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State v. Sells

Superior Court of Delaware, Kent

October 11, 2017

STATE OF DELAWARE,
v.
WILLIAM S. SELLS, Defendant.

         RK11-10-0177-01 Robbery 1st (F)

         RK11-10-0178-01 PFDCF (F)

         RK11-10-0190-01 Consp. 2nd (F)

         RK11-10-0210-01 Assault 2nd (F)

         Upon Consideration of Defendant's Motion For Postconviction Relief Pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61

          Susan G. Schmidhauser, Esq., Deputy Attorney General, Dover, Delaware. Attorney for the State.

          William S. Sells, Pro se.

          COMMISSIONER'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          Andrea M. Freud Commissioner.

         On May 28, 2013, the Defendant William S. Sells ("Sells") was found guilty following a jury trial to one count of Robbery in the First Degree; one count Possession of a Firearm During by a person Prohibited; one count of Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited; one count of Wearing a Disguise During the Commission of a Felony; six counts of Aggravated Menacing; and five counts of Reckless Endangering. He was acquitted of one count of Conspiracy in the First Degree and one count of Conspiracy in the Second Degree. He was declared an habitual offender and sentenced to a total of ninety-eight years incarceration. A timely appeal was filed and the Delaware Supreme Court reviewed and remanded the matter back to this Court.

         Subsequently Sells pled guilty on July 13, 2015 the morning his second trial was scheduled to begin to one count of Robbery in the First Degree, one count Possession of a Firearm during Commission of a Felony, one count of Conspiracy Second Degree and one count of Assault Second Degree. Nolle prosequis were entered on all remaining charges. The Court sentenced Sells in accordance with the Plea Agreement as follows: as to Robbery First Degree, twenty-five years at Level V incarceration, pursuant to 11 Del. C. § 4214 as an habitual offender;[1] as to Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, five years at Level Vincarceration, followed by two years at Level III, pursuant to 11 Del C. § 4214; Assault Second Degree, eight years at Level V incarceration, suspended after five years at Level V, followed by two years at Level III, pursuant to 11 Del C. § 4214; and Conspiracy Second Degree, two years at Level V incarceration, suspended for two years at Level III. Had he gone to trial and been found guilty of all offenses charged he would have faced life in prison. As noted in the plea transcript, the Plea Agreement was the result of lengthy negotiations between the parties. Sells did not appeal his conviction or sentence to the Delaware Supreme Court instead he filed the pending Motion for Postconviction Relief, pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel.

         FACTS

         Following are the facts as set forth by the Delaware Supreme Court:

On August 26, 2011, a masked man entered the First National Bank of Wyoming in Felton, Delaware (the "Bank"), displayed what appeared to be firearm, ordered the Bank manager to exit her office, and told the tellers to empty the cash drawers. During the robbery, the man jumped over a counter in the Bank and blood was later discovered on the ceiling above that counter.FN4 The man placed the money from the cash drawers into a satchel and exited the Bank. These events were recorded on the Bank's security cameras. The money taken from the Bank contained dye packs, a security device designed to stain money taken from the Bank, and "bait bills, " bills for which the bank had recorded and maintained serial numbers in case of theft. Over $54, 000 was taken from the Bank.
When the suspect exited the Bank, he entered a black SUV. An employee of the Bank who ran outside during the robbery testified that she saw the SUV driving away from the Bank and that the SUV was emitting "pink, red smoke" which indicated to her that the dye pack had gone off. Officer Keith Shyers of the Harrington Police Department ("Officer Shyers") also observed the SUV, and testified that he saw a black male "hanging out [of] the window" of the SUV and a "red poof" that "looked like some kind of paint."
Because the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed and he thought something was suspicious, Officer Shyers turned around and began following the SUV. Officer Shyers then heard a call that went out over the radio - dispatch for a robbery that had just occurred at the Bank. Officer Shyers was the first officer to begin pursuing the car and was the lead vehicle for much of the pursuit. A few minutes into the pursuit, the SUV stopped at an intersection and the passenger got out of the vehicle and began firing shots at the pursuing officers. Officer Shyers testified that he was approximately 20 to 30 feet from the passenger and theat the passenger was a black male wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt.
The passenger then got back in the SUV and a high-speed pursuit ensued involving officers from the Delaware State Police, Harrington Police Department, and Felton Police Department. At various points during the pursuit, the passenger popped up through the sunroof and fired shots at the officers. The left rear tire of Officer Shyer's vehicle was shot and ...

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