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State v. Wilson

Superior Court of Delaware

March 28, 2018

STATE OF DELAWARE,
v.
DEPAUL WILSON, Defendant.

          Hearing: March 27, 2018

         Upon the State's Motion to Compel the Surgical Removal of a Bullet. Denied.

          Stephen R. Welch, Jr., Esquire and Sean A. Motoyoshi, Esquire of the Department of Justice, Dover, Delaware; attorneys for the State of Delaware.

          Patrick J. Collins, Esquire of Collins & Associates, Wilmington, Delaware; attorney for Defendant DePaul Wilson.

          Suzanne MacPherson-Johnson, Esquire of the Office of the Public Defender, Dover, Delaware; attorney for Defendant Guy E. Jones, Jr.

          ORDER

          Hon. William L. Witham, Jr. Resident Judge.

         Before the Court is the State's Motion to Compel the Surgical Removal of a Bullet from the Defendant, DePaul Wilson. Mr. Wilson has been indicted for two counts of Murder First Degree; Attempted Robbery First Degree; two counts of Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony; Possession of a Firearm or Ammunition by a Person Prohibited[1]; and Conspiracy Second Degree. Mr. Wilson opposes the State's motion on the following grounds: (1) removal of the bullet is unnecessary, as other relevant evidence is available; (2) the State has failed to provide any medical testimony that the bullet may be safely removed; and (3) the Defendant's speedy trial rights would be violated if the Court is required to hold an evidentiary hearing in regard to removal of the bullet. In accordance with Winston v. Lee, the Court agrees that the State has failed to meet the burden imposed upon it. Therefore, the State's motion is DENIED.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         The facts are largely not disputed. On January 10, 2017, the police responded to the scene of a shooting at an apartment located in Dover, Delaware. Upon arrival, officers located Javan Cale, lying on the floor of the apartment suffering from several gunshot wounds. On Mr. Cale's lap was a silver 9mm Smith and Wesson semiautomatic handgun. Multiple shell casings of two different types were located inside the apartment, indicating to police that Mr. Cale had exchanged gunfire with another individual or individuals. Witnesses saw two men leave the apartment matching the descriptions of Mr. Wilson and Mr. Jones, wearing masks and with guns in their possession. One of the black males was walking slowly as if injured and the other male yelled back to him "come on man." Medical personnel arrived on the scene and transported Mr. Cale to the hospital where he was pronounced dead as the result of his injuries.

         The morning after the shooting, Detective Stafford from the Middletown Police Department advised Detective Warren of the Dover Police Department that at 8:15 p.m. the previous night, a man, later identified as DePaul Wilson, arrived at Christiana Care Hospital's Middletown facility suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the lower extremities. Mr. Wilson was transported to Christiana Hospital near Newark, Delaware, but signed himself out and left the hospital before Dover officers arrived there. Detective Warren viewed a CT scan of Mr. Wilson's body in which he could see a projectile in Mr. Wilson's buttocks. Medical records obtained from Christiana Hospital state that Wilson had suffered a "gunshot wound involving the right buttock with bullet lodged within subcutaneous tissue." The records also noted that three small metallic bullet fragments (apparently from a different bullet) were located in Mr. Wilson's left anterior thigh above the knee.

         The police later contacted Mr. Wilson at his home in Worton, Maryland. During a post-Miranda interview, Mr. Wilson acknowledged being present along with Guy Jones and another individual named Andre Brown, when Javan Cale was shot. Guy Jones also gave a post-Miranda statement admitting that he, Wilson, and Brown were at Cale's residence when the shooting occurred. Mr. Jones stated that, at the time of the incident, Mr. Wilson possessed a handgun and had been struck with multiple bullets. Mr. Jones also advised that as they drove from Cale's residence to the hospital, he saw Mr. Wilson's injuries from multiple gunshot wounds and attempted to render medical aid to stop the bleeding. Mr. Jones acknowledged that they dropped Mr. Wilson off at the hospital before driving off.

         According to the State, the projectile located in Mr. Wilson's buttocks appears to be the only intact projectile which is in position to be recovered and which seems likely to have been fired from the firearm possessed by Javan Cale.

         THE PARTIES' ARGUMENTS

         Relying on numerous cases from other jurisdictions, the State contends that examination of the bullet currently lodged in Mr. Wilson's buttocks could establish that Mr. Wilson was shot by Javan Cale, while participating in an attempted robbery of Mr. Cale. The State believes that such evidence is highly relevant to Mr. Wilson's involvement in the instant case. In addition, the State believes that the bullet may be relevant to establish whether the person who actually shot and killed Javan Cale was Mr. Wilson or Mr. Jones. Thus, the State contends that probable cause exists to believe that the proposed medical procedure would result in recovery of the bullet. Further, the bullet can be recovered in no other way than by surgical removal. And, a ...


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