Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Third Division
from the Circuit Court of Vernon County, Missouri The
Honorable William B. Collins, Judge
Before: Victor C. Howard, Presiding Judge, Cynthia L. Martin,
Judge and Gary D. Witt, Judge
D. Witt, Judge
Maples ("Maples") appeals his conviction of murder
in the first degree from the Circuit Court of Vernon County.
Maples argues that the trial court erred in admitting
incriminating statements he made to Detective Steve Schlup
("Detective Schlup") at the jail sally port because
he was under custodial interrogation without being first
warned of his Miranda rights. Maples further argues that
the trial court erred in admitting two other incriminating
statements he made later, following the statements made at
the jail sally port because the Miranda warnings
provided prior to those statements were ineffective due to
the prior Miranda violation at the jail sally port
interview. Maples argues that the trial court abused its
discretion in sustaining the State's objection to
Maples's offer of proof regarding information that
another person confessed to the murder. We affirm.
Beisly ("Belinda") was estranged from her husband
Bob Beisly II ("Bob II"). On July 14, 2009, Belinda
worked her normal 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift at work. She was
seen by friends from work entering a Walmart store after her
shift ended on the 14th. On July 15th Belinda did not show up
to work and her friends from work were not able to reach her.
A deputy from the Vernon County Sheriff's office was sent
to perform a wellness check on Belinda at her home. Belinda
lived in a house located on a farm operated by Bob II. The
deputy found the front gate to Belinda's property locked
and her vehicle located next to the house, with the engine
running, the driver's door open, and groceries in the
back seat. The front door to the house was partially open but
the screen door was closed. The deputy knocked and after
receiving no response checked around the outside of the
house. A window at the rear of the house was broken out and
the deputy called for backup. When additional deputies
arrived they entered the house and found Belinda dead on the
cause of death was shotgun wounds to the head and
chest. The shotgun wound to the head severed her
brain stem and the shotgun wound to the chest was in a
downward angle and destroyed her liver. Either wound would
have been fatal. The time of death was approximately midnight
on July 14. A Browning 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun was
determined to be missing from Belinda's home following
the murder, but it was never determined if this was in fact
the murder weapon. The murder weapon was never found.
murder investigation remained open and unsolved for several
years. Bob II had previously been charged in Belinda's
death, and spent 18-20 months in jail before the State
dismissed the charges against him.
time of the murder, Maples worked for Bob II doing farm work
including on the farm where Belinda lived. Maples's work
on the farm during the relevant time frame included brush
hogging (mowing tall grass and small trees with a tractor and
large mower) and planting crops. Maples was questioned
regarding Belinda's murder a week after Belinda's
body was found. At that time, Maples stated that on July 14,
2009, the day of the murder, his truck ran out of gas on the
way to the farm and that he contacted Bob II who towed his
truck the rest of the way to the farm where they put fuel
into it. After working, Maples dropped his truck off with his
girlfriend, Tammy Kronk ("Kronk"). Maples told
Kronk that he would be brush hogging on the farm that
evening, and asked Kronk to pick him up after she got off
work. Maples told the police he brush hogged until about
10:30 p.m., at which time Kronk picked him up in his truck
and drove back to their home where he went to sleep. He
stated he woke up the next morning around 9 or 10 a.m. and
returned to work on the farm, assisting Bob II in repairing a
mower. Maples stated that he first learned of the murder the
evening following the murder when Bob II's girlfriend
told him that Belinda had been killed. Maples was then
confronted with inconsistences between his statements and
phone records and Kronk's statements to police.
Maples asked to stop the interview and left the sheriff's
originally told police that she picked up Maples at the farm
at 10:30 p.m., but later in the same conversation, changed
her statement and admitted that Maples had asked her to tell
police the incorrect time. She testified that on the night of
the murder she went to a bar with friends from work. She
became intoxicated and had her daughter pick her up and take
her home around 12:45 or 1 a.m. and she went to sleep. Around
1:30 or 2 a.m. Maples called her and asked her to come pick
him up from the farm, as he had finished working. Kronk woke
up her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend to drive her
to go pick up Maples, as she was still intoxicated. They
picked him up in a car, not in his truck. When they arrived
at the farm they located Maples on the gravel road walking
away from the farm. She found this strange as she had always
in the past picked him up at the tractor or in the field
where he was working. This was the first and only time she
picked him up walking on the road. They arrived home around 2
or 2:30 a.m. When they arrived home, Maples asked Kronk to
wash his clothes. She put his clothes in the washer and went
back to bed. She found the request to wash his clothes to be
unusual because he never made such a request so late at
night. Maples told her that if she spoke to the police to
tell them that she picked him up at 10:30 p.m. that night.
Later, Maples also requested that she get rid of the boots he
had been wearing that day, which she did.
