This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the printed official reporter.
APPEAL FROM THE GARLAND COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. 26CR-2012-539. HONORABLE JOHN HOMER WRIGHT, JUDGE.
John Wesley Hall and Sarah M. Pourhosseini, for appellant.
Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Brad Newman, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.
RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, Judge. GLOVER and BROWN, JJ., agree.
RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, Judge
Appellant Alan Ray Edwards was convicted of murder in the first degree with a firearm enhancement and criminal attempt to commit murder in the first degree. Edwards was sentenced to sixty-five years' imprisonment in the Arkansas Department of Correction. For his sole point on appeal, Edwards argues that the trial court erred in granting the State's motion in limine barring expert testimony concerning Edwards's capacity to form intent. We affirm.
Edwards does not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence to support his convictions. Accordingly, a lengthy recitation of the facts is unnecessary. The charges against Edwards arose out of an incident on September 3, 2012, at the Pop-A-Top Lounge in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Edwards and James " Toby" Fowlks were both at Pop-A-Top that day; Edwards had been a regular customer at the club, but had recently been banned from the premises after he threatened to kill a female bartender and everyone in the club. Edwards was apparently unaware that he had been banned from the club until he arrived on September 3. When another bartender, Teresa Williams, informed him that he was no longer allowed at the club, Edwards began " rantin' and ravin' and cussin'." Fowlks intervened and chased Edwards outside the club where Fowlks hit him in the face, causing a bloody nose.
Edwards then got in his truck and drove away. Edwards returned to the club roughly half an hour later with a shotgun and shot Fowlks twice, killing him instantly. Edwards then turned the gun towards Williams and fired two shots at her, but missed. As Edwards exited, he was apprehended by witnesses in the parking lot. The shooting was videotaped by club cameras, though no audio was recorded.
On November 12, 2012, Edwards was charged with one count of murder in the first degree with a firearm enhancement and one count of criminal attempt to commit murder in the first degree. After Edwards filed a motion for mental evaluation, the court ordered that he undergo examination by Dr. Paul Deyoub. On January 2, 2013, Dr. Deyoub submitted his forensic evaluation, which found that Edwards was fit to proceed, did not have a mental disease or defect, had the capacity to form intent, had the capacity to appreciate the criminality of his conduct, and had the capacity to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law.
Edwards contested Dr. Deyoub's findings, and Edwards's request for an independent evaluation was granted. Dr. Albert Kittrell was employed to perform the evaluation. Dr. Kittrell submitted his forensic evaluation on September 18, 2013. He concluded that Edwards was fit to proceed, had a mental disease--a psychotic disorder not otherwise specified (NOS)--but no mental defect, did not have the capacity to form intent, and had the capacity to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law.
A hearing was held on October 7, 2013, and Edwards stipulated that he was fit to proceed. Dr. Kittrell testified that Edwards did not have the capacity to form the required culpable mental state based upon his finding that Edwards suffered from a psychotic disorder NOS and had lost contact with reality. Specifically, Dr. Kittrell based his opinion on Edwards's report of having visual and auditory hallucinations and being paranoid without ever having received proper treatment. On cross-examination, Dr. Kittrell confirmed that he believed that Edwards was competent to stand trial. At the conclusion of the hearing, defense counsel made a motion for judgment of acquittal on the mental-disease-or-defect issue because Edwards lacked the capacity to form the requisite culpable mental state, an element of the offense. The court denied the request, citing the conflicting opinions concerning the issue.
A jury trial was held May 21 and 22, 2014. Prior to jury selection, the State moved in limine to exclude Dr. Kittrell's opinion that Edwards lacked the capacity to form the requisite culpable mental state, relying on Stewart v. State, 316 Ark. 153, 870 S.W.2d 752 (1994), and Bruner v. State, 2013 Ark. 68, 426 S.W.3d 386. After briefly taking the matter under advisement, the circuit court found that the Stewart case was directly on point and granted the State's motion. On May 22 the jury found Edwards guilty of murder in the first degree, the firearm ...