Chinn v. Warden, Chillicothe Corr. Inst.

Decision Date29 May 2020
Docket NumberCase No. 3:02-cv-512
PartiesDAVEL CHINN, Petitioner, v. WARDEN, Chillicothe Correctional Institution Respondent.
CourtU.S. District Court — Southern District of Ohio

Judge Sarah D. Morrison

Magistrate Judge Michael R. Merz


Petitioner, a prisoner sentenced to death by the State of Ohio, has pending before this Court a habeas corpus action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. This matter is before the Court upon the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendations (R&R) (ECF No. 60), in which the Magistrate Judge recommended denying relief on all of Petitioner's habeas claims, Petitioner's objections to the R&R (ECF No. 63), and the Warden's response (ECF No. 66.) This matter is also before the Court upon the Magistrate Judge's Supplemental Report and Recommendations (Supplemental R&R) (ECF No. 86), in which the Magistrate Judge addressed a limited number of Petitioner's objections and reiterated his recommendation that the habeas corpus petition be dismissed with prejudice. Petitioner filed objections to the Supplemental R&R (ECF No. 91), and the Warden filed a response (ECF No. 94.)

Additionally, this matter is before the Court upon Petitioner's attempts to amend his Petition to add lethal injection and Hurst claims, the Magistrate Judge's Decision and Orders and Supplemental Memorandum denying those amendments (ECF Nos. 186, 190, 196, 201, 205), and the ensuing objections by Petitioner (ECF Nos. 187, 193, 197, 202.)

As required by 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 72(b), the Undersigned has made a de novo review of the record in this case. Upon said review, the Court finds all of Petitioner's objections to the various R&R's and the Decision and Orders of the Magistrate Judge to be without merit. For the following reasons, Petitioner's Objections (ECF Nos. 63, 91, 187, 193, 197, 202) are OVERRULED. The R&R, Supplemental R&R, and the decisions regarding amendments (ECF Nos. 186, 190, 196, 201 and 205) are ADOPTED and AFFIRMED. The Petition is DENIED and this action is DISMISSED.

I. Factual Background and Procedural History

In 1989, and after a trial by jury in Montgomery County, Ohio, Petitioner Davel Chinn was convicted of Aggravated Murder, in violation of R.C. 2903.01(B), for purposely causing the death of Brian Jones in the course of a kidnapping and robbery. Petitioner was sentenced to death pursuant to R.C. 2929.02, et seq. The Magistrate Judge set forth the facts and procedural history of this case in the original Report and Recommendations, in which the Magistrate Judge quoted the Ohio Supreme Court's summarization of the facts of this case:

