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State v. Manley

April 03, 2003

STATE OF MINNESOTA, RESPONDENT,
v.
AREECE DEVON MANLEY, APPELLANT.



SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. The plain language of Minnesota's domestic abuse murder statute, Minn. Stat. § 609.185(a)(6) (2002), does not require proof beyond a reasonable doubt as to each of the acts constituting a past pattern of domestic abuse.

2. Trial court did not commit plain error when it failed, sua sponte, to provide a limiting instruction with respect to how evidence admitted to prove defendant's past pattern of domestic abuse was to be used when considering the lesser-included offense of second-degree murder.

3. Trial court did not abuse its discretion when it refused to allow the admission of third-party perpetrator evidence, granted the Fifth Amendment privilege to a witness, and removed a juror who expressed concerns about her ability to be impartial.

4. This court will not consider matters that rely on material outside the record.

5. On this record, the admission of the victim's children's videotaped statements was not error when the children testified at trial, their credibility was challenged, and the videotaped statements were consistent with their statements at trial.

6. On this record, the determination by the trial court that the victim's children were competent to testify was not error.

7. On this record, allowing the victim's children to testify out of the presence of defendant via closed-circuit television was not error.

8. Jury instructions challenged by respondent on appeal were properly given by the trial court.

9. Appellant was not denied effective assistance of trial counsel.

Affirmed.

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

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Page, Justice.

OPINION

Appellant Areece Manley was indicted by a Ramsey County grand jury and subsequently convicted by a Ramsey County jury of first-degree murder in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.185(a)(6) (2002), Minnesota's domestic abuse murder statute, and second-degree intentional murder in violation of Minn. Stat. §á609.19, subd. 1(1) (2002), for the November 5, 2000, death of his girlfriend, Latisha Froysland. At sentencing, the trial court sentenced Manley to prison "for the remainder of [his] life." In this direct appeal, Manley, through his appellate counsel, raises a number of issues. First, he asserts, relying on Richardson v. United States, 526 U.S. 813 (1999), that he is entitled to a new trial because the state did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt each predicate act comprising a "past pattern" of domestic abuse. Next, he asserts that the trial court erred when it failed to provide, sua sponte, a cautionary instruction with respect to how evidence related to Manley's past pattern of domestic abuse could be used with respect to the second-degree murder charge. In addition, he asserts that he was deprived of a fair trial due to three evidentiary rulings by the trial court. He also asks this court to review sealed files examined by the trial court in camera to insure that all exculpatory evidence contained within those files was made available to him*fn1 and to clarify his sentence.*fn2 Finally, Manley raises a number of issues pro se. We affirm.

The following facts were established at trial. In early 1999, Manley and Froysland met and started dating. At some point, Manley began living with Froysland and her four children. In October of 2000, Froysland and her children moved to a house located at 426 East Minnehaha Avenue in St. Paul.

Manley did not officially move to the new house with Froysland, but did keep his things there. In the early evening on November 5, 2000, three of Froysland's children went to a neighbor's home and told the neighbor that their mother was dead. The neighbor called the police, who responded and found Froysland's body in an upstairs bedroom at the home. Froysland's one-and-a-half-year-old daughter was curled up in the fetal position on her chest crying. That evening, the police interviewed Froysland's five-year-old son, who implicated Manley in his mother's death. The son told the police that he was sleeping and awoke to see his mother and Manley fighting. He indicated that Manley had a gun and that he saw Manley shoot his mother. He also told the police that Manley stole his mother's car when he left the house.

The autopsy on Froysland's body revealed that she had been shot once in the head. There was evidence that she had also been strangled. The medical examiner concluded that Froysland had been killed sometime between 1:00 a.m. and 6:45 a.m. on November 5.

The day before the murder, Steven Michaels, a pastor and the brother of Froysland's ex-husband, talked with Froysland and Manley on the telephone at approximately 11:00 a.m. While talking with Froysland, Michaels could hear Manley in the background yelling. When Manley got on the phone with Michaels, he claimed that Froysland had another man in the house the day before. Between 11:00 a.m. and noon that same day, Froysland, scared and crying, arrived at the home of her cousin, Tanayia Walker. Walker took Froysland back to 426 East Minnehaha to get some clothing for the children. When they arrived, Manley, who was still at the house, attempted to push Froysland into a bedroom and close the door. Walker intervened, and she and Froysland were eventually able to leave the house. After leaving, Froysland dropped Walker off at work with plans for Walker to drive Froysland to Froysland's sister's house in Mankato after Walker's shift ended around midnight. Froysland returned to 426 East Minnehaha with the children.

