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State v. Cheatum

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division

December 8, 2015

STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent,
v.
DOMIONTE SJORNELL CHEATUM, Appellant

Editorial Note:

Not Final until expiration of the rehearing period. See MO R RCP Rule 84.16 regarding unpublished opinions.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Boone County, Missouri. The Honorable Dorothea C. Carpenter, Judge.

Before Division One: Anthony Rex Gabbert, Presiding Judge, Victor C. Howard, Judge and Cynthia L. Martin, Judge.

ORDER

PER CURIAM

Domionte Cheatum appeals his convictions of murder in the second degree, robbery

Page 738

in the first degree, and armed criminal action following a jury trial. Cheatum complains about comments during closing argument; that he was denied a speedy trial; and about the admission of evidence he claims was legally irrelevant. Finding no error, we affirm. Rule 30.25(b).

MEMORANDUM SUPPLEMENTING ORDER AFFIRMING JUDGMENT PURSUANT TO RULE 30.25(b)

This memorandum is for the information of the parties and sets forth the reasons for the order affirming the judgment.

THIS STATEMENT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A FORMAL OPINION OF THIS COURT. IT IS NOT UNIFORMLY AVAILABLE. IT SHALL NOT BE REPORTED, CITED OR OTHERWISE USED IN UNRELATED CASES BEFORE THIS COURT OR ANY OTHER COURT. IN THE EVENT OF THE FILING OF A MOTION TO RE HEAR OR TRANSFER TO THE SUPREME COURT, A COPY OF THIS MEMORANDUM SHALL BE ATTACHED TO ANY SUCH MOTION.

Domionte Cheatum (" Cheatum" ) appeals his convictions of murder in the second degree, robbery in the first degree, and armed criminal action following a jury trial. Cheatum complains: (1) that the prosecutor's comments to the jury during closing argument improperly shifted the burden to the defendant and improperly made direct reference to Cheatum's failure to testify; (2) that his trial began more than 180 days after a pro se request for a speedy trial; and (3) that software-generated maps and accompanying testimony regarding cell phone use should not have been admitted into evidence because they were not legally relevant. We affirm.

Factual and Procedural Background[1]

On June 23, 2013, Cheatum was with Samuel Butler (" Butler" ) in Columbia. Butler told Cheatum that a friend, Anthony Unger (" Unger" ), had marijuana for sale. Cheatum spoke with Unger on Butler's cell phone to arrange a purchase.

Unger and his friend Joycelynn Brown (" Brown" ) drove Brown's Pontiac from Jefferson City to Columbia to meet Cheatum. Before leaving Jefferson City, Unger stashed two plastic bags of marijuana wrapped in cloth under the Pontiac's hood. Unger drove the Pontiac to a grocery store in Columbia. While in the store, Unger received a phone call.

When Unger and Brown exited the store, they walked to the Pontiac. Brown saw Butler and two other persons in a black Honda. Butler stepped out of the Honda and into the rear passenger seat of the Pontiac. Butler instructed Unger to follow the Honda to another part of the parking lot. The Honda parked next to the Pontiac. Butler exited the Pontiac and returned to the Honda. Cheatum exited the Honda and took Butler's place in the rear passenger seat of the Pontiac.

Cheatum asked Unger if he had the marijuana. Unger retrieved the marijuana from under the Pontiac's hood. Once back in the car, Unger showed the marijuana to Cheatum. Cheatum claimed to have forgotten the money and left the Pontiac to go retrieve the money from the Honda. When Cheatum returned to the Pontiac, he showed Unger and Brown a handgun and stated, " Check this out, bro. I'm going to need to get that from you." Brown jumped out of the Pontiac and ran. While she was running, Brown heard several gunshots. Cheatum returned to the Honda with the marijuana and the gun.

The Honda left the scene. Butler asked if Unger was dead, and Cheatum responded, " Probably." Butler observed blood on Cheatum's hands and legs. The driver of the Honda dropped Butler and Cheatum off on a side street. Cheatum called his girlfriend, and Cheatum and Butler hid while they waited for Cheatum's girlfriend to arrive.

Unger died as a result of gunshot wounds to his torso and neck. An autopsy revealed that Unger had six bullet entrance wounds: one to his face, one to his arm, three to his back, and one to his chest. The medical examiner who ...


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