Thursday, November 10, 2016

Kuebler murder conviction overturned

The Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the conviction of Louis Kuebler and remanded his case back to Hinds County Circuit Judge Winston Kidd for a new trial.  A Hinds County jury convicted Kuebler in 2011 of first degree murder in the death of Tamra Stuckey.


Kuebler killed Stuckey at his Belhaven Heights apartment in 2010.  She had an "unreciprocated romantic interest in Kuebler during this time."  The opinion stated:

Shortly after 2:00 a.m., Aaron realized he had left his cell phone in Kuebler’s apartment when he had gone there to use the restroom earlier in the evening. Aaron returned to Kuebler’s apartment to retrieve his phone and found Kuebler rummaging around in his closet looking for something. Tamra appeared to be asleep on the living-room couch. Once Aaron got his phone, Kuebler “put his hand on [Aaron’s] shoulder and sort of hurried [him] out of the [apartment].” Aaron returned to his place and began smoking a cigarette on the front porch. Approximately ten minutes later, Aaron heard Kuebler screaming “hysterically.” Aaron ran back to Kuebler’s apartment to find Tamra lying on the couch, shot in the forehead. When Aaron asked Kuebler what happened, Kuebler told him he and Tamra “were fooling around with each other and that she enjoyed him holding the gun to her head while they had sex.”

Before Aaron arrived at Kuebler’s apartment, apparently Kuebler ran to Jennifer and Nate’s apartment, where he beat on their door and yelled, “Tammy got shot in the head. Call 911.” Nate testified Kuebler was “acting pretty crazy . . . screaming and yelling”; so when Nate went into Kuebler’s apartment, he looked for the gun. After walking outside to call 911, Nate returned and found Kuebler’s gun on the floor by the coffee table. Nate observed that Tamra appeared to be deceased. Kuebler, covered in Tamra’s blood, was attempting to give her CPR. Kuebler explained to Nate that the gun had fallen on the ground and gone off.  Jennifer testified that when she arrived at the scene Kuebler was screaming and crying, saying, “Tammy, wake up.” He told Jennifer, “[S]omething happened. My pistol fell on the floor.”

Aaron returned to his place to tell Kristen that Tamra had been shot. Kristen called 911. At 2:41 p.m., the Jackson Police Department (JPD) received the call reporting the shooting. Officer Derrick Archey was the first responder on the scene, but other JPD officers arrived shortly thereafter, including Officers Keith Freeman, Sean Snow, Dewayne West, Carl Ellis, Mark Seals, and Crime Scene Investigator Eneke Smith. Tamra was pronounced dead at the scene. The officers found Tamra’s body lying on the couch, with a gunshot wound to the head, with her feet “tucked” under the couch pillows.

The officers took statements from Kristen, Aaron, Nate, and Jennifer. However, when officers attempted to put Kuebler in the back seat of a patrol car in order to question him (as is the procedure and which was done to the other witnesses), Kuebler became belligerent. He shouted obscenities and racial slurs, as well as physically resisted the officers. He was also telling the officers to “get [Tamra] some help,” but the ambulance was already on the scene and medics had pronounced Tamra dead. When Kuebler refused to get into the patrol car, or put his hands behind his back after wrestling with the officers, they forced him to the ground and put handcuffs on him while he kicked and screamed. Once inside the patrol car, Kuebler proceeded to kick out one of the windows, resulting in the police placing him in leg shackles.

Investigator Smith recovered a Smith and Wesson .380 caliber handgun from the crime scene, along with two live rounds in the magazine, and one live round and shell casing from the floor. The gun and bullets were processed for fingerprints, but none were found. At the JPD station, Kuebler’s hands were swabbed and the materials sent to the Mississippi Crime Lab (MCL) for a gunshot-residue test. Gunpowder was found on the back of Kuebler’s right hand and left palm. Also, particles indicative of gunpowder were found on his right and left palms, and the back of his right and left hands. While JPD did not perform a gunshot-residue test on Tamra, Dr. Feng Li, the forensic pathologist, did. The test was sent to the MCL for processing; however, an analysis was not conducted on Tamra’s kit because of the lab’s policy not to perform analyses on victims “due to the fact that a victim of a gunshot wound” would always test positive. However, the State submitted Tamra’s gunshot-residue kit to the MCL for analysis the first day of trial. On the third day of trial, the lab released the results of the test. Gunpowder was positively found on the back of Tamra’s right hand and palm, and on the back of her left hand. Further, particles indicative of gunpowder were found on both of her hands.

