Henry v. State, 41

Citation596 A.2d 1024,324 Md. 204
Decision Date01 September 1990
Docket NumberNo. 41,41
PartiesIan George Constantine HENRY v. STATE of Maryland. ,
CourtCourt of Appeals of Maryland

[596 A.2d

1028] William H. Murphy, Jr. (Gary S. Bernstein, M. Cristina Gutierrez, Baltimore), on brief, for appellant.

Valerie J. Smith, Asst. Atty. Gen. (J. Joseph Curran, Jr., Atty. Gen., Gwynn X. Kinsey, Jr., Asst. Atty. Gen., Baltimore), on brief, for appellee.

Argued before ELDRIDGE, RODOWSKY, McAULIFFE, CHASANOW, KARWACKI, CHARLES E. ORTH, Jr., Judge of the Court of Appeals (retired, Specially Assigned), MARVIN H. SMITH, Judge of the Court of Appeals (retired, Specially Assigned), JJ.

CHASANOW, Judge.

Ian George Constantine Henry (Henry) was charged and indicted by a Grand Jury for five counts of murder, six counts of use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence, and one count each of attempted murder, assault with intent to murder, conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to rob, robbery with a deadly weapon, and theft over $300.00. He was tried in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County and was found guilty by a jury on all counts. On March 14, 1990, a capital sentencing proceeding was conducted before the same judge and jury. The jury returned two sentences of death. The trial judge imposed four additional life sentences (three without the possibility of parole), as well as another 120 years incarceration.

An appeal was taken to this Court pursuant to Maryland Rule 8-306(c). Henry has presented several questions for our review, relating to both the judgments of conviction and the sentence of death. A brief synopsis of the evidence adduced at trial is necessary.

The critical events that spawned this case occurred on January 22, 1988. In Bruce v. State, 318 Md. 706, 569 A.2d 1254 (1990), an appeal by one of Henry's co-defendants, we summarized substantially identical testimony given by the same witnesses that testified in the instant case regarding these events:

"Colleen Grady (Ms. Grady) was with [Kirk Bruce] on January 22, 1988. Ms. Grady overheard part of a telephone conversation while [Bruce] was talking to Ian Henry (Henry). In the conversation, [Bruce] mentioned two briefcases of money, 'the Village in the Woods,' 'Chief,' and 'Donny.' During the conversation Ms. Grady observed [Bruce] point his finger and exclaim 'I will kill him. Boom! Boom! '

Several hours after this conversation occurred, police responded to a call of a shooting and entered an apartment at the Village in the Woods apartment complex in Landover, Maryland. There they found five dead bodies. The body of Leonard Francis, also known as 'Chief,' was found next to his wheel chair in the dining room. Chief had three gunshot wounds including one execution style wound to the side of his head. Lloyd Chambers, also known as 'Donny,' was found in the kitchen dead as a result of six gunshot wounds including one in the back of the head. Next to Donny was the body of Everton Mitchell, who died as the result of a gunshot wound to the back of the head. In a back bedroom, police found the bodies of Carlene Hamilton, also known as 'Donna,' with a gunshot wound to the top of her head, and Richard Williams, also known as 'Ritchie,' with eight gunshot wounds including one to the head. Police officers were met by Charmaine Chambers (Ms. Chambers) who had been shot twice in the head, but was still alive."

Id. at 712-13, 569 A.2d 1254, 1257-58.

According to the testimony of Ms. Chambers, she was at the apartment of Leonard "Chief" Francis and Carlene Hamilton on January 22, 1988. Also present were Carl "Fabulous" Dunstrom, Richard Alexander Williams, Everton Mitchell, Kirk Bruce, Lloyd George "Donny" Chambers, and Henry. While in the back bedroom, Ms. Chambers heard gunfire coming from elsewhere in the apartment. Immediately thereafter, Williams ran into the bedroom in a desperate attempt to escape Henry, who was close behind him, wielding a handgun and firing shots. Ms. Chambers further testified that Henry shot her as well as Williams and Ms. Hamilton. When she fell to the floor, Ms. Chambers attempted to hold her breath, in the hope that her assailants would believe she was dead. This effort proved futile, however, for Dunstrom entered the room, realized Ms. Chambers was alive, and shot her in the neck.

