People v. Hawkins, No. S014199

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Writing for the CourtMOSK; LUCAS
Citation10 Cal.4th 920,897 P.2d 574,42 Cal.Rptr.2d 636
Parties, 897 P.2d 574, 95 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 5702, 95 Daily Journal D.A.R. 9674 The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Jeffrey HAWKINS, Defendant and Appellant.
Decision Date20 July 1995
Docket NumberNo. S014199

Page 636

42 Cal.Rptr.2d 636
10 Cal.4th 920, 897 P.2d 574, 95 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 5702,
95 Daily Journal D.A.R. 9674
The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
Jeffrey HAWKINS, Defendant and Appellant.
No. S014199.
Supreme Court of California.
July 20, 1995.

As Modified on Denial of

Rehearing Oct. 18, 1995.

Page 641

[10 Cal.4th 933] [897 P.2d 579] Michael B. McPartland, Petaluma, Carl A. Gonser, San Rafael, for appellant.

Daniel E. Lungren, Atty. Gen., George Williamson, Chief Asst. Atty. Gen., Robert R. Anderson, Asst. Atty. Gen., William G. Prahl, Raymond L. Brosterhous and Janine R. Busch, Deputy Attys. Gen., Sacramento, for respondent.

MOSK, Justice.

Defendant Jeffrey Hawkins was found guilty by a jury of two counts of first degree

Page 642

murder, as well as one count each of robbery and attempted murder. The jury also found true two special circumstances--felony murder[897 P.2d 580] (Pen.Code, § 190.2, subd. (a)(17)(i)) 1 for a murder committed in the course of a robbery, and multiple murder (§ 190.2, subd. (a)(3)). After the first jury deadlocked as to the penalty phase, a second jury fixed the penalty at death. The trial court sentenced defendant to death. This appeal is automatic under section 1239, subdivision (b).

We affirm the judgment in its entirety.

I. FACTS

A. Guilt Phase

At the guilt phase the prosecution presented evidence that defendant was responsible for two murders in separate incidents, one of which also involved robbery and attempted murder. Each of these incidents will be discussed in turn.

10 Cal.4th 934

1. The Hedlund Murder

The prosecution introduced evidence tying defendant to the murder of John Hedlund. Hedlund was last seen alive on the night of March 3, 1987, at a bar called the Uptown Saloon in Galt, a town in southern Sacramento County. Hedlund had been a regular customer at that establishment. The bartender at the Uptown Saloon, Connie Sue Trottie, and a customer, Jill Gibbs, identified defendant as present at the saloon, playing pool with Hedlund on the night in question. Defendant, who at the time was living nearby at his uncle's house, had apparently frequented that bar for several weeks before March 3. According to Gibbs, defendant had left the bar around midnight, a few minutes after Hedlund's departure. Hedlund had left behind a half-finished pitcher of beer and a pack of cigarettes, which according to Trottie was unusual for him. Hedlund's automobile was parked outside the bar but, according to one of the bar patrons who had done mechanical work on the automobile, its engine was in disrepair and it was inoperable.

Hedlund was found dead at 8:00 a.m. on the morning of March 4 in a ditch in an open field some three miles east of Galt. His body was wrapped in a bloodstained horse blanket on which were found traces of horsehair, bird feathers, and bird feces as well as some vegetation debris, possibly straw. His pants were unzipped and lowered down to the mid-thighs. Several beer cans were found in the vicinity of the body. One witness who lived nearby testified that he had heard no gunshots and that his dogs, who usually barked at loud noises, had not barked that night. The coroner determined that the cause of Hedlund's death was two gunshot wounds to the back of the neck and base of the head, one of which was fired at a range of less than a foot. The body also had minor abrasions on the forehead, nose, chin and left thigh, and a seven and a half inch abrasion along the front part of the neck that was consistent with a fingernail gouge. Subsequently, ballistics experts determined that a projectile removed from the body was fired from the same gun used to murder Herman Hicks, a crime to which defendant was tied by eyewitness evidence, as will be discussed below. The prosecution argued that the position of the entry wounds and the close range at which they were inflicted strongly implied a deliberate "execution" style killing. The prosecution also pointed to the numerous bullet fragments found in Hedlund's head and neck, suggesting the murderer's use of particularly lethal "hollow point" bullets that tend to explode and diffuse on impact.

