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State v. Hayslett

Supreme Court of West Virginia

November 7, 2017

STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA, Plaintiff Below, Respondent
v.
BRIAN DANIEL HAYSLETT, Defendant Below, Petitioner

         Raleigh County 11-F-286

          MEMORANDUM DECISION

         The petitioner, Brian Daniel Hayslett, appeals the August 26, 2015, order of the Circuit Court of Raleigh County sentencing him to life in prison without mercy for his first degree murder conviction. In this appeal, the petitioner contends that the circuit court committed reversible error by refusing to give the jury his proffered instruction concerning voluntary intoxication. The State maintains the evidence did not warrant such an instruction.[1]

         Upon consideration of the parties' briefs, oral arguments, the appendix record, and the pertinent authorities, this Court finds no substantial question of law and no prejudicial error. For these reasons, a memorandum decision affirming the circuit court's order is appropriate under Rule 21 of the Rules of Appellate Procedure.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         Rhonda McCoy (hereinafter "victim") was murdered sometime between midnight and 3:00 a.m. on June 19, 2011. The cause of death was twenty-three distinct stab wounds inflicted to her head, neck, torso, and upper extremities. According to the medical examiner, the victim was nearly beheaded, but her death was not instantaneous; it took "a matter of minutes." The murder occurred at a trailer owned by Jeffrey Redden, who discovered the victim's body in a bedroom used for storage.[2] He notified the police at 8:08 that morning, telling the 911 operator that the victim had been in a fight "with a guy named Brian who lives down the street." The Raleigh County Sheriff's Office responded to the call. Upon arrival at the Redden trailer, Captain James Bare discovered a trail of blood leading to a nearby residence owned by Lisa Meador, which she shared with the petitioner.[3] Ms. Meador told Captain Bare that the petitioner had come home in the middle of the night covered in blood. She said he had a cut on his hand and was carrying a knife. She further stated that he left shortly thereafter with his mother to go to her home. While Captain Bare was conducting his investigation, the petitioner arrived in a car driven by his mother, Donna Daniels.

         Captain Bare approached the petitioner and read him his Miranda rights.[4] According to Captain Bare, the petitioner did not appear to be impaired and showed no sign of distress, surprise or confusion. Captain Bare proceeded to record an on-scene interview with the petitioner. Initially, the petitioner denied having any knowledge regarding the blood trail from Mr. Redden's trailer to Ms. Meador's residence. When questioned about his fingers that appeared to be bleeding, the petitioner claimed he had been injured at work a few days earlier. Upon further inquiry, however, the petitioner confessed that he had stabbed the victim. The petitioner's confession to Captain Bare was recorded at that time as follows:

HAYSLETT: She [the victim] just was up there dancing for me and Jeff [Redden] and nobody told her to, and then we come outside and she was like well you owe me money.
BARE: Okay.
HAYSLETT: I said, no, no.
BARE: You owed her money for dancing?
HAYSLETT: Yeah.
HAYSLETT: And she said well I'm going to tell your old lady [Ms.
Meador] then. BARE: Okay.
HAYSLETT: And that was that.
BARE: So what did you do then?
HAYSLETT: Just went back to my house and come back and that wasthat.

         BARE: Were you mad when you went back to your house?

HAYSLETT: Uh-huh (yes).
BARE: Okay. So you . . . drove home and then you walked back up here, is that right?
HAYSLETT: Yeah.
BARE: Okay. You walked back up here with . . . a hunting knife. Is that right? You have to say "yes" or "no."
HAYSLETT: Yes.
HAYSLETT: Of course, I, so you know what I mean, just talked to her and she was still saying that shit, so I didn't want her telling my old lady nothing.
BARE: I see what happened, but I want you to tell me what happened. I mean I can see it, but I want you to tell me.
HAYSLETT: I just stabbed her in the throat.
BARE: Stabbed her in the throat. How many times did you stab her?
HAYSLETT: I don't know.
BARE: A bunch?
HAYSLETT: I don't know, I guess.
BARE: Did you cut your hand . . . during the ...

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