In September 2010, Kuebler was indicted for deliberate-design murder under Mississippi Code Annotated section 97–3–19(1)(a) (Rev. 2014), with the charge enhanced for using a firearm during the commission of a murder,  in violation of Mississippi Code Annotated section 97–37–37 (Rev. 2014).
Kuebler argued that Stuckey tried to commit suicide and the gun went off while he was trying to stop her.  However, a scientist for the Mississippi crime lab testified that the gun passed a "drop test" and could not have fired the fatal shot if it indeed fell to the ground.  Judge Kidd would not allow Kuebler to present his theory at trial after ruling there was no evidence to support Kuebler's explanation.  However, the opinion states that were was some evidence in favor of allowing the instruction:

*No fingerprints were found on the weapon. The lack of fingerprints could not refute the possibility of Stuckey firing the weapon.

*Residue was found on the back of both of her hands and her right palm.

*The state's expert could not rule out accident as cause of death nor disprove the gun was in her hands when it fired.

*Witnesses testified Kuebler was trying to give Stuckey CPR when police arrived.  Kuebler asked police to call a medic.

The Court states that Kuebler had a right to present this defense to the jury and was denied his most basic rights by Judge Kidd.   The Court also decreed that Judge Kidd erred in allowing the prosecution to present evidence of Kuebler's flight from Hinds County since it took place long after the death of Stuckey and thus had no probative value.    Judge Kidd also refused to allow Kuebler to explain his flight, again denying him of his rights.  Kuebler had apparently been in a wreck and was informed he was going back to jail by deputies.  Kuebler had been beaten badly in jail before his flight and had medical evidence to present that documented his injuries from the beating suffered at the jail.  However, Judge Kidd refused to allow that evidence as well but allowed the evidence of the flight itself to be used against Kuebler.

Mr. Kuebler was represented by Tom Royals, Ed Blackmon, and Jane Tucker at trial.

Earlier posts
Louis gets another day in court.  
Court of Appeals affirms conviction 
Kuebler bond revoked.  
 Kuebler bond is $250,000
 Judge Kidd yet to rule on bond for Kuebler
Kuebler indicted and arrested.  
When will it stop?  




38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tragic event.....terrible facts.....the trial was awful.....

Dick has been heart broken.....I know this provides great relief.

Anonymous said...

another murder case that Shaun Yurtkuran dropped the ball not understanding the "flight" instruction law...

Anonymous said...

to all the prosecutor's cheerleaders who cheered when his conviction was affirmed by the court of appeals........WHERE ARE YOU NOW?

Anonymous said...

TO 5:08 shaun yurtkuran was not even involved with that trial.

Anonymous said...

N-na-n-not G-g-gu-guilty!!!

Anonymous said...

It was Kimalon and Robert. And it was reversed on something basic; trial judges should not ever make the mistake of refusing to let a defendant put on a defense. Although, sadly, Justices Beam and Randolph don't seem to understand that unbelievably fundamental concept.

Anonymous said...

While there is no excuse for Judge Kidd refusing the defense instruction, I'm sure that the prosecution objected to the instruction as well. Prosecutors must be smart enough to not object to instructions that will get their convictions overturned.

Anonymous said...

5:11 - Umm well a lot of people cheered not because of any legal basis on which the case was upheld, but because they know Louie and know how big of a complete POS he is.

Anonymous said...

Prosecutors object to anything and everything the defense wants. It's stupid as hell and wastes tons of taxpayer dollars and no one knows exactly why prosecutors do this but they do. And on the rare occasion they agree with the defense, if they are in Judge Weill's courtroom, Judge Weill will be the one throwing a fit.

Anonymous said...

to 6:22 strap this one on bedwetter, its not illegal to be a POS. if it were you would be doing a life sentence .

Anonymous said...

Who is paying for this and how are they paying?

Anonymous said...

8:54

Louie's dad is rich...like really rich.

But money won't buy him love

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be nice if both the prosecution and defense had some interest in justice?
Wouldn't it be nice if judges were elected or appointed based on their knowledge of the law and determination to apply the law with an even hand? We have turned them into politicians so that they are afraid to use their power to reprimand attorneys and The Bar has become politicized as well. Professional ethics is the casualty.
But Lady Justice has had her scales stolen and her blindfold ripped away. Fictionalized theories without any support outside the imagination of the prosecution or defense are seen as evidence and both get to " testify" without being under oath. They use the media in hopes of tainting the jury pool and applying public or political pressure on judges. Motions aren't filed to further justice but to delay justice and drive up costs. The end result is that those harmed cannot afford justice.
And, worse, class actions make justice available, but take away any real compensation so the victim is not made whole.
Attorneys have become like car salesmen so the public picks one based on salesmanship rather than skill.
The law has become a tool of power and the citizens have lost faith in equality before the law. One party points that out to the poorest among us as a reason for their poverty and the other points that out as the cause for feeling less safe. It shifts the focus away from the real problem which is the politicizing of our system of justice by those who seek power and wealth.

Anonymous said...

