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State v. Green

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division

December 19, 2016

STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent,
v.
RODNEY J. GREEN, Appellant.

         APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF RIPLEY COUNTY Honorable Michael M. Pritchett, Judge

         AFFIRMED

          DANIEL E. SCOTT, J.

         Rodney Green's crime spree resulted in a jury trial, 13 felony convictions, and net sentences of life imprisonment plus 75 years. He does not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence, but raises four points on appeal, only two of which are preserved. We deny all points and affirm the judgment of conviction.

         Background

         Viewing the record most favorably to the verdicts, State v. Eoff, 193 S.W.3d 366, 368 (Mo.App. 2006), Green beat on the Walsh family's door at 2:30 a.m., claiming that his truck had broken down, his children were with him (it was winter), and he needed to use a phone. When Mrs. Walsh cracked the door to hand out her phone, Green forced his way in, stuck a gun in her face, and demanded her truck keys. Her daughter screamed, Green fired his gun, and a struggle ensued, waking Mr. Walsh who ran to his family's aid. Green kept firing, wounding both parents, and again demanded truck keys which Mrs. Walsh surrendered. Green took the truck and fled.

         About an hour later, Green knocked at the door of his relative, Mr. Parsons, again claiming that he needed to make a call because his truck had broken down. Mr. Parsons admitted Green, who turned on the TV but called no one, then stepped out and returned with an assault rifle. When TV news reported that Green was wanted for a shooting, Green roughed up Mr. Parsons, bound him with a telephone cord, and fled in Mr. Parsons' truck.

         We need not detail Green's unlawful entry into Ms. D__'s home later that day; or his offenses against her person; or his theft of her credit cards and car in fleeing the scene; or the manhunt, high-speed police chase, and crash that led to Green's apprehension and the recovery of evidence that, coupled with Green's confession, resulted in the charges for which Green was tried (after a jail escape and recapture) and convicted.[1]

         Point I Admission of Identification Testimony

         Green charges error in admitting Mrs. Walsh's identification of him, alleging that the pretrial identification procedure was impermissibly suggestive.

         We will reverse on admission of testimony only if the trial court abused its discretion. Foster v. State, 348 S.W.3d 158, 161 (Mo.App. 2011). We consider evidence at both the suppression hearing and trial, viewing the record most favorably to the court's ruling. State v. Green, 469 S.W.3d 881, 883 (Mo.App. 2015).

         We first consider whether the pretrial identification procedure was unduly suggestive; i.e., was identification a product of police procedure, not witness recollection? Foster, 348 S.W.3d at 161-62. Unless the procedure was unduly suggestive, our analysis ends. Id. at 162.

         The record reflects that Mrs. Walsh could and did view Green as he forced his way into her home and struggled with her. Less than an hour later, a deputy showed her Green's mugshot without mentioning his name and asked if she recognized him. Mrs. Walsh identified Green "without a shadow of a doubt" as the person who shot her and never wavered in identifying Green in later court proceedings.

         Much of Green's argument consists of highlighting testimony and inferences that question the reliability of the identification. Our standard of review forbids us to so view the record. Moreover, at this stage of the analysis, we are reviewing whether police procedure was unduly suggestive, absent which any "factors relating to reliability of the identification go to ...


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