RICARDO D. MCDANIEL APPELLANT
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE
FROM THE ST. FRANCIS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 62CR-14-572]
HONORABLE RUSSELL ROGERS, JUDGE
Law Firm, by: Lee D. Short, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Darnisa Evans Johnson, Deputy
Att'y Gen., and Brad Newman, Ass't Att'y Gen.,
R. BAKER, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE
19, 2017, appellant, Ricardo McDaniel, was convicted by a St.
Francis County Circuit Court jury of capital murder, one
count of first-degree battery, and one count of aggravated
residential burglary. McDaniel was sentenced to life
imprisonment without the possibility of parole for capital
murder and two consecutive twenty-year sentences for the
battery and aggravated residential burglary.
appeal stems from the October 25, 2014, death of
twelve-year-old Joshua Wilson and injury to Xavier Melton.
Lashundra Wilson is the mother of Joshua and Melton. Wilson
testified that she and McDaniel were in a relationship on and
off for six and a half years, beginning in 2007. Wilson
testified that the two lived together off and on during this
time as well. In January 2014, Wilson asked McDaniel to move
out for good. After McDaniel moved out, the two continued to
see each other on the weekends, but that ended in September
2014 after McDaniel had an altercation with Wilson's two
sons. At that point, Wilson told McDaniel to not return to
her home, and she changed the locks. At trial, the State
alleged that on the night of October 24, 2014, McDaniel broke
into Wilson's home and shot and killed Joshua. Further,
the State alleged that McDaniel attempted to kill Melton by
holding a pillow on his face, stabbing, and shooting him.
McDaniel testified in his own defense that on the night of
the crimes, Wilson invited him to her home, that he was in
Wilson's bedroom with her when he heard a noise and went
out to the hallway to check for the noise when he was tackled
by Melton, who was armed with a gun. McDaniel testified that
Melton tackled him and that the gun discharged accidentally.
jury convicted McDaniel as set forth above and this appeal
followed. On appeal, McDaniel contends that the circuit court
erred when it denied McDaniel's motion for mistrial.
sole point on appeal, McDaniel asserts that the circuit court
erred when it denied McDaniel's motion for mistrial
because the statement was contrary to the pretrial motion and
agreement-and the limiting instruction was insufficient to
cure the prejudice. The State responds that McDaniel has
failed to demonstrate unfair prejudice because the
instruction cured any error, and therefore, this court should
affirm the circuit court.
mistrial is an extreme and drastic remedy to be resorted to
only when there has been an error so prejudicial that justice
cannot be served by continuing the trial. Russell v.
State, 306 Ark. 436, 815 S.W.2d 929 (1991). The grant or
denial of a motion for mistrial lies within the sound
discretion of the circuit court, and the exercise of that
discretion should not be disturbed on appeal unless an abuse
of discretion or manifest prejudice to the complaining party
is shown. King v. State, 298 Ark. 476, 769 S.W.2d
407 (1989). Further, in dealing with issues relating to the
admission of evidence pursuant to Arkansas Rule of Evidence
404(b), a circuit court's ruling is entitled to great
weight, and this court will not reverse absent an abuse of
discretion. Anderson v. State, 357 Ark. 180, 163
S.W.3d 333 (2004); Barnes v. State, 346 Ark. 91, 55
S.W.3d 271 (2001). Additionally, we have held that "an
admonition will usually remove the effect of a prejudicial
statement unless the statement is so patently inflammatory
that justice could not be served by continuing the trial.
Kimble v. State, 331 Ark. 155, 959 S.W.2d 43
(1998)." Williams v. State, 2011 Ark. 432, at
8, 385 S.W.3d 157, 162. Finally, "among the factors this
court considers on appeal in determining whether a circuit
court abused its discretion in denying a mistrial motion are
whether the prosecutor deliberately induced a prejudicial
response and whether an admonition to the jury could have
cured any resulting prejudice." Armstrong v.
State, 366 Ark. 105, 113, 233 S.W.3d 627, 634 (2006)
trial, McDaniel filed a motion in limine to exclude any prior
bad acts or altercations between McDaniel and Wilson. At the
pretrial hearing, the State agreed with McDaniel's motion
in limine regarding prior altercations between McDaniel and
Prosecutor: Regarding past altercations between [McDaniel and
Wilson], we don't anticipate putting on proof of past
alterations between [Wilson] and . . . McDaniel. . . . So if
their motion is simply limited to past events concerning
[McDaniel and Wilson], I don't believe we have a problem
trial, during Wilson's testimony on direct examination,
Wilson was questioned about her relationship with McDaniel:
Prosecutor: [H]ow long did you and [McDaniel] have a
relationship with each other, how long a time?
Wilson: Six, six and half years.
Prosecutor: A long time. Did you date other individuals
during that time period?
Wilson: No, because we met, then we moved in together and we
was just living together. He was there. He was like - he was
Prosecutor: During that time, did you all have any periods of
time where you all would separate from each other?
Wilson: At the beginning, it was rocky. I ain't going to
lie. At the beginning, we had our fights. I had to go to work
with the black eye. I had co-workers tell me, they said, I
can see the black eye. "Oops, I told you I'm
allergic to fish."
And, at first, we - -
(Counsel approached the Bench, and the following proceedings
were held outside the hearing of the Jury):
Defense Attorney: Judge, may we approach?
The Court: Yes, sir.
Defense Attorney: Your Honor, we would at this time, we would
move for a mistrial because we just agreed that she
couldn't talk about prior abuse. And that's just what
Prosecutor: The question I asked said, "did you all have
any periods of separation?" And I think that her answer,
you know, a jury can be cured by instruction. I didn't
intend to go through that. The question didn't call for
Defense Attorney: But she - - the order is she can't go
into it, and that's what she did. The only ...