County Office of Appellate Courts
Swanson, Attorney General, Saint Paul, Minnesota; and John J.
Choi, Ramsey County Attorney, Thomas R. Ragatz, Assistant
Ramsey County Attorney, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for
Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Melissa
Sheridan, Assistant State Public Defender, Eagan, Minnesota,
Assuming, without deciding, that appellant's statement to
police should not have been admitted into evidence because it
was obtained in violation of her constitutional rights, the
error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.
was plain error for the district court to give the jury a
no-adverse-inference instruction without appellant's
consent, but the error was not prejudicial.
Assuming, without deciding, that prosecutorial misconduct
occurred during closing argument and was plain error, the
error was not prejudicial.
Antionette Rie Johnson was charged with the first- and
second-degree murder of Renaldo McDaniel on an
aiding-and-abetting theory. A jury found Johnson guilty on
both counts, and she was sentenced to life imprisonment
without the possibility of release. On direct appeal, Johnson
raises three issues. First, she argues that the district
court erred by admitting into evidence a statement police
obtained in violation of her constitutional rights. Second,
she contends that the district court erred by giving a
no-adverse-inference instruction to the jury without her
consent. Third, she asserts that the prosecutor committed
misconduct during closing argument by alluding to her failure
to testify. We affirm Johnson's conviction.
12, 2016, at 8 p.m., Daryl Curtis shot and killed Renaldo
McDaniel in the parking lot of an auto parts store in Saint
Paul. See State v. Curtis, 905 N.W.2d 609, 612- 14
(Minn. 2018). Police obtained surveillance footage from a
nearby Walmart and a childcare center. The footage from
Walmart showed that, before the shooting, Curtis was
accompanied by two women, T.S. and Johnson, and that Johnson
was driving a maroon SUV. The footage from the center showed
that this SUV stopped just before 8 p.m., Curtis got out and
tucked something into the back of his pants, and, 3 minutes
after McDaniel was shot, Curtis ran down an alley and the
same SUV pulled up by him and drove away.
90 minutes after the shooting, Johnson received a call from
her boyfriend, J.C. J.C. is Curtis's cousin, and was in
jail at the time. During this call, Johnson told J.C.:
"So um, you know dude, uh dark skinned? With the braids?
. . . Well, he's outta here." J.C. asked, "What
happened?" and Johnson replied, "He's just,
he's outta here. Like gone, forever."
days later, on June 22, a Saint Paul police officer saw
Johnson and the maroon SUV at a gas station. Johnson, along
with her 8-month-old son, was taken to the police station for
station, Johnson was questioned for about 2 hours by a single
plainclothes officer. Johnson's son was in the
interrogation room at the start of questioning. Johnson was
read her Miranda rights, and was twice told that she
had the right to an attorney. Johnson stated that she
understood her rights. During questioning, Johnson confirmed
that on June 12: (1) she was with T.S. and Curtis; (2) she
was driving the maroon SUV; (3) Curtis left the SUV and
walked in the direction of the auto parts store, the scene of
the shooting; (4) she picked Curtis up at 8:01 p.m., after
the time of the shooting; and (5) she received the jailhouse
call from J.C.
questioning, Johnson offered her own version of these events.
Johnson told the officer that, accompanied by T.S. and
Curtis, she had driven to Dairy Queen to pick up dinner for
her son. Dairy Queen was next to the auto parts store. The
line at Dairy Queen was long, so Johnson decided to go to
White Castle instead. On the way to White Castle, she dropped
Curtis off on Aurora Avenue, near the auto parts store, so he
could walk to his uncle's house. While in line at White
Castle, she received a call from Curtis-two minutes after she
had dropped him off-telling her that his uncle was not home.
Johnson picked Curtis up, again on Aurora Avenue.
story was inconsistent with surveillance footage, and other
evidence also suggested that her story was false. Despite
being presented with those inconsistencies, Johnson held firm
to her story. ...