7:58, very well said.
We have lawyers who do not care about right and wrong, defending people who do not know any better, before judges that can be bought.
Our justice system is for sale.

Anonymous said...

If anything, the judges - all of them - err on the side of favoring the prosecution. And some (Weill, the Starkville Kitchens) do it to a degree they need to be removed from the bench.

Anonymous said...

Who says the Supreme Court isn't political?

Give this convicted killer a new trial. But release the Opinion AFTER election day. Kitchens should thank his colleagues.

Anonymous said...

It was reversed seven to two. Assuming that they did hold it until after the election out of respect for Justice Kitchens to prevent those miserable, lying PACs from using it against him for doing the right thing. good for them. Who wants a judge who's going to decide cases based on what's politically expedient? I guess Justice Griffis supporters do.

Anonymous said...

to 7:58..... you are obviously a whiney little bedwetter who can't do anything other than bitch and moan, cry and complain about how its not a perfect world. if you don't like the system of criminal justice that we have in this country , ill be happy to buy you a one-way ticket to a country that has a more "enlightened" system. may i suggest cuba, iran, north korea, sub-sahara africa or red china.

Anonymous said...

Kitchens special concurrence says yes, I am actively trying to change case law in favor of criminal defendants

Anonymous said...

2:57 is a stinking liar. kitchens is in favor of a fair trial.

Anonymous said...

Along with King and Dickinson (and it's pretty clear Dickinson has the highest IQ of anyone on that court). Appellate courts have the ability to change the law and a stupid flight instruction, which highlights one sort of circumstantial evidence over any other kind of circumstantial evidence for no reason anyone can fathom, is not some sort of "right" guaranteed by the Mississippi or federal constitutions. So, you know what, they can change it. It's a stupid instruction criticized by courts all over the United States.

Anonymous said...

A stupid instruction criticized by courts all over the United States? Not quite. Read the opinion and at least one of the cases referenced is from the US Supremes that such an instruction is appropriate at times. To say that a flight instruction is (1) stupid, (2) for no reason anyone can fathom much less (3) criticized by courts all over the United States obviously ignores reality.

But I guess that's what people like Dr. Daddy Keubler pay lawyers like you hundreds of thousands of dollars to argue.

Anonymous said...

This is also Comey's fault

Anonymous said...

@3:44
Dickenson has the highest iq. I'm crying with laughter. The hammer dulcimer is the imbecile's instrument.

Anonymous said...

Retrying cases is difficult.

All the lawyers who were with Smith then are gone now.

Who in the world wants to retry this thing?

Maybe a deal can be had....

Anonymous said...

to 4:43pm...... stap this one on wise-ass. no one around this third world vacuum called mississippi gets paid"hundreds of thousands of dollars ", to defend a criminal case. it seems you don't like lawyers either. try reading the 6th amendment to the constitution which states states that the accused may have the assistance of counsel for his defense. thats was written by men like washington and jefferson. men a lot more learned than you are. so, my job is proscribed in the united states constitution.tell me, does the constitution proscribe what ever it is you do for a living?

Anonymous said...

to 7:56.... who the heck is comey?

Anonymous said...

10:20, it takes a very good imagination to compare what you do to anything mentioned in the constitution. If the only job you can get is a court ordered lawyer for people who cannot afford a good lawyer, you shouldn't mention yourself in the same paragraph as Washington and Jefferson.

Anonymous said...

10:20. The first amendment.

And I do have friends that have been paid more than a hundred grand for defending criminal defendants. And yes, here in Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

to 10:20.... so , i see you cite the first amendment. so does that mean your job is just running your mouth?

Anonymous said...

to 11:17.... you seem to think I'm public defender. I'm not. I'm a highly successful private praciticiner. your candy-ass comment that "court ordered lawyers" are for "people who cannot afford a good lawyer" is garbage. some of the best attorneys i know work for the hinds county public defenders office. you really should just go back home to your momma.

Anonymous said...

all you legal experts out there, most of which have never worked a single day in the profession, need to understand that more cases are reversed for improperly instructed juries , than all other reasons combined.

Anonymous said...

1:41, if you thing some of the best lawyers work in the Hinds county public defenders office I can understand why you do not get paid for your work and have to work for free.

Anonymous said...

11:10 - Do you really not know the name of the head of the FBI? And you dare to venture over here where intelligence, is the password?

You should really stay over at the JV sites, like Northside Sun and Y'all Politics.

Anonymous said...

If intelligence was the pass word on here there would not be very many posts.

Anonymous said...

12:39 - you win the gold star for this week.

Commander Cody said...

"If intelligence was the pass word on here there would not be very many posts.November 13, 2016 at 12:39 PM"

It's a damned miracle you got in under the radar!

Anonymous said...

4:34, the bar was not set that high.

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