People v. Cooks

Decision Date25 March 1983
Docket NumberCr. 15402
Citation141 Cal.App.3d 224,190 Cal.Rptr. 211
CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
PartiesThe PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Jessie Lee COOKS, Larry Craig Green, Manuel Moore, and J.C.X. Simon, Defendants and Appellants. A010750.

Kenneth F. Coho, San Francisco, Ronald D. MacGregor, Glasgow, Scotland, Michael Satris, Tamal, Alan M. Caplan, Bushnell, Caplan & Fielding, San Francisco, Attorneys for defendants and appellants (Under appointment of the Court of Appeal).

George Deukmejian, Atty. Gen., Robert H. Philibosian, Chief Asst. Atty. Gen., Crim. Div., William D. Stein, Asst. Atty. Gen., Robert R. Granucci, W. Eric Collins, Richard G. Tullis, Deputy Attys. Gen., San Francisco, for plaintiff and respondent.

ROUSE, Acting Presiding Justice.

In May 1974, the Grand Jury for the City and County of San Francisco returned an indictment that accused Jessie Lee Cooks, Larry Craig Green, Manuel Moore, and J.C.X. Simon of conspiracy to commit murder between October 20, 1973, and April 30, 1974 (Pen.Code, §§ 182, 187). The indictment alleged four overt acts (Pen.Code, §§ 184, 1104). Cooks and Green were also accused of the following crimes in which Quita Hague was the victim: kidnaping (Pen.Code, § 207), robbery (Pen.Code, § 211), and murder (Pen.Code, § 187). Cooks and Green were also accused of the following crimes in which Quita's husband, Richard Hague, was the victim: kidnaping (Pen.Code, § 207), robbery (Pen.Code, § 211), and assault with a deadly weapon (Pen.Code, § 245, subd. (a)). These crimes against Mr. and Mrs. Hague were committed on the night of October 20, 1973. The indictment further alleged that in robbing Quita Hague defendant Green inflicted great bodily injury on her (former Pen.Code, § 213), that in robbing Richard Hague defendant Cooks inflicted great bodily injury on him (former Pen.Code, § 213), and that Cooks used a firearm in committing each offense against Richard and Quita Hague (Pen.Code, § 12022.5).

Defendants Moore and Simon were both accused of the murders of Tana Smith and The indictment alleged two prior felony convictions against Cooks (1965 robbery and 1966 federal bank robbery), and one prior felony conviction (1969 burglary) against Moore.

Jane Holly on January 28, 1974 (Pen.Code, § 187). The indictment alleged that Simon used a firearm in killing Tana Smith (Pen.Code, § 12022.5), and that Moore used a firearm in killing Jane Holly (Pen.Code, § 12022.5). Moore and Simon were also accused of assault with a deadly weapon on Roxanne McMillian on January 28, 1974 (Pen.Code, § 245, subd. (a)); the indictment alleged that Simon used a firearm in committing that offense (Pen.Code, § 12022.5). Moore was also charged with assault with a deadly weapon against Ward Anderson and Terry White on April 14, 1974 (Pen.Code, § 245, subd. (a)); the indictment alleged that Moore used a firearm in committing those two offenses (Pen.Code, § 12022.5).

The defendants pleaded not guilty and denied the special allegations. Trial by jury commenced in March 1975, and a year later, in March 1976, the jury, after 18 hours of deliberations, found the defendants guilty of all charges, including first degree murder. The jury also found all the special allegations to be true, other than the alleged prior convictions which Cooks and Moore had admitted before trial. The court sentenced the defendants to state prison for terms provided by law (life imprisonment) under the then existing Indeterminate Sentence Law. Each defendant appeals from his judgment of conviction. We affirm each judgment except for a minor modification of the judgment against Simon.

I. "OPERATION ZEBRA"

In December 1973, and January 1974, a number of persons were randomly shot and killed or injured on the streets of San Francisco. Random shootings occurred again in April 1974. In each instance the victim was a Caucasian and the gunman a Negro male. Witnesses gave police various descriptions of the gunman's height, weight, and appearance. In most instances, the gunman was described as 25 to 30 years old, about 6 feet tall, 160 to 180 pounds. The San Francisco Police Department took extraordinary measures to identify the person or persons responsible for the shootings. The police investigation of these crimes became known as "Operation Zebra," based on the police radio code letters for that particular investigation. This case has become known as the "Zebra" case. 1