The other piece of evidence linking defendant with the Hedlund murder was that defendant had stayed for some time the previous month at the home of Carmen Greenfield, a woman who raised horses and various rare birds on [10 Cal.4th 935] a ranch outside of Galt. The blanket with traces of horsehair and bird feathers could have come from Greenfield's ranch, although the origin of the blanket was never established with certainty.

Defendant presented evidence from some of those present at the bar on March 3, 1987, calling into question whether Gibbs, the one witness who had reported that Hedlund and defendant had left the bar around the same time, had herself been present at the bar that night. Defendant further pointed to the fact that Gibbs had testified that he and Hedlund had left from separate entrances as evidence that they had not met up with each

Page 643

[897 P.2d 581] other after they left the bar. He also introduced into evidence articles by a criminalist raising questions as to the scientific exactitude of ballistics identification evidence.

2. The Hicks Murder

Jerry Stevens, manager of Sonny's Market in Rancho Cordova outside of Sacramento, identified defendant as the man who had robbed the store while Stevens worked at the market on March 10, 1987, about 7:50 a.m., and who shot him and fatally shot one of the store's customers, Herman Hicks. According to Stevens's testimony, defendant walked up to the checkout counter of the store with a can of beer. The store was empty but for Stevens, defendant, and Hicks. Defendant drew a handgun on Stevens and told him to empty the cash register and put the money in the paper bag containing the beer. He testified to a deliberate effort to closely scrutinize the robber as a means of later identifying and apprehending him. Defendant told Stevens not to look at him, and then instructed him to get down on his knees behind the counter. Defendant shot Stevens in the right side of the chest, with the bullet exiting from his armpit beneath his right shoulder. He fell to the floor and lay still, as though dead. While lying on the floor he heard two more gunshots, neither directed at him.

Shortly thereafter, Stevens arose from behind the counter. Defendant had fled the store. Hicks lay on the floor in a pool of blood: he died from a single gunshot wound to the head, most likely fired from two to three feet away. Robert Johnson, another customer, entered the store at approximately the same time defendant was leaving. Stevens, fearing a loss of consciousness or death, had Johnson write down Stevens's description of his assailant: a white male between 32 and 35 years of age, 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing approximately 170 pounds, a gold stud in his left ear, and a tattoo of a skull or a rounded figure on his neck. Stevens later made a positive identification of defendant in a police lineup, as well as identifying him in a photographic lineup. Johnson was apparently not initially contacted by police, but identified defendant in a photographic lineup two years later, the day before he testified at trial.

[10 Cal.4th 936] Defendant had been stopped earlier that morning, around 5:25 a.m., in downtown Sacramento, and had been cited by the Sacramento police for driving the wrong way down a one-way street. He was in possession of the driver's license of one Malcolm Centers, who apparently resembled him, but it was stipulated that it had indeed been he who had been stopped and cited that morning. The driving time between the place where he was cited and Sonny's Market is approximately 15 minutes. The automobile he was driving was registered in the name of Katherine Taylor, who was identified as having been his girlfriend or ex-girlfriend at that time. The description of the automobile by the officer who issued the citation was somewhat at variance with that of Johnson's description of the vehicle driven from Sonny's Market.

Defendant was apprehended on March 16, six days after the Hicks murder in Corona, in Riverside County, where his brother, father, and stepmother resided. The day of his arrest, he assaulted his brother, Gerald Hawkins (hereafter sometimes Gerald), a homeless resident living in the Corona area. According to a statement taken from Gerald shortly after the assault, and reiterated approximately 10 days later in a tape recording introduced in evidence, defendant met Gerald on a street in Norco outside Corona, and they spent a number of hours drinking and talking together. Defendant told Gerald that he had shot a store clerk and a "black guy" during a robbery when he was up north, and that he was "looking at death row." Hicks was a Black man. Defendant further told Gerald that one of the witnesses to the murder survived and that he was thinking of going back to Sacramento County to "take care" of that person. Gerald apparently advised defendant against this course of action and an argument broke out between them. Shortly thereafter, Gerald went to use the restroom of a nearby filling station, and upon exiting was attacked by defendant with a small knife and seriously injured. The police were called to the scene and took Gerald's

Page 644

[897 P.2d 582] statement incriminating defendant. Police apprehended defendant that same day.

