Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, First Division
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF PHELPS COUNTY Honorable John D.
W. LYNCH, P.J.
a jury trial, Cregg Allen Snyder ("Defendant") was
convicted of two counts of first-degree statutory sodomy
involving S.L. (Counts 1 and 2) and two counts of
first-degree statutory sodomy involving T.L. (Counts 3 and
4). See section 566.062.
raises three points on appeal. His first point alleges an
abuse of trial court discretion in the exclusion of certain
testimony from Nikki Breuer, a Division of Social Services
("DSS") employee, from evidence. His second and
third points request plain error review of the trial
court's submission of jury instructions 13 and 17, the
verdict directors for Counts 3 and 4, respectively.
Determining that Defendant's first point is not preserved
for appellate review and that his requests for plain error
review in his second and third points are denied, we affirm.
and Procedural Background
does not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence to support
his conviction. Briefly summarized and viewed in the light
most favorable to the finding of guilt, State v.
Lammers, 479 S.W.3d 624, 632 (Mo. banc 2016), the
evidence reveals that S.L. and T.L., born in May 2008 and
June 2004, respectively, moved in with Defendant in January
2015 and lived with him until July 2015. During this
timeframe, Defendant committed acts of abuse against S.L and
T.L., which included inserting his penis in S.L.'s mouth
and anus, touching T.L's penis, and making T.L. touch
his convictions on four counts of first-degree statutory
sodomy, Defendant was sentenced to twenty years'
imprisonment for each count and those terms were ordered to
run consecutively. Defendant timely appeals.
relevant background is set out, infra, as we discuss
Defendant's three points relied on. Due to their
similarity, Defendant's second and third points are
1 - Claim not Preserved for Appellate Review
first point, Defendant contends that "[t]he trial court
abused its discretion in sustaining the State's objection
and excluding the testimony of Nikki Breuer[.]"
Specifically, he asserts that the trial court erred in
"excluding the testimony of Nikki Breuer that the
Division of Family Services ceased its investigation of
[Defendant.]" (Emphasis added.) This evidence,
according to Defendant, "was relevant to show that the
children's story changed, either due to pressure from
investigators or the children's family, which caused the
State to charge these allegation [sic] and calls into
question the children's credibility." For the
reasons set forth below, the claim in this point was not
preserved for appellate review.
trial, Defendant called Nikki Breuer as a witness and
attempted to ask her questions relating to a July 25, 2016,
letter from the Children's Division in Dent County that
was addressed to Defendant and signed by Breuer ("the
letter"). The letter stated that the Children's
Division, following an investigation into a report alleging
sexual abuse by Defendant against S.L. and H.L.,
determined that there was insufficient evidence to conclude
based on a preponderance of the evidence that S.L. and H.L.
had been abused.
an objection by the prosecutor, the trial court looked over
the letter and asked "For the record, this is marked as
Exhibit A; is that correct?" Defense counsel responded,
"That is correct. That was before [H.L.] dropped out of
it." The trial court then indicated that it did not
think that the letter was admissible. Defense counsel
responded, "I'm not gonna admit it" and
clarified that "I'm just gonna have her acknowledge
that she sent the letter and that it is . . . ." Before
defense counsel could finish, the trial court stated,
"You're gonna have her acknowledge that she sent a
letter saying they were not gonna pursue the
investigation?" Defense counsel responded in the
affirmative "as far as [S.L.]" The trial court then
stated that it thought the ...