United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
CRITES-LEONI, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter was referred to the undersigned United States
Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b). Pending
before the undersigned is Defendant Julius Lamon Jones'
Motion to Suppress Evidence and Statements. (Doc. 27.) Jones
argues that an officer did not have reasonable suspicion to
justify a Terry stop of the Cadillac Escalade in
which he was a passenger based on an anonymous 911 tip. Jones
requests the suppression of “all items seized from
[his] Cadillac Escalade, all testimony regarding [his]
seizure and arrest from the Escalade, and any statements [he]
allegedly made at the scene of his arrest.”
Id. at 4. The Government filed a Brief in opposition
to Jones' claims. (Doc. 32.) After an evidentiary hearing
(Doc. 37), both parties submitted memoranda. (Docs. 45, 47.)
consideration of the pleadings identified above, as well as
all exhibits admitted into evidence, the undersigned
recommends that the following findings of fact and
conclusions of law be adopted and that Jones' Motion to
Suppress be denied.
Findings of Fact
investigation of this case began with a grocery store robbery
being reported to police. One person was shot during the
robbery. Three suspects fled in a car from the grocery store.
A high speed chase from Kennett, Missouri to Blytheville,
Arkansas followed. Within just over an hour, the chase
resulted in the arrests of two of three suspects who were in
the car. One of the suspects was arrested just minutes after
the car crashed in a field in Blytheville. Another suspect
was arrested in Osceola, Arkansas after a 911 caller reported
the suspect had gotten into a Cadillac Escalade and departed
apprehension of the suspects required communication and
cooperation between multiple law enforcement agencies,
including: the Kennett Police Department in Missouri; the
Missouri State Highway Patrol; the Mississippi County,
Arkansas Sheriff's Department; the Arkansas State Police;
and the Osceola, Arkansas Police Department.
1, 2015, around 10:00 p.m., Sgt. Phillip Caldwell of the
Kennett Police Department received a dispatch regarding an
armed robbery at Curt's Grocery. One person was shot
during the robbery and the suspects left in a silver Toyota
passenger car. Sgt. Caldwell responded to the call by
activating his lights and siren, and traveling toward
Curt's Grocery. While en route, Sgt. Caldwell passed a
silver Toyota in oncoming traffic. He turned around to follow
the Toyota and a high speed chase ensued. Although Sgt.
Caldwell chased the suspect vehicle at speeds exceeding one
hundred miles per hour, the Toyota would not stop.
Sgt. Caldwell was within eight car lengths of the Toyota, he
heard noises and saw muzzle flashes coming from the
driver's side of the vehicle. He realized the flashes
were gun shots. Sgt. Caldwell backed off slightly from the
Toyota, but followed it all the way to Blytheville, Arkansas
where a Mississippi County Deputy, Dale Stracener, took the
pursuit over at approximately 10:18 p.m.
roughly one mile inside the Arkansas state line, Deputy
Stracener had his patrol unit parked so that it was blocking
the highway with the emergency lights on. As the Toyota
approached Stracener's location, the Toyota slowed to
approximately sixty or seventy miles per hour and passed the
patrol car by driving on the grass shoulder of the highway.
After passing the parked patrol unit, additional shots were
fired from the Toyota toward the patrol car. Deputy Stracener
began to pursue the Toyota, driving at speeds in excess of
one hundred miles per hour.
enforcement officers followed the Toyota into Yarbrough,
Arkansas during which time additional shots were fired by the
front passenger occupant of the Toyota. Sgt. Caldwell
continued behind the Arkansas officer until the pursuit
terminated in Blytheville, Arkansas. The Toyota was driven
into a grassy field and crashed nose first in a ditch
approximately 250 feet off the roadway.
Stracener observed three suspects bail out of the Toyota--the
driver, who was wearing red, out of the driver's side;
and two passengers out of the passenger side. One passenger
was wearing gray sweat pants and the other passenger was
wearing a white sleeveless t-shirt, or what was also referred
to as a “wife beater.” The three suspects were
African-American men. They ran to the northeast, away from
the wrecked Toyota. Within a few minutes, Deputy Stracener
along with Trooper Bennett of the Arkansas State Police found
the driver lying down in some nearby bushes.
Stracener recalled that while working with Trooper Bennett to
find the suspects, he overheard a radio transmission
regarding a black male wearing a white tank top and dark
pants getting into a mustard-colored Cadillac Escalade with
an Arkansas license plate. Deputy Stracener testified that
the radio traffic as he recalled it was “a black male
wearing the same description as I had said earlier, white
tank top, dark pants, on the scene getting into a Cadillac
Escalade.” (Suppression Hearing Transcript, Doc. 37 at
25, hereinafter “Tr. ___”.) Deputy Stracener
believed the information had come from a 911 caller,
however, he could not verify the source of the information
other than to say it was relayed by the Mississippi County
Sheriff Office's Dispatcher.
10:30 p.m., Osceola Police Department (OPD) Officer Chris
Ellis was on patrol and heard radio traffic regarding one of
the suspects from the Missouri robbery. Osceola is located
twenty-five to thirty miles from the Missouri/Arkansas state
line. The OPD Dispatcher reported that the Mississippi County
Sheriff's Office advised they received a 911 call that an
occupant of a vehicle from the officer involved shooting
“had gotten into a mustard yellow Cadillac
Escalade” (Tr. 29), with a specific Arkansas license
plate number (LPN). (Tr. 29-31, 41-43.)
approximately 10:43 p.m., one of the recorded Arkansas State
Police dispatches reveals that the following information was
called out by the Operator:
I was going to give you a little traffic. I was listening to
Mississippi County, they advised that a green Cadillac
Escalade, Arkansas LPN 685 Sam Nora Nora, 685 Sam Nora Nora,
possibly picked up one of the suspects; wearing a wife, uh, a
wife beater shirt and dark jeans, uh, black male; unknown
direction of travel.
(Gov't. Ex. 3 at 21:10 thru 21:35.) Shortly
thereafter, the Operator called out to another officer,
“You don't see a green Cadillac Escalade anywhere,
do you?” Id. at 22:09. The officer answered,
“Negative, I've been looking.” Id.
10:56 p.m., Officer Ellis and Patrolman Newel were waiting at
the north end of the Osceola city limits to watch for a
mustard yellow Cadillac Escalade and the Cadillac came into
view. Officer Ellis followed the Cadillac through town and
stopped it in the parking lot of an old gas station. The
driver was Defendant Julius Jones' wife, Reshawn Jones.
Jones was in the front passenger seat wearing a white
sleeveless t-shirt that had blood on it and black sweat
pants. The back side of Jones' sweatpants and his shoes
had fresh mud on them.
11:00 p.m., an Arkansas Trooper (identified as
“C2” in the radio log) reported “Update
just received on the, uh, a green Escalade, that's. .
.from around this area. . .has just been located in
Osceola.” Id. at 26:00. The Arkansas State
Police “Radio Transmission Log” entry reflected
“. . .The mustard green Escalade [had] ...