State v. Tooley

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 08-20-2014
  • Case #: A148118
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Nakamoto, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Egan, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 131.505(4), multiple murders committed in furtherance of an overarching criminal objective are part of the same criminal episode, despite a gap in time between the commission of each murder.

Defendant appealed his conviction for two counts of aggravated murder and one count of solicitation to commit aggravated murder; after rejecting three jury-related errors, the Court addressed five remaining evidentiary errors. The first three alleged errors involved the trial court’s conclusion that Defendant committed both murders during the same criminal episode. One error focused on Defendant’s denied motion for a new trial. The Court found this decision as not reviewable except in cases of jury misconduct or newly discovered evidence—not factors in this case. The next two errors focused on Defendant’s denied motions for judgments of acquittal. The Court found that despite the gap in time between the two murders, a reasonable factfinder could conclude that both murders were in furtherance of the overarching criminal objective to usurp the victims’ drug business. The fourth alleged error involved evidence at trial demonstrating how a gun of the same make and model as the murder weapon functioned in order to undermine Defendant’s murder-suicide theory. The Court found this evidence was not unfairly prejudicial. The final alleged error addressed inadmissible hearsay attempted to be introduced as evidence; the Court held that the trial court did not err in ruling as much. Affirmed.

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