Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Bloomfield v. State

July 12, 2010

LEO GENE BLOOMFIELD, JR., APPELLANT (DEFENDANT),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, APPELLEE (PLAINTIFF).



Appeal from the District Court of Campbell County, The Honorable John R. Perry, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Burke, Justice

Before KITE, C.J., and GOLDEN, HILL, VOIGT,*fn1 and BURKE, JJ.

[¶1] Appellant, Leo Gene Bloomfield, Jr., appeals his conviction for attempted second-degree murder. He contends the jury was improperly instructed on the elements of the crime. He also challenges the district court's evidentiary ruling regarding evidence that he now contends was offered for the purpose of establishing that the victim was the first aggressor in the altercation. He asserts that the rejection of that evidence undermined his claim of self defense. We find no error and affirm.

ISSUES

[¶2] Appellant presents the following issues:

1. Did the trial court err by failing to properly instruct the jury on the elements of attempted second-degree murder?

2. Did the trial court err in refusing the defense's evidence under Rule 404(a)(2)?

FACTS

[¶3] Appellant and the victim, G.C., worked together and also shared a room at an extended stay motel in Gillette, Wyoming. Appellant was dissatisfied with the arrangement. He suspected that G.C. had stolen money from a wallet that he kept under his mattress, and had decided to move out when he received his next paycheck. On Christmas Eve, 2007, an altercation occurred between the two in the motel room. Although Appellant and G.C. provided differing versions of the incident, it was undisputed that Appellant stabbed G.C. several times and then called 911 for emergency assistance.

[¶4] When officers arrived, they found G.C. bleeding from several stab wounds. Appellant's hands and arms were bloody. An officer questioned Appellant outside the motel room while emergency personnel attended to G.C. Because it was cold that evening, the officer intended to continue questioning Appellant in a patrol car. Before allowing Appellant in the vehicle, the officer asked Appellant if he had any weapons. Appellant produced a bloody knife from his back pocket. The officer asked Appellant if he had stabbed G.C. with the knife. Appellant replied, "Yeah." Appellant was subsequently arrested, taken to the police station, and interviewed. Police administered a portable breath test during the interview. Appellant's blood alcohol content registered at .193.

[¶5] According to G.C., he had been out drinking during the day.*fn2 When he returned to the room, Appellant was watching television. G.C. fell asleep face down on his bed without removing his clothes. He was awakened later when he experienced pain in his left shoulder. He testified that Appellant had "slit [his] left shoulder open with the knife." G.C. testified that he stood up and turned around after the stabbing, but could not remember anything after that. When officers arrived, they found G.C. lying on the edge of one bed, propped up by a clothes basket. He had been stabbed several times. According to the emergency room physician, G.C. suffered six stab wounds to the front of his body-one in the neck; two near the collar bone; two on the right side of the chest; and one to the left side of the chest. He also suffered a slash wound on the back of his shoulder. Each of the stab wounds was approximately a finger's length in depth and several missed vital arteries by millimeters. The doctor testified that given the number, depth, and location of the wounds, it appeared that the injuries were inflicted with lethal intent.

[¶6] Appellant presented a different version of events. According to Appellant, after G.C. returned to the motel room, an argument erupted over what to watch on television. The argument became physical when G.C. pulled Appellant's hair and hit him on the head. The two then engaged in a shoving match and at some point G.C. blocked the door. Appellant testified that he grabbed a knife and stabbed G.C. twice. After the stabbing, Appellant applied pressure to the wound in an effort to control the bleeding. When that proved unsuccessful, he dialed 911.

[¶7] Appellant was subsequently charged with attempted second-degree murder. Trial was held and the jury returned a guilty verdict. Appellant was sentenced to a term of incarceration of not less than twenty nor more than forty years. He filed this timely appeal.

DISCUSSION

Jury Instruction

[¶8] Appellant contends the district court did not properly instruct the jury on the elements of attempted second-degree murder. He presents two related challenges to the jury instruction. First, he asserts that "intent to kill" is an element of the crime of attempted second-degree murder, and that the jury instructions erroneously failed to require the State to prove that element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Second, he claims that it was error for the district court to combine the elements of attempt with the elements of second-degree murder in one jury instruction.

[¶9] Because Appellant did not object to the jury instructions, we will review for plain error.*fn3 See Causey v. State, 2009 WY 111, ¶ 18, 215 P.3d 287, 293 (Wyo. 2009). To establish plain error, the appellant must show: 1) the record clearly reflects the incident urged as error; 2) a violation of a clear and unequivocal rule of law; and 3) that he was materially prejudiced by the denial of a substantial right. Id. Although we review for plain error, we are guided by the following:

When reviewing questions involving jury instructions, we afford the trial court significant deference. Jury "[i]nstructions must be considered as a whole, and individual instructions, or parts of them, should not be singled out and considered in isolation." We confine our review to a "search for prejudicial error." "[A]s long as the instructions correctly state the law and the entire charge covers the relevant issue, reversible error will not be found."

Creecy v. State, 2009 WY 89, ¶ 18, 210 P.3d 1089, 1093 (Wyo. 2009), quoting Farmer v. State, 2005 WY 162, ¶ 20, 124 P.3d 699, 706 (Wyo. 2005).

[¶10] Wyoming's second-degree murder statute provides, in pertinent part: "Whoever purposely and maliciously, but without premeditation, kills any human being is guilty of murder in the second degree[.]" Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-104 (LexisNexis 2007). Attempt is defined as follows:

(a) A person is guilty of an attempt to commit a crime if:

(i) With the intent to commit the crime, he does any act which is a substantial step towards commission of the crime. A "substantial step" is conduct which is strongly corroborative of the firmness of the person's intention to complete the commission of the crime[.]

Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-1-301.

[¶11] Appellant contends that Instruction Nos. 1 and 6 erroneously failed to include "intent to kill" as an element of the crime of attempted second-degree murder. Those instructions provided, in pertinent part:

JURY INSTRUCTION NO. 1

The Information in this case alleges that the defendant committed the crime known as Attempted Murder in the Second Degree.

The necessary elements of the crime of Attempted Murder in the Second Degree, as charged in this case are:

1. On or about December 25, 2007;

2. In Campbell County, Wyoming;

3. The Defendant, Leo Gene Bloomfield, Jr.;

4. Purposely; and,

5. Maliciously;

6. Attempted to kill a human being.

JURY INSTRUCTION NO. 6

The necessary elements of the crime of Attempted Murder in the Second Degree, as charged in this case are:

1. On or about December 25, 2007;

2. In Campbell County, Wyoming;

3. The Defendant, Leo Gene Bloomfield, Jr.;

4. Purposely; ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.