Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Roberts

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division

December 24, 2019

STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent,
v.
OWEN LEE ROBERTS, Appellant.

          APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF BUCHANAN COUNTY, MISSOURI THE HONORABLE DAVID L. BOLANDER, JUDGE.

          Before: Edward R. Ardini, Jr., Presiding Judge, Mark D. Pfeiffer, Judge and Cynthia L. Martin, Judge.

          EDWARD R. ARDINI, JR., JUDGE.

         Owen Roberts ("Roberts") appeals his convictions of two counts of assault in the first degree and two counts of armed criminal action entered by the Circuit Court of Buchanan County following a jury trial. Roberts asserts that the trial court abused its discretion by overruling his motion for mistrial following the prosecutor's statement during voir dire that the jury would not be deciding punishment, arguing that the statement revealed to the venire panel that Roberts had prior criminal convictions. We affirm.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         On the night of May 14, 2016, Ricky Snedden ("Snedden") returned to his home in St. Joseph, Missouri, with his wife and children. Snedden's friend Terry Madewell ("Madewell") lived in a loft above Snedden's garage, and Roberts would visit the residence "off and on." As Snedden was putting his children to bed, Roberts entered the home carrying a .22 lever-action rifle belonging to Snedden and requested some ammunition. Snedden provided Roberts with a different .22-caliber rifle that belonged to his wife along with some ammunition, and Roberts left the home. It was Snedden's understanding that Roberts was borrowing the rifle and would return it at a later time.

         The following morning, Snedden was awakened by the sound of his barking dog. He went outside and heard Roberts descending the stairs in the garage that led to the apartment where Madewell was staying. Roberts emerged from the garage, asked Snedden why he had set him up, and then motioned towards the garage and stated, "I already took care of him." Roberts then shot Snedden in the side with the rifle he had obtained from Snedden the night before. After Snedden repeated that he had not set him up, Roberts again shot Snedden, this time in the lower back.

         Snedden retreated into his home and used the residence's land-line to call 911. Roberts terminated the call before Snedden could report the shooting. When the 911 operator called back, Roberts answered, identified himself as Snedden, and explained that the original call was the result of children playing with the phone. Snedden used his cell phone to again call 911 and reported the shooting. Roberts left the scene in a blue Dodge pickup truck belonging to Snedden's wife that was parked in the driveway.

         Based on the 911 calls, officers were dispatched to Snedden's home. Snedden told officers that he had been shot by Roberts and that there might be another victim in the apartment located above the garage. In the apartment, officers found Madewell sitting in a recliner with his head in his hands and his hair matted with blood. Madewell had been shot in the head and had facial swelling, lacerations, and fluid coming from his ears and on his face and jaw areas.[1] Two .22-caliber rifle casings were found near the chair where Madewell was found.

         Later that afternoon, Roberts drove the blue Dodge pickup truck to the home of an acquaintance in Gladstone, Missouri. The acquaintance was not home but Roberts spoke with the acquaintance's wife. Roberts told the wife that he had shot two people in St. Joseph that morning and that the gun he had used was in the pickup truck. Roberts explained that he shot one of the individuals in the head and the other in the liver "because [Roberts] wanted him to live" and he "wanted them to know who did it." After Roberts left, the wife called her husband and police.

         Roberts was later located by police and interviewed. During the interview, Roberts admitted to being in St. Joseph and driving the blue pickup truck belong to Snedden's wife on the day of the shooting but denied shooting Snedden and Madewell

         Roberts was charged as a prior and persistent offender with two counts of assault in the first degree and two counts of armed criminal action.[2] He was found guilty following a jury trial of all four counts. The trial court sentenced him to fifteen years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for each assault count with those sentences to be served consecutive to each other. He was also sentenced to five years for each armed criminal action count, and each of those sentences were ordered to run concurrent with the sentences for the associated assault counts. Roberts appeals his convictions.

         Discussion

         In his sole point on appeal, Roberts alleges that the trial court abused its discretion in overruling his motion for a mistrial during voir dire following the prosecutor's statement that the jury would not be deciding punishment, arguing that the statement revealed to the venire panel that Roberts had prior convictions. We find no error.

         During voir dire, the State asked whether any member of the venire or member of their family had been prosecuted by the Buchanan County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. Relevant to this ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.