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State v. Sigmon

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Fourth Division

April 25, 2017

SHON A. SIGMON, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cape Girardeau County Honorable Michael E. Gardner

          KURT S. ODENWALD, Judge


         Shon A. Sigmon ("Sigmon") appeals from the judgment of the trial court following a jury trial convicting him on three counts of second-degree assault of a law enforcement officer, one count of third-degree assault of a law enforcement officer, one count of aggravated stalking, and one count of second-degree sexual misconduct. On appeal, Sigmon challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support his convictions for aggravated stalking and sexual-misconduct.

         Although the State presented evidence that Sigmon was verbally abusive and taunted the arresting law enforcement officers during his arrest and transport to the county jail, such conduct did not establish the course of conduct required to prove aggravated stalking. Further, the abusive and lewd taunts and threats made regarding the daughter of one of the arresting officers did not meet the evidentiary requirements of solicitation necessary to convict Sigmon of sexual misconduct. Accordingly, we reverse Sigmon's convictions for aggravated stalking and sexual- misconduct and vacate the corresponding sentences. The judgment is affirmed in all other respects.

         Factual and Procedural History

         Following an aggressive turbulent encounter with law enforcement, the State charged Sigmon with four counts of second-degree assault of a law enforcement officer, one count of aggravated stalking, one count of second-degree sexual misconduct, and one count of escape from confinement. The case proceeded to a jury trial.

         At trial, Officer Travis Stafford ("Officer Stafford") and Officer Garry Brady ("Officer Brady"), both of the Stoddard County Sheriffs Department, testified that they had received a call to assist at the scene of a domestic disturbance. Officers Stafford and Brady responded to the call to provide backup to the investigating officer. Officer Stafford recalled that Sigmon was among six to eight people in the front yard of the home and that many of them, including Sigmon, were intoxicated. Officer Stafford recognized Sigmon, as Officer Stafford lived nearby and had previously encountered him in the area. Officer Stafford had no previous problems with Sigmon.

         During the domestic-disturbance investigation, an agitated and clearly intoxicated Sigmon was stumbling around without any coordination and was "running his mouth." According to the officers, Sigmon alternated between talking calmly and screaming. Sigmon repeatedly threatened to kill everyone at the scene.

         After intermittently yelling threats, Sigmon turned towards Officers Stafford and Brady and pointed at them. According to Officer Stafford, Sigmon screamed, "You fucking -. I'm going to kill you." Sigmon then quickly walked towards the officers while raising his closed fist. Officer Stafford raised his hands and shouted at Sigmon to stop. Sigmon continued towards the officers with his fist cocked back. Believing he was about to be struck, Officer Stafford wrestled Sigmon to the ground. While pinned, Sigmon attempted to strike Officer Stafford. Officer Stafford handcuffed Sigmon with assistance from Officer Brady. The officers testified that Sigmon then called Officer Stafford "a dead man walking" and threatened to beat him. The officers forced an uncooperative Sigmon into the patrol car. Officers Stafford and Brady testified that they were on the scene from between thirty minutes to a little more than an hour.

         Upon placing Sigmon in the patrol car, Officers Stafford and Brady began transporting Sigmon to the county jail "right shortly" thereafter. The county jail was located approximately twenty to thirty minutes away. As they began the drive, the officers testified that Sigmon leaned forward and threatened Officer Stafford about the safety of his daughter. Officer Stafford had a young daughter with blonde hair. According to Officer Stafford, Sigmon warned, "I know you. You know I do. I know you've got a pretty little blonde girl that plays outside." Stating that he has seen Officer Stafford's daughter playing in the officer's yard, Sigmon continued, "I'm going to enjoy taking her and covering her up and watching her scream and struggle while I get off on her." Officer Brady specifically recalled Sigmon threatening Officer Stafford: "Hope you talked to your daughter tonight. I'm only going to be here 24 hours. When I get out, you'll never see her again." According to Officer Brady, Sigmon also said that he liked pretty little girls, that he would handcuff Officer Stafford's daughter, and that he would come back to make her disappear. Officer Brady testified that Sigmon made these threats while "making little smirky laughs" as though the officers had "messed with the wrong person."

         Officer Stafford became furious, parked and exited the patrol car, and prepared to confront Sigmon. Officer Brady believed that Officer Stafford stopped the car to confront Sigmon within 7 to 8 minutes of starting the drive. Officer Brady testified that Sigmon was shouting, "Let's do this. Let's do this." However, Officer Brady persuaded Officer Stafford to get back into the car and to continue driving. Officer Stafford collected himself and resumed the drive. As the drive continued, Sigmon admitted that he wanted to get hit so that he could sue Officer Stafford.

         After Sigmon arrived at the jail, Zach Mitchell ("Mitchell")[1] testified that Sigmon was angry, belligerent, and out of control. Sigmon threatened the processing corrections officers as they placed him in a padded cell. About thirty to forty minutes later, Sigmon began digging at the padded cell with a ring, causing damage to the structure. Mitchell and Officer Christopher Cross ("Officer Cross") approached the cell and opened the door to confiscate Sigmon's ring. Mitchell testified that Sigmon "came flying out" and tried to hit them. Officer Cross tased Sigmon, causing Sigmon to fall to the ground. Sigmon was asked if he was going to stop. Despite indicating that he was done, Sigmon started to rise, and Officer Cross tased him again. A subdued Sigmon was dragged back to the padded cell.

         Sigmon testified in his own defense. Sigmon knew Officer Stafford from around town, but said he did not know that Officer Stafford had a daughter. Sigmon remembered that, on the night in question, he had consumed at least one bottle of tequila and was heavily intoxicated. Sigmon recalled that police officers arrived at the residence and that he "snapped" when Officer Stafford told Sigmon, "You won't see your fucking daughter again." Sigmon had an ongoing custody case involving his daughter; Officers Stafford and Brady may have accompanied past caseworkers to Sigmon's residence. Sigmon had no further recollection of that night; he did not remember assaulting the officers and had no memory of the transport to the jail. Sigmon's mother also testified, stating that Officer Stafford had threatened to prevent Sigmon from seeing Sigmon's daughter again.

         Sigmon moved for judgment of acquittal at the close of all evidence, and the trial court denied that motion. The jury found Sigmon guilty on three counts of second-degree assault, one count of third-degree assault, one count of aggravated stalking, and one count of sexual misconduct. The jury acquitted Sigmon of escaping from confinement.

         The jury recommended sentences of four years in prison each for assaulting and stalking Officer Stafford. The jury further recommended three years in prison for both of the remaining counts of second-degree assault, one year in jail for third-degree assault, and fifteen days in jail for sexual misconduct. The trial court sentenced Sigmon according to the jury's recommendations. The trial court ran the two four-year sentences consecutively. The other sentences were to run concurrently for a total of eight years in prison. This appeal follows.

         Points ...

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