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State v. Stone

Supreme Court of South Dakota

March 20, 2019

STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA, Plaintiff and Appellee,
JARED JEROME STONE, Defendant and Appellant.



          MARTY J. JACKLEY Attorney General

          MATTHEW W. TEMPLAR Assistant Attorney General Attorneys for plaintiff Pierre, South Dakota and appellee.

          MARK KADI of Minnehaha County Office of the Public Advocate Attorneys for defendant Sioux Falls, South Dakota and appellant.


         [¶1.] Jarod Stone appeals his convictions for second-degree murder, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of a firearm by a convicted drug offender. Stone argues the circuit court committed multiple errors in pretrial rulings and at trial, including: denying his motion to sever, allowing other acts evidence and certain opinion testimony to be introduced at trial, denying his motion for a mistrial, and denying his motions for judgment of acquittal. Stone further argues that the cumulative effect of these errors justifies a new trial. We affirm the convictions.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2.] On April 22, 2016, Stone and Lachara Bordeaux drove to the Lucky Lady Casino in Sioux Falls. Stone entered the casino and Bordeaux entered another nearby business. While Stone was playing video lottery, Baptise White Eyes entered the casino. White Eyes and Stone had an antagonistic history arising from a romantic relationship Stone had with White Eyes's former girlfriend while White Eyes was in prison.

         [¶3.] Shortly after White Eyes entered the casino, the two began arguing and were asked to leave. After leaving the casino, White Eyes hit Stone in the face. Stone retaliated by punching White Eyes. Stone then began moving away from White Eyes, but White Eyes continued to follow Stone. Stone drew a handgun and told White Eyes to stay away or he would be shot. White Eyes continued to move toward Stone and Stone fired two shots at White Eyes. The first shot hit White Eyes in the head knocking him to the ground. The second shot was fired after White Eyes fell, and missed White Eyes. White Eyes was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

         [¶4.] Bordeaux witnessed the shooting. She told Stone to get in her car and they left the scene. Shortly after the shooting, Stone sent a text message to his girlfriend Claressa Calderon stating, "I just killed someone I'm sorry." Law enforcement obtained the casino's surveillance footage of the shooting and distributed still shots of the shooter to the local media. Stone was identified and law enforcement received a tip that he rented a room at a Sioux Falls hotel.

         [¶5.] The day after the shooting, a search warrant was executed for the hotel room registered to Stone. During the search, law enforcement found a cup containing several .380 caliber cartridges matching the manufacturer and caliber of the shell casings found at the scene of the shooting. On a table in the room, law enforcement also found a hotel receipt with Stone's name on it, stationary bearing Bordeaux's name, and three glass pipes, one of which contained white residue later identified as methamphetamine.

         [¶6.] On April 26, 2016, Bordeaux was located in Le Mars, Iowa and interviewed by Detective Montgomery of the Sioux Falls Police Department. Bordeaux explained that after the shooting, she and Stone obtained a different car and drove to Minnesota. They then returned to South Dakota and again replaced their vehicle before traveling to Minnesota, Illinois, and Iowa where Stone left Bordeaux.

         [¶7.] The next day, Stone was stopped by law enforcement in South Dakota, but evaded capture after providing false information of his identity. Stone's vehicle was later found abandoned on Interstate 90 near Presho. A search of the vehicle revealed a receipt from Wisconsin, a wig, and Stone's South Dakota identification card. Later that evening, Nebraska State Patrol stopped a vehicle traveling on Interstate 80 with Stone in the back seat. After the other passengers exited the car, Stone entered the driver's seat and drove away. Law enforcement followed Stone, leading to a high-speed pursuit across western Nebraska. Stone's vehicle was eventually stopped after crossing into Wyoming and Stone was taken into custody.

         [¶8.] Stone was interviewed the next day by Sioux Falls detectives including Detective Montgomery. Stone admitted to shooting White Eyes and firing two shots. When discussing the second shot, Detective Montgomery suggested the second shot could have been an involuntary reflex. Stone agreed the second shot was unintentional. Stone stated he believed White Eyes was reaching for a gun prior to the shooting. Stone also told law enforcement that he left of the scene of the shooting because he had "dope" in his pocket. Stone was asked about the location of the handgun used to kill White Eyes. Stone said he discarded the handgun a few blocks from the casino after he fled the scene. The handgun was never recovered.

         [¶9.] Stone was indicted for first-degree murder, second-degree murder, three counts of first-degree manslaughter (heat of passion, dangerous weapon, and commission of a felony), unauthorized possession of a controlled drug or substance, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felony drug offender. He pleaded not guilty on all counts.

         [¶10.] Stone moved to sever the charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felony drug offender (Count VII) from the other charges in the indictment. He argued the use of his prior conviction for possession of a controlled substance to prove the status offense in Count VII was prejudicial. The circuit court denied the motion to sever.

         [¶11.] Prior to trial, Stone also moved to exclude other acts evidence consisting of his criminal record and his actions following the shooting. Stone argued this evidence was irrelevant and prejudicial. Stone also argued the evidence infringed on his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. The circuit court denied the motion, except as to evidence of any crimes committed by Stone after he left the scene of the shooting.

         [¶12.] At trial, the State asked Detective Montgomery about Stone's interstate journey and the following exchange occurred:

[State:] And so on April 27th of 2016, was there finally a sighting of Mr. Stone?
[Detective Montgomery:] Yes. Mr. Stone had gotten back into South Dakota and he was around the Presho exit here in South Dakota, and he had contact with a South Dakota State Trooper.
[State:] And so based on this information, did Sioux Falls send a team out to that location?
[Detective Montgomery:] We did. Mr. Stone was sent on his way at that point in time. He did not reveal his true identity. And he was sent on his way. And the car was eventually seized.

         Stone objected, arguing Montgomery's answer violated the court's prior order excluding evidence of other crimes and moved for a mistrial. The circuit court denied the motion for mistrial determining the testimony did not violate the court's pretrial order.

         [¶13.] Later during Detective Montgomery's testimony, the State asked if the second shot fired by Stone was a sympathetic reflex. Stone objected arguing a lack of foundation and failure to disclose an expert opinion. The circuit court overruled the objection, and Detective Montgomery answered,

[l]ooking at the video now and looking at the evidence, it does not seem likely . . . . One of the things with witnesses and from the investigation, was the rounds went off fairly close together when fired and so . . . it makes it unlikely that it went that way as a sympathetic reflex shot. (Emphasis added).

         [¶14.] At the conclusion of the State's evidence, Stone moved for a judgment of acquittal on all counts. The circuit court entered a judgment of acquittal on first-degree manslaughter, but denied the motion on all the other counts. The jury found Stone not guilty of first-degree murder, but guilty on the remaining counts. Stone was sentenced to life in prison on the conviction for second-degree murder. A five-year concurrent sentence was ...

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