Stanley Lingar was convicted and sentenced to death after a three day trial, in which his trial counsel had no previous experience handling either first degree murder trials or capital trials. Prior to trial counsel advised appellant to submit a plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. Counsel filed a "Motion for Mental Examination" which stated that "defendant suffers from a mental disease or defect excluding responsibility." The trial judge ordered that a pretrial mental evaluation be conducted. This pretrial psychological evaluation was conducted and it was concluded by the doctors conducting the examination that Stanley did not suffer from a mental disease or defect within the meaning of the statute. Thus, Stanley was found competent to stand trial.
After receiving the information on the exams, counsel withdrew the plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. Counsel did not request an independent second mental examination. Counsel did not request medical records from an area hospital regarding Stanley's "fainting " or "blackout"spells. In the guilt phase of the trial, the state put on sixteen witnesses and the defense put on one. Defense counsel's trial strategy was to convince the jury that Stanley was guilty only of second degree murder because he did not have the ability to coolly deliberate on the shooting due to his intoxication. In fact during the closing arguments of the first phase of the trial, counsel made this concession without the specific permission from Stanley to do so.
In his attempt to establish Stanley did not "deliberate" as required for first degree murder, counsel relied heavily upon a defense of voluntary intoxication. Despite this strategy, counsel did not present any evidence of appellant's history of alcohol abuse or treatment for blackouts. At the time of Stanley's trial voluntary intoxication was no longer a viable defense in Missouri because it had been repealed as a defense to murder in 1983. Two years prior to the date of the shooting. As a result, the jury was not instructed that voluntary intoxication could be a defense to the crime.
During the penalty phase of the trial, the prosecutor informed the jury that the only additional evidence it would present at that stage was that Stanley had a consensual homosexual relationship with his co-defendant. Upon objection by defense counsel, the state replied that the evidence was relevant to the motive, was a circumstance of the crime, and revealed Stanley's character. The state called the co-defendant who testified to the homosexual relationship. The state did nothing further to link this testimony with appellant's purported motive for the murder.
Defense counsel called three witnesses in the penalty phase Stanley's father, mother and sister. These witnesses testified that Stanley had never been in trouble with the law, that he did not receive good grades in school, and that he helped other people and helped around the house without being asked. Counsel failed to present any psychological or medical records or any testimony regarding Stanley's family background or his psychological or mental condition.