In April 1974, the City of San Francisco offered a reward of $30,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons involved in the "Zebra" crimes. Police released to the news media two composite drawings of a suspect, and on April 18, 1974, those sketches appeared in local newspapers. On April 22, 1974, Anthony Cornelius Harris telephoned the San Francisco Police Department and, during a number of interviews on successive days, Harris provided the police with information which led to the arrest (on May 1, 1974) and indictment of the defendants in this case. 2 Although the defendants argued Anthony Harris became a principal prosecution witness before the grand jury and at trial. Because of his involvement in some of the crimes, he invoked (on advice of counsel at trial) his constitutional privilege against self-incrimination. The court, on petition by the People, granted Harris immunity from prosecution and ordered him to testify (Pen.Code, § 1324). When the case was submitted to the jury the court instructed that Anthony Harris was an accomplice as a matter of law, and therefore his testimony had to be corroborated (Pen.Code, § 1111).

that Harris' main motive was revenge against the Black Muslims and collection of the reward, Harris said he telephoned the police primarily "to stop a lot of senseless killing, that's all."

II. BACKGROUND OF ANTHONY HARRIS, THE DEFENDANTS, AND THE ALLEGED CONSPIRACy

At the time of trial, Anthony Harris was 29 years old, a slender, well-groomed, good-looking black man about 5 feet 11 inches tall. He grew up in southern California (Santa Ana and Long Beach) with five brothers and two sisters. He dropped out of school after the ninth grade. Since he was about 14 years old he learned, practiced, and taught the martial art of Kung Fu. Certain defense witnesses revealed that Harris was once married to a white girl and had two children in southern California. A couple of Harris' brothers were also married to white girls. In 1966, Harris was convicted of second degree burglary. In July 1971, he was again convicted of second degree burglary and sentenced to state prison.

In early 1973, Harris became acquainted with defendant Cooks and defendant Moore in San Quentin prison where the three men were inmates. Cooks was about 29 years old, black, muscular, about 6 feet tall, and a boxer or fighter. Moore was also about 29 years old, black, 6 feet 1 inch tall, muscular, and weighed 200 to 210 pounds. Moore was in prison for violation of parole on his 1969 conviction of burglary of a San Bernardino television store. Moore grew up in San Bernardino with six brothers and seven sisters, including Caucasian stepbrothers and stepsisters who were children of his Caucasian stepmother. Although Moore testified that he attended school through the ninth grade, he could not read or write.

Harris testified that while in prison he taught other prisoners the martial art of Kung Fu. Cooks, and later Moore, asked him to teach them Kung Fu. Cooks said he wanted to learn Kung Fu because he wanted to learn how to kill white people. He wanted to kill white people because, among other reasons, "they had castrated and killed and stomped our (black) babies' heads in." He wanted to learn Kung Fu and how to "break people's necks, punch their eyes out, break their heads and bust their hearts." Cooks told Harris that when he (Cooks) got out of prison he was going to join the "Death Angels," which Harris said was a group of blacks whose objective was to kill white people and start a race war. Harris testified that while in prison about all Cooks talked about was killing white people.

Harris testified that he had similar conversations with Moore who wanted to learn Kung Fu because he had bad experiences with white people and wanted to kill them. Moore, on the other hand, denied he ever asked Harris to teach him Kung Fu. Moore denied he hated whites or had bad experiences with them.

Of the three men, Cooks was the first to be released from prison in June 1973. He obtained a job at a Shabazz (Muslim) bakery on Randolph Street (Ingleside area in southwest part of city), San Francisco. He apparently lived at a Muslim halfway house at 531 Waller Street. Harris was released from prison on parole on July 27, 1973 (two years after his commitment). Moore was released on November 11 or 12, 1973, and he When Harris was released from prison he went to live at the Crittendon House, a halfway house in Oakland. He obtained a job selling fish for the Nation of Islam Temple in Oakland. He soon became dissatisfied with the job because of the small amount of money he was earning and because he thought his employer was cheating him.

also went to live at the Muslim halfway house on Waller Street.

In August 1973, Harris went to the Nation of Islam Temple 26 at Geary and Fillmore Streets, San Francisco, in search of a different job. He met defendant Green in the temple's snack shop and talked to him about a job. Green was employed at Black Self Help, 1645 Market Street (between 12th and Brady), San Francisco. 3 Black Self Help was owned and managed by Thomas Manney, and in the business of moving, storing, repairing, and selling furniture and other items. 4 After talking with the temple captain, Albert Leonard, Green drove Harris to Black Self Help and introduced him to Thomas Manney who gave Harris a job that paid $4.50 per hour.

When Harris started work at...

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