On the evening of January 30, 1989, Davel "Tony" Chinn, appellant, completed a midterm examination at Cambridge Technical Institute in Dayton. Later that night, fifteen-year-old Marvin Washington saw appellant near Courthouse Square in downtown Dayton. Washington, who had known appellant for approximately one year, knew him only by the name of "Tony." Washington and appellant spent part of the night drinking beer and loitering around the downtown area. At some point, appellant showed Washington a .22 caliber nickel-plated revolver and suggested that they look for someone to rob. At approximately 11:00p.m., Washington went into an adult bookstore on South Ludlow Street and was ejected from the store because of his age. Thereafter, Washington and appellant loitered in the area of South Ludlow Street looking for someone to rob.
Meanwhile, Gary Welborn and Brian Jones had pulled their cars into a parking lot at the corner of South Ludlow Street and Court Street and had parked side-by-sidein opposite directions to converse with each other through their driver's side windows. Appellant and Washington spotted the two men and decided to rob them.
Washington approached Jones's vehicle from the rear, and appellant approached Welborn's car from the rear. Appellant pulled out a small silver revolver, pressed it against the side of Welborn's head, and demanded money. Welborn saw Washington's face, but he was unable to see the face of the gunman. Welborn handed his wallet to Washington, and Jones handed his wallet to the gunman. According to Welborn, "the guy with the gun said we'd better have at least a hundred dollars between us or he'd kill us both." After emptying the victims' wallets of money, the two assailants began discussing which car they wanted to steal. Following a brief discussion, they decided to steal both cars. Washington got into the driver's side of Jones's car and forced Jones into the passenger's seat. Appellant instructed Welborn to remain still. As appellant began walking toward the back of Welborn's vehicle, Welborn seized the opportunity to escape. At trial, Welborn testified, "The guy, he comes around. He starts walking around my car, telling me not to touch my keys. He still has the gun pointed at me. I watch him in my rearview mirror and sideview mirror. As soon as he gets behind my car, I duck down. I thought he was going to kill me now or later anyway so I ducked down in my car seat, threw it in drive, and took up off [sic] Ludlow the wrong way, straight to the police station." Welborn arrived at the station at approximately 11:30 p.m., and reported the incident to police.
After Welborn had escaped, appellant got into the back seat of Jones's car and held the revolver to Jones's neck while Washington drove the car away from Dayton and toward an area in Jefferson Township. At some point, appellant instructed Washington to turn the vehicle around and to pull over to the side of the road. Washington complied with appellant's instructions. After Washington had stopped the car, he leaned forward in the driver's seat so that appellant could exit the two-door vehicle from the driver's side. According to Washington, appellant got out of the car and walked around to the passenger's side. Appellant then got Jones out of the car and shot him. Appellant and Washington drove away from the scene in Jones's automobile. While fleeing from the scene, appellant told Washington that he shot Jones because Jones could have identified them and because Jones "didn't have enough money." Appellant told Washington that he had shot Jones in the arm.
Stacy Ann Dyer lived at 5500 Germantown Pike in Jefferson Township. Dyer witnessed the shooting but did not see the gunman's face. Dyer testified that on January 30, 1989, at approximately 11:30 p.m., she had just arrived home and parked in her driveway facing the street. At that time, Dyer saw a black two-door Chevrolet Cavalier pull off to the side of the road on Germantown Pike. Dyer observed a man get out of the driver's side of the vehicle and walk over to the passenger's side. She also saw the silhouette of a person exiting the vehicle fromthe passenger's side. The two people then walked to the back of the car. At that moment, Dyer heard a gunshot and a scream. The victim ran through Dyer's yard and fell to the ground in her neighbor's yard. Dyer then saw the black car speed away from the scene. Dyer ran inside her house and informed her father and her sister what had happened. Dyer's sister called police, and Dyer and her father went outside to check on the victim. They found the victim, Brian Jones, on his knees with his face to the ground. Dyer asked the victim whether he was injured, but Jones did not respond. When police and paramedics arrived at the scene, Jones was still breathing but was unconscious. He never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
Dr. David M. Smith performed the autopsy. Smith found that Jones had died as a result of a massive acute hemorrhage due to a gunshot wound to his arm and chest. Smith found that the projectile had entered through Jones's left arm, had proceeded directly into Jones's chest, and had perforated the main pulmonary artery. Smith recovered the .22 caliber lead projectile from an area near the base of Jones's heart. Carl H. Haemmerle, an expert in firearms, examined the .22 caliber projectile and determined that it had been fired from a revolver. He also examined the sweatshirt that Jones had been wearing at the time of the shooting. Evidence revealed that the muzzle of the weapon had been in direct contact with the garment at the time the shot was fired.
Following the shooting, Washington and appellant drove in Jones' car to 5214 Lome Avenue in Dayton. There, Washington introduced appellant to Christopher "Bay" Ward. Ward testified that, on January 31, 1989, at approximately 12:30 or 1:00 a.m., Washington had pulled up to 5213 Lome Avenue in the black Chevrolet Cavalier and had introduced Ward to a man named "Tony," who was seated in the front passenger's seat. Ward spoke to Washington for approximately thirty to forty-five minutes until Washington and the man he was with drove away. Later that night, Washington returned to Lome Avenue and told Ward that "Tony" had shot someone in Jefferson Township.
On February 5, 1989, police arrested Washington based on information they had received from Ward. Washington confessed to police and named Tony as the killer. However, Washington was unable to give police the suspect's last name and address. On February 7, Washington helped police prepare a composite sketch of Tony. Later, after police had nearly exhausted all leads in their search for Tony, the composite sketch was released to the news media. On Wednesday, February 22, 1989, a Dayton area newspaper printed the composite sketch along with an article indicating that the suspect's name was Tony.
Shirley Ann Cox worked as a receptionist in her husband's law office. On Thursday, February 23, two men walked into the office. One of the men identified himself as Tony Chinn and requested to see Cox's husband. Cox informed the manthat her husband was not available. That night, while Cox was reading the previous day's newspaper, she saw the composite sketch of the suspected killer. She said to her

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