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State v. Clark

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Fourth Division

February 23, 2016

STATE OF MISSOURI, Plaintiff/Respondent,
v.
DRANEL CLARK, Defendant/Appellant

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis. Honorable Thomas Frawley.

         For Plaintiff/Respondent: Chris Koster, Evan J. Buchheim, Jefferson City, MO.

         For Defendant/Appellant: Timothy J. Forneris, St. Louis, MO.

          OPINION

Page 151

          SHERRI B. SULLIVAN, J.

          Introduction

         Dranel Clark (Appellant) appeals from the trial court's judgment entered after a jury trial convicting him of assault in the second degree, armed criminal action, and resisting arrest. We affirm.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         The State charged Appellant, as a prior offender, with assault in the first degree (Count I), armed criminal action (Count II), attempted robbery (Count III), armed criminal action (Count IV), unlawful use of a weapon (Count V), and resisting arrest (Count VI). The evidence adduced at trial, viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, is as follows.

         In October 2011, Edward White (White) worked at a bar doing odd jobs. At approximately 10 p.m. on October 1, 2011, White left the bar and walked to a check cashing place about two blocks away to get change for the bar. On his way there, White saw a group of young men on the street that made him nervous. After getting about $200 in change, White left the check cashing place and crossed the street to avoid the group of men he had seen earlier.

         As he crossed the street, Appellant started walking, and then running, toward him. White was walking through a White Castle parking lot when Appellant caught him and tried to push him into a car. White resisted.

         Appellant put a gun to White's head and told him to " up it" which White believed meant to give Appellant the money. Appellant put the gun to White's temple and pulled the trigger but White " ducked real

Page 152

quick" and the bullet missed him. White struggled with Appellant and Appellant shot again, this time grazing the back of White's head. Appellant fired a third shot, but the gun jammed. Appellant then began hitting White in the back of the head with the gun.

         Officer Aaron Quarles (Quarles) was driving in his patrol car when he heard a gunshot at the White Castle approximately 100 feet away. Quarles saw two people fighting and a muzzle flash, then heard another gunshot. Quarles pulled into the lot and saw Appellant beating White. When Quarles told Appellant to stop, Appellant looked at him and ran away. Quarles pursued Appellant in his vehicle, with the lights and siren activated. Quarles saw the magazine fall out of the gun Appellant was carrying and then saw Appellant throw the gun. Once Appellant threw the gun, Quarles exited his vehicle and pursued Appellant on foot. Quarles ordered Appellant to stop but Appellant continued to run until Quarles drew his firearm. Appellant then stopped and put his hands up. When Quarles holstered his weapon, Appellant turned toward Quarles and assumed a " fighting stance." Quarles took out his baton and, while attempting to strike Appellant's arm, hit Appellant in the head as Appellant bent over. Appellant then complied with Quarles' orders and was placed under arrest.

         After the altercation, White returned to the bar where someone called the police. White received stitches for lacerations on the side of his head and over his right eye.

         The jury found Appellant guilty of the lesser-included offense of second-degree assault (Count I), armed criminal action (Count II), unlawful use of a weapon (Count V), and resisting arrest (Count VI). The trial court sentenced Appellant to seven years for second-degree assault, three years for armed criminal action, and four years each for unlawful use of a weapon and resisting arrest. The court ordered the sentences to run concurrently except the three-year sentence for armed criminal action, which was ordered to run consecutively to the assault charge, for a total sentence of ten years. Following sentencing, the trial court vacated the conviction for unlawful use of a weapon by agreement of the parties. This appeal follows.

         Points on Appeal

         In his first point, Appellant argues the trial court abused its discretion in failing to grant a mistrial because the jury panel saw Appellant in restraints, without good cause, which made Appellant appear to be dangerous and destroyed the presumption of innocence to which he was entitled.

         In his second point, Appellant contends the trial court abused its discretion in limiting Appellant's defense by allowing the State to redact pages of White's medical records admitted into evidence which contained the results of blood tests performed on White because the positive alcohol and cocaine blood test results were relevant and admissible evidence and corroborated Appellant's defense that White was intoxicated and attacked Appellant.

         In his third point, Appellant asserts the trial court abused its discretion in submitting Jury Instruction 6 for assault in the second degree, in that Appellant was not assured a unanimous verdict because the submitted instruction did not specify the " assault" charged and did not ensure the jury would unanimously convict Appellant of the same conduct, in that it was a disputed fact at trial whether Appellant shot at or struck White.

         Discussion

         Point I ...


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