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State v. Bessicks

Superior Court of Delaware, Kent

December 4, 2018


         RK15-04-0120-01 PFBPP (F) RK15-04-0121-01 PABPP (F)


         Upon Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief Pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61

          Lindsay A. Taylor, Esq., Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, for the State of Delaware.

          William L. Bessicks, Pro se


         The defendant, William L. Bessicks ("Bessicks"), was found guilty as charged on June 1, 2016 by a jury of one count of Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited, 11 Del. C. § 1448 and one count of Possession of Ammunition by a Person Prohibited, 11 Del. C. § 1448. An Investigative Services Office report was ordered. On July 26, 2016 Bessicks was sentenced to a total of eight years incarceration, suspended after serving five years minimum mandatory, due to Bessicks prior criminal history, followed by probation.

         A timely Notice of Appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court was filed. Bessicks's Appellate Counsel filed a brief and motion to withdraw pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 26(c). In the motion to withdraw, Appellate Counsel represented that he conducted a conscientious review of the record and concluded that no meritorious issues existed. By letter, counsel informed Bessicks of the provisions of Rule 26(c) and attached a copy of the motion to withdraw and accompanying brief. Bessicks was informed of his right to supplement his attorney's presentation. Bessicks, pro se, raised one issue for appeal for the Supreme Court to consider, which the Supreme Court summarized as follows:

(9) On appeal, Bessicks argues there was insufficient evidence to support his PFBPP conviction. Bessicks claims he could not possess a gun his girlfriend told him she gave away. Bessicks also emphasizes that his girlfriend testified the gun belonged to her and that Bessicks never touched the gun.[1]

         The Supreme Court granted the State's motion to affirm.[2] Next, Bessicks, pro se, filed a Motion for Postconviction Relief pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61. In his motion, Bessicks raises four grounds for relief alleging in part ineffective assistance of counsel.


         The following is a summary of the facts as noted by the Supreme Court in its opinion on Bessicks's direct appeal:

(4) The trial record in this case reflects that, on April 2, 2015, Delaware State Police executed search warrants at two residences in Magnolia. One of the residences was a blue mobile home. When the police arrived at the mobile home to execute the search warrant, they found Bessicks, his girlfriend, and several children present.
(5) During the search, the police found a box of ammunition in a plastic bag hanging over the nightstand on the left side of the bed in the master bedroom. There was male clothing on the left side of the bed. The police found a magazine for a .22 caliber handgun under the right side of the mattress. The police found a loaded .22 caliber handgun on the floor of the bedroom closet. At the mobile home, Bessicks told the police the items under the mattress belonged to him. Bessicks' girlfriend told the police, in Bessicks' earshot, that she once had a handgun in the home, but she had given it away to a homeless person in the area.
(6)The police subsequently interviewed Bessicks and his girlfriend at the police station. After receiving Miranda warnings. Bessicks told the police he and his girlfriend had the gun because of violence in the neighborhood. He said he knew they should not have the gun in the house, but they had to do something. Bessicks also said his girlfriend got the gun from a junkie and he told her the gun was unnecessary and unwise. According to Bessicks, his girlfriend told him that she gave the gun away. As to the box of ammunition over the nightstand, Bessicks said a friend gave it to him because it was the right type of ammunition for the gun. Bessicks put the box of ammunition in a bag and forgot about it.
(7) Bessicks' girlfriend told the police that the gun and magazine belonged to her. At trial, Bessicks' girlfriend testified that the gun, magazine, and the box of ammunition belonged to her and Bessicks never touched them. Bessicks' girlfriend pled guilty to possession of a gun. She testified that she obtained the gun due to violence in the neighborhood. She admitted that she was not truthful when she told the police at the house that she had given the gun away.
(8)The police did not attempt to collect any fingerprint or DNA evidence from the gun. A certified Superior Court record showing Bessicks' 2005 conviction for Robbery in the Second Degree was admitted into evidence. The jury found Bessicks guilty of PFBPP and PABPP.[3]

         BESSICKS' ...

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