Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF BUTLER COUNTY Honorable Michael M.
Pritchett, Circuit Judge
JEFFREY W. BATES, J.
a bench trial, Keon Allen (Defendant) was convicted of the
class B felony of possession of a controlled substance with
intent to distribute. See §
195.211.Presenting a single point on appeal,
Defendant contends the trial court clearly erred in failing
to suppress "the cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine
evidence" because such evidence was obtained in
violation of his Fourth Amendment right to be free from
unreasonable search and seizure. We disagree and affirm.
"This Court reviews a trial court's ruling on a
motion to suppress in the light most favorable to the ruling,
disregarding any contrary evidence or adverse
inferences." State v. Waldrup, 331 S.W.3d 668,
672 (Mo. banc 2011). When a motion to suppress is overruled
and evidence is introduced at trial, an appellate court
considers the evidence presented at the suppression hearing
and at trial in determining whether the motion should have
been granted. State v. Goff, 129 S.W.3d 857, 861-62
(Mo. banc 2004). Viewed from that perspective, the following
facts were before the trial court.
5:30 p.m. on June 24, 2015, Officer Rick Cook (Officer Cook)
went to a residence on Michigan Lane in Dexter, Missouri, to
investigate a report of domestic assault. The dispute
concerned whether a guest who had been living there would be
permitted to stay at the residence.
Officer Cook arrived, he encountered five individuals: (1)
Sharon Goodman (Goodman), who owned the residence and lived
next door; (2) Heath Moore (Moore), Goodman's grandson;
(3) Yvonne Anderson (Anderson), who lived with Moore at the
residence; (4) Delisha Price (Price), the guest; and (5)
Price's seven-year-old daughter. When Price was asked to
leave the residence, an altercation between Price and
Anderson ensued. Goodman had called the police and consented
to Officer Cook's entry into the residence.
to Officer Cook, everyone was "fighting and
arguing" and gave him different versions of what had
gone on the past one or two days. After about 10 to 15
minutes, Officer Dwain Forshee (Officer Forshee) also arrived
at the residence and was invited inside by Goodman and the
others involved in the dispute. Officer Forshee similarly
described the scene as one in which "everybody was
arguing … kind of chaos" and Officer Cook
"was trying to basically figure out what was going
on." Around that same time, the officers learned that
Defendant, described as Price's boyfriend, also was a
guest in the home and was in a bedroom.
Forshee went to the bedroom to speak with Defendant. The
officer wanted to see whether Defendant had played any part
in the altercation and what he knew about it. According to
Officer Forshee, it also was standard procedure when
responding to a call at a residence to identify everybody
inside, interview witnesses and obtain statements. When
Officer Forshee first walked into the bedroom, he could tell
that Defendant was awake because he saw Defendant's eyes
squinted and Defendant's "eyeballs moving ...
tracking me with his eyes." Defendant was attempting to
appear asleep. Officer Forshee asked Defendant several times
to get up, and Defendant finally opened his eyes and asked
what was going on. When Officer Cook heard that Defendant was
not complying with Officer Forshee's requests, Officer
Cook went into the bedroom to assist.
provided two different false names to Officer Forshee.
Defendant first stated that he was Terrell R. Smith, and then
that he was Keon T. Smith. Both names came back "not on
file" with the date of birth Defendant provided.
Defendant also provided false social security numbers.
was wearing a t-shirt and long shorts. He also had a red bath
towel over his waist and groin area. Defendant kept moving
the towel around and fidgeting with it while seated, instead
of getting up as Officer Forshee requested. The officers
interpreted this as suspicious because: "[a] normal
person is going to get up, move the towel and get up."
Defendant kept his hands underneath the towel, fidgeting with
it, and he would not remove it from his waist area. Officers
Cook and Forshee both feared that Defendant might be
concealing a weapon underneath the towel.
Defendant finally stood up, he was still holding the towel,
even though he was fully clothed. Defendant was also fidgety,
looking around and at the door. Defendant appeared sweaty and
overly nervous. Both Officers Cook and Forshee were afraid
that Defendant would attempt to flee. Because Officer Forshee was
afraid for the safety of Officer Cook and himself, he placed
Defendant in handcuffs.
Cook asked Defendant, "do you have anything illegal on
you, a knife or a gun or anything like that, " and
Defendant nodded. Officer Cook then patted him down and felt
a hard, round object in Defendant's left front shorts
pocket, "[p]robably smaller than a baseball."
Although Officer Cook was not sure what the object was, he
thought it "could have been a weapon."
Cook testified that police "continually get updates on
weapons that they are using across the United States that are
.22s that fit in the size of your hand that have a little
barrel that sticks out, very little that you can squeeze that
is hard." Based upon Officer Cook's "knowledge
of how people are making weapons out of different things,
that was enough for me" to further investigate the
object. According to Officer Cook, under the circumstances he
"felt like it could very well be a weapon[, ]" that
the item could have been any of various specific weapons, and
that a ball-shaped weapon would not be
Officer Cook reached inside Defendant's pocket, he pulled
out a baggy containing marijuana and white substances. This
baggy had several smaller baggies inside, some of which
contained cocaine base, methamphetamine and heroin.
Defendant's pocket also contained another baggy with a
green leafy material. Defendant was eventually charged, as a