Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, First Division
from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis Honorable
Steven R. Ohmer
S. ODENWALD, Judge.
Esmerovic ("Esmerovic") appeals from the trial
court's judgment after a jury found him guilty of
first-degree attempted robbery. In his sole point on appeal,
Esmerovic contends that the trial court clearly erred in
denying his motion to suppress his confession because his
statements followed a warrantless arrest. Because the officer
had probable cause to arrest Esmerovic, the trial court did
not clearly err in denying Esmerovic's motion. We affirm
the trial court's judgment.
and Procedural History
entered a bakery with what appeared to be a gun, and demanded
money from the cashier, who was working by herself. The
cashier refused to give the man any money, then led the man
out of the store. The cashier quickly returned to the store
and locked the door behind her; the man left. The
bakery's video surveillance recorded the attempted
robbery. The cashier did not speak fluent English; she
contacted the bakery owner's mother to inform her about
the attempted robbery. The mother phoned the bakery owner,
Haris Delic ("Delic"), Delic then called the
Hajrudin Ducanovic ("Officer Ducanovic"), a local
beat officer, responded to the call and arrived at the
bakery. As a beat officer, Officer Ducanovic's
responsibilities include patrolling a small geographic area,
checking on local businesses, and generally familiarizing
himself with the community members. Officer Ducanovic
reviewed the surveillance video with Delic and the cashier.
The video showed a man wearing all black clothing, a bandana
concealing his face, and white shoes with a black puma logo.
Officer Ducanovic spoke further with Delic and the cashier
and gathered further information. Among the information
Officer Ducanovic received was a description of the man's
voice. After the conversation, Officer Ducanovic suspected
that Esmerovic with whom Officer Ducanovic had previously
interacted-was the attempted robber.
Ducanovic and Detective Quntrell Crayton ("Det.
Crayton") showed the video and video stills to
Esmerovic's mother, who lived around the corner from the
bakery. Officer Ducanovic continued to suspect Esmerovic of
the attempted robbery after speaking to Esmerovic's
mother. Later that same night, Officer Ducanovic and Det.
Crayton drove around the neighborhood looking for Esmerovic,
but were unable to locate him. Det. Crayton entered a
wanted into the police system for Esmerovic.
next day, Officer Ducanovic was conducting a routine traffic
stop when he observed Esmerovic at a car dealership.
Esmerovic was wearing dark clothes and white shoes with a
black puma logo, which are common among his neighborhood.
Officer Ducanovic believed the shoes Esmerovic was wearing
matched the shoes worn by the man in the video. Officer
Ducanovic approached Esmerovic. Officer Ducanovic told
Esmerovic that he was wanted for questioning, and placed him
into custody. Subsequently, Det. Crayton and Detective Martin
Garcia ("Det. Garcia") interviewed Esmerovic.
Garcia was informed that the attempted robber had an accent
and that Esmerovic matched the attempted robber's body
type. During the interview, Det. Garcia noted that Esmerovic
spoke with an accent. Esmerovic admitted that he attempted to
rob the bakery, but claimed that he used a fake gun during
the incident. The State charged Esmerovic with first-degree
attempted robbery and armed criminal action.
trial, Esmerovic moved to suppress his confession. Esmerovic
claimed that his confession was the fruit of the poisonous
tree because Officer Ducanovic arrested him solely because of
the wanted; thus, his warrantless arrest lacked probable
cause. The trial court held a hearing and subsequently denied
Esmerovic's motion to suppress.
case proceeded to a jury trial. The trial court admitted
Esmerovic's confession. The jury found Esmerovic guilty
of first-degree attempted robbery and not guilty of armed
criminal action. The trial court denied Esmerovic's
post-trial motions and sentenced him to five years in prison.
This appeal follows.
sole point on appeal, Esmerovic contends that the trial court
clearly erred in denying his motion to suppress because his
warrantless arrest lacked probable cause, in violation of his
Fourth Amendment rights. Esmerovic maintains that his