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State v. Reid

Supreme Court of South Carolina

July 2, 2014

The State, Respondent,
v.
Donta Reid, Appellant

Heard December 5, 2013

Appeal from York County. Appellate Case No. 2011-204288. The Honorable John C. Hayes, III, Circuit Court Judge.

Appellate Defender Kathrine H. Hudgins, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Attorney General Alan M. Wilson, Assistant Attorney General Mark R. Farthing, and Assistant Attorney General Jennifer E. Roberts, all of Columbia, for Respondent.

Deputy Public Defender Christopher D. Scalzo, of Greenville, for Amicus Curiae, South Carolina Public Defender Association.

JUSTICE HEARN. TOAL, C.J., PLEICONES, BEATTY and KITTREDGE, JJ., concur.

OPINION

Page 905

[408 S.C. 463] HEARN JUSTICE

In this criminal appeal, Donta Reid challenges the trial court's failure to suppress his confession, arguing it was obtained in violation of his Sixth Amendment right to counsel. We disagree and find the facts of Reid's case fall within the purview of Montejo v. Louisiana, 556 U.S. 778, 129 S.Ct. 2079, 173 L.Ed.2d 955 (2009), in which the United States Supreme Court held a valid Miranda [1] given waiver prior to a custodial interrogation sufficed to waive a defendant's Sixth Amendment right to counsel regardless of whether he retained representation at a prior arraignment. Id. at 795. Reid further contends the trial court erred in failing to [408 S.C. 464] grant a directed verdict of acquittal on the charges for possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime because the State failed to prove he actually or constructively possessed a firearm. We find those charges were properly submitted to the jury and therefore affirm his convictions.

FACTUAL/PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On the evening of October 1, 2009, Maurice Jackson, Tyrone King, and Kenny Cunningham, the victims, were sitting on Jackson's front porch when Jackson received a text from Reid inquiring about buying marijuana. When Jackson informed Reid he did not have any marijuana, Reid said he would stop by Jackson's house regardless. Upon arriving, Reid invited Jackson to accompany him to " midtown," stating he had located some marijuana. Jackson declined because he could not leave his company on his porch. Reid asked to use Jackson's cell phone and during the course of his conversation Jackson and Cunningham overheard him say " There's two" or " It's two of them." Reid indicated he would come back and left, but he never returned.

Jackson and his companions remained on the porch and roughly fifteen to thirty minutes later a man and a woman approached the porch, neither of whom the victims recognized. The woman ran up the steps and announced that it was a robbery. The man, who wore a mask, pulled a rifle from his pants, echoed the woman's pronouncement that this was a robbery, and threatened to shoot if any of them moved.

The woman went through the victims' pockets and collected the contents. The man and woman started to leave, but the man turned around and began shooting at the victims. Cunningham was struck through his left leg and between his toes. King was shot in the head and later died from the wounds.

After interviewing the victims, the police investigation focused on Reid, and the day after the robbery, detectives questioned him about the incident. Reid informed law enforcement

Page 906

that he stopped by Jackson's house to use Jackson's phone to call a female friend, who he then went to visit. Reid agreed to accompany the detectives to this friend's apartment so she could corroborate his story; however, once they arrived at the address Reid gave them, he indicated the detectives [408 S.C. 465] needed to question a different woman. That woman's mother denied that Reid had been there the night before.

Thereafter, Reid was handcuffed and taken to the police station where he was read his Miranda rights, which he waived. Over the next few days, Reid made four different statements to law enforcement. Reid gave the first statement at 1:45 p.m. indicating a man named Darius Jeter acted alone in the robbery and was both the shooter and instigator. Reid admitted he assisted Jeter by reconnoitering Jackson's porch prior to the robbery. He also stated he did not witness the robbery, but heard the shots. Reid was then taken to a jail cell in the police department.

A few hours later Reid asked to speak with the detectives again to provide additional information. Prior to the interview, Reid was Mirandized again and after waiving his rights he gave a second statement at 4:10 p.m. In this statement, he maintained Jeter was the lone robber and shooter; however, this time Reid described witnessing the events of the robbery, ...


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