Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Fourth Division
from the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri The
Honorable Joel P. Fahnestock, Judge
Mark D. Pfeiffer, Chief Judge, and Thomas H. Newton and Lisa
White Hardwick, Judges.
D. Pfeiffer, Chief Judge.
Corey D. Barrett ("Barrett") was convicted in the
Circuit Court of Jackson County ("trial court") of
one count second-degree felony murder, one count first-degree
burglary, one count first-degree robbery, and two counts
armed criminal action. On appeal, Barrett contends that the
trial court erred in admitting into evidence the statement he
gave to police after his arrest because it was not
voluntarily made. Barrett also contends that there was
insufficient evidence to support his convictions for robbery
and related armed criminal action. We affirm.
and Procedural Background
March 2013, Barrett was charged with one count second-degree
felony murder, § 565.021; one count first-degree
burglary, § 569.160; one count first-degree robbery,
§ 569.020; and two counts armed criminal action, §
571.015. Barrett, a sixteen-year-old at the time of
the crimes, had been primarily raised by his maternal
grandmother, Marise Barrett ("Victim"), and her
husband, Vernon C. Barrett
("Grandfather"). Barrett's biological mother is
Tameka Barrett ("Mother"), who was largely absent
for most of her son's life.
around Christmas 2012, Victim kicked Barrett out of her house
over a dispute about a phone bill. Barrett subsequently moved
into a teen homeless shelter called "reStart." On
March 16, 2013, Barrett told a fellow reStart resident named
Kevin Brewer ("Brewer") that Victim had valuables
in her home, and he proposed that the two break into her
house to steal them. They left the shelter that evening
around midnight and walked five miles to Victim's house
in order to carry out their planned theft.
led Brewer to Victim's house and broke a window in the
attached garage so that they could access the main part of
the house. A short time later, they left with Victim's
iPhone. Barrett testified that Brewer had blood on his hands
when they left the house. Barrett had a cut on his arm and
blood on his jeans.
and Brewer returned to reStart at 4:50 a.m. where they
immediately went to the bathroom. Barrett was bleeding from
the cut on his arm and asked the night worker for a Band-Aid.
Shortly afterwards, both boys were discharged from reStart
for leaving the shelter at night in violation of the rules.
went to Psychiatric Research Center where he reported having
thoughts of suicide. During his intake, a caseworker at the
center washed Barrett's clothes and noticed the blood on
his pants. When making inquiry with Barrett, Barrett told the
caseworker that he was in trouble and that no one could help
him. Mother called Barrett later in the morning to report
that Victim had been brutally murdered. Barrett responded
with little emotion and asked Mother to come pick him up at
the psychiatric center.
the same time Barrett presented to Psychiatric Research
Center, Victim was found dead in her bed, the result of 32
stab wounds. The window to the attached garage was broken,
her iPhone was missing, and a knife covered in blood was
found below her on the floor. The missing iPhone was soon
traced to Brewer, who had been using it after its
disappearance from Victim's house. Subsequent testing
revealed that Barrett's fingerprints were on the glass of
the broken window.
March 18, the police tracked the missing iPhone to
Brewer's high school; he was arrested when police found
the stolen phone in his possession. On March 19, police found
Barrett at the psychiatric center and also arrested him in
connection with the crime.
officers interviewed Barrett on March 20. Because Barrett was
then a minor, police brought Mother to the interrogation. A
deputy juvenile officer was also present. The interviewing
officers informed Barrett of his Miranda rights and
requested that he sign a related waiver form so that they
could speak with him; in reply, Barrett indicated that he
understood his rights and did not wish to speak with the
police. After subsequent conversation between Mother and the
officers in which they explained that they could not speak
with Barrett absent his waiver, Mother indicated her desire
to speak privately with Barrett; the officers permitted
Mother to do so, after which Barrett indicated that he had
changed his mind and agreed to sign the Miranda
waiver and speak with the officers.
the following interview, Barrett did not confess to murdering
Victim but admitted that he and Brewer had planned to break
into Victim's house with the intent to steal from her.
Barrett said that he had gone into the main part of the house
briefly, but he then "chickened out" and returned
to the garage while Brewer remained in the house. He
expressed a belief that Brewer was the person who had killed
Victim because Brewer had blood on his hands after coming out
of the house.
point, Barrett also had a separate conversation with Mother
in which he admitted that he had fully entered the house. He
also wrote a letter to Mother while he was awaiting trial in
which he described a dream with a boy in a garage and another
boy in a house and a woman screaming, "What is wrong
his bench trial, Barrett moved to suppress the statements he
made to police. In the motion, Barrett contended that all
statements made after his initial refusal to speak with
police were involuntary because he was improperly coerced
into speaking and waiving his rights by Mother, who he
claimed was acting as an agent of the police. At the hearing
on his suppression motion, two of the officers who had
participated in Barrett's interrogation testified
regarding their interactions with Barrett and Mother. Both
officers stated that-while they had certainly explained the
interrogation process and Barrett's Miranda
rights to Mother-at no point did they ask or coach her to
solicit Barrett's participation in the interrogation. The
trial court found the officers' testimony credible,
denied Barrett's motion to suppress, and permitted his
statements to police to be admitted at trial.
testified in his own defense during his trial. His testimony
was that he did break into Victim's garage with Brewer,
but he did not intend to commit any crimes inside the house,
and Brewer was the only person who went into Victim's
house. He also testified that he did not commit any of the
alleged crimes inside the home.
was found guilty as charged. The trial court sentenced him to
life imprisonment for the felony murder and related armed
criminal action, fifteen years' imprisonment for
first-degree burglary, and twenty-five years'
imprisonment for the first-degree robbery and related armed
criminal action (with all terms to be served concurrently).
Voluntariness of Barrett's Statement to Police
Barrett's first point on appeal, he contends that the
trial court erred in failing to suppress his statements to
police because they were not made voluntarily. Specifically,
Barrett argues that he unequivocally invoked his right to
remain silent, but then Mother (who he claims was acting as
an agent of the police) coerced him into waiving his rights,
thereby rendering his waiver and subsequent statements
involuntary. For the reasons outlined below, we
reviewing the trial court's denial of a motion to
suppress, we are limited to determining "whether the
decision is supported by substantial evidence, and it will be
reversed only if clearly erroneous." State v.
Lovelady, 432 S.W.3d 187, 190 (Mo. banc 2014); see
also State v. Woodrome, 407 S.W.3d 702, 706 (Mo. App.
W.D. 2013). The trial court's ruling is clearly erroneous
if we are left with a definite and firm impression that a
mistake was made. State v. Humble, 474 S.W.3d 210,
214 (Mo. App. W.D. 2015). We view all evidence elicited at
both the suppression hearing and trial, and the reasonable
inferences rising therefrom, in the light most favorable to
the trial court's ruling. State v. Edwards, 116
S.W.3d 511, 530 (Mo. banc 2003). "[C]ontrary evidence
and inferences are disregarded." State v.