Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division
ROBERT L. CAMPBELL, Movant-Appellant,
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent-Respondent.
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF JASPER COUNTY Honorable Gayle Crane
L. Campbell ("Movant") appeals the motion
court's denial, after an evidentiary hearing, of
Movant's amended Rule 29.15 motion for post-conviction relief
("the motion"). A jury found Movant guilty of two
counts of second-degree murder and assessed punishment at
life imprisonment on each count. See section
565.021. In two points on appeal, Movant claims the
motion court clearly erred in denying the motion because
trial counsel was ineffective for requesting and submitting
lesser-included offense instructions to the jury. Finding no
merit in that claim, we affirm.
Appellate review of a motion for post-conviction relief is
"limited to a determination of whether the motion
court's findings and conclusions are clearly
erroneous." Eastburn v. State, 400 S.W.3d 770,
773 (Mo. banc 2013) (citation omitted); Rule 24.035(k).
"Findings and conclusions are clearly erroneous if,
after reviewing the entire record, this Court is left with
the definite and firm impression that a mistake has been
made." Eastburn at 773, (citation omitted). The
movant must show by a preponderance of the evidence the
motion court clearly erred. Harrison v. State, 531
S.W.3d 611, 616 (Mo. App. 2017) (citation omitted).
. . . .
To be entitled to post-conviction relief for ineffective
assistance of counsel ["IAC"], [Movant]'s claim
must prove "by a preponderance of the evidence that (1)
trial counsel failed to exercise the level of skill and
diligence that reasonably competent counsel would exercise in
a similar situation and (2) the movant was prejudiced by that
failure." Dorsey v. State, 448 S.W.3d 276, 287
(Mo. banc 2014) (citing Strickland v. Washington,
466 U.S. 668, 687, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984)).
"If a movant fails to satisfy either prong of the
[Strickland] test, he or she is not entitled to
post-conviction relief." Creighton v. State,
520 S.W.3d 416, 422 (Mo. banc 2017) (citation omitted).
McClure v. State, 543 S.W.3d 54, 56 (Mo. App. W.D.
motion court's judgment is presumed correct, and Movant
has the burden of demonstrating reversible error.
McLaughlin v. State, 378 S.W.3d 328, 336-37 (Mo.
age 72, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder
for ordering the killing of his nephew, Russell Porter
("Russell"), and Russell's wife, Rebecca Porter
("Rebecca"). The State charged that Movant,
"acting with one or more persons," caused the
Porters' deaths on April 18, 2011, "by offering
consideration to one or more persons to kill" them. The
State's theory of the case was that Defendant contracted
with his brother-in-law, Tony Friend, to kill the Porters
while Defendant was out of town driving a truck, which would
provide Defendant with an alibi. The plan was to have the
Porters kidnapped and killed outside of their home on the
theory that "if there's no body, there's no
was the son of Defendant's sister. Russell and Defendant
had recently been granted mutual orders of protection against
each other. The State alleged that there was
"[b]ad blood" between the two men because Defendant
believed that Russell was lazy and he and Rebecca were living
on the Campbell family farm where Defendant had been raised
despite Russell never having done anything to help with the
farm. There had been heated altercations between the two men
leading up to the Porters' deaths, including an incident
in which Russell charged at Defendant with a 20-foot long
pipe, and Russell had used a board with nails in it to
demarcate property lines.
three weeks after the orders of protection were granted, late
in the evening on April 18, 2011, police responded to the
Porters' home when Rebecca's daughter reported being
concerned about not having heard from her. Defendant was
driving a truck in Texas at that time. Upon entering the
Porters' home, police found that a screen over the
kitchen window had been cut, bleach had been poured on the
kitchen and dining room floors, the bedding had been removed
from the bed, the mattress was askew on its box springs, and
the Porters were not there.
Porters' bodies were eventually found in July 2011 in a
remote area of Taney County. Both had been shot in the head.
Phillip Friend ("Phillip"), the son of Tony Friend
("Tony"), testified that he was his father's
"right hand man" in crime. At his father's
behest, Phillip, along with a group of people that included
his father, planned to kidnap the Porters from their home.
The plan was formulated during the course of two meetings
that took place in Tony's apartment. At first, the plan
was to kidnap the Porters and "take them to birthdays[,
]" meaning to kill them. The plan was allegedly changed
to just kidnapping the Porters and scaring them into moving,
but Phillip doubted that it was just a scare tactic. The
kidnapping had to occur before the 19th of April
because Defendant was returning from the road that day.
Phillip said the plan involved "[m]urder and $100,
000." Phillip and the others kidnapped the Porters from
their home, drove them to a remote location approximately two
hours away, where Tony then walked the Porters into the woods
and shot them.
cellmate testified that Defendant confessed to him after
"prayer circle" "that he hired his
brother-in-law [Tony] to kill his sister's boy"
while Defendant was out of state driving a truck.
Defendant's son testified that the dispute between his
father and Russell had escalated to the point that Defendant
said that Russell's "days are numbered[.]"
Defendant also told his daughter, while she was wearing a
wire for the police, that Russell "was a pain in the
ass[, ]" and had been "snitching" on them
"all the time." Defendant said "[a]ll of us
had a reason to do it[.]" Phillip also testified that
Defendant approached him while they were both in jail and
told him that he would "take care of" whoever was
putting Defendant's name out there as having been
involved in the murder of the Porters.
counsel requested and submitted lesser-included offenses on
both counts for second-degree murder, second-degree felony
murder predicated upon felonious restraint, voluntary
manslaughter, first-degree involuntary manslaughter, and
second-degree involuntary manslaughter. The jury returned
guilty verdicts of murder in the second degree, based upon
felony murder, on each count. Movant claims that trial counsel
was ineffective for requesting and offering instructions on
the lesser-included offenses, including felony murder, and
that "[h]ad ...