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IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF SAINT LOUIS COUNTY


STATE OF MISSOURI

STATE OF MISSOURI, )
)
Plaintiff, )
) Cause No. 16SL-CR075l3-0I
V. )
) DIVISION 14
TRENTON FORSTER, )
)
Defendant. ) N
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Motion for judgment of acquittal or, in the alternative, a new trial

Trenton Forster, by and through counsel, and pursuant to Mo. Sup. Ct. R 29.11 and 27.07

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(West 2018) files with the court this motion for judgments of acquittal on all counts or, in the
alternative, a new trial. This motion contains a list of all of the errors in the jury trial and
preserves these issues for appellate review.
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1. The trial court erred when it denied the defense's motion for acquittal with regard to all
counts at the close of the state's evidence. Defense counsel filed a written motion with the court
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which was denied. The motion set forth the following objections: the state failed to prove the
elements of the crime alleged in the information/indictment; the evidence failed to establish the
corpus delicti; the evidence failed to establish that the alleged offense, if any, was committed by
the defendant and that the defendant possessed the requisite mental state; accepting as true all of
the evidence, whether circumstantial or direct, together with all favorable inferences drawn
therefrom, the evidence was insufficient as a matter of law to support a finding of guilt; the
evidence was in such conflict in material respects that it failed to establish the guilt of the
defendant of the offenses charged beyond a reasonable doubt; the infonnation/indictment does
not state facts sufficient to constitute an offense against the State of Missouri; the state failed to
establish by proof which comes up to the requirements for submission to the jury in a criminal
case that the defendant committed the alleged offenses with the requisite mental state. Denial of
this motion violated Mr. Forster's rights to due process, a fair trial, equal protection and to be
free of cruel and unusual punishment. U.S. Const., amends, IV, V, VI, Vlll, XIV; Mo. Const.,
art. I, secs. 2, l 0, 15, 18(a), 19, 20, 21, 22.
2. The trial comt erred when it denied the defense's motion for acquittal with regard to all (j2
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counts at the close of all of the evidence. Defense counsel filed a written motion with the court
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which was denied. The motion set forth the following objections: the state failed to prove the 0
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elements of the crime alleged in the information/indictment; the evidence failed to establish the '<
corpus delicti; the evidence failed to establish that the alleged offense, if any, was committed by
the defendant and that the defendant possessed the requisite mental state; accepting as true all of
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the evidence, whether circumstantial or direct, together with all favorable inferences drawn (J"I

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therefrom, the evidence was insufficient as a matter of law to support a finding of guilt; the .....
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evidence was in such conflict in material respects that it failed to establish the guilt of the
defendant of the offenses charged beyond a reasonable doubt; the information/indictment does
not state facts sufficient to constitute an offense against the State of Missouri; the state failed to

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establish by proof which comes up to the requirements for submission to the jury in a criminal
case that the defendant committed the alleged offenses with the requisite mental state. Denial of
this motion violated Mr. Forster's rights to due process, a fair trial, equal protection and to be
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free of cruel and unusual punishment. U.S. Const., amends. IV, V, VI, VIII, XIV; Mo. Const.,
art. I, secs. 2, IO, 15, 18(a), 19, 20, 21, 22.
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3. The trial court erred when it denied defense counsel's objection to the sequestration of
Trenton Forster's family members who wanted to watch the trial and who were also to be called
as fact witnesses during the guilt phase of the trial. These witnesses were: William Forster,
Crystal Forster, Cindy Soest, Austin Soest, Brandon Forster, Christina Forster and Angela Seats.
The sequestration occurred in the context of the widow of the deceased officer, Elizabeth Snyder,
being allowed to testify and also watch the trial. The state proffered the reason that she only
watched the trial following her testimony; however, her "testimony" was irrelevant as there was
no dispute that Officer Snyder was the decedent in this case (see also if!fra para. 4). Trenton
Forster's family should have been afforded the same rights to be present during the trial through
operation of the due process clause and equal protection clauses as applied to the victim rights
section of the Missouri Bill of Rights (Mo. Const., Art. 1, sec. 32). U.S. Const., amends. V, VI,
XIV; Mo. Const., Art, I, secs. 2, 10 18(a).

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4. The trial court erred when it allowed, over defense counsel objection, Elizabeth Snyder to
testify. Elizabeth Snyder is the widow of the victim in counts 1 and 2, Officer Blake Snyder. In
her testimony, she provided family background and "identified" Officer Snyder as the decedent
in counts I and 2. Because there was no dispute that Officer Snyder was the decedent, her
testimony was not probative of any issue in the case. Her testimony was more prejudicial than
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probative. Admission of her testimony violated Mr. Forster's rights to due process, a fair trial (1)
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and equal protection of law. U.S. Const., amends. V, VI, XTV; Mo. Const., Art. I, secs. 2, 10 ..:;;:
18(a). (J1

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5. The trial court erred when it allowed a live video feed of the trial proceedings to be
broadcast from the trial courtroom on the 4th floor to an auxiliary courtroom on the second floor
of the courthouse. The trial court permitted this arrangement due to requests made to the 21 st

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Judicial Circuit's public relations officer by the media and the St. Louis County Police, While
the trial court believed that allowing the video feed would preserve due process protections for
the defendant to have a fair trial, in fact, the opposite occurred. While the courtroom where the
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trial took place did not have uniformed police officers inside the courtroom as the trial
progressed, uniformed police officers congregated in the hallway outside the courtroom, The
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congregation of officers most likely intimidated jurors as they exited the elevators to go to the
jury room before trial and in particular, before closing arguments. In fact, on the day of the
closing arguments, police officers lined the hallway outside the courtroom. See photograph
reproduced below from https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/photos-closing-arguments-bcgin-
in-policeman-blake-snyder-killing/collection ead88463-l 410-500 l-ae49-516731 dl 1f94.html# 12
( accessed February 15, 20 19).

