People v. Jones, No. S056364.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Writing for the CourtCHIN, J.
Citation2011 Daily Journal D.A.R. 1709,51 Cal.4th 346,11 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 1438,121 Cal.Rptr.3d 1,247 P.3d 82
PartiesThe PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,v.Albert JONES, Defendant and Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. S056364.
Decision Date30 March 2011

51 Cal.4th 346
247 P.3d 82
121 Cal.Rptr.3d 1
11 Cal.
Daily Op. Serv. 1438
2011 Daily Journal D.A.R. 1709

The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
Albert JONES, Defendant and Appellant.

No. S056364.

Supreme Court of California

Jan. 31, 2011.Rehearing Denied March 30, 2011.


[121 Cal.Rptr.3d 9] Michael J. Hersek, State Public Defender, under appointment by the Supreme Court, Jessica McGuire and Jolie Lipsig, Deputy State Public Defenders, for Defendant and Appellant.Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Attorney General, Dane R. Gillette, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Gary W. Schons, Assistant Attorney General, Annie Featherman Frasier and Scott C. Taylor, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.CHIN, J.

[247 P.3d 88 , 51 Cal.4th 350]

A jury convicted defendant Albert Jones of the first degree murders of James H. Florville and Madalynne Florville with personal use of a deadly weapon and, as to both murders, under the special-circumstances of robbery- and burglary-murder. It also found true a multiple-murder special circumstance allegation. (Pen.Code, §§ 187,

[247 P.3d 89]

190.2, subd. (a) (3), (17), [51 Cal.4th 351] 12022, subd. (b).) 1 The court then found true allegations that defendant had one prior serious felony conviction and three prior convictions for which he had served separate prison terms. (§§ 667, 667. 5.) After a penalty trial, the jury returned a verdict of death. The court denied the automatic motion to modify the verdict (§ 190.4) and imposed that sentence. This appeal is automatic. (§ 1239, subd. (b).) We affirm the judgment.

I. The Facts
A. Guilt Phase

The evidence showed that during the early morning hours of December 13, 1993, defendant, 29 years old at the time, and A.J., a 15–year–old boy, entered the Mead Valley home of James and Madalynne Florville, an elderly married couple, hog-tied them, stabbed them to death, and stole their property.

1. Prosecution Evidence

Around noon on Monday, December 13, 1993, the bodies of 82–year–old James Florville and his 72–year–old wife, Madalynne Florville, were found in their Mead Valley home. They had been hog-tied with wire and died of multiple stab wounds. Their niece, Patricia Valenzuela, had spoken with Madalynne the evening before.

There was no sign of a forced entry into the residence. Blood was found in several places inside the residence and on an outside gate. No fingerprints were found inside the residence. The tip of what appeared to be a latex glove was found entwined in one of the knots in the wire wrapped around James's hands, and another small piece of a latex glove was found inside the residence near a sliding glass door. Property later determined to be missing from the Florville home included money and a small toy-like safe.

Rochel Timmons, also known as Auntie Roe, lived near the Florville home. A number of teenaged youths, including Jack Purnell, Ryan McElroy, Deborah Russell, and Timmons's daughter, Mary Holmes, spent much time at her house. Defendant did so also, although he was much older than the youths. Another teenager, A.J., also was part of the group.

Purnell, McElroy, Russell, and Holmes testified that defendant often talked to them about the group being a “clique,” with defendant their leader. Defendant said that the boys, A.J. and Purnell, were his “disciples,” and they were supposed to do what he said. He described members of the clique as [51 Cal.4th 352] “ insiders,” and those not members as “outsiders.” Insiders were [121 Cal.Rptr.3d 10] not supposed to talk to outsiders about the clique. Defendant threatened harm to anyone who did so. All four of these witnesses testified that defendant also sometimes talked about the clique committing robberies. He did not normally talk about such things when adults were around, although Timmons overheard some talk about committing robberies.

