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State v. Harris

May 18, 2006



In the absence of plain error, defendant's failure to object to a rebuttal witness's testimony precluded appellate review. The admission of brief excerpts of defendant's suppressed statement to police as impeachment was not prejudicial.

Failure to make an offer of proof precluded appellate review of claimed error in the trial court's limitation on defense expert's testimony.

The denial of requested instructions on lesser-included offenses of homicide was not prejudicial error.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Anderson, Russell A., Chief Justice.

St. Louis County

Took no part, Gildea, J.

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


In the summer of 2001, appellant Darryl Andre Harris was tried, convicted, and sentenced for first-degree felony murder*fn1 and attempted first-degree felony murder*fn2 for the shooting death of David Greenwood and the shooting injury of David Voegeli. On appeal, we reversed and remanded for a new trial because of an unconstitutional delegation of authority to the judicial officer who presided over the trial. State v. Harris, 667 N.W.2d 911, 913 (Minn. 2003). On remand, the case was reassigned to a St. Louis County district court judge and proceeded to jury trial in April 2004. Harris was again convicted and sentenced for first-degree felony murder and attempted first-degree felony murder. In this appeal, Harris asserts that he was deprived of a fair trial by erroneous and prejudicial evidentiary rulings and by the denial of lesser-included-offense instructions. We affirm.

On the evening of February 22, 2000, while at an apartment in Duluth, Harris shot Voegeli, severing his spinal cord, and also shot Greenwood, killing him. Three days later, law enforcement tracked Harris to a home in Duluth. After unsuccessfully attempting to establish contact with Harris throughout the night, a police tactical team fired tear gas into the home, went in, and found Harris hiding under a mattress. He was arrested and ultimately indicted for first-degree felony murder and attempted first-degree felony murder.*fn3

At Harris's second trial, John Horton testified that on the night of the shootings, he was attempting to arrange a drug deal between his friend Greenwood and Harris, but that Horton and Harris, who were passengers in a car driven by Steven Allen, were having trouble coordinating an agreeable time and place for the transaction. Due to Greenwood's concerns, Horton did not want to bring Harris directly to Greenwood, who was located at an apartment shared by Voegeli and Licolle Behan. Instead of going directly to the apartment, Horton instructed Allen to park the car a few blocks away. Horton proposed that he take the drug money from Harris, walk alone to the apartment, "check on the price," and check if there "was going to be some kind of deal." Horton offered to leave his cell phone with Harris as collateral. Harris rejected the proposal, directed Allen to wait in the car, and accompanied Horton to the Voegeli/Behan apartment.

When Harris and Horton arrived at the apartment, Voegeli, Behan, and Greenwood were there, along with Efftimia Mylonas, a neighbor, and Lucas Johnson, a friend of Greenwood. Horton, Voegeli, Behan, Mylonas, and Johnson testified that after Harris entered the apartment, he brandished a gun and instructed everyone to get on the floor. Harris then asked who had the drugs, and Horton said that Greenwood did. As Harris focused his attention on Greenwood, Voegeli grabbed a glass baking dish and cracked it over Harris's head. Then Johnson struck Harris with a broom handle, and Greenwood and Voegeli grappled with Harris. During the struggle, Harris shot Voegeli and Greenwood, and Johnson fled to the bedroom. Behan testified that after the shots were fired, she heard a couple of "clicks"; then Harris said "I've got to get * * * out of here," and fled. Horton, Behan, Mylonas, and Johnson all testified that Harris was the only person with a gun at the apartment that evening.

Harris testified on his own behalf, explaining that he went to the apartment with Horton to sell drugs, not to buy them, and that when he arrived he was ambushed: hit on the head from behind and then hit on the side of his head with a glass object. As the apartment's occupants attacked him, he saw that Voegeli had a gun. After seeing Voegeli's gun and while continuing to be attacked, Harris shot Voegeli, and then Greenwood. Harris testified that he had not intended to kill Greenwood, but he admitted that he intended to fire his gun into Greenwood's back and that the shot was at close ...

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