Beisley ("Travis") gave a recorded
statement to the police in September of 2012, several years
after the murder. In that statement and in a later
deposition Travis stated that approximately four
months after the murder, Maples told him that the police
would never solve the murder. Maples admitted to him that he
killed Belinda and that he had snuck in the house wearing
boots and camo and used the phrase "pop pop" when
describing the shooting, indicating two shots. Maples told
Travis he was going to be paid $10, 000 by Bob II, a little
bit at a time for killing Belinda.
time of trial, Travis was in the Missouri Department of
Corrections serving an unrelated sentence. When he took the
stand at trial, after stating his name, he answered the
prosecutor's questions with "I refuse to
testify." After a recess and discussion with the court
regarding his obligations to testify, Travis again took the
stand before the jury. He then answered questions by stating
he did not have any recollection of any conversations with
Maples regarding the murder or recollection of giving his
prior statement or deposition. In the questions he did answer
Travis stated that he lied in his previous statement and
Motion to Suppress His Statements
trial, multiple statements made by Maples to law enforcement
officers were presented to the jury. The trial court denied
Maples's Motion to Suppress these statements and they
were admitted at trial over objection.
August of 2012 Maples was in the Vernon County Jail on
unrelated charges. On August 22, 2012, Maples told jail staff
that he wanted to talk to Jail Administrator, Mike Buehler
("Buehler") regarding information he had about a
murder. Buehler asked Maples what he wanted to talk about.
Maples requested a cigarette and to speak to his then
fiancé Theresa Butler ("Butler"). Buehler
took Maples to the sally port and gave him a cigarette.
Maples stated he had information about Belinda's murder,
and Buehler informed him that Detective Schlup was handling
the investigation. Maples said he had a lot on his mind and
wanted to talk to someone.
request to talk was communicated to Detective Schlup.
Detective Schlup went to Maples's cell and asked if he
wanted to see him and talk about anything. Maples said that
he did want to talk but only if he could smoke a cigarette
and if his fiancé Butler was present during the
discussion. Detective Schlup explained that in order to bring
in Butler, Maples "would have to maybe give a little bit
more information as far as to make it worthwhile."
Detective Schlup testified that he requested additional
information because Maples and other inmates had previously
made similar request for special treatment in return for
information about other crimes, but when the special
treatment was granted the inmate reneged on providing the
Detective Schlup took Maples to the sally port to continue
the discussion so Maples could smoke. Buehler was also
present. Maples was not handcuffed and did not have
restraints on his legs or ankles. Detective Schlup testified
that Maples was free to end the conversation at any time.
Detective Schlup told Maples again that he "would have
to maybe give me a little bit more information as far as what
possibly it could be about that he could tell me pertaining
to information in reference to the murder." Maples then
stated the following: "On the day of Belinda's
murder, [Bob II], had told him [Maples] that it would have to
be done tonight." Detective Schlup then asked what Bob
II had meant by this statement. Maples said Bob II was
talking about killing Belinda. Maples stated that he and Bob
II had discussed killing Belinda many times before and Bob
II, on this occasion, had offered him $10, 000 to kill her.
Maples then went on to tell Detective Schlup that he was
supposed to get into the house any way he could, get a gun
from the gun safe, wait for Belinda to get home from work and
then kill her by shooting her. Maples said about midnight he
drove the tractor from the part of the property where he had
been brush hogging to the barn which was northeast of the
house. He drove up to the barn and parked the tractor next to
his truck. Maples walked from the barn to Belinda's
house. He cut through the back, crossed the drive by the road
and went over a fence. He then walked through the brush and
trees to the back porch.
told Detective Schlup that he went up to the back porch and
found that the glass had been broken out of a window leading
into the house. He told Detective Schlup that he climbed into
the window which led into the dining, kitchen area, and it
was at that time that he observed Belinda lying on the floor.
It appeared that she had been shot once in the chest area.
When he left the house and went towards his truck, he saw
another truck drive from the barn toward the Highway. When
Maples got back to his truck it would not start so he called
Kronk to pick him up and walked up to the road to meet her.
said that when he entered the home he had not planned on
killing Belinda. He was going to enter the house, get a gun
from the safe like Bob II requested. Then he was going to go
out and sit on the front porch and wait for Belinda to get
home. Then when she got home, he was going to tell her that
he was asked to kill her. He then was going to have her call
the sheriff's office and then he was going to be
cooperative and tell the officer exactly what he was asked to
do regarding the murder of Belinda.
this interview the only question Detective Schlup asked was
what Maples meant by "it had to be done tonight."
Maples provided all the above information without further
question by Detective Schlup. After the above information was
provided, Detective Schlup then began to ask questions to get
additional details, at which point Maples said he was not
going to continue to talk unless Butler was present.
Detective Schlup then put Maples in an interview room, where
he brought Butler.
Butler entered the room, she and Maples hugged briefly.
Maples explained that he wanted Butler present because he
wanted her to know he was being honest now about the murder.
Detective Schlup read Maples the Miranda warnings
and conducted an audio taped interview which was played for
the jury. Detective Schlup also filled out the top part of a
form for Maples to provide a written statement, including
Maples's name, address, and age. Below that information,
the form included the Miranda warning. After
Detective Schlup filled out the top of the form, he pointed
to the Miranda language and told Maples to read it.
Detective Schlup gave Maples the form. Maples read the
Miranda language and began writing his statement.
Maples's written statement, he stated that about a year
before the murder, Bob Beisly III ("Bob III") told
Maples he would give Maples a truck if he killed Belinda.
Maples refused. Maples also stated that Bob II also asked
Maples to kill Belinda and that Bob II offered him $10, 000
to commit the murder. Maples refused. Maples acknowledged
that he entered the house on the day Belinda was killed but
that he left the house when he saw that she was already dead.
He stated that after he left the house he ...