State of Missouri v. Randall Knese

985 S.W.2d 759 (Mo.banc 1999)

Case Facts: On the morning of March 23, 1996, one of Knese’s neighbors heard a dog barking across the street and then a man yelling. When the neighbor went to her kitchen door to see what was going on, Knese, wearing only a pair of sweatpants pulled down around his ankles, opened the front door, ran into the neighbors house and landed on the couch. Knese then stood, pulled up his pants, and came into the kitchen, where he and the neighbor began to yell at each other. When the neighbor’s boyfriend came into the kitchen, Knese ran in to the bedroom and sat on the television. After the going into the bathroom, Knese came back into the kitchen and then ran outside.

Another neighbor saw Knese standing outside , holding a broom and screaming. When the neighbor drove close to where Knese was standing, Knese jumped on the hood of the car. The neighbor noticed that Knese had some scratched on his face, but did not otherwise appear to be injured. Knese slid off the hood and opened the passenger-side door. The car gained speed, however, and before Knese was able to get inside the car, he was dragged along the car’s side until he eventually let go. The neighbor who was driving the car called the police when she arrived at work.

The police found Knese lying in the road and noticed that he was bloody and had multiple cuts and abrasions. When asked how he sustained the injuries, Knese originally said that the “devil had come to get him.” He later said that “the bitch tried to kill” him. Knese also told a paramedic that he did not want to be treated differently for what he had done, Knese was then taken to the hospital.

While one police officer had been taking car of Knese, another officer investigated Knese’s home. From the front porch of the home, that officer saw Karin Knese lying motionless on the floor. Her body was partially nude, with her legs spread apart. The officer found no pulse or other signs of life. A paramedic later pronounced Ms, Knese dead.

At the hospital, the police advised Knese of his Miranda rights, and Knese waived them. Knese made four statements about the events that had occurred earlier in the day. The police audiotaped one of the statements. Throughout these statements, Knese admitted to killing his wife. According to Knese, his wife had taken their child and visited Ms. Knese’s sister-in-law the night before, because Ms. Knese was angry about Knese’s drug use. When she returned, she told Knese that she wanted him to leave their home. They both went to sleep in separate rooms; Ms. Knese slept on the couch. Knese woke up early the next morning and ingested some cocaine. About an hour later after using cocaine, Knese went into the living room to talk about the couple’s problems. Knese laid down by his wife but Ms. Knese did not want to talk. She pushed him off the couch, but Knese continued touching her and talking to her. He forced himself back onto the couch and tried to engage in foreplay. When Ms. Knese protested, Knese pulled off her pants and panties. He forced himself on top of her and attempted to have sex with her; however they did not engage in intercourse because Knese could not sustain and erection.

Ms. Knese, according to Knese, went “ballistic.” The two began to fight, and Ms. Knese screamed “rape.” When she did this, Knese put one hand over her mouth while he squeezed her neck with the other. Ms. Knese grabbed a glass lampshade and swung. Knese blocked the swing with his arm, and the lampshade shattered. Ms. Knese picked up a piece of glass and swung again. This time she cut Knese’s palm, Knese then took the glass and slashed her neck. The two fell on the floor, where Knese began to strangle Ms. Knese. At one point, his hold was so tight that his thumb went through her skin. He also bit her neck. When she put a finger in his eye, he head butted her. At the end of the altercation, Knese stood up, kicked her head and stood on her neck for five or ten minutes. The jury convicted him and recommended the death penalty.