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Tymes v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

March 7, 2017

MARKEVOUS TYMES Defendant Below, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff Below, Appellee.

          Submitted: March 1, 2017

         Court Below-Superior Court of the State of Delaware Cr. ID No. 1408021173.

          Before HOLLAND, VALIHURA, and SEITZ, Justices.

         This 7th day of March 2017, it appears to the Court, as follows:

         (1) Markevous Tymes was indicted by a grand jury with Second Degree Burglary, two counts of Theft From a Senior, Second Degree Conspiracy, Receiving Stolen Property over $1500, and Criminal Mischief. On September 3, 2015, after a two day trial, a Superior Court jury found Tymes guilty as charged.

         (2) The Superior Court sentenced Tymes on the Burglary Second Degree charge to five years Level 5, Key Program, with credit for 58 days previously served, suspended after three years for two years of Level 4 Crest, suspended after successful completion, for 18 months Level 3. On each of the two Theft Charges, Conspiracy Second Degree, and Receiving Stolen Property charges, the Superior Court sentenced Tymes to twelve months Level 5, suspended for twelve months at Level 2. The court imposed a fine for the Criminal Mischief charge.

         (3) Tymes timely filed a notice of appeal on December 15, 2015. After receiving the no-merit brief and motion to withdraw filed under Supreme Court Rule 26(c) by Tymes's former appellate counsel and the State's Answering Brief, this Court granted his former counsel's motion to withdraw, appointed new counsel, and issued a new brief schedule.

         (4) In this appeal, Tymes contends that: "The trial court committed reversible error by giving a constitutionally defective instruction to the jury on the rebuttable presumption of possession of recently stolen goods. The instruction informed the jury that it could make an inference that Mr. Tymes committed burglary and theft because he possessed recently stolen goods. The jury was also instructed that they could make such an inference if they found that Mr. Tymes's possession of the goods was unexplained or they were unsatisfied by his explanation. The charge as given to the jury shifted the burden to the defense as it failed to instruct the jury that Mr. Tymes had no duty to present evidence in his own defense."

         (5) We have concluded that Tymes's argument is without merit.

         (6) Testimony at trial established the following facts. Raymond Seigfried, who at the time of the incident was 65 years old, resided in North Wilmington. On August 25, 2014, Seigfried left his home at approximately 12:10 p.m. to go to an event for work. When Seigfried returned home at approximately 2:30 p.m., he noticed that his door was not locked. As he walked into his house, he received a phone call. Seigfried answered the call, and the unknown caller told him "I think I have your briefcase."

         (7) As Seigfried entered his house and went upstairs to his computer room, he found that the room had been ransacked and that his laptop computer, work briefcase, and a projector were missing. Seigfried found his bedroom in similar disarray. His personal briefcase, another laptop computer, his wife's medication, a video recorder, and some coins were missing. Seigfried called 911, and Master Corporal Jeffrey Steinberg responded shortly thereafter. Seigfried and Master Corporal Steinberg surveyed the house and discovered a damaged screen and a basement window that had been kicked in.

         (8) Master Corporal Steinberg determined that the call Seigfried received about his briefcase came from a convenience store on Northeast Boulevard in Wilmington. The officer went to the store, and a store employee gave him Seigfried's briefcase. The store manager also allowed Master Corporal Steinberg to review the store's video surveillance system. In the video, Master Corporal Steinberg observed what appeared to be a Honda vehicle pull into the convenience store parking lot. An individual exited the passenger side of the vehicle holding what appeared to be a briefcase and then put the briefcase in a dumpster on the side of the store. The video also showed the driver exit the vehicle, carrying what appeared to be a laptop computer. The driver then entered the store, approached the clerk, and gave him the laptop, which the clerk then returned to the driver. The driver then left the store and got back into the vehicle. The timestamp on the video was 1:02:43 p.m., although it was determined that the timestamp was off by about twenty-five minutes. Master Corporal Steinberg testified that the actual time of the video would be 1:37 p.m.

         (9) That same day, between 1:00 and 2:00 p.m., Helen Ohlson was riding her bicycle near Seigfried's home. Ohlson testified that she observed two sedans: one was silver and looked older with "messed up paint"; the other was a newer looking, "shiny, bright blue" vehicle. The two sedans appeared to be speeding and driving together. Ohlson testified that the driver of the silver vehicle appeared to be a younger and bigger man and was possibly wearing a white t-shirt, and the passenger appeared to be an older, thinner man. The driver of the blue vehicle was a woman. All three individuals were black.

         (10) Detective Cunningham of the New Castle County Police Department, who had been assigned to investigate the burglary, testified that he also observed the video footage from the convenience store. He saw a black male dressed in khaki shorts and another black male dressed in a white t-shirt. Detective Cunningham ...


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