United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN R. CLARK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Petitioner Jerald
Harris's Petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of
Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody .
in the Circuit Court of St. Louis City, convicted Petitioner
Jerald Harris of three counts of first-degree robbery, six
counts of armed criminal action, one count of attempted
forcible sodomy, one count of attempted first-degree robbery,
one count of kidnapping, and one count of resisting arrest.
Petitioner was sentenced to life imprisonment for all counts
with the exception of a seven-year sentence for resisting
arrest. One count of first-degree robbery runs concurrently
with the rest of his sentences to run consecutively.
Petitioner appealed his convictions and sentences to the
Missouri Court of Appeals, which affirmed. Petitioner filed a
timely Missouri Rule 29.15 post-conviction motion, which the
motion court denied. He appealed this decision and the
Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of
post-conviction relief. Petitioner now seeks relief in this
Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
Missouri Court of Appeals described the facts of
Petitioner's convictions as follows:
On January 6, 2013, S.D. was visiting her friend Julie
Spychala at Spychala's apartment in the Shaw neighborhood
in the City of St. Louis. A friend of theirs, Brendon Hutton
came over to pick S.D. up and S.D. and Spychala went
downstairs to meet him outside. The three of them stood in
the street and talked for a few minutes.
As they were talking Spychala noticed a man, later identified
as Defendant, coming toward them. She made eye contact
with him and then looked back at her friends and continued
talking with them. Then Defendant came up behind them with a
handkerchief over his face, holding a gun. Defendant said,
“Give me your money or I'll shoot you.”
Spychala did not have any money, so she threw her gloves on
the ground in front of Defendant. S.D. and Hutton handed
Defendant money. Defendant continued to point the gun at
them. Then Defendant demanded their phones, and Spychala and
S.D. both put their phones on the ground. Defendant kept
demanding more money, and eventually S.D. and Hutton had
given him everything out of their wallets. At one point, the
bandana covering Defendant's face fell down, and Hutton
was able to see Defendant's face for a few seconds.
Defendant then looked at S.D. and said, “Well, bitch,
you're going to suck my d[---].” Defendant went up
behind her and grabbed her butt and she froze. Spychala kept
saying, “No” and “Please, sir,
please.” She tried to offer Defendant her jacket, which
she told him was worth $150. He started to pull off her
jacket but Spychala got nervous and held her ground.
Eventually Defendant stopped and said “Run to your car
and don't turn around.” Defendant ran away down an
The three victims got in Hutton's car and started
driving. Hutton still had his phone, so he called 911. Police
took them back to the scene. Their credit cards and
Spychala's gloves were still on the ground, but the money
and phones were gone. A K-9 police unit tracked
Defendant's scent but lost it beyond the alley.
6-5, pgs. 1-3.
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). 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
(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 in light of the
evidence presented in the State court proceeding.
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1)-(2). A determination of a factual
issue made by a state court is presumed to be correct unless
the petitioner successfully rebuts the presumption of
correctness by clear and ...