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Whitehurst v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

December 20, 2013

Izzy WHITEHURST, Defendant Below, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Delaware, Plaintiff Below, Appellee.

Submitted: Dec. 11, 2013.

Page 363

Court Below— Superior Court of the State of Delaware, in and for New Castle County, I.D. No. 1110014096.

Upon appeal from the Superior Court. AFFIRMED.

Christopher S. Koyste, Esquire, Christopher S. Koyste, LLC, Wilmington, Delaware, for appellant.

Karen V. Sullivan, Esquire, Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware, for appellee.

Before HOLLAND, BERGER and RIDGELY, Justices.

HOLLAND, Justice.

The defendant-appellant, Izzy Whitehurst (" Whitehurst" ), appeals from a jury conviction in the Superior Court of Assault in the First Degree, Robbery in the First Degree, Burglary in the First Degree, Conspiracy in the Second Degree, three counts of Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, and three counts of Tampering with a Witness. Whitehurst raises two claims of error in this direct appeal. First, Whitehurst argues that the trial court erred in denying a motion to suppress Whitehurst's prison telephone calls because the State lacked a legal basis to collect them. Second, Whitehurst claims that the admission of those prison telephone calls improperly tainted his trial.

We have concluded that Whitehurst's first argument is without merit. Therefore, we need not address Whitehurst's second contention. The judgments of the Superior Court are affirmed.

Facts [1]

On the night of October 19, 2011, Erogers Bey (" Bey" ) pulled into the parking lot of the Budget Inn, located in New Castle County, Delaware. People noticed that he was intoxicated, waving around a lot of cash, and generally attracting attention. When the residents of the Budget Inn saw Bey, they saw him as an easy mark. Jessica " Bella" Harvey, (" Harvey" ), who lived in room 109 and worked as a prostitute, noticed Bey, and, along with Tasha " China" Mahaley (" Mahaley" ), spoke to him at his car. Both wanted to " date" Bey.

Whitehurst and Mahaley, his girlfriend and mother of his child, approached Whitehurst's friend of thirty years, Tyrone " Uncle Butters" Brown (" Brown" ), and asked him if he had a gun because Whitehurst was " going to knock off the joker around the corner." Brown told Whitehurst he did not have a gun and went back to his room. Whitehurst also approached Chris White (" White" ) and told him that they should " get" or rob Bey. White refused.

Budget Inn's video surveillance, which the police watched with a Budget Inn clerk, showed that Mahaley left room 211, which she shared with Whitehurst and their child, and went downstairs into room 109. An unknown black male then left room 109 and walked towards Memorial Drive and met another person. The unknown

Page 364

Black male who had been in room 109 left the area, but Mahaley and the other individual, a Black male with dreadlocks, walked back towards room 109.

Mahaley then went back to her room, room 211, while the Black male stood outside of room 109. A moment later, Whitehurst, wearing a Black hooded sweatshirt, exited room 211, walked down the steps and met up with the Black male outside of room 109. They lined up in a tactical formation along the wall with Whitehurst behind the other man, who was holding a gun.

Bey was inside room 109 with Harvey. After Harvey's dealer had delivered drugs to her, they heard Whitehurst knock on the door. Harvey opened the door, and Whitehurst pushed his way into the room. A gun barrel prevented Harvey from closing the door. Another resident, Deborah Pyle heard a gunshot from within room ...


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