from the District Court of the Second Judicial District,
State of Idaho, Idaho County. Hon. Gregory FitzMaurice,
for second degree murder, affirmed.
D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for
appellant. Jenevieve C. Swinford, Deputy Appellate Public
Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, Boise, for
respondent. Kenneth K. Jorgensen, Deputy Attorney General
BURDICK, Chief Justice.
Andrew Godwin, Sr., appeals the judgment of conviction
entered against him in Idaho County district court for second
degree murder. Godwin was convicted in February 2016, for the
killing of Kyle A. Anderson on June 9, 2014. In his appeal,
Godwin asserts that the district court erred by denying his
motion to suppress evidence of statements he made to police.
Godwin also contends that the district court erred by
requiring him to show personal knowledge of Anderson's
violent or aggressive character before allowing him to
present evidence of that character. Godwin also asserts that
the district court failed to properly instruct the jury on
justifiable homicide under section 18-4009 of the Idaho Code.
Godwin further argues that the State committed prosecutorial
misconduct by impermissibly vouching for evidence and
witnesses in closing arguments. Lastly, Godwin asserts the
complained-of errors in his case, even if harmless
individually, amount to a due process violation when viewed
cumulatively. We affirm.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
10:00 p.m. on June 9, 2014, Godwin shot and killed Anderson
at a motor-vehicle pullout off of Toll Road just outside
Kooskia, Idaho. On February 26, 2016, after a five-day trial,
a jury delivered a guilty verdict against Godwin on the
charge of second degree murder.
before Anderson was fatally shot, Godwin attended a barbeque
with Phyllis "Carla" Griner, James Robinette, and
Ernest "Ernie" Ruiz at which Robinette informed
Godwin that he suspected that Anderson had stolen some guns
from him. The next morning, Godwin, Ruiz, Brandy Lilly, and
Beau Lynch, traveling in the same vehicle, went to look for
the guns underneath an overturned boat in a nearby canyon but
were unable to find them. Afterwards, Godwin dropped off the
passengers and ran a few errands around Kooskia. Eventually,
he picked up Lynch and the pair drove to Robinette's
property to go shooting.
Robinette's property, Godwin and Lynch met up with
Robinette, Ruiz, and a few others. The group again discussed
their belief that Anderson was in possession of
Robinette's stolen firearms. At some point, either
Robinette, Griner, or both, informed Godwin that
Robinette's father was offering a $500 reward for the
recovery of the guns. Godwin agreed to take Ruiz to retrieve
the guns from Anderson.
time, Anderson lived with his girlfriend, Amanda Jones, in a
large motorhome parked on a pullout along the Clearwater
River about a half mile outside of Kooskia. Anderson also had
a small Geo car parked on the pullout. That night,
Anderson's son, Joseph Anderson, was also staying at the
leaving Robinette's property, Godwin ran a few other
errands, but then drove towards the pullout. In his vehicle,
Griner sat in the passenger seat, Ruiz sat behind Griner in
the back passenger seat, and Lynch sat behind Godwin in the
driver's side backseat. Seeing that Anderson's car
was parked by the motorhome, Godwin passed the pullout
without stopping. He drove back to town until eventually
circling back to the pullout and pulling up to Anderson's
events that followed were contested at trial. A balance of
the testimony showed that Godwin pulled up while Anderson and
Jones were outside and Joseph was inside the motorhome. At
some point thereafter, Godwin shot Anderson through the neck
underneath his chin from a distance of six inches to two
feet. The bullet passed into Anderson's spinal cord,
impacted the back of the vertebral column completely
transecting the spinal cord and immediately causing Anderson
to drop. An autopsy would later show abrasions over
Anderson's back and right shoulder consistent with
someone having dragged him by his feet. Eventually, however,
Anderson's body came to rest on the gravel next to his
things happened after the shot was fired. Lynch darted from
the car and made his way along the highway back to Kooskia.
