Submitted: December 22, 2017
Below-Superior Court of the State of Delaware Cr. ID Nos.
VAUGHN, SEITZ, and TRAYNOR, Justices.
Collins J. Seitz, Jr. Justice.
16th day of February 2018, upon consideration of
the parties' briefs and the record below, it appears to
the Court that:
appellant, Ronald B. Jackson, filed this appeal from his
convictions after a jury trial and a bench
trial. We find no merit to the appeal and affirm
the Superior Court's judgment.
November 17, 2016, a Superior Court jury found Jackson guilty
of Carrying a Concealed Deadly Weapon, Aggravated Menacing,
Reckless Endangering in the First Degree, two counts of
Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony
("PFDCF"), Criminal Mischief, Resisting Arrest, and
Criminal Impersonation. In a bench trial, the Superior Court
found Jackson guilty of Possession of a Firearm by a Person
Prohibited ("PFBPP") and Possession of Ammunition
by a Person Prohibited ("PABPP"). These charges had
been severed from the other charges that were the subject of
the jury trial. After granting the State's motion to
declare Jackson a habitual offender under 11 Del. C.
§ 4214(c), the Superior Court sentenced Jackson to sixty
years of Level V incarceration, suspended after thirty-five
following evidence was presented at Jackson's jury trial.
On February 23, 2016 around 3 a.m., Officer James Wiggins and
Officer Leonard Moses were on patrol in Wilmington. While
conducting a traffic stop around Second Street and Madison
Street, they heard a gunshot nearby. They drove toward West
4th Street and saw a black man in black clothing
running down an alley. Officer Moses got out of the car and
chased the man as Officer Wiggins drove around to try and cut
the person off. Officer Wiggins left the car to explore the
alley, but did not find anyone there.
Returning to 2nd Street, Officer Wiggins heard
Officer Moses call that he saw the suspect. Officer Moses had
not seen anyone in the alley and returned to 2nd
Street where he saw the suspect standing on top of an
exterior stairway to 201 North Madison Street. After Officer
Moses called out to the suspect, he saw him throw a dark
object over the railing. Officer Moses testified that when
the object hit the ground it sounded like a gun hitting the
Officer Wiggins and Officer Moses identified Jackson as the
person on the stairs. As Jackson came down the stairs, he
told the officers that the person they were looking for went
east on 2nd Street. They did not see anyone in
that direction. Jackson resisted when the police officers
tried to take him into custody. The police officers
eventually subdued Jackson on the ground and placed him in
the back of their patrol car. There was a black and silver
gun on the ground near where Jackson was seized. Jackson gave
false names and birth dates when asked to identify himself.
Another police officer, who was not wearing gloves, secured
the gun. There were eight rounds of ammunition in the
magazine and one round in the chamber. No fingerprints were
found on the gun. The gun was not tested for DNA evidence. No
gunshot residue tests were performed.
After Jackson was secured, the police officers learned there
was a 911 call reporting a shooting in the apartment building
at 201 North Madison Street. Officer Wiggins went to the
apartment of the caller, Tyrone Roberts. Officer Wiggins saw
a bullet hole in a living room window of the apartment. No
discharged bullets or spent shell casings were found. A
systems administrator with the Wilmington Police Department
testified that ShotSpotter, an acoustic detection system
company, reported a gunshot on February 23, 2016 at 201 North
police took Jackson to Wilmington Hospital where he was
treated for a cut he suffered during his arrest. Jackson
tried to flee at the hospital. He also continued to give the
police false names and birth dates.
Roberts testified that Jackson came to his apartment on
February 23, 2016 after they had spent time together earlier
in the day. Even though Jackson had punched him and sent him
threatening text messages that day, Roberts let Jackson into
the apartment. According to Roberts, Jackson threatened to
kill him, pulled out a gun, and pointed the gun at his face.
Jackson fired the gun, creating a hole in the window. Jackson
told Roberts that could have been his life.
Roberts then went to the bathroom where he called 911 on his
cell phone. Roberts testified that he did not recall if he
smoked PCP that night and that he had previously been found
incompetent. The Superior Court denied defense
counsel's motion for judgment of acquittal on the charge
of Aggravated Menacing, but sua sponte dismissed the
Offensive Touching charge, which was based on Jackson
punching Roberts, because it was unclear if that occurred in
Delaware or Pennsylvania.
Jackson testified in his own defense. Jackson testified that,
on February 22, 2016, he drove Roberts to Philadelphia in
exchange for gas money. After an argument, Jackson left
Roberts in Philadelphia. Roberts called Jackson multiple
times to demand the return of his money.
According to Jackson, he went to Roberts' apartment that
night to return Roberts' money. He noticed the odor of
PCP when he returned the money to Roberts. He also claimed
there was a hole in Roberts' window. While in
Roberts' apartment, Jackson heard a gunshot outside of
the apartment. Jackson testified that Roberts acted strangely
after hearing the gunshot, possibly due to a PCP reaction,
and accused Jackson of trying to kill him. Jackson left
When Jackson left the apartment building, he noticed a man
running down the street. The police then stopped Jackson and
asked him to come down the stairs. Jackson told the police
about the running man, but the police arrested Jackson.
According to Jackson, he gave false names to the police
because he was confused and frightened after the police threw
him onto the ground. He testified that he tried to flee the
hospital because he was nervous about how the police had
treated him. During his testimony, Jackson stated that he was
convicted of Maintaining a Dwelling for Keeping Controlled
Substances and Conspiracy in the Second Degree in 2009. At
defense counsel's request, the Superior Court instructed
the jury to assume that if Jackson's coat on the night of
his arrest had been collected or preserved by the State, it
would not have incriminated Jackson and would have tended to
prove Jackson not guilty.
After the jury found Jackson guilty of Carrying a Concealed
Deadly Weapon, Aggravated Menacing, Reckless Endangering in
the First Degree, two counts of PFDCF, Criminal Mischief,
Resisting Arrest, and Criminal Impersonation, the Superior
Court held a bench trial on the PFBPP and PABPP charges. The
State introduced the evidence from the jury trial. Jackson
stipulated that he was a person prohibited from possessing a
firearm or ammunition. The Superior Court found Jackson
guilty of PFBPP and PABPP.
appeal, Jackson's claims may be summarized as follows:
(i) the Superior Court erred in allowing a police officer to
testify that the hole in Roberts' living room window was
a bullet hole and to give possible reasons for why he did not
find a projectile; (ii) his confrontation rights under the
Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution were
violated by the State's failure to call the preparer of
the ShotSpotter report as a witness; (iii) the Superior Court
erred in allowing the jury to receive a photograph of
Jackson's injured lip; (iv) the Superior Court erred in