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Final day of trial begins for man accused in officer's death
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E1izabeth Snyder, the widow of slain St. Louis County Police Officer Blake Snyder, arrives at the courthouse In
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Clayton on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, for dosing arguments in the trial of the man accused of killing her husband.
Photo by Joel Currier of the Post-Dispatch.

Had the court drawn a clear line and not permitted the video feed, it is likely that the St. Louis
County Police would not have gathered in large numbers at the courthouse and, in particular, on
the floor where the trial was being held. The video feed violated Mr. Forster's rights to due
process, a fair trial and equal protection of law. U.S. Const., amends. V, VI, XIV; Mo. Const.,
Art. I, secs. 2, 10 18(a).

6. The trial court erred when it allowed the state to produce into evidence and play for the
jury an audiotaped recording of Trenton Forster calling his father William Forster from jail.
The call occurred on June 30, 2017, nearly eight months after the incide11t. The state wanted to
produce a statement of Trenton Forster, saying, "fuck the police." The state admitted the
evidence through Exhibit 258, a cd of the jail call, and 258a, a transcript of the call. Defense
counsel objected on the record and in a timely manner. The jail call was not relevant. lt was

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more prejudicial than probative as the statement occurred 8 months after the incident and did not □.

provide any meaningful evidence of Trenton Forster's state of mind or deliberative intent at the
time of the shooting of Officer Snyder. The relevance is even more attenuated because -- even
though a police officer was the victim of the homicide and armed criminal action offenses in
counts 1 and 2 -- neither charge requires proof that the victim was a police officer. Admission of
the jail call into evidence violated Mr. Forster's rights to due process, a fair trial and equal
protection of Iaw. U.S. Const., amends. V, VI, XIV; Mo. Const., Art. I, secs. 2, 10 18(a).
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7. The trial court erred when it allowed into evidence state's exhibit 192, the .22 caliber rifle (D

manufactured to appear similar to an "AK-47" assault rifle. The gun was not used in any
offense. All testimony and evidence indicated that Trenton Forster used a 9mm Taurus semi-
automatic pistol and not the rifle. The rifle was found in the trunk of Trenton Forster's vehicle.

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There was no ballistic evidence that it had been fired during the alleged offenses. Admission of
the rifle into evidence did not serve any probative value. Its admission was more prejudicial than
probative. Defense counsel made a timely objection. Admission of the rifle into evidence
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violated Mr. Forster's rights to due process, a fair trial and equal protection oflaw, U.S. Const.,
amends. V, VI, XIV; Mo. Const., Art. I, secs. 2, 10 18(a).
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8. The trial court erred when it admitted into evidence photographs of the autopsy of Blake
Snyder. Due to the graphic nature of the photographs, they were more prejudicial than
probative. The jury could understand the extent of the fatal gunshot wound to Blake Snyder
through the testimony of the medical examiner alone. Defense counsel objected to state's
exhibits 171-178, autopsy photographs of Blake Snyder. The court sustained the objection to
173 only. Denial of the defendant's objection to the photographs violated Mr. Forster's rights to
due process, a fair trial and equal protection of law. U.S. Const., amends. V, VI, XIV; Mo.
Const., Art. I, secs. 2, IO l 8(a).

9. The trial court erred when it admitted into evidence state's exhibit 300, a photograph of
Officer Blake Snyder. The exhibit was more prejudicial than probative. Admission of the
photograph into evidence violated Mr. Forster's rights to due process, a fair trial and equal
protection of law. U.S. Const., amends. V, VI, XIV; Mo. Const., Art. I, secs. 2, 10 18(a).

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WHEREFORE, for all the previously stated reasons, Trenton Forster requests this court to enter
judgments of acquittal on all counts or, in the alternatlve, vacate the jury verdicts and set the case
for a new trial.

Respectfully submitted,
Isl Stephen Reyno lds °'
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Stephen Reynolds, Mo Bar No. 50062 0
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Missouri State Public Defender CD

100 S. Central, 2 nd Floor


St. Louis; MO 631 OS
stephen.reynolds@mspd.mo.gov
314-615-4778 (Main)

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314-615-0128 (Fax)

Ce1·tificate of Service
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1 certify that a true copy of the above and foregoing was served by the court e-filing system to :

Al Key
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Office of the Prosecuting Attorney
100 S. Central, 2 nd Floor
St. Louis, MO 63105
akey@stlouisco.com

on the 15th day of February 2019.

ls/Stephen Reynolds
Stephen Reynolds

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C::iect,0;1icaliy Filed - St Louis County- February 15. 2019 - 04:44 PM

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