Jones alleged that Godwin aimed his gun at her and demanded
to know where the guns were located; however, she was able to
break away and lock herself in the motorhome with Joseph.
After Anderson's gun was obtained by either Godwin or
Ruiz, Godwin then drove his car, with Griner and Ruiz inside,
back towards Kooskia. Almost immediately after getting back
on Toll Road, they passed the on-duty Deputy Keith Olson of
the Idaho County Sheriff's Department driving a
Sheriff's Department truck featuring a large logo on the
side. No one in Godwin's vehicle attempted to flag down
Deputy Olson's vehicle.
Olson then passed Jones who was driving Anderson's small
car as he patrolled up Toll Road. Seeing that Jones had both
hands out the window in an attempt to flag him down, Olson
stopped to speak with her. He then called for an ambulance
and followed her to the pullout. Upon arrival, Deputy Olson
discovered Anderson's body, cancelled the ambulance,
radioed dispatch for additional officers, and secured the
Corporal Randy Long, Detective Brian Hewson, Lieutenant Doug
Ulmer, and Lieutenant Jerry Johnson arrived on the scene.
While Detective Hewson investigated the crime scene,
Lieutenant Johnson took Jones and Joseph to the Kooskia
Sheriff's Office for interviews. After identifying some
people of interest, Lieutenant Ulmer went to Godwin's
unoccupied trailer. There, he noticed the trailer had been
left in disarray. Rifles and an overturned gallon of milk had
been left outside the front door and a plastic grocery bag of
prescription pills lay in the middle of the lawn. After
receiving Godwin's phone number from dispatch, Lieutenant
Ulmer called Godwin at around 3:00 a.m. on the morning of
June 10. When Godwin answered, Lieutenant Ulmer asked him
where he was. Godwin said he was at home. Lieutenant Ulmer
advised Godwin that he was at Godwin's trailer home.
Godwin then informed Lieutenant Ulmer that he was in Dudley,
Idaho, and had left the Kooskia area around noon the day
before. Lieutenant Ulmer told Godwin that he wished to talk
to him in person, asked him to get in touch with the
sheriff's office, and ended the call.
about 8:00 a.m. on the morning of June 10, Godwin called
Lieutenant Ulmer and informed him that he was on his way back
to Kooskia and wanted to know where he could meet with him.
Lieutenant Ulmer told Godwin to meet him at the Kooskia
Sheriff's Office. Instead of Lieutenant Ulmer, however,
Detective Hewson met Godwin when he arrived and the two went
to a conference room for an interview.
initial questioning, Godwin told Detective Hewson that he had
been up in Dudley, Idaho, the previous day. Detective Hewson
asked Godwin if he knew why they wanted to talk to him.
Godwin replied that Lieutenant Johnson had told him that
Anderson had been murdered, but claimed he didn't know
who Anderson was. After Hewson told Godwin that people had
seen him in the Kooskia area past the time Godwin said he
left, the following exchange occurred:
Q. Okay. Well, there's people that definitely saw you
here at 7:00 last night.
A. (Inaudible). No, wasn't here at 7:00.
Q. There's people that saw you at the trailer at 7:00,
Jason. That's what I'm talking about.
Q. I'm not trying to ride you, please.
Q. Okay. I don't like treating people like that, but you
got to kind of understand what I am-
A. They're trying to accuse me of shooting this guy or
Q. They are saying that, yes, something happened between you
and him, and it was more or less an accident. And that's
all we're trying to get cleared up. If something happened
between you guys and it was an accident, I wish that you
would talk to us about it.
