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State v. Monroe

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

March 6, 2014

STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff,
v.
JAMAIEN MONROE, Defendant.

Submitted: January 27, 2014

COMMISSIONER'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION THAT DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR POSTCONVICTION RELIEF SHOULD BE DENIED.

Caterina Gatto, Esquire, Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for the State.

Michael C. Heyden, Esquire, Attorney for Defendant Jamaien Monroe.

Lynne M. Parker Commissioner

This 6th day of March, 2014, upon consideration of Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief, it appears to the Court that:

PRODCEDURAL HISTORY

On November 14, 2007, Defendant Jamaien Monroe was indicted on charges stemming from two separate shootings involving the same victim, Andre "Gus" Ferrell. Defendant Monroe was charged with attempted murder first degree and firearms offenses related to the first shooting of Ferrell on January 26, 2006. Defendant Monroe was also indicted on murder first degree, firearms offenses, and multiple counts of reckless endangering first degree and endangering the welfare of a child arising from the April 2, 2007 shooting that killed Ferrell.

On March 16, 2009, a Superior Court jury found Defendant Monroe guilty of Murder in the First Degree and related charges stemming from the April 2, 2007 shooting. The Superior Court jury found Defendant Monroe not guilty of the Attempted Murder in the First Degree and related charges stemming from the January 26, 2006 shooting. Defendant Monroe was sentenced to life imprisonment plus twelve years.

In the subject action, as more particularly set forth below in the Fact Section of this opinion, the conflict between the victim Ferrell and Defendant Monroe began with an uncharged attempted robbery of Ferrell by Defendant Monroe on January 25, 2006. It then continued with the attempted murder of Ferrell by Defendant Monroe the next day, January 26, 2006. It then ended fifteen months later, on April 2, 2007, with the murder of Ferrell by Defendant Monroe.

Prior to trial, Defendant Monroe filed a Motion in Limine to exclude evidence of the uncharged attempted robbery of Ferrell by Monroe on January 25, 2006. The court held a pretrial hearing on Defendant's motion. The Superior Court denied the motion.[1]The Superior Court held that the evidence of Defendant Monroe's involvement in the necklace robbery was "plain, clear, and conclusive" and could tend to show that Defendant was involved in the necklace robbery the day before the alleged attempted murder, and therefore, had a motive to murder, or to attempt to murder, Ferrell.[2]

On April 2, 2009, a Motion for a New Trial was filed by Defendant Monroe. The only issue raised by Defendant in his motion for a new trial was whether the jury appropriately heard "plain, clear and conclusive" evidence of the prior uncharged necklace robbery at trial. This motion was denied on May 14, 2010.[3]

Defendant filed a direct appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court. On September 14, 2011, the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Superior Court.[4] On October 4, 2011, the Delaware Supreme Court issued its mandate to the Superior Court directing the affirmance of the judgment of the Superior Court.[5]

Thereafter, Defendant filed the subject motion for postconviction relief.

FACTS

The facts giving rise to these offenses, as set forth by the Delaware Supreme Court in its opinion on Defendant's direct appeal[6], are as follows:

The facts are stated in chronological order. They begin with an uncharged attempted robbery of Ferrell by Monroe. They continue with the attempted murder of Ferrell by Monroe the next day. The facts end fifteen months later with the murder of Ferrell by Monroe.
On January 25, 2006, in the early evening, Ferrell, along with his friends, Jonathan Wisher ("Wisher"), Ronald Wright, and "Sal, " went to the G & P Deli at 28th and Market Streets in the City of Wilmington. As Ferrell and Ronald Wright walked towards the deli, they passed by Monroe, Kason Wright and an unknown person. Ferrell and Ronald Wright went into the deli.
Ferrell left the deli before Ronald Wright. At trial, the State presented circumstantial evidence that Ferrell got into a struggle with Ronald Wright and Monroe during an attempt to steal Ferrell's necklaces. Ferrell was left bleeding from the back of the head and his necklace chain was broken. The unknown individual remained in the area and said he had no knowledge of an attempt to rob Ferrell. No criminal charges were filed.
On January 26, 2006, around 12:30 p.m., Ferrell, his uncle "Tony" Wisher, Ronald Wright, and "Sal" were driving in the City of Wilmington. After dropping off his uncle and picking up his brother, Aaron Mummert ("Mummert"), Ferrell drove to the area of 23rd and Carter Streets. As they turned left onto Carter Street, they saw a green Suburban parked partially on the sidewalk on the left side of the street. Some of the occupants of Ferrell's vehicle saw Monroe in the backseat of the Suburban holding a .38 caliber revolver.
At this time, someone named "Brownie" came out into the street, encouraging Ferrell to stop and talk. Ferrell stopped in front of and to the right of the Suburban. The State presented evidence at trial that while Ferrell and "Brownie" were talking, Monroe fired five or six shots towards Ferrell's vehicle. Upon hearing the shots, Ferrell sped off. Bullets hit his car and Ferrell was shot in the back.
Ferrell drove to his grandmother's house at 28th and Washington Streets. He was taken from there to the hospital. Bullet holes were found on the driver's side of Ferrell's car. Warrants were issued for Monroe's arrest for attempted murder, but efforts to apprehend him were unsuccessful.
Fifteen months later, on the evening of April 2, 2007, Ferrell, his girlfriend, Shameka Brown ("Brown"), and his son went to the Village of Crofton in Newark, Delaware to pick up Ferrell's and Brown's minor daughter. While driving, Brown noticed her co-worker, Ronise Saunders ("Saunders"), driving a later-model boxed-shaped white car. The two acknowledged each other and kept driving, Saunders towards Lexington Green Apartments where she lived, and Ferrell towards the Village of Crofton.
After picking up their child, Ferrell and Brown went to Derrs' Market ("Derrs"), located in the Taylortowne Shopping Center in Newark, Delaware, across the street from the Lexington Green Apartments. As Ferrell and Brown drove into Derrs' parking lot, they again saw the white car, this time driven by Saunders' boyfriend (Monroe), backing out of a parking space and exiting Derrs' parking lot. Ferrell parked his car in front of Derrs ...

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