Monk v. Bradt

Citation778 F.Supp.2d 352
Decision Date22 April 2011
Docket NumberNo. 09–CV–0932(VEB).,09–CV–0932(VEB).
PartiesJohn Henry MONK, Petitioner,v.Mark L. BRADT, Superintendent, Respondent.
CourtUnited States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Western District of New York

778 F.Supp.2d 352

John Henry MONK, Petitioner,
Mark L. BRADT, Superintendent, Respondent.

No. 09–CV–0932(VEB).

United States District Court, W.D. New York.

April 22, 2011.

[778 F.Supp.2d 355]

John Henry Monk, Alden, NY, pro se.Shawn P. Hennessy, Buffalo, NY, for Respondent.

VICTOR E. BIANCHINI, United States Magistrate Judge.I. Introduction

Petitioner pro se John Henry Monk (“Monk” or “Petitioner”) seeks a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. On December 6, 2006, Monk was indicted for the June 2005 murder of Sandra Hainesworth (“Hainesworth” or “the victim”) in her home. Monk became a suspect after detectives in the Buffalo Police Department's “cold case” squad matched DNA evidence found at the crime scene to a DNA sample that Monk had previously submitted to the state-wide DNA databank. Following a jury trial in New York State Supreme Court (Erie County), the jury convicted him of one count of first degree murder (New York Penal Law (“P.L.”) § 125.27(1)(a)(vii)),1

[778 F.Supp.2d 356]

one count of first degree burglary (P.L. § 140.30(3)), and one count of third degree criminal possession of a weapon (P.L. § 265.02(1)). In his Section 2254 petition, Monk contends that his state-custody is unconstitutional as the result of certain constitutional errors at his trial.

II. Factual Background and Procedural HistoryA. The Prosecution's Case
1. Kimberly King, the Victim's Neighbor

On the day of Hainesworth's death, Kimberly Lynette King (“King”) noticed that her neighbor had not answered her door or telephone all day. T.382.2 Finally, at around 9:00 P.M., King decided to go into Hainesworth's house to check on her. T.383.

As King approached the house, she noted a blue garbage tote or container outside by a first-floor window; there was broken glass in the area. T.383. King testified that the blue garbage tote was “never there by her window” before. Id. When King put her hand up to the window, she thought “something is not right.” Id. King went and got her husband.

Upon entering the house, they could see that it had been ransacked: “The curtains were a mess[,]” torn from the wall; there were “papers everywhere”; the “kitchen table was ... a mess”; drawers were open in the bedroom; and “things in the bathroom didn't look right.” T.385. King, who had regularly been inside Hainesworth's house two to three times a week, stated that she had been invited inside the house on June 23rd, the day before the murder, and everything was “clean” and “in place.” T.387. King testified that the kitchen window had not been broken; Hainesworth “would never stay there in the house if a window was broken” and “[a]nytime something got broken like that it would be fixed right then.” T.387. King did not see any blood on the kitchen floor. T.387. King stated, “When you go to Miss Sandra's house everything is always in place.” T.388.

King and her husband found Hainesworth's body in the bedroom. She was lying sideways across her bed, and her left hand was tied to the bedpost while her legs dangled a little off the bed. T.384. King said that she saw “a lot of blood.” T.385. King immediately began trying to call the police.

2. The Crime Scene Investigation

Buffalo Police Department Detectives Michael Mordino (“Det. Mordino”) and Michael Acquino (“Det. Acquino”) went to 500 Goodyear Street at 10:10 P.M. in response to King's 911 call. T.390, 444. Det. Mordino observed the blue garbage tote near the broken window on the south side of the house. T.392. Several cigarette butts that appeared to have been recently discarded near the garbage tote, which had footprints on top of it. T.392–93. Det. Mordino deduced that the window above the garbage tote had been the point-of-entry into Hainesworth's house. T.392.

[778 F.Supp.2d 357]

Inside the kitchen, Det. Mordino found some broken glass, as well as a brick that was similar appearance to a brick he had noticed in the backyard. T.395. He also found a telephone cord on the table; the cord had a small blood smear on it. T.395, 405. A small droplet of blood was present on the floor near the kitchen table. T.403. A wrapped envelope containing $875 was discovered in Hainesworth's freezer. T.407–08, 484.

In the bathroom, Det. Mordino found Hainesworth's underwear in the sink and a bottle of rubbing alcohol sitting on the floor. T.397. He also noticed that there were a couple of pink washcloths on the floor and there was something (either tissue or a rag) inside the toilet. T.397.

In the bedroom, Det. Mordino found the body of an elderly black female, tied with white pantyhose or nylons to the bedpost; both arms were tied at the wrists. T.398. The victim was wearing a nightgown but was nude from the waist down. She had one sneaker on her left foot. T.417l. Bloody stab wounds were “all around” her neck area. The victim had an orange kerchief on her head; wrapped around her face, covering her mouth and eyes, was a pink towel. T.398. There was a purse, with its contents emptied out, on the bed. T.417.

Det. Acquino performed a canvass of the victim's neighborhood. A friend of the deceased named Ruffin told him about a nephew, David Johnson (“Johnson”), who had a crack cocaine addiction. T.447, 450. Johnson denied anything to do with the crime, stating that he was with a female companion. T.447. Johnson provided a DNA sample by means of a buccal (interior of the mouth) swab; the results eliminated him from being at the crime scene. T.447.

A few days later, the police received a lead about Jeffrey DuBose (“DuBose”), whom one of the victim's neighbors had seen near the house on the day of the murder. T.448. DuBose, however, had an alibi which checked out. T.449. In addition, DuBose gave a DNA sample, the results of which eliminated him from the murder scene. T.449.