Defendant challenged the reliability of the eyewitness identifications, pointing to the discrepancy between Stevens's initial description of his assailant and his actual appearance: he is 5 feet 7 inches rather than 5 feet 10 inches; he assertedly did not have long hair at the time and did not wear a gold stud on his ear--facts that were disputed at trial; the description of the tattoo on his neck was also assertedly inaccurate. Defendant pointed as well to Johnson's initial profession of inability to identify the robber when questioned...

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443 practice notes
  • People v. Gay, No. S093765.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • March 20, 2008
    ..."obtains to this day." (People v. Cox, supra, 53 Cal.3d at p. 677, 280 Cal.Rptr. 692, 809 P.2d 351; see also People v. Hawkins (1995) 10 Cal.4th 920, 966-967, 42 Cal.Rptr.2d 636, 897 P.2d 574 ["residual doubt about a defendant's guilt is something that juries may consider at the penalty pha......
  • People v. Mayfield, No. S005620
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • January 2, 1997
    ..."are not a definitive statement of the prerequisites for proving premeditation and deliberation in every case." (People v. Hawkins (1995) 10 Cal.4th 920, 957, 42 Cal.Rptr.2d 636, 897 P.2d 574; see also People v. Perez, supra, 2 Cal.4th 1117, 1125, 9 Cal.Rptr.2d 577, 831 P.2d 1159.) In parti......
  • People v. Carpenter, No. S006547.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • November 29, 1999
    ...witness the gun and suitcase. These circumstances were relevant to her credibility, which was a material issue. (People v. Hawkins (1995) 10 Cal.4th 920, 951, 42 Cal.Rptr.2d 636, 897 P.2d 574.) The court acted within its discretion in concluding the prosecution was not limited to eliciting ......
  • People v. Wooten, No. B089797
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • May 7, 1996
    ...regarding evidence of past criminal conduct, either of uncharged criminal activity or of prior convictions." (People v. Hawkins (1995) 10 Cal.4th 920, 942, 42 Cal.Rptr.2d 636, 897 P.2d 574. See also People v. Torrez Page 775 (1995) 31 Cal.App.4th 1084, 1091, 37 Cal.Rptr.2d 712; People v. Ke......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
448 cases
  • People v. Gay, No. S093765.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • March 20, 2008
    ..."obtains to this day." (People v. Cox, supra, 53 Cal.3d at p. 677, 280 Cal.Rptr. 692, 809 P.2d 351; see also People v. Hawkins (1995) 10 Cal.4th 920, 966-967, 42 Cal.Rptr.2d 636, 897 P.2d 574 ["residual doubt about a defendant's guilt is something that juries may consider at the penalty pha......
  • People v. Mayfield, No. S005620
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • January 2, 1997
    ..."are not a definitive statement of the prerequisites for proving premeditation and deliberation in every case." (People v. Hawkins (1995) 10 Cal.4th 920, 957, 42 Cal.Rptr.2d 636, 897 P.2d 574; see also People v. Perez, supra, 2 Cal.4th 1117, 1125, 9 Cal.Rptr.2d 577, 831 P.2d 1159.) In parti......
  • People v. Carpenter, No. S006547.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • November 29, 1999
    ...witness the gun and suitcase. These circumstances were relevant to her credibility, which was a material issue. (People v. Hawkins (1995) 10 Cal.4th 920, 951, 42 Cal.Rptr.2d 636, 897 P.2d 574.) The court acted within its discretion in concluding the prosecution was not limited to eliciting ......
  • People v. Wooten, No. B089797
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • May 7, 1996
    ...regarding evidence of past criminal conduct, either of uncharged criminal activity or of prior convictions." (People v. Hawkins (1995) 10 Cal.4th 920, 942, 42 Cal.Rptr.2d 636, 897 P.2d 574. See also People v. Torrez Page 775 (1995) 31 Cal.App.4th 1084, 1091, 37 Cal.Rptr.2d 712; People v. Ke......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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