Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, First Division
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF CAMDEN COUNTY Honorable Kenneth
State appeals the trial court's order suppressing
statements Matthew M. Rumbaugh ("Defendant") made
on separate occasions to a sheriff's detective and the
sheriff regarding two murders committed in Laclede County in
July 2014. See 547.200.1(3).
State's first point claims the trial court erred in
suppressing Defendant's statements to the detective
because Defendant did not unequivocally assert his Fifth
Amendment right to counsel in that: (1) Defendant's
anticipatory invocation with [aparticular sheriff's
deputy] was ineffective; and (2) Defendant told [the
detective] only that he "maybe" should get an
attorney, which is not a clear and unequivocal request for an
State's second point claims that the statements Defendant
made to the sheriff should not have been suppressed
because: (1) Defendant did not unequivocally assert his Fifth
Amendment right to counsel, in that Defendant stated only
that he "maybe" should get an attorney; and because
(2) even if Defendant had unequivocally asserted his right to
counsel, he reinitiated a conversation regarding the
investigation in that he asked to speak with [the sheriff]
and he volunteered information about the investigation before
any questioning by [the sheriff].
Applicable Principles of Review and Governing
a motion to suppress hearing, the state bears both the burden
of producing evidence and the risk of nonpersuasion to show
by a preponderance of the evidence that the motion to
suppress should be overruled." State v.
Collings, 450 S.W.3d 741, 753 (Mo. banc 2014)
(quotations omitted). "On appeal, the appellant, not the
respondent, has the burden of showing erroneous action on the
part of the trial court." State v. Stone, 430
S.W.3d 288, 290 (Mo. App. S.D. 2014) (quotation omitted). We
"will reverse a trial court's ruling on a motion to
suppress only if it is clearly erroneous." State v.
Holman, 502 S.W.3d 621, 624 (Mo. banc 2016).
reviewing the trial court's ruling on a motion to
suppress, the facts and any reasonable inferences arising
from the facts are to be stated most favorably to the order
challenged on appeal. We will disregard any evidence that
contradicts the order." State v. Kinkead, 983
S.W.2d 518, 519 (Mo. banc 1998) (internal citation omitted).
"Where, as here, the trial court makes no findings of
fact in ruling on the motion to suppress, we presume the
trial court found all facts in accordance with its
ruling." State v. Selvy, 462 S.W.3d 756, 764
(Mo. App. E.D. 2015).
of law, however, are reviewed de novo. State v.
Gaw, 285 S.W.3d 318, 320 (Mo. banc 2009). "The
determination of whether a suspect invoked his Fifth
Amendment right to counsel is a question of law, and we need
not defer to the trial court's conclusion on such
questions." State v. Benedict, 495 S.W.3d 185,
194 (Mo. App. E.D. 2016).
and Procedural History
keeping with our standard of review, see Kinkead,
983 S.W.2d at 519, the following is a summary of the relevant
evidence presented at the July 2017 hearing on
Defendant's motion to suppress ("the hearing").
the early morning hours" of July 8, 2014, law
enforcement officials were dispatched to "a shooting out
on Atlanta Road" involving two male victims
("Victim 1" and, a minor, "Victim 2").
Defendant was identified as a suspect in the shooting. That
same morning, Sheriff Wayne Merritt ("Sheriff")
located Defendant sleeping in a bed at Defendant's
son's residence. Sheriff woke Defendant, and Defendant
"agree[d] to go with Sheriff" to the Lebanon Police
Defendant was transported to the police department, Laclede
County Sheriff's Corporal Steven Price ("Corporal
Price") contacted Defendant later that morning and asked
Defendant to consent to a search of his vehicle and the house
in which he was found. Corporal Price did not recall advising
Defendant of his Miranda rights, and he was not sure
whether a Miranda warning was included on the
consent form Corporal Price presented to Defendant. Defendant
did not consent to the search. When asked at the hearing
whether he told the officers at the police department that he
wanted to talk to his attorney, Defendant replied:
I didn't -- I don't believe I specifically said I
wanted to talk to my attorney. [Corporal] Price asked me if I
would sign a consent form. I told him it wasn't my house
and I said, you know, before I do much of any of that,
probably ought to -- you know, somebody ...