Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, First Division
from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis
1322-CR02258-01 Honorable Margaret M. Neill
P. Page, Judge
Edwards ("Defendant") appeals the trial court's
judgment entered upon a jury verdict convicting him of
second-degree murder and armed criminal action. We affirm.
approximately 10 P.M. on April 21, 2013, Renee Nelson
("Nelson") was standing outside her home, located
in the City of St. Louis, conversing with neighbors. During
the conversation, a man wearing a black hoodie passed the
group and greeted Nelson by her neighborhood-nickname
"Anya." As a thirty-year resident of the
neighborhood, Nelson recognized the man as Defendant.
continued walking across the street before halting at a
parked automobile. After Defendant conversed with the
occupant of the parked vehicle ("Victim") for
approximately 30 seconds, Nelson heard gunshots. As Defendant
was leaving the scene, he turned around and fired additional
gunshots towards the Victim. An autopsy revealed Victim was
shot seven times.
enforcement arrived and concluded the crime scene resembled a
drug transaction gone awry. Pursuant to the investigation,
Nelson was interviewed the night of the incident. She
informed law enforcement that, immediately before the
commission of the crime, Defendant walked within arms-length
of her. Shortly thereafter, Nelson heard gunfire and
witnessed Defendant discharging a gun in the direction of
Victim. Although she had lived in that neighborhood for
approximately thirty years and had known Defendant for
approximately twenty years, Nelson provided law enforcement
with the incorrect name of Defendant that night. Nelson,
nevertheless, supplied law enforcement with Defendant's
correct name around the time she examined a photographic
photographic lineup, a few weeks after the commission of the
crime, Nelson examined six photographs as chosen by a
computer. Defendant was the only one of the six photographs
who lived in or around Nelson's neighborhood. Prior to
viewing the photographic lineup, it is alleged the police
explicitly instructed Nelson to select "the person that
did the shooting." Nelson chose Defendant's
photograph, naming him as the shooter. Law enforcement then
informed Nelson that they had already arrested Defendant,
seized guns and paraphernalia during his arrest, and that
Defendant admitted he committed the murder.
State charged Defendant with first-degree murder, in
violation of Section 565.020(Count I), armed criminal action,
in violation of Section 571.015 (Count II), unlawful
possession of a firearm, in violation of Section 571.070
(Count III), and possession of a controlled substance, in
violation of Section 195.202 (Count IV). Defendant pled
guilty to Counts III and IV, but proceeded to trial upon
Counts I and II.
trial, the court denied Defendant's motion to suppress
and exclude evidence of Nelson's pretrial and in-court
identifications. The trial court refused to submit
Defendant's proffered jury instruction for eyewitness
testimony ("Instruction A"). The jury was
instructed on the charged offense of first-degree murder and
on the lesser-included offense of second-degree murder. The
trial court also refused to submit Defendant's proffered
instructions for voluntary manslaughter ("Instruction
B") and involuntary manslaughter ("Instruction
jury found Defendant guilty of second-degree murder and armed
criminal action. Defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment
for second-degree murder and ten years' imprisonment for
armed criminal action, with sentences to run concurrently.
appeal now follows.
advances three points on appeal. In his first point,
Defendant contends the trial court erred in overruling his
motion to suppress Nelson's out-of-court and in-court
identifications because the pretrial procedures employed by
law enforcement were unduly suggestive and, therefore,
tainted both identifications.
second point, Defendant asserts the trial court erred in
refusing his proffered jury instruction ("Instruction
A"), which was modeled after the
adopted-but-not-yet-effective MAI-CR 3d 310.02 (2016).
Defendant contends his proffered instruction clarified
important factors relating to the reliability (or lack
thereof) of eyewitness identifications.
third point on appeal, Defendant maintains the trial court
committed reversible error in refusing to instruct on his
proffered instructions of the lesser-included offenses of
voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.
Point I-Trial Court Did Not Err in Admitting
first point on appeal, Defendant avers the trial court erred
in denying his motion to suppress Nelson's out-of-court
and in-court identifications because the photographic lineup
employed by law enforcement was impermissibly suggestive.
reviewing the trial court's denial of a motion to
suppress, we consider the evidence presented at both the
suppression hearing and at trial to determine whether
sufficient evidence exists in the record to support the trial
court's ruling." State v. Nelson, 334
S.W.3d 189, 193 (Mo. App. W.D. 2011). This court reviews the
facts and inferences therefrom in the light most favorable to
the trial court's ruling, and we disregard all contrary
evidence. State v. Murray, 428 S.W.3d 705, 709 (Mo.
App. E.D. 2014). We will not disturb the trial court's
decision to admit or exclude the identification testimony
unless there has been an abuse of discretion. State v.
