Submitted: June 5, 2019
Below: Superior Court of the State of Delaware Cr. ID:
VALIHURA, SEITZ, and TRAYNOR, Justices.
F. Traynor, Justice.
After a Superior Court jury trial, Guy Jones was convicted of
a number of charges, including first-degree murder. In this
direct appeal, Jones claims eight bases for relief, although
several involve overlapping issues. We reject Jones's
claims and affirm the judgment of the Superior Court.
Several of Jones's arguments are identical or nearly
identical to those advanced by his codefendant, DePaul
Wilson, in a separate appeal. Although this Court's
disposition of Wilson's appeal has no direct preclusive
effect upon Jones's claims, we find no error with our
earlier affirmance of Wilson's convictions and adopt
similar reasoning to reject Jones's claims that are based
on substantially the same facts and legal arguments. In
particular and for the reasons stated in Wilson v.
State,  we reject Jones's arguments that (i)
the prosecutor engaged in misconduct when he argued that the
jury could infer that the alleged murder victim fired shots
from a prone position, and (ii) the trial court abused its
discretion when it overruled Jones's objection to the
prosecutor's statements in closing argument that the jury
was to "decide what occurred."
likewise reject the remainder of Jones's arguments.
First, the trial court did not commit plain error by not
severing the trial of Jones and Wilson sua sponte.
On the record before us, it appears to us that there is at
least a plausible basis for concluding that Jones's trial
counsel chose not to move to sever for strategic reasons. It
did not violate Jones's right to a fair trial for the
trial court to decline to interfere sua sponte with
such a plausible strategy.
Second, Jones's due process rights were not violated when
the State presented a recording of Jones's interview by a
detective that included two comments by the detective to
which Jones now objects. These comments include one where the
detective said, "I hope you come clean here soon,"
and another where the detective said, "you know this
game and you know it well." Jones argues that these
comments improperly impugned Jones's credibility and
character. We disagree. These comments were included only
after Jones had an opportunity to and did in fact redact
objectionable portions of the interview. In other words,
Jones did not object at trial to the jury hearing these
comments. Moreover, these comments were fleeting in the
context of a long interview. And finally, in response to the
detective's comment that he wanted Jones to "come
clean," Jones did indeed change his account to the
Third, it was not improper for the prosecutor to refer to the
defendants' accounts as "stories." As the State
correctly points out, the term "story" has several
meanings, and we are satisfied that when considered in
context, the prosecutor's use of "stories"
meant something like "accounts" and not
Fourth, it was not plain error for the Superior Court to
refer on occasion to Jones and Wilson as a collective unit in
its jury instructions. Neither Jones nor Wilson opposed those
aspects of the instructions during trial, and in any case,
the trial court separately instructed the jury that they
should separately consider each count as to each individual
Last, it was not plain error for the Superior Court to permit
a recording of Jones's police interview to go to the jury
room. Jones did not make a contemporaneous objection, and
Jones's argument on appeal is unavailing. Jones argues
that, as a piece of out-of-court testimony, the recording
should not have been allowed into the jury room. Jones cites
United States v. Binder in support, but
Binder dealt with the videotaped testimony of a
non-defendant witness, distinguishing it from Jones's
case. Furthermore, as we held in Flonnery v. State,
Jones's proposition "does not
apply to . . . incriminating statements a defendant makes
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED that the judgment of the ...