Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF IRON COUNTY Honorable Sidney
E. SCOTT, J.
Valley shotgunned his wife in the back, unsuccessfully
claimed accident, and now appeals his resulting convictions.
beat Wife too often to count during a 20-year marriage, most
frequently and severely during their last 18 months together.
One day, after the couple had argued for hours, Valley
grabbed a 10-gauge shotgun. As Wife tried to escape, Valley
called her "a no good bitch, " said she was going
to die, and shot her in the back from seven feet away.
force knocked Wife out the back door, pellets breaking her
ribs and perforating her internal organs. She struggled to a
neighbor's house and collapsed on the floor, her
reloaded his gun, then discarded it and fled. He was
apprehended the next day. A jury rejected his claim of
accident and found him guilty of first-degree assault and
armed criminal action. He raises two evidentiary challenges
trial, Valley denied having told K.C., a few months before
the shooting, that he was going to kill Wife. In rebuttal,
the state called K.C., who related Valley's statement.
Defense counsel moved to strike K.C.'s testimony as too
remote in time to be relevant, which the court properly
denied. "The passage of time alone will not render
evidence inadmissible due to its remoteness." State
v. Prince, No. SC96524, slip op. at 7 (Mo banc. Dec. 5,
recognizing this, Valley changes his theory of irrelevance on
appeal. Point I now charges that K.C.'s testimony
"was irrelevant to the state's theory of the case
that [Valley] was a serial abuser who shot [Wife] as part of
a pattern of domestic assault."
[Valley] altered the basis of his claim with respect to this
argument, it is not preserved for review."
Prince, slip op. at 7 n.2. See also State v.
Sykes, 480 S.W.3d 461, 465 (Mo.App. 2016). Point I
also charges court error in refusing to admit Exhibit C,
Wife's post-shooting letter professing love for Valley,
during the trial's guilt phase. We have examined the
record carefully; no such appealable ruling occurred.
The court made a pretrial ruling in limine limiting
guilt-phase use of the letter, which defense counsel argued
was "completely relevant" for purposes of
impeaching Wife. The court said the letter could be used for
that purpose, but would "be excluded unless it becomes
relevant during ...