Submitted: November 6, 2019
Below: Superior Court of the State of Delaware Cr. ID. No.
SEITZ, Chief Justice; VAUGHN and TRAYNOR, Justices.
T. Vaughn, Jr. Justice.
7th day of January 2020, upon consideration of the
parties' briefs, oral argument, and the record on appeal,
it appears to the Court that:
Officers arrested Daiquan Bordley and co-conspirators Chelsea
Braunskill and Zhyree Harmon in connection with a
robbery-turned-murder that occurred at the Port Mahon fishing
pier on the Delaware Bay. A grand jury indicted Bordley on
counts of Murder First Degree, Robbery First Degree,
Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony,
and Conspiracy Second Degree. Braunskill and Harmon entered
into plea agreements and testified at Bordley's trial.
Bordley's trial was by the Superior Court without a jury.
The trial judge convicted Bordley on all counts. This appeal
Bordley makes three claims on appeal. First, he contends that
his due process rights were violated because of prosecutorial
misconduct. Second, he contends that his due process rights
were violated because the trial judge admitted into evidence
text messages that were not properly authenticated. Finally,
he contends that his due process rights were violated because
the trial judge did not consider whether notes Harmon had
written impeached his trial testimony. We find no merit to
Bordley's claims and affirm the trial judge's
findings of guilt.
Bordley and Chelsea Braunskill devised a plan to lure Dontray
Hendricks to the Port Mahon pier east of Little Creek for the
purpose of robbing him. Braunskill and Hendricks knew each
other through marijuana sales, with each having sold
marijuana to the other. At some point, Harmon also joined the
conspiracy. On the day of the murder, Braunskill contacted
Hendricks and said she wanted to buy marijuana and smoke it
with him that evening. They agreed that Hendricks would pick
Braunskill up in his car. Braunskill invited her college
roommate, Alexis Golden, to go along, and when evening came
the three of them set out for the Port Mahon pier. As they
drove to the pier, Braunskill texted Bordley to keep him
informed of their activity. When they arrived at Port Mahon,
Hendricks, Golden, and Braunskill walked out onto the pier
and smoked marijuana. About 10 or 15 minutes later, Bordley,
Harmon, and Harmon's brother-in-law, Christopher
Gartner-Hunter, arrived at the pier in Bordley's vehicle.
The three exited Bordley's vehicle and walked out on the
pier. Bordley and Hendricks then engaged in what Golden
called a tussle and Harmon described as wrestling. Bordley
then shot and killed Hendricks. Braunskill's testimony
was that Bordley "walked straight up to him and shot
him." Bordley, Harmon, and Gartner-Hunter then
fled in Bordley's vehicle and Braunskill and Golden fled
in Hendricks' vehicle.
Bordley's first contention is that the prosecutor engaged
in misconduct - specifically witness intimidation - depriving
him of his due process rights. During the defense's case,
Bordley's counsel called Christopher Gartner-Hunter as a
subpoenaed witness. After Gartner-Hunter had taken the
witness stand and been sworn, but before defense counsel
asked a question, one of the prosecutors, in open court,
informed the trial judge, "Your Honor, before we begin
testimony with this witness, I believe it would be
appropriate for the Court to do a colloquy with him. He is
still a suspect in this case, and he has not been arrested at
this time." The trial judge asked, "And then you
request a colloquy?" The prosecutor replied:
That's correct, Your Honor. The Court has heard testimony
regarding Mr. Gartner-Hunter and his involvement. He has not
been charged yet. It doesn't mean he will not be charged.
I don't know if he's had any opportunity to meet with
a defense attorney regarding whether or not he should
attorney then responded:
I think with a murder charge everyone could be a suspect. I
believe Ms. Golden was a suspect at one point in time. I
think the detective told us that. I would hate to see the
State try to threaten this particular witness to silence him
so he can't give information in Mr. Bordley's case.
He had an attorney that represented him on several different
charges that are out there pending.
When we spoke with him, we are going to try to limit his
testimony to just the ride back from the pier that evening in
a very select topic. So we are not going to go outside that
topic, and I believe that when he speaks to that topic it
will not be incriminating on his part. But, you know,
he's over the age of 18. He was involved in this.
We are talking, Your Honor, also two-and-a-half years that
the State comes forward now and says, "Well, he is still
a suspect. We still might arrest him," just to quiet him
on the stand. I think we have a lot of -- there was a similar
incidence of intimidation, possible intimidation of another
witness by the State. You know, Your Honor, we want the truth
here. We want it to come out. It's going to be limited
trial judge then engaged in the following colloquy with
The Court: Sir, are you represented by counsel?
The Witness: No, sir.
The Court: Have you consulted with counsel concerning any
matters which you may be called to testify today?
The Witness: At one point in time I did.
The Court: All right. Is that counsel still representing you
at the present time?
The Witness: No.
The Court: All right. Do you understand, I hope what's
just been said in court, that -- I am not sure -- I'm the
finder of fact and law here in this case, but I don't
know what your involvement would be. But if there is a risk
you are involved and there is a possibility that based ...