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State v. Waddell

January 30, 2003



1. District court did not err in deciding that police had articulable reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle when vehicle was similar in body style and only slightly lighter in color than vehicle described in dispatch regarding robbery shooting.

2. District court did not err in admitting into evidence the ski mask found during warrantless search because officers had a reasonable belief that the defendant was dangerous and possibly armed.

3. Reasons presented by state to district court in support of motion for extension of time to present defendant for first appearance were insufficient to support extension where suspects were in custody, there was no indication witnesses not in custody would be threatened after arraignment, and probable cause determination had been made.

4. Where detainee was fully and repeatedly advised of his right to remain silent, yet initiated interview with police at which he confessed, district court did not err in refusing to suppress confession obtained after violation of prompt appearance rule, Minn. R. Crim. P. 4.02, subd. 5.


Heard, considered, and decided by the court en banc.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Blatz, Chief Justice


Appellant Raymond Waddell was convicted of one count of murder in the first degree, Minn. Stat. §á609.185 (2000). In this direct appeal, Waddell contends that the vehicle stop that resulted in his arrest and eventual conviction was improper. Additionally, Waddell asserts that he was held in violation of the "prompt appearance" rule, Minn. R. Crim. P. 4.02, subd. 5, and that such a violation warrants suppression of his statements made while in custody. We affirm.

On the evening of December 7, 2000, Vickie Mollenhoff was working as a cashier at the Minni-Market, located in Saint Paul's East Side. The owner, Daniel Su, was also present in the store. Waddell, Anthony Williams, and Jerry Carroll, who had recently failed in their efforts to sell purported methamphetamine, decided to rob the Minni-Market. Waddell placed a gun in the pocket of a light-colored hooded sweatshirt and entered the market with Williams.

Waddell and Williams picked up some candy and went to the register. Mollenhoff rang up the items. As she did so, Waddell pulled out the gun, pointed it at Mollenhoff, and demanded money. When she was unable to open the register, Waddell shot Mollenhoff in the face, killing her. Meanwhile, another Minni-Market customer had hidden herself in the restroom and contacted the Saint Paul Police Department with a cellular phone to report the shooting. The first police officers on the scene obtained a description of the suspects from that customer. A surveillance video of the store was also available to the officers.

Immediately prior to the shooting, Steven Mudek had driven through the parking lot of the Minni-Market en route to his mother's home. He saw two or three black males sitting outside next to a station wagon. When Mudek left his mother's home a few minutes later, he saw the police at the Minni-Market. He then stopped and told police about the men he had seen and described their vehicle as a dark 1985-1989 General Motors J-model station wagon.

Police dispatches from the evening of December 7 informed officers that there was a shooting at the Minni-Market, and that two suspects were involved. One suspect was described as approximately 6 feet tall, 200 pounds, wearing a black ski mask and a black sweatshirt. The other was described as thin, wearing low-cut baggy corduroys. Later dispatched updates included a description of the vehicle: a dark blue or black station wagon—possibly a Chevrolet Celebrity—with three black males inside. The suspect descriptions were also updated. Police were now told that the suspects were two black males, armed and dangerous, both in their 20s, and that the smaller one was 5 feet, 2 inches tall, with a "scraggly beard."

Two-and-one-half hours after the shooting, approximately 6-8 miles from the Minni-Market, Officer David Strecker was on patrol in the Frogtown area of Saint Paul when he saw a "darker colored real dirty station wagon similar to a Chevy Celebrity." The vehicle contained four black males in their 20s. Strecker, after discussion with his partner, believed it to be the vehicle involved in the Minni-Market shooting, activated his lights and stopped the vehicle. The vehicle stopped was a 1987 Pontiac 6000 station wagon, which has a body type similar to a Chevrolet Celebrity. News of the stop was broadcasted immediately, and other squad cars arrived at the scene. Officers approached the vehicle with guns drawn, but at their side. Waddell, who was sitting in the passenger seat, and the other three occupants were removed from the vehicle, frisked for weapons, and placed in separate squad cars. No weapons were found on any of the occupants.

While the occupants were being frisked by police officers, Officer Tracy Henry searched the vehicle for weapons. Reaching between the passenger seat and the center console, she felt a hard object with something soft covering it. The hard object turned out to be the seat rails, covered with a black neoprene ski mask. The officer removed the ski mask and left it on the passenger seat.

While the vehicle search was taking place, Officer Peter Semenkewitz telephoned Sergeant Richard Munoz, a homicide investigator working on the case, and gave him a description of the vehicle occupants. Semenkewitz also described the ski mask, and Munoz, who had seen the surveillance video of the robbery, realized that the description matched the exact type of ski mask worn by the suspects. In the meantime, other officers at the scene had decided to release the ...

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