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Hickerson v. Norman

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

April 30, 2018




         This matter is before the Court on Petitioner Eric Brian Hickerson's Pro Se Petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody [1].

         I. BACKGROUND

         Petitioner Eric Brian Hickerson (“Petitioner”) was convicted by a jury of attempted burglary in the second degree in violation of Missouri Revised Statute § 569.170 and property damage in the first degree in violation of Missouri Revised Statute § 569.100. He was sentenced to nine-years imprisonment. His conviction was affirmed by the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District of Missouri. Petitioner filed a timely motion for post-conviction relief pursuant to Missouri Supreme Court Rule 29.15. After an evidentiary hearing, his motion was denied. The judgment was affirmed on appeal.

         The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Missouri described the facts of Petitioner's conviction as follows:

On February 25, 2009, sometime after 11:00 p.m., Nathan Wolfe (“Wolfe”) and John Fritz (“Fritz”) were driving through the parking lot of O'Fallon Plaza. As they passed KT's Laundry, Wolfe noticed Defendant inside wearing a ski mask and using a tool to break into a vending machine. Defendant appeared to see Wolfe and Fritz observing him and ducked behind a row of washers and dryers. Fritz called 911.
Wolfe and Fritz observed Defendant as he stood up, removed his ski mask, exited KT's Laundry, and walked through the parking lot. Wolfe and Fritz followed him. Defendant, who Fritz described to police officers as wearing a dark sweatshirt, jeans, and white tennis shoes, then entered HotShots, a bar in the plaza. Wolfe and Fritz continued to wait for him outside the bar. After a few minutes, Defendant left the bar and began walking between two buildings near the parking lot. O'Fallon police officers, including Officer Eric Feagans (“Officer Feagans”), arrived and stopped Defendant. After Wolfe and Fritz identified Defendant as the man they saw in KT's Laundry, Officer Feagans arrested him.
When asked what he was doing, Defendant told police that he was waiting for his girlfriend. He offered no further explanation. Upon searching Defendant, Officer Feagans found $133 and brown work gloves in Defendant's pockets, and noted that both the gloves and Defendant's sweatshirt were covered in white powder. Defendant was transported to the police station and placed in a holding cell.
Officer Feagans returned to KT's Laundry. He observed that the back wall, which housed the change machines, had three large holes in it, and that a sledgehammer covered in white powder had been left nearby. Officer Feagans, along with another officer, observed that Defendant's vehicle, identified through a database search, was still in the parking lot. In the back of the vehicle, police discovered William Warner (“Warner”), apparently passed out from intoxication. Warner's attire did not match Fritz's description of the man in KT's. Police also later discovered a ski mask located in a tree near where Defendant was apprehended. Testing showed that Defendant's DNA was present in the mask.
After determining that Warner was not involved in the investigation, Officer Feagans returned to the police station, where he read Defendant his Miranda rights. Defendant, as was his right, made no statements. Defendant was charged with second-degree burglary and first-degree property damage.

ECF No. 13-6, pgs. 3-4.[1] Petitioner was convicted by a jury and sentenced to nine years imprisonment. Petitioner now challenges his convictions.

         II. STANDARD

         “A state prisoner who believes that he is incarcerated in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States may file a petition for writ of habeas corpus in federal court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.” Osborne v. Purkett, 411 F.3d 911, 914 (8th Cir. 2005). In order for a federal court to grant an application for a writ of habeas corpus brought by a person in custody by order of a state court, the petitioner must show that the state court decision:

(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; or (2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts ...

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