November 7, 2017
From Florence County D. Craig Brown, Circuit Court Judge
Appellate Defender LaNelle Cantey DuRant, of Columbia, for
Attorney General Alan McCrory Wilson and Assistant Attorney
General Mark Reynolds Farthing, both of Columbia, and
Solicitor Edgar Lewis Clements, III, of Florence, all for
Jett appeals his convictions and sentences for burglary first
degree, armed robbery, criminal conspiracy, and possession of
a weapon during a crime of violence, arguing the trial court
erred in admitting his recorded statement because it was
obtained in violation of his Miranda rights. We
approximately 3:30 a.m. on December 31, 2013, Michael Barr
was awoken by a knock at his door. When he asked who was
there, a person replied saying it was BJ, who was a friend of
Barr's. When Barr opened the door, three males with their
faces covered entered through the door and began assaulting
him while demanding money. One male in a green hoodie had
"a small Derringer, " which he pointed at Barr.
Another male grabbed Barr's hunting knife from the floor.
The male in a green hoodie and a third male went upstairs and
entered Barr's bedroom, as well as Barr's female
roommate's bedroom. Barr's roommate began screaming,
and the three males ran out the back door.
William Blackmon responded to the scene and saw two males
running away from Barr's house, one of whom was wearing a
green hoodie. Officer Blackmon chased the suspects, but he
was unable to apprehend them. While retracing the path of the
chase, he found a hunting knife on the ground.
Thomas Herman arrived at the scene and observed two males
running from Barr's house with Officer Blackmon in
pursuit. He testified one of the males was wearing "a
green or a gray hoodie." Officer Herman followed the
path of the chase and found "a small caliber handgun, a
small revolver style Derringer."
Legrande Gowdy and Officer Lacey Allen both responded to the
scene and began walking through the area. Officers Gowdy and
Allen found a green hoodie, a gray pullover, pill bottles,
and two masks that "matched the description of the one
the suspect was wearing." While searching with her
flashlight, Officer Allen observed someone lying underneath a
vehicle that was about half a block from Barr's house.
Officer Allen shouted "he's under the car, he's
under the car" and drew her weapon while ordering the
individual to get out from underneath the vehicle. The
individual began to move from under the car but hesitated
after Corporal Gowdy appeared. Corporal Gowdy instructed the
individual to get out from under the car, and when the
individual instead began backing up, Corporal Gowdy tased,
detained, and handcuffed him. Corporal Gowdy testified the
individual was wearing gloves and a t-shirt, and the
temperature was in the low 30s, "which would not make
sense to have gloves on and no coat and no nothing or
anything." Corporal Gowdy asked him about the clothing
they found, and the individual said it did not belong to him.
The individual told Corporal Gowdy he had been out drinking
and was tired, so he crawled up under the car to go to
sleep.As Corporal Gowdy read the individual his
Miranda rights, the individual said "I
don't know anything about a gun." Gowdy then placed
the individual into a patrol vehicle and called an
investigator to question him. The individual was later
identified as Jett.
Felicia Jones met with Jett while he was detained in the
patrol vehicle. Upon introducing herself as a police officer,
Jett immediately said, "Where my lawyer at?"
Detective Jones said, "I'm going to read you your
rights, okay." Jett continued, "I already read my
rights three times. I don't know why they reading me
rights for." Detective Jones then read Jett his
Miranda rights and asked Jett if he wanted to talk
to her. Jett responded, "About what? About me being
intoxicated? Finding me under a car? Man tase me, put a knee
back of my head. What did I do? What did I do?" When
Detective Jones asked Jett why he told the officer he did not
have anything to do with a gun, Jett responded, "What
gun?" She asked him why he was under the car, and Jett
said he had been drinking and wanted to go to sleep, so he
laid down. He said he did not know he was under a car. When
Detective Jones asked Jett where he lived, he recited his
address and said, "Anything else, ask my lawyer."
Detective Jones then asked Jett if he did not want to talk to
her anymore. Jett responded, "What happened?" and
continued to say he did not know why he was tased. Detective
Jones did not ask Jett any more questions.
pretrial motion following a Jackson v.
Denno hearing, Jett made a motion to suppress
his statement to Detective Jones as the statement was taken
in violation of his Miranda rights. Jett argued his
statement - Where my lawyer at? - was unambiguous, and he
affirmatively asserted his right to an attorney. The State
contended Jett's statement to Detective Jones was
admissible because it was ambiguous. The trial court denied
the motion, finding the statement to Detective Jones was
ambiguous and thus, the questioning was not in violation of
Jett's Miranda rights. This appeal followed.