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State v. Reed

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Fourth Division

October 25, 2016

STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent,
v.
CAMERON REED, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Louis County Honorable Tom W. DePriest, Jr. Judge.

          KURT S. ODENWALD, JUDGE.

         Introduction

         Appellant Cameron Reed ("Reed") appeals the judgment of the trial court entered after a jury trial. The jury convicted him of voluntary manslaughter and armed criminal action for shooting Victim to death. Reed confessed to shooting Victim during an interrogation, and video of that confession was shown to the jury. On appeal, Reed argues that the trial court erred in admitting the confession video because his statements were involuntary under the totality of the circumstances. Reed also asserts trial-court error in the denial of his motion to quash the jury panel because the selection of the panel violated his constitutional rights and Missouri law.

         We are not left with a definite and firm impression that the totality of the circumstances surrounding Reed's confession deprived him of his free will and forced him to confess. Thus, the trial court did not clearly err in denying Reed's motion to suppress. Further, because Reed failed to present any evidence that his jury panel was the result of processes that violated either his constitutional rights or Missouri law, the trial court did not err in denying his motion to quash the jury panel. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

         Factual and Procedural History

         Reed appeals his conviction, following a jury trial, on one count of voluntary manslaughter and one count of armed criminal action. Reed does not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction, so we will not detail the facts of the underlying crime.

         At approximately 1:30 A.M. on June 30, 2013, Reed's neighbor found the dead body of Victim lying in the street near Reed's home and called police. During the investigation that morning, Reed, who was friends with Victim, agreed to make a statement at the police station. Reed was not a suspect at that time.

         Reed was driven by police to the station at 6:00 A.M. When Reed entered an interview room, an unidentified supervising officer gave him a cigarette and some water. The officer instructed Reed to wait for the detectives to arrive and to knock loudly on the door if he needed more water or to use the restroom. At 6:58 A.M., Reed knocked on the door, requested water, and mentioned that his legs hurt so he needed to go home to get his pain medication. The officer brought more water and asked Reed to wait patiently because the detectives would be in shortly. The officer also lit a cigarette for Reed and turned up the heat because Reed was cold.

         At 8:29 A.M., about 2.5 hours after Reed entered the interview room, Detective Rodesiler ("Det. Rodesiler") arrived and started the interview. Det. Rodesiler informed Reed of his Miranda[1] rights, although he was not a suspect at the time. Reed signed a Miranda waiver form. Reed told Det. Rodesiler that Victim had used heroin early that morning before the shooting and had been yelling at a woman who lived with Reed. To calm Victim, Reed walked him outside. While outside, Reed stated that Victim had an aggressive encounter with a man in a black truck. Later in the interview, Reed identified the man in the black truck from a photo array. The interview ended at 9:39 A.M., but Reed stayed in the interview room when Det. Rodesiler left. Officers allowed Reed to use the restroom at 11;02 A.M. About 5.5 hours after arriving at the station, at 11:37 A.M., Reed left.

         Police investigated the man in the black truck, but soon eliminated him as a suspect. Now without a suspect, Det. Rodesiler called Reed the following day, July 1, and asked for another interview. Reed agreed, rode with police to the station, and entered the interview room at 11:36 A.M. The supervising officer provided Reed with coffee and cigarettes while he waited, and allowed him to text his mother. The interview-room video showed that Reed spent much of his wait sleeping in various positions. Around 1:00 P.M., Reed was allowed to use the restroom and was given pretzels to eat. Throughout the wait, Reed and the officer developed a cordial relationship, with the officer accommodating Reed's requests and Reed thanking the officer for doing so.

         At 1:40 P.M., about two hours into Reed's wait, he knocked on the door and complained about his purported disc bulge and the rheumatoid arthritis in his legs, which Reed had told the officer about earlier that day. The officer responded, "Anything else I can do to make you more comfortable? I mean, we got the cushion seat there, can I what else-what else can make you more comfortable?" Reed replied, "Nothing for real, I need like my muscle relaxers and stuff. Like, I take real strong medicine." Reed immediately stated that some days he did not take the medication because he did not like being "doped up" in front of his kids. Reed continued, "So I really don't want to take the stuff today, I'm supposed to have the kids in a little bit." The officer apologized, asked if Reed wanted to lay down, and offered Reed more coffee and cigarettes. Reed kept waiting.

         During a thirteen-minute stretch around 2:00 P.M., Reed knocked on the door six different times. When an officer answered the door on the sixth set of blocks, Reed stated that he had to use the bathroom badly. An officer immediately took Reed to the restroom and, upon return to the interview room, gave Reed more cigarettes.

         The detectives arrived at 3:10 P.M.-roughly 3.5 hours after Reed had entered the interview room-to conduct the interview. Det. Rodesiler, who apologized for the wait, was joined by Detective Wilson ("Det. Wilson"). Reed listened to and waived his Miranda rights at the beginning of the interview. After Reed told the detectives his original story, the detectives informed Reed that the evidence pointed to him as the shooter, but they did not know his motive. Reed initially denied that he had shot Victim because Victim was his friend. When the detectives started pressing Reed about the shooting, Reed asked for a cigarette several times. The detectives denied him a cigarette; Det. Wilson explained, "I don't like smoke in here, I'm sorry, you can have one when we're done."

         Later in the questioning, Reed stated, "I'm hurting, I'm in pain, I don't have my pain medicine, I have business to attend to today for my kids to do a drug drop, and to go meet with the CPS later so she can see my kids and do a home visit." Det. Wilson replied, "I'm telling you that is not going to happen today, okay?" Without reference to the medicine, Reed reiterated his position that he did not shoot Victim, and the interrogation continued.

         Finally, the detectives told Reed that they were booking him for murder, regardless of what his story was, because of the strength of the rest of the evidence. Fearing he would "go to jail forever, " Reed agreed to tell his story. Reed commented that he was "not going to go to jail for no [expletive] First Degree Murder, man." After the detectives gave Reed a cigarette, he confessed to shooting Victim, but he claimed that he was acting in self-defense and to protect others in his household. Reed was subsequently charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action.

         Before trial, Reed filed a motion to suppress his confession because his statements were not voluntary. Det. Rodesiler testified for the State in the subsequent hearing. The detective believed that Reed had understood and voluntarily waived his Miranda rights. The detective testified that he never threatened or made promises to Reed to secure his confession, and that Reed did not appear to be afraid of the detectives. Regarding the refusal to give Reed a cigarette, Det. Rodesiler interpreted Reed's requests to be a "delay tactic." Det. Rodesiler also testified that officers were not allowed to give Reed his medicine because only a nurse could do so. The trial court overruled Reed's motion to suppress.

         Reed also moved to quash the jury panel because the racial makeup of his panel consisted of zero African-American males. Reed's counsel asserted that 23.7% of St. Louis County's population was African-American, according to the census bureau. The trial court found that the jury panel contained 54 prospective jurors, ten of which were African-American-all ten were female-which the trial court found was a ratio of "about 18 percent"[2] African-Americans on the jury panel. The trial court also stated that it was the court's belief that prospective jurors were randomly ...


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