Jacqueline Sellers, Dunstrom's former girlfriend, testified that on January 22, 1988, Dunstrom, Bruce, Eddie Bell (Eddie), and Henry left a residence in Upper Marlboro, Maryland with guns "sometime late in the daytime," saying that "they had business to attend to." Later that evening, Eddie returned and told Ms. Sellers and Michelle Nelson (Bruce's girlfriend) to pack and prepare to leave. Bruce, Dunstrom, and Henry returned, and the group drove to Virginia. Ms. Sellers testified that on the way to Virginia, Henry and Dunstrom discussed the killings, saying that "all of them" were dead. She also stated that Henry had "about four guns" with him and put them on the floor of the car under her feet. The group checked into a motel in Virginia, where the men changed out of blood spattered clothes, put the soiled garments in plastic bags, and later disposed of them. Ms. Sellers further stated that when all of them were together watching television, a report of the "Landover murders" was broadcast on the evening news. When they heard the account, all four of the men began jumping, "dancing around and about, bragging about it," and pretending that they were firing shots. The group later traveled to Florida, stayed for about a week, and separated. Dunstrom and Ms. Sellers went to Brooklyn, New York, where Dunstrom was subsequently arrested. Ms. Sellers also testified that on several occasions in Virginia and Florida, she saw Henry in possession of a black leather briefcase "full of money."

Robert Williams, the brother of victim Richard Williams (Ritchie), testified that he worked for the drug organization directed by Chief. He stated that on the afternoon before the shootings, he had gone out on an errand for his brother to retrieve approximately $11,000, which he then delivered to Ritchie. He left Chief's apartment around 6:00 p.m. on January 22, 1988. While in the apartment, he had seen a black leather briefcase containing money.

Henry was arrested on April 15, 1988 in the Bronx, New York. FBI Agent Charles Gianturco testified at trial that he had observed a gun on the floor of an open closet, approximately three to four feet away from Henry at the time of the arrest. The weapon was immediately seized. We shall consider Henry's contentions in the order in which they are raised in his brief.

I. JURY SELECTION

Henry contends that the trial judge erred during voir dire by striking from the panel, over Henry's objection, two prospective jurors who answered affirmatively when questioned by the judge as to whether they had any "beliefs about the imposition of the death penalty ... that would make it very difficult ... to serve as a juror in this case in which the death penalty is sought." Henry also asserts that the court improperly excused two other prospective jurors without permitting defense counsel to inquire further into those jurors' ability to apply the law as instructed.

A. Exclusion of Jurors Deslandes and Rhone

Henry claims that there is nothing in the record to support the trial court's action of excusing prospective jurors Deslandes and Rhone for cause and therefore, Henry's federal and state constitutional rights were violated. Henry maintains that although these two prospective jurors had misgivings about the possible imposition of a death sentence, each juror's concern would not have " 'prevent[ed] or substantially impair[ed] the performance of his duties as a juror in accordance with his instructions and oath.' " Wainwright v. Witt, 469 U.S. 412, 424, 105 S.Ct. 844, 852, 83 L.Ed.2d 841, 851-52 (1985) (quoting Adams v. Texas, 448 U.S. 38, 45, 100 S.Ct. 2521, 2526, 65 L.Ed.2d 581, 589 (1980)). We disagree. The statements made by both Deslandes and Rhone indicate that the trial court had sufficient cause to believe the men could not discharge their duties as jurors effectively or impartially.

Prospective juror Deslandes testified as follows:

MR. DESLANDES: I apologize for my bad English. I don't know how to say it, but I have to say something. As a Christian, I'm a Seventh Day Adventist. I don't know how to handle this kind of trial, you know. I don't know how to put God's law in and man in the same bag. It is very hard for me to judge a situation like that.

* * * * * *

THE COURT: All right. Do you think you are just as qualified as all of those people sitting back there to make a decision based on the facts and circumstances?

MR. DESLANDES: I feel confused, you know, I don't know how to handle that.

* * * * * *

THE COURT: ... Let me ask you this. If based on the facts of this case you felt that the evidence in this case warranted the imposition of the death penalty after I explain the law to you in regards to the facts, do you think that you could then impose the death penalty?

MR. DESLANDES: You see I have a conflict.

THE COURT: What is your conflict?

MR. DESLANDES: My conflict is that there was a murder, okay? Someone was killed. Now, to repair that I'm going to kill another?

On the other hand, let the guy be free to kill again? I don't know, it is confusing for me. I don't feel comfortable to face this kind of trial.

* * * * * *

THE COURT: Do you think based on the evidence in this case you could find him guilty or not guilty? Do you have any problem on that?

MR. DESLANDES: I'm not sure.

THE COURT: What problem would you have?

MR. DESLANDES: To understand why, you know.

THE COURT: Finding him guilty or not guilty has nothing to do with the sentence in this case. Do you think you would have any problems?

MR. DESLANDES: Another thing is emotionally I think sometimes I can be biased.

THE COURT: What does that mean?

MR. DESLANDES: You...

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