Heard: November 3, 2014.
Appeal From Charleston County J. C. Nicholson, Jr., Circuit Court Judge. Appellate Case No. 2012-213295.
Appellate Defender Susan B. Hackett, of Columbia, for Appellant.
Attorney General Alan M. Wilson, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Senior Assistant Deputy Attorney General Donald J. Zelenka, Senior Assistant Attorney General W. Edgar Salter, III, all of Columbia; and Solicitor Scarlett Anne Wilson, of Charleston, for Respondent.
SHORT, J. HUFF and KONDUROS, JJ., concur.
[411 S.C. 536] SHORT, J.:
Darryl L. Drayton appeals his murder conviction, arguing the trial court erred in (1) refusing to charge the jury concerning how to consider circumstantial evidence; (2) admitting evidence when the search warrant lacked probable cause; and (3) limiting Drayton's cross-examination of the pathologist concerning the victim's toxicology report. We affirm.
Michael Bartley testified he was engaged to the victim, Alexis Lukaitis, and had given her an engagement ring. Bartley and the victim had twenty-two-month-old twin boys. Bartley testified the victim took unprescribed medication and received the pills from " D," whom he identified in the courtroom as Drayton. Bartley explained the victim had received pills from Drayton in the past in exchange for driving him places.
Bartley testified the victim was friends with a neighbor, Shannon Hooper, who lived in their apartment complex in Bluffton. According to Bartley, Drayton was " always" at Hooper's apartment. Hooper's former sister-in-law, Tina Johnson, was also at Hooper's apartment, and the victim would " get pills from them."
On Sunday, August 8, 2010, Bartley prepared the twins to go to his mother's house for dinner, which was a recurring family event for Bartley, the victim, and the twins. The victim experienced an allergic reaction to a fabric softener dryer sheet and did not accompany Bartley. According to Bartley, the victim called him at 6:00 p.m., indicating she was going to drive " Darryl" to Charleston to get pills. Bartley testified he last spoke to the victim at 8:19 p.m. that evening. At the time, the victim was on the road. Bartley testified the victim confirmed she was with " D" ; she said " make a right here" as though speaking to someone in the vehicle; Bartley heard a person speak to her in a voice too muffled for him to distinguish; and she told Bartley she loved him and would be home soon. At approximately 10:00 p.m., Bartley called the victim's cell phone, and it appeared to answer and sounded muffled, [411 S.C. 537] " like I thought she was digging her phone out of the purse. And then it got quiet. And I was like hello, hello. And then it hung up, and that was it." Bartley attempted " all night" to reach the victim by phone and also called hospitals, jails, and police stations looking for her.
The following morning, Monday, August 9th, Bartley reported the victim missing to the police and Detective Todd Calhoun of the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office (BCSO) responded. Both Calhoun and Bartley attempted to reach Drayton by phone. Calhoun called Drayton's cell phone, and Drayton identified himself and agreed to meet Calhoun at Drayton's house, but he did not show. After numerous attempted calls by Bartley, Drayton answered and denied going to Charleston with the victim.
Bartley drove with Hooper along Highway 17 looking for the victim's vehicle. After he returned home, Bartley saw an internet report that a body had been found in Charleston, and he called the Charleston police. He described the victim, including two small tattoos. He also shared the cell phone numbers of the victim, Hooper, and Drayton.
Johnson testified she met the victim through Hooper. On Monday, Bartley arrived at her house very early looking for the victim. Johnson told her eleven-year-old son about the visit and that the victim had allegedly driven Drayton to Charleston and was missing. The son knew Drayton from meeting him at Hooper's house.
Johnson further testified Drayton lived in a brick house next door to a Bluffton self-help facility, and she and the victim had been there to meet Drayton. Later on Monday, Johnson, her son, and other family members were at the self-help facility. Johnson's son told her he saw Drayton. Johnson notified the police. At trial, the son testified Drayton was in the parking lot at the self-help facility. According to the son, Drayton had scratches on his face, a bandage on his finger, and a hospital bracelet.