Green, 469 S.W.3d 881, 883 (Mo. App. E.D. 2015).
defendant has a due process right to exclude identification
testimony which results from procedures that are
unnecessarily suggestive and conducive to an irreparably
mistaken identification." State v.
Hoopingarner, 845 S.W.2d 89, 93 (Mo. App. E.D. 1993).
Where pretrial identification testimony is challenged on
appeal, this court engages in a two-step analysis. Foster
v. State, 348 S.W.3d 158, 161 (Mo. App. E.D. 2011).
we assess whether the procedures employed by law enforcement
during the pretrial identification were impermissibly or
unduly suggestive. State v. Hunter, 43 S.W.3d 336,
340 (Mo. App. W.D. 2001). Second, if the procedures employed
by law enforcement are unduly suggestive, we then proceed to
evaluate "whether the suggestive procedures have so
tainted the identification as to lead to a substantial
likelihood that the pre-trial identification was not
reliable." State v. Chambers, 234 S.W.3d 501,
513 (Mo. App. E.D. 2007).
defendant must satisfy both prongs to render the
identification testimony inadmissible. Id.; see
also State v. Barriner, 210 S.W.3d 285, 297 (Mo. App.
W.D. 2006) ("If the defendant carries his burden, in
showing that both prongs of the test are satisfied, then both
the out-of-court and in-court identifications by the witness
of the defendant must be excluded by the trial court.").
Correspondingly, if the pretrial identification procedures
are determined not to be unreasonably suggestive, then the
court need not review the reliability of the identification.
Green, 469 S.W.3d at 884.
The pretrial procedures employed were not unduly
first step of our analysis focuses solely on the actions of
the police in administering the pretrial procedures for
identification. State v. Mullins, 340 S.W.3d 311,
314 (Mo. App. E.D. 2011). "A pretrial identification
procedure is unduly suggestive if the identification results
not from the witness's recall of first-hand observations,
but rather from the procedures or actions employed by the
police." State v. Glover, 951 S.W.2d 359, 362
(Mo. App. W.D. 1997). In evaluating the potential
suggestiveness of pretrial procedures, a court may examine
the entire process, including "an evaluation of the
conditions under which the identification occurred . . .
including police commentary." Id.
maintains numerous pretrial identification procedures were
unduly suggestive, causing Nelson's out-of-court and
in-court identifications to become tainted and inadmissible.
Specifically, Defendant avers the pretrial identifications
procedures were unduly suggestive because: (1) initially,
Nelson inaccurately identified the name of the suspect; (2)
the police requested Nelson select "the person that did
the shooting" during the photographic lineup; (3)
immediately after Nelson selected Defendant from the
photographic lineup, the police communicated additional
information to Nelson about Defendant and the circumstances
surrounding the criminal investigation; and (4) the
photographic lineup included no photographs of individuals
residing in Nelson's neighborhood but for Defendant's
photograph. We will address each in turn.
Inaccurate Name of Defendant
was interviewed by the police near the scene of the crime,
shortly after the crime. She informed the police that
immediately before the commission of the crime, she was
standing outside her home and Defendant walked within
arms-length of her. Moments later, Nelson heard gunfire and
witnessed Defendant discharging a gun in the direction of the
Victim. Although Nelson had lived in that neighborhood for
approximately thirty years and had known Defendant for
approximately twenty years, Nelson provided the police with
the incorrect name of Defendant. However, Nelson provided the
police with Defendant's correct name around the time of
the photographic lineup.
first objection regarding the pretrial procedures employed is
completely unrelated to any pretrial identification procedure
utilized by the police. Rather, Defendant is merely
contesting the reliability of Nelson's pretrial
identification, based upon her memory and recollection after
observing a traumatic and violent incident. Glover,
951 S.W.2d at 363 ("Such matters provide fodder for
cross-examination and for argument to the jury that the
identification was not credible or believable; they do not
provide a basis to suppress the identification as the product
of an unduly suggestive procedure."). Defendant's
complaint does not relate to the suggestiveness of the
"procedures or actions employed by the police[.]"
Glover, supra; see, e.g.,
State v. Winters, 900 S.W.2d 636, 640-41 (Mo. App.
merely attempts to bootstrap Nelson's initial inability
to correctly recall Defendant's name to substantiate his
contention that the pretrial procedures were unduly
suggestive. State v. Lawrence, 700 S.W.2d 111, 112
(Mo. App. E.D. 1985) (lineup held not to be unduly suggestive
when friends or family suggested to the witness that the
defendant was responsible for the crime and where
non-governmental sources provided the witness with the
defendant's name). Defendant's argument is without
Police Commentary Prior to Photographic Lineup
weeks after the commission of the crime, Nelson participated
in a photographic lineup. Prior to viewing the lineup
prepared by the police, she was allegedly instructed to
select "the person that did the shooting." On
appeal, Defendant contends that such an instruction by the
police implicitly suggested to Nelson "that the