A. Fine. Pulled up there and-
Q. What time?
A. - the guy pointed a gun at me, and I grabbed my gun and
A. And then I left.
asked follow-up questions, prompting Godwin to reveal more
details about the shooting during which Godwin reaffirmed the
shooting was in self-defense. Godwin also informed Hewson
that he had taken the gun Anderson threatened him with and
hid it in his trailer along with the firearm Godwin had used
to shoot Anderson. Detective Hewson then decided to read
Godwin his Miranda rights prompting the following
A. I know I ain't supposed to say nothing. I put vows to
not say nothing to him, but, you know, like I told everybody,
it was self-defense. I told Carla. They seen him pull a gun
Q. Yeah. Well, have you ever had your rights read to you,
your Miranda rights? Because I'm going to do
A. Are you going to arrest me?
Q. I don't make those kind of decisions, okay. I probably
won't arrest you. That doesn't mean that somebody
else like Jerry or somebody might, but I'm just telling
you right out of the gate that it looked or sounded to me
like a scenario that happened-
A. (Inaudible) drug dealer, and Ernie was going to rip him
off. That's all I know.
Q. It sounded like a scenario to me that happened; that it
wasn't meant to happen. Somebody didn't go out there
just to kill a man, you know. That's what it looked like
to me, okay.
A. Well, he pointed the gun at me, and that's when I shot
a guy - shot. That's all there is to it.
Q. Yeah. Let me see if he has a rights waiver. You should
know your rights.
A. (Inaudible) my rights?
Q. Pardon me?
A. (Inaudible) waive my rights?
Q. No. I'm going to read you your rights. That's what
I'm going to do. I'm going to see if one of these
A. You shouldn't be reading it to me after I already said
Q. I didn't have to read them to you to begin with, and I
still don't, because I would have to read you your rights
if you were under arrest and then I questioned you. You
weren't under arrest or detained at the time I- that we
started talking. I just want to make sure that you know-do
you have a rights waiver, just a Miranda warning?
SPEAKER: Yeah, yeah. Let me go grab it.
Q. (By Mr. Hewson) All right. Thank you.
A. Yeah, I screwed up, but self-defense. That's all there
is to it.
few more questions, Detective Hewson read Godwin his
Q. . . . Miranda warning is what this is. I want to
make sure you know what your rights are. You have a right to
know, right. If I can read it.
A. I'm sorry, Augie (phonetic), but I ain't an
Q. I get it, and I knew you did, okay. That's why I
wanted to keep giving you-but let's try again. I'm
going to read this.
A. (Inaudible) my life.
Q. Pardon me?
A. I never had-did anything like in any point in my life, and
he's pointing the gun right at my head, pretty close.
Q. Let me read this to you, okay. You have the right to
remain silent when questioned. That's pretty
self-explanatory, right? If you choose to answer questions,
statements you make can be used against you in a court of
law. I said, they can be. You have the right to an attorney
before and/or during questioning. If you are unable to afford
a lawyer and if you need one, one will be appointed to you by
the Court. And he's a good lawyer. I know him. Do you
understand those? And you can stop talking to me, Jason,
anytime you want, okay?
A. I may have to.
Q. But as-as like we started out, you didn't start down a
A. (Inaudible). A guy gets hisself (sic) in a situation. I
really didn't mean to get in that situation.
more questioning, the interview was paused for Hewson to
speak with his supervisor and Godwin took a cigarette break.
Godwin also gave his consent to search his trailer to recover
his gun and the gun taken from Anderson. The entire interview
lasted a little less than an hour. Elsewhere, at the same
time of Godwin's interview, Lieutenant Ulmer conducted a
photo identification line-up with Jones in which Jones was
unable to positively identify Godwin as the shooter. At the
end of Godwin's interview, Detective Hewson spoke with
Lieutenant Ulmer and a county prosecutor and, at the
conclusion of the discussion, the decision was made to arrest
Godwin and place him in handcuffs. Later the following day,
upon the issuing of a warrant, the guns were recovered from a
storage space under the bed in Godwin's trailer.