Detective James Maroney (“Det. Maroney”) assisted with evidence collection at the crime scene. T.470 et seq. In particular, Det. Maroney catalogued the “very slight impression of a shoe or a sneaker in dirt” on top of the blue garbage tote; the cigarette butts lying in the driveway; and a soda bottle by the side door to the house. T.473. There were no usable latent fingerprints or DNA on the garbage tote. T.475. The cigarette butts seemed fairly fresh, though they did not have any ashes attached, so they had been there for a little while. The DNA results from the cigarette butts indicated they were from an unidentified male and did not match Petitioner's DNA profile. T.525. The sneaker print was not able to be individualized; the report just came back as a saw-tooth shoe print pattern with no real class characteristics. T.477.

Det. Maroney, during his investigation, found some small, copper-colored filaments on the bedroom floor, the type of material sometimes used to stuff the inside of a crack pipe. T.485, 512. With regard to the usable latent prints found in the house, the police were unable to connect them with anyone who had been arrested before. T.500. The blood droplet on the floor in the kitchen was fairly intact; it had not flaked or cracked. T.507.

As set forth further below in the forensic serologist's testimony, the telephone cord with the dry red smear-type stain on it was submitted for testing, and the profile from the stain matched Petitioner's DNA profile. T.527.

[778 F.Supp.2d 358]

3. Petitioner's Arrest

On April 17, 2006, Detective Charles Aronica (“Det. Aronica”) of the Homicide Cold Case Bureau received a call from Det. Mordino indicating that they had a DNA match from the Hainesworth case. T.552. Later that day, Det. Aronica and his partner interviewed Petitioner at the police department. T.553. Petitioner waived his Miranda rights and agreed to speak with the detectives. T.555–56. He did not ask why they wanted to talk to him.

When asked where he had been in June 2005, Petitioner stated that he had been living at 17 West Utica, in a veteran's housing facility. T.559. Petitioner was familiar with Goodyear Street; his former fiancée, Kathy McIlwain, lived on Goodyear Street near East Ferry with her daughter. T.560. Petitioner stated that the last time he had been on Goodyear Street was between 2003 and 2004; the latest would have been 2004. T.560. Det. Aronica asked Petitioner this question different ways at least six times; each time, Petitioner stated that he had not been on Goodyear Street in 2005; that the latest time he would have been there was 2004; and he stated the was “positive” about that. T.560, 561. The last time he had been there, he had picked up Hainesworth and McIlwain to go buy cigarettes in 2004. T.562.

When asked if he knew Hainesworth, Petitioner said that he did and that he also knew her late husband, Leo. Petitioner said that he used to go over and visit with Leo; they would watch basketball games together. T.561. Petitioner said that he had been inside the house “maybe three times”, and indicated that he had been in the bathroom, the kitchen, and the food pantry. T.563. Petitioner denied ever having been in a bedroom at Hainesworth's house. T.564.

When asked about the last time he saw Hainesworth, Petitioner began “volunteering information about his medical problems”, saying that it had to be no later than 2004 because he was “quite sick” in 2005. T.562. He specifically denied being at the victim's house on June 23rd or June 24th of 2005, explaining that he was not able to get around, that he had to use medical transportation, that his feet were swollen, and that he had a spinal infection. T.562, 563. Petitioner explained that he did not work and collected disability insurance—approximately $600 per month.

Det. Aronica asked Petitioner if he had ever been romantically involved with Hainesworth and he answered, “[N]o way.” T.564. Petitioner told Det. Aronica that Hainesworth had three or four boyfriends. T.571.

Petitioner flatly denied killing Hainesworth. T.564. Det. Aronica's last question was: “[Y]ou tell me how your DNA got into Sandra Hainesworth's bedroom.” T.565...

To continue reading

Request your trial
4 cases
  • Blake v. Martuscello, 10-CV-02570 (MKB)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • July 8, 2013
    ...Aff. 3.) The alleged violation of the "best evidence rule" is a New York evidentiary rule and not a federal claim. Monk v. Bradt, 778 F. Supp. 2d 352, 367 (W.D.N.Y. 2011) ("'[N]ecessarily include[d]' in that category of mere state-law errors that do not warrant habeas relief are 'erroneous ......
  • Redding v. N.Y. State Dep't of Corr.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • January 16, 2020 was "not the kind ofPage 33 blanket exclusion rule that traditionally risks running afoul of the Constitution."); Monk v. Bradt, 778 F. Supp. 2d 352, 374 (W.D.N.Y. 2011) (same). The state court's finding that the trial court properly precluded Petitioner's expert witness testimony was, t......
  • Lynch v. Dolce
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Western District of New York
    • April 21, 2014
    ...U.S. at 308 (quoting Rock v. Arkansas, 483 U.S. at 56); see also Holmes v. South Carolina, 547 U.S. 319, 323-25 (2006); Monk v. Bradt, 778 F. Supp.2d 352, 368 (W.D.N.Y. 2011) (citations omitted). "Rules of evidence have been developed over centuries to ensure that juries in our judicial sys......
  • Duchnowski v. Cnty. of Nassau, 15-cv-4699 (LDH) (GRB)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • May 9, 2018
    ...witness with specialized skill and knowledge, the Court will not permit the introduction of the records into evidence. Monk v. Bradt , 778 F. Supp. 2d 352, 374 (W.D.N.Y. 2011) (noting that medical records and the terminology therein are difficult for a jury to interpret without expert assis......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT