Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Fourth Division
from the Circuit Court of St. Louis County 13SL-CR05208-01
Honorable Sandra Farragut-Hemphill
M. Dowd, Presiding Judge
Davis was convicted after a jury trial in the Circuit Court
of St. Louis County of one count of the unlawful use of a
weapon, an associated count of armed criminal action, and one
count of second-degree murder. Davis was sentenced to
concurrent terms of twenty-five, three, and twenty-five years
in prison, respectively. On appeal, Davis contends (1) the
trial court clearly erred by denying his motion to suppress
and admitting into evidence his statements to a police
detective that he asserts were involuntarily made and coerced
in violation of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436
(1966) and his right against self-incrimination; (2) the
court abused its discretion by excluding evidence regarding
his brother KeyJuan's death; and (3) the court plainly
erred by allowing Davis's probation officer to testify
about his statements to her.
that Davis's statements to the detective were voluntarily
made and were not coerced; that Davis has failed to show he
was prejudiced by the exclusion of evidence regarding
KeyJuan's death; and that Davis either waived his
objections to the admission of his probation officer's
testimony about his statements to her, or those statements
were cumulative to the detective's testimony about the
statements Davis made to him. Accordingly, we affirm on all
and Procedural Background
3, 2013, thirteen-year-old Tavelle Coleman
("Victim") was fatally shot through the screen door
of a residence on Duke Drive in the Castle Point area of St.
Louis County. The shooting occurred at the end of a
conflict-filled day during which Davis's younger brother
KeyJuan, who was either seventeen or eighteen years old, had
attempted to steal money from Victim and had gotten into a
series of physical altercations with Victim and his younger
brother, Delano Coleman. After the last fight before the
shooting, in which Davis assisted KeyJuan, Davis told Victim,
"Somebody is going to die tonight." Davis then
drove away from the scene with KeyJuan in his
girlfriend's black Ford Crown Victoria only to return
later in the same vehicle and fire a .380 automatic pistol
from outside the front of the house on Duke through the
screen door, hitting and killing Victim.
morning of June 4, 2013, Davis was arrested. That afternoon,
he was interviewed at the police station by Detective
Christopher Steib, who also interviewed Davis's
girlfriend. At the outset of Davis's interview, Detective
Steib read him the Miranda warnings, which Davis
confirmed in writing that he understood. Davis initially
denied any involvement in the shooting, but later confessed
that he borrowed a .380 automatic pistol, drove the Crown
Victoria to the house on Duke Drive, and fired four or five
shots into the house.
State charged Davis with the unlawful use of a weapon; an
associated charge of armed criminal action; and second-degree
murder on a felony-murder theory, with the unlawful use of a
weapon as the predicate offense. Davis filed a motion seeking
to suppress his statements to Detective Steib, but the court
denied it on the grounds that, by speaking with Detective
Steib, Davis had voluntarily and intelligently waived his
part, the State sought to prevent Davis from proving that Key
Juan was unavailable to testify because he died two years
after the events here. The court granted the State's
trial, Davis testified he confessed to Detective Steib solely
because he wanted to protect his family. He testified he had
actually spent the evening of June 3, 2013 with family
members, smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol, and had not
gotten back into the Crown Victoria after driving away after
the last fight before the shooting.
jury found Davis guilty on all three charges, and, after
sentencing Davis, the court denied his post-trial motions.
This appeal follows.
The Denial of Davis's Motion to Suppress and the
Admission of His Statements to Detective Steib
first point on appeal, Davis contends the trial court clearly
erred by denying his motion to suppress the evidence of his
statements to Detective Steib he asserts were involuntarily
made and coerced in violation of Miranda v. Arizona,
384 U.S. 436 (1966) and his right against self-incrimination.
In his interview with Detective Steib, Davis admitted he was
involved in the shooting in this case: he said he borrowed a
.380 automatic pistol, drove his girlfriend's vehicle to
the house on Duke Drive, stopped in front, and fired four to
five rounds into the house from the driver's seat before
driving away. Assuming arguendo that Davis's
claim the court should have suppressed these statements was
preserved, we find that Davis's statements were in fact
voluntarily made and were not coerced, and thus the court did
not clearly err.
review for an abuse of discretion the trial court's
decision whether to grant a motion to suppress. State v.
Feldt, 512 S.W.3d 135, 152 (Mo.App.E.D. 2017) (citing
State v. Selvy, 462 S.W.3d 756, 764 (Mo.App.E.D.
2015); State v. MilUorn, 794 S.W.2d 181, 183
(Mo.banc 1990)). We reverse only if the court's decision
is clearly erroneous. Id. (citing Milliorn,
794 S.W.2d at 183). Our review is limited to determining
whether the court's decision is supported by substantial
evidence. Id. (citing State v. Stover, 388
S.W.3d 138, 149 (Mo.banc 2012)). In determining whether there
was substantial evidence to support the court's ruling,
we consider both evidence presented at trial and any evidence
presented at a pretrial hearing on the motion to suppress.
State v. Pike, 162 S.W.3d 464, 472 (Mo.banc 2005).
We view the facts and any reasonable inferences therefrom in
the light most favorable to the court's ruling and
disregard any contrary evidence and inferences.
Feldt, 512 S.W.3d at 152-53 (citing State v.
Johnson, 354 S.W.3d 627, 631-32 (Mo.banc 2011)). We
defer to the trial court's determinations of the weight
to be given to the evidence and of the credibility of the
witnesses. Id. at 153.
the ultimate issue of whether the Fifth Amendment or any
other provision of the United States Constitution was
violated is a question of law that this Court reviews de
novo. Thus, while we review for abuse of discretion the
trial court's broader decision whether to suppress
evidence, we reach our own, independent determination whether
any of the defendant's constitutional rights, including
his privilege against forced self-incrimination, was
violated. See State v. Norman,431 S.W.3d 563,
568-69 (Mo.App.E.D. 2014) (noting that "[w]hen the issue
to be decided involves the constitutional protection against
forced self-incrimination, " we "consider the