24, 2014, the State filed an information against Godwin
alleging murder in the second degree. Godwin pleaded not
guilty and filed a pretrial motion to suppress his statements
to Detective Hewson. Godwin argued that the statements were
involuntary and he had invoked his right to counsel and
refused to waive his Miranda rights. The State
objected. After holding an evidentiary hearing, the district
court denied the motion.
weeks prior to trial, on February 10, 2016, the State filed a
motion in limine seeking to have the court prohibit two
proposed defense witnesses from testifying about
"specific instances of conduct showing that [Anderson]
was violent and aggressive." Both witnesses were
expected to testify that Anderson had pointed a gun at them
on prior occasions. The court did not hear argument on the
motions until the afternoon of the second day of trial-after
jury selection and voir dire, but before opening statements.
In argument, the defense acknowledged that binding case law
did not support their position, but argued that the court
should nevertheless admit the testimony about the specific
acts and overrule the contrary authority. The defense pointed
to significant similarities between the proposed testimony
and Anderson's alleged conduct on the night of the
shooting. Unpersuaded, the court orally ruled that specific
instances of conduct were inadmissible for the defense's
proposed purpose but also commented that the defense may
produce reputation or opinion testimony with proper
foundation. The following morning, the court filed a written
order granting the State's motion on the specific-act
evidence. The order noted that reputation or opinion evidence
would be allowed, but did not impose a foundational
its case-in-chief, the State called Jones, who testified as
follows. Anderson was putting license plates on the motorhome
as Godwin pulled up. While doing so, Anderson had a firearm
holstered in a special pocket stitched into the back of his
vest. Godwin already had his gun aimed out of the
vehicle's window before it stopped two to three feet away
from Anderson and Jones. Then Godwin began screaming at them
while pointing the gun at Anderson. After Godwin ceased
yelling, Anderson asked what was going on, and, at that
moment, Godwin shot him. Jones stated the whole interaction
lasted no longer than a minute and a half and during that
time, Anderson's hands were empty. Although, at other
times, she testified he had a license plate or a screwdriver
in his hands.
also testified that Godwin had his gun pointed at Anderson as
they pulled up and he did not see Anderson with a gun. He
stated that Godwin said something to the effect of
"Don't do it" to Anderson during the
interaction. Ruiz also claimed at trial that he did not see a
gun nor see Anderson reach for a gun. He added that after the
shooting Godwin had dragged Anderson to the car and wanted to
"get rid of him." Two other witnesses testified
that while Godwin was in jail, he had initially claimed the
killing was in self-defense, but, when pressed, admitted that
he had killed Anderson after Anderson claimed he didn't
know anything about the guns. The State introduced numerous
pieces of evidence from the scene of the crime and played an
audio recording of Godwin's interview with Detective
defense impeached Lynch and Ruiz with prior interviews they
had given to police in which Lynch stated that Anderson had
brandished a gun and Ruiz said that Godwin stated to Anderson
right after the shooting, "you pulled a gun on me. . . .
I told you not to move." Godwin testified in his defense
to the following sequence of events: Upon his arrival at
Anderson's motorhome, Anderson and Jones were standing
next to the Geo car and "started . . . after"
Godwin's vehicle by "walking real fast towards"
them. Anderson then pulled a gun out of his waistband. Upon
seeing this, Godwin grabbed his pistol, took it out of its
holster, and yelled at Anderson "don't,
don't" and "[d]rop the gun, don't,
don't pull the gun." Godwin said he shot Anderson
only after Anderson aimed the gun at him and cocked the
hammer. After the shot was fired, Godwin testified that he
thought Anderson was still alive so he tried to get Anderson
into his car to get him medical attention, but was unable to
do so. Godwin further claimed that he did not realize they
had taken Anderson's gun until they had returned to
Godwin's trailer and he noticed that Ruiz was wiping the
gun down with a t-shirt. Godwin took the gun from Ruiz,
wrapped in the t-shirt, and placed it under his bed.
little over two and a half hours, the jury returned a verdict
of guilty to second degree murder. The district court
sentenced Godwin to twenty-five ...