Jackie Seward, a professional logger in Hollywood, South Carolina, testified he was driving onto his family's property on Monday, August 9th, when he saw the victim's body on the side of the road. He notified the police. Deputy William Shepherd of the Charleston County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) [411 S.C. 538] and James Thomas Milz, a forensic investigator for the CCSO, responded. Milz testified the victim suffered a large laceration to the throat and her clothing and limbs were charred. It appeared she had been moved because a bloody handprint was on her ankle.
Milz photographed footprints and tire marks at the scene. Milz also took cast impressions of the tire marks. Vicki Hallman, a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) employee in the latent prints crime scene unit, testified the tests on the tire impressions were not totally exclusive and the tracks could have been made by the victim's vehicle, a 2001 white Pontiac Grand Prix, or another vehicle with Michelin Symmetry tires. Paul McManigal, the supervisor of forensic services for the CCSO, testified he was at the scene with Milz. McManigal testified no usable fingerprints were obtained from the victim's body.
Stephen Edwards of Bluffton testified he was Drayton's cousin. On Monday morning, August 9, 2010, Drayton knocked on Edwards' door, waking him and asking for a ride to the hospital. Drayton's hand was wrapped in bloody tissue, and he told Edwards he had been in a fight with three men from Beaufort and suffered a cut on his finger. Edwards did not have gas in his car so Drayton left, returning approximately ninety minutes later with five dollars for gas. Edwards took Drayton to the emergency room at a hospital in Hilton Head. When they left the hospital, Edwards took Drayton to a jewelry store because Drayton claimed he wanted to pawn a class ring. At Drayton's request, they registered and checked into a motel in Hardeeville for that night.
On Tuesday, Edwards drove Drayton to a plastic surgeon for further treatment on his finger, and they spent a second night at the motel. According to Edwards, Drayton requested a ride to Florida, but Edwards refused, and on Wednesday morning, he dropped Drayton off at the library in Bluffton. Edwards spent the day receiving medical treatment for high sugar levels. When he arrived at his home on Wednesday evening, he discovered bloodied, foreign trash on his porch, including a spare tire, speakers, diapers and a diaper bag, a blanket, and a CVS bag filled with clothes. He called 911 from a neighbor's apartment and reported the bloody trash. [411 S.C. 539] Detective Calhoun responded, and retrieved the trash. Bartley identified numerous items found at Edwards' house as belonging to the victim, including the diaper bag and blanket. He also testified numerous items did not belong to the victim, including the CVS bag, clothing, and a speaker box.
Dr. Luca Delatore testified he treated Drayton on the morning of August 9th for a finger laceration, reportedly inflicted by a saw the previous evening. An x-ray revealed a fracture of the bone, which was exposed from the laceration. Delatore prescribed an antibiotic and pain medication. Maggie Mae Furchak testified she knew Drayton, and he came to the pharmacy where she worked on Monday to fill two prescriptions. Drayton told her he cut his finger at work that morning on a piece of glass.
Christopher Golis testified he worked at Golis Family Jewelers in Bluffton. He knew Drayton and testified he purchased an engagement ring from Drayton on August 9, 2010. Golis testified Drayton claimed he found the ring at a gas station. Golis described the ring as a unique, three-stone " past, present, future" ring. Golis noticed Drayton's bandage, and Drayton told Golis he cut his finger on a saw working for a fence company. Golis later received a telephone call from Detective Calhoun. Golis identified Drayton from a photographic line-up and surrendered the ring. Bartley identified the ring as the victim's engagement ring.
Sargent Robert DiCarlo of the BCSO testified he responded to a call on August 10, 2010, regarding the Bluffton Police Department finding what was suspected to be the victim's vehicle parked on Wharf Street in Bluffton. Upon arrival ...