Around 8:30 that evening, Manley went to the home of the children's babysitter and inquired as to Froysland's whereabouts. The babysitter told Manley she had not heard from Froysland; however, shortly after Manley's departure, the babysitter received a call from Froysland informing her that she would not need a babysitter that evening. Not much else is known about either Froysland's or Manley's other activities on November 4 except that between 5:00 p.m. on November 4 and 1:00 a.m. on November 5 Froysland talked with a number of her friends on the telephone, the last call being at approximately 1:00 a.m.

Between 1:30 and 2:00 a.m. on November 5, Manley arrived at the home of Nicole Adams, a woman he had been in a relationship with since July of 2000. According to Adams, Manley left her home at approximately 5:45 a.m., heading for the bus station. On November 7, Adams reported to the police that she had discovered what turned out to be Froysland's car parked in her garage.

From the bus station, Manley took a bus to Kansas City, Missouri, to visit relatives. When Manley's relatives asked why he came to Kansas City alone, Manley told them that something had happened at Froysland's home. He explained that he and Froysland had spent the weekend together at a motel. Upon their return home, he went to the store. When he came home from the store, he found drug dealers at Froysland's home asking her where he was. He heard someone shout, and heard a gunshot. He then ran down the stairs, jumped out a window, and fled.

Also while in Kansas City, Manley attempted to acquire cash using Froysland's Electronic Benefits Transfer card. He asked an uncle to assist him in using the card, claiming that he did not know how to use it, although he had used the card without assistance in the past. Following police attempts to locate him in both Kansas City and Minnesota, Manley turned himself in on November 19, 2000.

At trial, several witnesses testified regarding Manley's past abuse of Froysland. Tammy Vaughn testified about a shoving incident in the summer of 1999 at her home. Vaughn testified that Manley shoved Froysland and told her if she called the police he would kill her. Vaughn also testified that she had seen a number of bruises on Froysland's arms and legs during the summer of 1999. Ella Hunter, who occasionally lived with Froysland, testified about an incident in 1999 in which she saw Manley holding a knife to Froysland's neck, and an incident in 2000 that involved a fight in which Manley was choking Froysland. According to Hunter, these incidents stemmed from Manley's suspicion that Froysland was cheating on him. Tanayia Walker, who also lived with Froysland on occasion, testified that she heard Manley accuse Froysland of cheating on him and say that he would rather have her dead than with another man. Walker also testified that she had seen Manley with a dark-colored handgun.

Froysland's stepfather, Renaldo Walker, testified that on October 16, 2000, Froysland arrived at his house in tears and told him that Manley had beaten her, pulled a gun on her, and forced her into the trunk of her car. According to Walker, Froysland was afraid to call the police. In the end, the police were contacted. The responding officer testified in some detail about the report she took from Froysland regarding the incident with Manley. According to the officer's testimony, at the time Froysland gave the report, Froysland was shaking and choked up. The officer testified that Froysland reported that Manley broke into her home, woke her, and refused to leave. When Froysland offered to drive him anywhere he wanted to go, Manley stated he wanted to go to his mother's house. Froysland drove Manley to the area of his mother's house and told him to get out of the car. In response, Manley pulled a knife on Froysland and made her get into the passenger seat. Later, he forced her into the trunk of the car by showing her a small revolver. He then drove around until the car ran out of gas. When Manley and Froysland walked to a nearby restaurant to call a cab, Manley told her that if she made a scene he would kill her and everyone she loved. The officer took pictures of Froysland's injuries. Those pictures were admitted as evidence at trial and show Froysland with two black eyes.

In addition, evidence related to an October 12, 2000, order for protection that Froysland obtained against Manley was admitted. That evidence included pictures of the injuries Froysland sustained during the assault that lead to the order for protection. Finally, evidence of ...


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