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State v. Shegog

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division

March 7, 2017

STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent,
v.
ANTHONY SHEGOG, Appellant.

         APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF BOONE COUNTY, MISSOURI THE HONORABLE KEVIN CRANE, JUDGE

          Before: James E. Welsh, Presiding Judge, Anthony Rex Gabbert, Judge and Edward R. Ardini, Jr., Judge.

          EDWARD R. ARDINI, JR., JUDGE

         Anthony Shegog ("Shegog") appeals his conviction of murder in the second degree following a jury trial. Shegog claims that the trial court erred in overruling his motion to suppress evidence seized during searches of his apartment and in denying the admission of certain hearsay testimony during trial. Because we find no error, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

         Factual and Procedural Background[1]

         On October 6, 2014, Julie Davis ("Davis") was alerted to a commotion coming from outside of her house and went to investigate. Stepping onto her back porch, she observed a man and two women screaming and yelling at one another as they walked up and down the street at the side of her residence. She also observed a body, later determined to be that of Walter Liege ("victim"), lying nearby on the ground between her house and the neighboring two-story, four-unit apartment building. Police soon arrived on the scene and interviewed Davis who related her information to them. The police were able to identify the man and one of the women who had been observed by Davis to be screaming and yelling at one another as Shegog and his girlfriend. After speaking with Davis, Police proceeded to question Shegog who was standing outside of the apartment building. Shegog stated that he had been asleep in his apartment until being awakened by his girlfriend informing him that she had discovered the victim's body. When asked whether he knew anything about the victim, Shegog initially responded by stating that the victim's name was Jeffery, but quickly altered his answer and provided the victim's real name, including its rather unusual pronunciation. Shegog then informed the officer that he knew nothing about the crime or the victim and retreated into his apartment.

         During this time, additional officers arrived on the scene to aid the investigation. Two officers entered the common area of the apartment building to locate additional witnesses. Upon entering, the officers heard an argument coming from the second floor and, upon reaching the landing, observed Shegog's girlfriend leaving his apartment in tears while Shegog continued to yell at her through the open doorway. One of the officers approached and questioned Shegog while the other officer questioned Shegog's girlfriend. Shegog was uncooperative, simply repeating several times his previous statement that he had been asleep until being awakened by his girlfriend after she had discovered the victim's body. Shegog's girlfriend meanwhile informed officers that the body had been stabbed, a fact the officers believed could not have been known to anyone who did not closely examine the body.

         Shegog initially expressed reluctance when requested to go to the police station for the purpose of providing a statement, but ultimately agreed to do so after his girlfriend decided to provide a statement to police. The officers noted that the girlfriend's willingness to provide a statement caused Shegog to become visibly upset, and that he grew more upset when informed that he would not be permitted to ride with her in the same patrol car. While leaving the scene to go to the police station, Shegog began telling his girlfriend "I was asleep right?" in what the officers considered to be a manner that was not intended to be a question.

         At this point, the police performed what they referred to as a protective sweep of Shegog's apartment.[2] The primary reason for searching the apartment was the unknown whereabouts of the unidentified woman whom Davis reported to have seen screaming and yelling with Shegog and his girlfriend in the area of the victim's body. The officers testified that they were concerned that this woman may still have been in the apartment, either injured or possibly disposing of evidence. During the search of the apartment, the officers discovered a knife, with what appeared to be blood on it, lying in plain view on the kitchen counter. Police also continued gathering evidence from outside of the apartment including what appeared to be dried blood on the doorframe that lead from Shegog's apartment to a small wooden exterior staircase that connected the second story apartment with the ground level, local security footage from the time the stabbing was believed to have occurred that showed what appeared to be the victim exiting the apartment building with other people using the exterior staircase leading from Shegog's apartment, a statement from the victim's wife that he normally carried a wallet that was not found on his body, and a social media post that showed Shegog's girlfriend standing next to the victim's body. The evidence gathered was compiled in an affidavit in support of a search warrant for Shegog's apartment. During the execution of the search warrant, police found a jacket containing the victim's identification as well as other items.

         Shegog was arrested and charged, as a persistent misdemeanor offender, with one count of murder in the second degree and one count of armed criminal action.[3] Shegog moved to suppress the knife seized during the exigent circumstances search as well as the evidence seized pursuant to the search warrant. His motion was denied and a two-day jury trial was held. During the trial, Shegog attempted to introduce testimony from a school resource officer assigned to Hickman High School that a student had told him that "they got the wrong person" and "my auntie did it" in apparent reference to this crime. The state's objection to this testimony was sustained by the trial court.[4] The jury found Shegog guilty of murder in the second degree and he was sentenced to thirty years incarceration. Shegog timely appeals.

         Points Raised on Appeal

         Shegog raises two points on appeal. In his first point, he argues that the trial court erred in overruling his motion to suppress the evidence seized from his apartment during the exigent circumstances search asserting it was obtained as the result of an unlawful search. He further argues that the trial court erred in overruling his motion to suppress the evidence seized during the subsequent search of his apartment pursuant to a search warrant, claiming that the probable cause for issuance of the search warrant was based on evidence improperly seized during the initial exigent circumstances search and any evidence seized pursuant to the search warrant was therefore fruit of the poisonous tree. In his second point, Shegog claims that the trial court erred when it sustained the state's objection to a school resource officer testifying to statements made to him by a student arguing the exclusion of that evidence violated his right to due process of law.

         Standard of Review

         "A trial court's ruling on a motion to suppress will be reversed only if it is clearly erroneous." State v. Lammers, 479 S.W.3d 624, 630 (Mo. banc 2016). A decision is clearly erroneous "if, after review of the entire record, this Court is left with the definite and firm impression that a mistake has been made." Id. We shall defer "to the trial court's factual findings and credibility determinations and consider[] all evidence and reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the trial court's ruling." Id. Further, "this court considers the evidence presented at both the suppression hearing and at trial to determine whether sufficient evidence exists in the record to ...


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