From Circuit Court of Lawrence County Honorable Jack A.L.
W. DRAPER III, JUDGE
state brings this interlocutory appeal, pursuant to section
547.200.1(3), RSMo 2000,  after the trial court sustained David K.
Holman's (hereinafter, "Defendant") motion to
suppress statements he made to police after his arrest. The
state claims that Defendant's statements were suppressed
improperly because Defendant failed to unequivocally assert
his Fifth Amendment right to counsel.
Court holds that Defendant's Fifth Amendment rights were
not violated. Accordingly, the trial court's judgment is
reversed, and the case is remanded.
and Procedural Background
determining whether to sustain Defendant's motion to
suppress, the trial court took into consideration the
stipulated facts as presented by the attorneys in the case,
two depositions, and a police report. There was no live
testimony. The facts as presented demonstrated:
early morning hours of December 10, 2013, it was asserted
that RaDonna Roland (hereinafter, "Wife") shot
Defendant in the back of the arm. Defendant fatally shot Wife
and thereafter, called 911.
Ryan Devost (hereinafter, "Deputy Devost") and
Michael Thorn (hereinafter, "Deputy Thorn") were
dispatched to Defendant's home. Upon arrival, the
deputies knocked on the door, and Defendant told them to come
inside. Inside, Deputy Devost performed a security sweep of
the premises while Deputy Thorn attended to Wife. Deputy
Devost handcuffed Defendant and took him to the patrol car.
paramedics arrived, they first attempted to treat Wife.
Deputy Thorn moved Defendant into the ambulance so that he
could receive treatment. Defendant was emotional, upset about
Wife, and repeating that he could not believe he shot her.
Deputy Devost informed Defendant of his
Miranda rights. Defendant
continued speaking to Deputy Devost, stating that he could
not believe there was not more being done for Wife, that he
could not believe Wife shot him, and explaining that he
should not have shot Wife but rather should have run away.
Deputy Devost requested Defendant sign a consent to search
form to search his home. Defendant responded, "I
ain't signing shit without my attorney."
detectives arrived at the scene. Deputy Devost informed them
that Defendant was "in custody. He's been read
Miranda. He's refused to sign a search without
his attorney." Deputy Devost then departed the scene.
Defendant was transported to the hospital for treatment.
After being discharged from the hospital, Defendant was taken
to the Lawrence County jail.
next morning, Detective Linda McElroy (hereinafter,
"Detective McElroy") questioned Defendant.
Detective McElroy read Defendant his Miranda rights
and asked if he understood them. Defendant indicated he
understood his rights, and he spoke with Detective McElroy.
Subsequently, Defendant was charged with first-degree murder,
section 565.020, and armed criminal action, section 571.015.
to trial, Defendant brought this motion to suppress
statements he made after being read his Miranda
rights. The trial court sustained his motion, concluding that
after Defendant stated that "I ain't signing shit
without my attorney, " he had invoked his right to
counsel. The state appeals.
Court will reverse a trial court's ruling on a motion to
suppress only if it is clearly erroneous. State v.
Sund, 215 S.W.3d 719, 723 (Mo. banc 2007). To find clear
error, this Court must be "left with a definite and firm
belief a mistake has been made." State v. Bell,
488 S.W.3d 228, 238 (Mo. App. E.D. 2016) (quoting State
v. Haldiman, 106 S.W.3d 529, 533 (Mo. App. W.D. 2003)).
Whether conduct violates the Fifth Amendment ...