United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
RICHARD WEBBER SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on the Report and
Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge John
Bodenhausen [ECF No. 137], pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1), recommending the denial of Defendant Hairl
Johnson's Motion to Suppress Evidence [ECF No. 90].
Defendant filed timely objections to the Report and
Recommendation [ECF No. 143] and the U.S. Attorney filed his
response to Defendant's objections [ECF No. 147].
Specifically, Defendant objects to the magistrate judge's
findings that (1) the November 13, 2014 Complaint for Search
Warrant established probable cause to issue a search warrant;
(2) the November 13, 2014 Search Warrant satisfied all the
requirements for a search warrant; and (3) Detective Andrew
Ward acted in good faith reliance in obtaining and executing
the Search Warrant.
party objects to a Report and Recommendation concerning a
motion to suppress in a criminal case, the court is required
to “make a de novo review determination of those
portions of the record or specified proposed findings to
which objection is made.” United States v.
Lothridge, 324 F.3d 599, 600 (8th Cir. 2003) (quoting 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)). This Court has conducted a de
novo review of the motions, and the testimony, evidence,
and arguments from the evidentiary hearing. Based on this
review, the Court concludes the magistrate judge made proper
findings and correctly analyzed the issues. The facts of the
case, relevant to the motion to suppress, are as follows.
November 10, 2014, at about 3:00 p.m., the body of Antonio
Jones was recovered from the trunk of a Buick LeSabre that
was burning in East St. Louis, Illinois. The Major Case
Squad, including Detective Andrew Ward, was activated to
investigate Jones' death. From interviewing Antonio
Jones' friends and family, the Major Case Squad
detectives learned Jones' cell phone number was
314-482-7120 and requested telephone records for that number,
including cell-site location information. Detectives received
records responsive to their request and identified several
telephone calls of interest associated with Jones' phone
activity for November 10, 2014. One such call was between
Jones' phone and telephone number 314-740-5338. This call
took place at about 9:00 a.m. on November 10th, and lasted
approximately 130 seconds.
location information relative to Antonio Jones' cell
phone further indicated the last known use of the phone was
in Ferguson, MO, on November 10, 2014. The investigators
learned the cell-site associated with that last known use was
a cell tower in the area of 308 Georgia, in Ferguson, MO,
where Defendant Hairl Johnson lived with a girlfriend. Also
of interest were two calls made during the morning of
November 10, 2014, between victim's phone and the cell
phone of his friend and co-worker, Anthony Stringer. Mr.
Stringer told investigators the first call was from victim
Jones and the second call was from someone using Jones'
phone named “Butchy, ” who was later determined
to be Randall Patton (a co-defendant in this matter).
According to Mr. Stringer, when he spoke with Jones on
November 10th, Jones told Stringer he was following Patton on
Page Avenue. Mr. Stringer stated Patton later called him on
Jones' phone and told him he and Jones were at “the
Big B store, ” also known as the Price Chopper.
Ward and his partner interviewed the owner of Price Chopper
and obtained and reviewed surveillance video from the morning
of November 10, 2014. The surveillance video showed Patton
drive onto Price Chopper's parking lot in a Ford
Expedition, accompanied by Defendant Johnson. Antonio
Jones' Buick pulled alongside of the Expedition. There
was some interaction between the occupants of the two
vehicles, after which Antonio Jones parked the Buick and went
inside the store while the Expedition drove off the parking
lot. The video showed that Jones quickly came back out of the
store and drove off the parking lot in the same direction as
interviewed Randall Patton about the events of November 10,
2014. Patton initially told investigators he did not know
Defendant and had been at work that day. When confronted with
images from the Price Chopper surveillance, Patton admitted
he had been with Johnson and Antonio Jones on November 10,
2014. Patton further stated the Expedition belonged to
Defendant Johnson and Patton had been at Johnson's house
at 308 Georgia. According to Patton, after leaving the Price
Chopper parking lot, Johnson, Jones, and Patton went to smoke
learned the Expedition was registered to a person named
Synovia Clemons, who was in a dating relationship with
Defendant Johnson and lived with him at 308 Georgia. Ms.
Clemons reportedly confirmed Johnson and Patton used the
Expedition the morning of November 10, 2014. Ms. Clemons
stated Johnson's telephone number was 314-740-5338.
Ward presented a Complaint for Search Warrant [hereinafter,
the “Affidavit”] to obtain records related to
telephone number 314-740-5338. Det. Ward testified that he and
an Assistant State Attorney prepared the Affidavit and Search
Warrant together before presenting the documents to Judge
Julia Gomric. The Affidavit requested records related to
telephone number 314-740-5338 and sought sixteen (16)
categories of information. In particular, Det. Ward requested
information relative to the subscriber of telephone number
314-740-5338, the cell towers used by that telephone number,
including cell site location information (CSLI) records, and
incoming and outgoing telephone records for that
support of the Affidavit, Det. Ward set forth the following
facts and circumstances:
On November 10, 2014, at about 3:00 p.m., an actively burning
1990 Buick LeSabre was located in . . . East St. Louis . . .
Illinois. After the fire was extinguished, law enforcement
realized the deceased body of a man was located in the trunk
. . . . The registered owners of the LeSabre are Antonio L.
Jones and Sandra Mitchill [sic]. Sandra Mitchell has been
located. Though not yet conclusive, a preliminary
identification of the body is that of Antonio L. Jones.
Antonio L. Jones' cell phone number is 314- 482-7120.
An “exigent circumstances” request to Sprint
Corporation for the cell phone records of Antonio L. Jones
reveals the above cell number (314-482-7120) to have been the
source of a conversation with the possessor of the phone with
the phone number 314-740-5338 of 136 seconds in length on
11/10/14 at approximately 9:17 a.m.
(ECF No. 121-1 at 2).
Affidavit further stated “the known user of [phone
number] (314) 740-5338, was seen on video surveillance at
approximately 9:00 a.m. on 11/10/14, at which time the known
user of this phone was speaking to [Antonio Jones] on the
surveillance footage.” Id. Det. Ward claimed
the telephone records requested by the Affidavit were
“necessary to the investigation to determine the nature
and the source of the telephone call made with Antonio L.
Jones' known phone.” Id. Det. Ward further
stated that subscriber information relative to 314-740-5338
was needed to determine the subscriber's identity, and
that the ...