, and I shot that guy."

Sergeant Weaver testified that while he spoke to Harris he was aware of " a lot of blood" in or under the towel on Harris' hand. On cross-examination, Sergeant Weaver was asked, " He was in pain, but you talked to him?" Sergeant Weaver responded that Harris " didn't say much about pain" during their conversation. The conversation ended before the ambulance arrived. After being treated at the hospital and signing a written waiver of ...


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