Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Third Division
from the Circuit Court of St. Louis County 15SL-CC06222-01
Honorable David L. Vincent III.
M. Dowd, Judge.
M. Wooten appeals the judgment entered upon his convictions
following a bench trial in the Circuit Court of St. Louis
County of one count of first-degree assault causing serious
physical injury, one count of armed criminal action, and one
count of unlawful possession of a firearm. The court found
Wooten guilty on all counts and sentenced him to three
concurrent terms often years in prison. In his sole point on
appeal, Wooten contends that the trial court erred when it
admitted testimony of hearsay statements the victim had made
because the State failed to lay a proper foundation for the
admission of Victim's prior inconsistent statements under
no error, we affirm.
and Procedural Background
September 8, 2015, St. Louis County Police Officer M.W. was
dispatched to a location in the municipality of Glasgow
Village for a reported shooting. At the scene, the officer
spoke with the Victim, who told her that Keland Baker's
cousin shot him. With respect to the events leading up to
the shooting, Victim told Officer M.W. the following: While
he was at the Uptown Market, a small grocery store located
near the scene of the shooting, Victim began arguing with
Baker, who was with Wooten at the store. Victim left the
store and began to walk away but Baker and Wooten gave chase.
Victim attempted to escape by running to a friend's house
nearby where he was shot by Wooten twice in the right leg.
Wooten fired five shots in all.
September 10, 2015, while Victim was still hospitalized, he
was interviewed separately by Detective T.E. and Detective
J.A. Victim told Detective T.E. about his history of conflict
with Baker and Wooten, and also described the shooting to the
detective. Victim stated that two months before the shooting,
he had argued with Baker and had a physical altercation with
Wooten. Victim also told Detective T.E. that on the day of
the shooting, he was at Uptown Market when Baker entered the
store and they argued again. Victim stated that Wooten shot
him and described Wooten as a black male, about six feet
tall, with short dreadlocks.
J.A. then interviewed Victim. He showed Victim two photograph
lineups. From the first lineup, Victim identified Baker, and
from the second lineup, Victim identified another individual
unrelated to this case. Victim told Detective J.A. that while
he recognized those two individuals, neither was involved in
the shooting. Detective J.A. showed Victim a recent
photograph of Wooten and, without hesitation according to
Detective J.A., Victim identified Wooten as the shooter.
months later, just before the December 2015 preliminary
hearing, Victim described the events that led up to the
shooting to Assistant Prosecuting Attorney T.R. His
description was consistent with his prior statements
described above. At the preliminary hearing, Victim
identified Wooten as the shooter. Then, a year and a half
later, in May 2017, Victim told Officer B.K. and another
assistant prosecuting attorney that Wooten was the shooter.
the October 30, 2017 trial, just five months after Victim had
again identified Wooten as the shooter, Victim testified that
he no longer remembered any of the aforementioned statements
identifying Wooten as the shooter. The State then called as
witnesses the four aforementioned police officers and
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney T.R. and each testified, over
Wooten's objections, that Victim identified Wooten as the
shooter. The court found Wooten guilty on all counts and
sentenced him to three concurrent terms often years in
prison. This appeal follows.
review for abuse of discretion the trial court's
admission of evidence. State v. Freeman, 269 S.W.3d
422, 426 (Mo.banc 2008). The trial court has broad leeway in
choosing to admit evidence; therefore, we will not interfere
with or disturb the trial court's exercise of this
discretion unless "it is clearly against the logic of
the circumstances." Id. at 426-27 (citing
State v. Forrest, 183 S.W.3d 218, 223 (Mo.banc
2006)). See also State v. Edwards, 116 S.W.3d 511,
532 (Mo.banc 2003). Moreover, to demonstrate reversible error
here, the defendant must show that the trial court's
erroneous admission of evidence deprived him of a fair trial.
Forrest, 183 S.W.3d at 223-24.
Wooten's sole point on appeal, he claims that the trial
court erred when it allowed those five witnesses to testify
as to Victim's prior inconsistent statements because the
State failed to lay a proper foundation under § 491.074.
Wooten claims that Victim's inability to remember his
prior statements constituted a refusal to testify, and
therefore should not have been permitted to serve as the
foundation for the admission of his prior inconsistent
statements under ...