February 5, 2019
From Greenwood County Frank R. Addy, Jr., Circuit Court Judge
Attorney General Alan McCrory Wilson and Senior Assistant
Attorney General David A. Spencer, both of Columbia; and
Solicitor David Matthew Stumbo, of Greenwood, all for
Charles Grose, Jr., of Grose Law Firm, of Greenwood, for
State appeals the trial court's order granting a new
trial in Edward Lee Dean's conviction of first degree
burglary, grand larceny, and malicious injury to real
property. We dismiss the State's appeal.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Lester Hart, Jr. arrived at his Greenwood County home on
August 13, 2012 to find the back door to his home and a
storage room door had been forcibly opened. A door to a car
in the yard had also been forced open. Hart immediately
called the Greenwood County Police Department (the
Department). When Hart went inside his home, "everything
was ransacked." The gun cabinet in one of the bedrooms
had been pried open and the weapons were missing. A second
gun cabinet in the storage room had "the door ripped
open" and several, but not all, of the firearms were
missing. In total, fifteen firearms, jewelry, a gold coin
collection, and money were missing from Hart's home. The
value of the missing items exceeded $10, 000.
Travis Cox was the first responder from the Department.
Officer Cox observed that the front door, the storage room
door, and a gun cabinet had been forcibly opened, and that
the house was in "disarray." Hart gave Officer Cox
serial numbers for several guns that were missing. Officer
Cox entered the serial numbers into NCIC, the national
database for firearms and warrants. Additionally, officers
photographed a wet shoeprint on the pavement and a second
shoeprint on the front door. The shoeprints have never been
matched to any shoes. Officers took a crowbar and a hammer
with a wooden handle from the storage room to be processed
for latent prints. No prints were ever recovered from either
the crowbar or hammer. Hart later sent Investigator Dale
Boyer a list of all the missing firearms in addition to the
list of serial numbers he initially provided Officer Cox.
Lee Dean lived in Unit A in a duplex on Taggart Street in
Greenwood County. On August 27, 2012, the Department's
dispatch received an anonymous call about items located
underneath a home on Taggart Street. The call came from
Christi Lopez, Dean's cousin. Captain Chip Davenport
responded to the call and went to the Taggart Street address.
The only person present was Mamie Quarles in Unit B of the
duplex. Captain Davenport spoke with Mamie, who told him her
daughter, Kaleeka Quarles, leased the apartment, but was not
home. Captain Davenport then spoke to Kaleeka on the phone
and received consent to search under the entire duplex. Dean
was not home when Captain Davenport searched the duplex.
Captain Davenport received consent to search inside Unit A of
the duplex from Dean's mother, Annie Dean.
found a .308 rifle and a second rifle, along with office
equipment under the duplex. Captain Davenport ran the
available serial number through NCIC and the .308 rifle
matched a serial number Hart provided. The second rifle found
under the duplex matched the description of Hart's
missing bolt action rifle, but no serial number was listed.
No fingerprints were ever recovered from either of the rifles
found underneath the duplex. Inside the duplex, officers
found ammunition that matched the description of ammunition
missing from Hart's home.
Gaston, Antwine Anderson, and two juveniles were arrested on
August 31, 2012 for a separate burglary in Greenwood County.
On September 5, 2012, Gaston implicated himself, along with
Dean and Anderson in the burglary at Hart's home. Gaston
testified Anderson drove Gaston and Dean to Hart's home.
When they arrived, Anderson backed into the driveway and
either Dean or Anderson kicked in the door while Gaston
stayed outside as the look out. Gaston testified Dean
"stripped the lock off [the storage room door] with his
hand." Gaston, Dean, and Anderson all went into the
storage room and took guns. They also took guns from a
storage building on Hart's property. Gaston stated they
took approximately nine or ten guns from Hart's home.
After they loaded the guns in Anderson's car, they
returned to Anderson's house to divide the guns between
the three of them. They took Dean back to his home and
watched Dean put the guns under his house on Taggart Street.
Based on Gaston's statements to Greenwood County police,
Dean was served with arrest warrants for the burglary at
Hart's home on September 12, 2012.
filed a pre-trial motion for continuance, judicial
supervision, and a scheduling order, as well as a motion to
dismiss or, in the alternative, motion to compel disclosure
of Brady information on December 11, 2013.
the pretrial hearing on December 11, 2013, the State informed
the court it was calling two of the three co-defendents'
cases, Dean and Anderson, to trial and that Gaston was
testifying against both. The trial court asked the State
whether it had made any arrangements or deals with Gaston.
The State responded that it had made no offers to Gaston.
Dean's counsel responded that he had a "hard time
believing that Mr. Gaston is testifying in order to give
information to help the State seek a prison sentence of life
without the possibility of parole. . . . And [he] can't
believe that [Gaston's counsel] would allow [Gaston] to
do that unless they had some sort of assurances that they
were going to get some benefit from the State." The
court asked the State a second time whether any deals had
been made with Gaston and the State assured the court that no
deal had been made. The court then stated:
I'm hearing that there's no deals, there's no
testimony, there's no assurances, there's [been] no
bargaining, there's been no promises made and if that is
in fact the case and Mr. Gaston wants to plead straight up to
burglary first degree, that's perfectly fine. If however
that burglary first degree suddenly becomes petty [sic]
larceny, that does seem somewhat peculiar.
trial court denied Dean's motion to delay sentencing
because Dean had not been convicted at the time of the
pre-trial discussion. However, the court suggested delaying
any sentencing of Dean and holding his new trial motion in
abeyance pending Gaston's sentencing. The court also
ordered that the State "shall be under a continuing duty
to disclose any promises, agreements, deals, or arrangements
made with any of the State's witnesses."
trial was initially called on January 14, 2014. The court
continued the trial due to the threat of inclement weather,
but reiterated that the State had a continuing duty to
disclose any promises or deals made with Gaston. Dean's
trial was called a second time on March 14-15, 2014 before
Judge Addy. Gaston described Dean's involvement in the
burglary. Gaston testified on cross-examination that he was
not testifying "in order to get out of that
trouble," but because he was "[j]ust being
honest."  Gaston stated he was not expecting any
benefit in exchange for his testimony. Dean's counsel
asked Gaston whether he "plan[ned] to enter plea
negotiations with the prosecutors" and Gaston responded
was convicted by the jury of first-degree burglary, grand
larceny, and malicious injury to property. Dean moved to
defer sentencing in accordance with the court's
suggestion from the pre-trial hearing in order to wait until
Gaston was sentenced. The court stated it was "inclined
to request that [it] hear [Gaston's] case as well, just
so that everybody can be fed out of the same spoon and
court denied Dean's motion to defer sentencing, but took
jurisdiction over Gaston's case and requested ...