Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Marcum

Supreme Court of West Virginia

October 20, 2017

State of West Virginia, Plaintiff Below, Respondent
v.
Jeremy Allen Marcum, Defendant Below, Petitioner

         Wayne County 15-F-024

          MEMORANDUM DECISION

         Petitioner Jeremy Allen Marcum, by counsel Kerry A. Nessel and Timothy P. Rosinsky, appeals the September 6, 2016, order of the Circuit Court of Wayne County denying his requests for a new trial and post-verdict judgment of acquittal following his convictions for first-degree murder, malicious wounding, conspiracy to commit murder, and conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery. Respondent the State of West Virginia, by counsel Erica N. Peterson, filed its response.

         This Court has considered the parties' briefs and the record on appeal. The facts and legal arguments are adequately presented, and the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument. Upon consideration of the standard of review, the briefs, and the record presented, the Court finds no substantial question of law. For these reasons, a memorandum decision affirming the circuit court's order is appropriate under Rule 21 of the Rules of Appellate Procedure.

         Petitioner admitted to police that in the early morning hours of November 12, 2014, he stabbed James "Red" Bundy to death and stabbed and beat Mr. Bundy's wife, Myrtle Bundy. Petitioner was arrested and gave a videotaped statement confessing to the murder of Mr. Bundy and stabbing of Ms. Bundy; the confession was given in the back of a police cruiser outside of the police station. Thereafter, petitioner was indicted for murder, malicious wounding, conspiracy to commit murder, and conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery.

         On December 10, 2015, petitioner filed a motion to suppress his videotaped statement to police, arguing that he was so intoxicated that he could not knowingly and voluntarily waive his right to remain silent. Following a hearing on the motion, during which the circuit court heard testimony from two officers and petitioner's mother, the circuit court denied petitioner's motion by order entered on December 29, 2015. In that order, the circuit court found that around the time of the statement petitioner was "walking steadily, " was "quite eloquent, " and was "under no apparent incapacity within the cruiser." During a May 16, 2016, hearing, petitioner moved the circuit court to allow him to edit or redact certain portions of the videotaped statement he believed were irrelevant or inadmissible. The State did not object to the removal of certain utterances, so the circuit court ordered counsel to meet in advance of trial to redact portions of the video. It further stated that it would give the jury an instruction indicating that the redactions were designed to remove irrelevant material. Counsel agreed on the redactions, other than petitioner's reaction to the question whether he would "do it again if [he] had the chance." Petitioner responded, "Hell yes." Petitioner filed a motion in limine to exclude that response, and the circuit court ruled from the bench that that portion of the video was relevant because it came at the end of a statement in which petitioner confessed to killing Mr. Bundy and referenced that particular crime. The circuit court also found that the prejudicial nature of that portion of the video was outweighed by the relevancy as to the question of remorse.

         On May 18, 2016, petitioner filed a motion for the physical appearance and testimony of two co-defendants who intended to invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The circuit court heard argument on that motion on June 2, 2016, during which counsel for those co-defendants indicated that their clients would assert their right to remain silent as to any potentially incriminating issues. The circuit court granted that motion but limited the State and the defense to ten questions of each witness in order to prevent an endless line of questioning that would amount to nothing more than a fishing expedition.

         Petitioner's trial was held before a jury between June 6 and June 8, 2016. During the trial, petitioner testified and admitted to stabbing Mr. Bundy and severely stabbing and beating Mrs. Bundy. However, he claimed that before the murder co-defendant Melissa Gail Watts told him that Mr. Bundy had groped her and that co-defendant Elijah Marcum told petitioner that Mr. Bundy accused Elijah of stealing a vehicle from Mr. Bundy. Petitioner claimed that his co-defendants wanted him to "do something about it." He testified that he went to the Bundy home with the intention of confronting Mr. Bundy about the allegations but that petitioner was startled by the fact that Mr. Bundy was taller than petitioner and Mr. Bundy grabbed petitioner. Petitioner then began stabbing Mr. Bundy with a knife; the medical examiner's testimony was that Mr. Bundy was stabbed nineteen times. Petitioner's co-defendants invoked their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination when called to testify. The jury ultimately found petitioner guilty of first-degree murder, malicious wounding, conspiracy to commit murder, and conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery. Petitioner was sentenced to a term of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole on the first-degree murder conviction. Petitioner's sentences for malicious wounding, conspiracy to commit murder, and conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery were ordered to run concurrently with the life sentence. Petitioner filed motions for a new trial and for post-verdict judgment of acquittal. The circuit court heard argument on those motions on August 30, 2016, and denied the same by order entered September 6, 2016. Petitioner now appeals from that order.

         As we have previously stated,

[i]n reviewing challenges to findings and rulings made by a circuit court, we apply a two-pronged deferential standard of review. We review the rulings of the circuit court concerning a new trial and its conclusion as to the existence of reversible error under an abuse of discretion standard, and we review the circuit court's underlying factual findings under a clearly erroneous standard. Questions of law are subject to a de novo review.

Syl. Pt. 3, State v. Vance, 207 W.Va. 640, 535 S.E.2d 484 (2000). In addition, we have held that "[a] motion for judgment of acquittal challenges the sufficiency of the evidence." State v. Houston, 197 W.Va. 215, 229, 475 S.E.2d 307, 321 (1996) (citing Franklin D. Cleckley, 2 Handbook on West Virginia Criminal Procedure 292 (2d ed.1993)). As such, we note that

"[a] criminal defendant challenging the sufficiency of the evidence to support a conviction takes on a heavy burden. An appellate court must review all the evidence, whether direct or circumstantial, in the light most favorable to the prosecution and must credit all inferences and credibility assessments that the jury might have drawn in favor of the prosecution. The evidence need not be inconsistent with every conclusion save that of guilt so long as the jury can find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Credibility determinations are for a jury and not an appellate court. Finally, a jury verdict should be set aside only when the record contains no evidence, regardless of how it is weighed, from which the jury could find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. To the extent that our prior cases are inconsistent, they are expressly overruled." Syl. Pt. 3, State v. Guthrie, 194 W.Va. 657, 461 S.E.2d 163 (1995).

Syl. Pt. 5, State v. Broughton, 196 W.Va. 281, 470 S.E.2d 413 (1996).

         In the instant case, petitioner sets forth four assignments of error. First, he contends that the circuit court erred by permitting the State to introduce his post-arrest video statement when the video, hearing testimony, and trial testimony clearly evidence the fact that petitioner was so highly intoxicated that his statement could not be knowing and voluntary. In his short argument, petitioner asserts that a simple review of the video at issue establishes this fact as a matter of law. We have recognized that "[a] claim of intoxication may bear upon the voluntariness of a defendant's confession, but, unless the degree of intoxication is such that it is obvious that the defendant lacked the capacity to voluntarily and intelligently waive his rights, the confession will not be rendered inadmissible." Syl. Pt. 1, State v. Hall, 174 W.Va. 599, 328 S.E.2d 206 (1985). Here, the circuit court specifically found that around the time of the statement petitioner was "walking steadily, " was "quite eloquent, " and was "under no apparent incapacity within the cruiser."

         This Court previously has held that "'[t]he trial court has wide discretion as to the admission of confessions and ordinarily this discretion will not be disturbed on review.' Syllabus point 2, State v. Lamp, 163 W.Va. 93, 254 S.E.2d 697 (1979)." Syl. Pt. 2, State v. Woods,169 W.Va. 767, 289 S.E.2d 500 (1982). We, however, also ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.