On Sunday, December 12, 1993, the day before the murders, the group, including defendant, gathered at Timmons's house to go to church. At some point, defendant talked to A.J. and Purnell in a back room about a robbery he said the three of them were to commit. Russell, McElroy, and Holmes overheard some of this conversation. Russell testified she heard defendant “describing a residence and doors and fences, and talking about what they were supposed to get and ... who would go first and second and third.” They were supposed to get “[s]ome money that was supposed to be in safes.” A.J. was to go first followed by Purnell. When they were leaving, A.J. would go first, then Purnell. Defendant “would leave last to make sure everybody else got ... away okay.” Holmes testified that defendant said “he was going to go up to the door and tell them that his mother had a heart attack and that he needed to call the paramedics.” Purnell was supposed to tie them up and put them in a closet. A.J. was “to go around the back and come through a window.” Defendant also said they “were going to get some money,” and A.J. “was going to look for the stuff.”

Later that day, defendant drove a group that included A.J., Purnell, Russell, and Holmes to a store to buy some nylons. On

[247 P.3d 90]

the way back to Timmons's house, defendant slowed down while driving by the Florville home. He talked to A.J. and Purnell about robbing that home. Russell testified that defendant “ pointed out the sliding glass door and the fences, and told them to look at their surroundings.” He said they could hop the fences. Purnell testified that when they passed the home, defendant “point[ed] out the escape route and how we was going to go and stuff.” Holmes testified that defendant told A.J. to look at the premises and everything around him.

Purnell also testified that later that day, back at Timmons's house, defendant talked more about the robbery that he, Purnell, and A.J. were to commit. Defendant said “that the old White people in the corner might have money and guns and stuff,” and “they might have a safe.” Defendant said that “he was going to go up to the door,” and Purnell “was supposed to follow him and [A.J.] was supposed to follow” Purnell. Defendant said that once inside, Purnell was “supposed to tie the people up.” They were “to look for some money and the safe and some guns,” and “stab the people or something” if they saw “one of us.” Defendant mentioned that they were to have gloves and [51 Cal.4th 353] rope—the gloves so as to leave no fingerprints, and the rope so they “could tie the people up.” Ultimately, Purnell went home and did not participate in the intended robbery.

Another youth in the neighborhood, Dorell Arroyo, 14 years old at the time of the murders, was an eyewitness to some of these events. He lived in the area and knew defendant and others in the neighborhood, although he was not considered a member of defendant's clique. Arroyo spent the night of the murders in a trailer near the Florville home. Sometime early in the morning of December 13, 1993—Arroyo did not have a watch but thought it was around 5:00 to 6:00 a.m.—he looked out the trailer window and observed defendant's car. He had known defendant for about two years and had seen defendant's car many times.

[121 Cal.Rptr.3d 11] Arroyo stepped outside to get a drink of water. He observed defendant's car stop near the Florville home. He saw defendant and A.J., whom he had known all his life, get out of the car. A.J. jumped over the gate to the Florville property and walked out of sight. Defendant walked to the front of the gate, and then went inside the gate towards the front of the Florville home and out of Arroyo's view. Then Arroyo saw the sliding glass door of the Florville home move. A short time later, Arroyo observed defendant come back out the gate and walk towards his car, scratching his hands as he did so. He also saw A.J. throw a square object over the gate, then go over the gate himself and put the object into the car. Defendant entered the driver's door and A.J. the passenger door of the car, and Arroyo watched as the car drove to Timmons's house. Arroyo estimated to the police that these events took about 15 to 30 minutes to occur.

After observing these events, Arroyo walked to Dakota Whitney's nearby house and sat on her couch. Whitney estimated the time of his arrival to be around 6:00 a.m., perhaps a bit earlier or later. Whitney testified that Arroyo seemed scared. Arroyo testified he tried to tell Whitney what he had seen, but she said “she didn't want to hear it.” A day or so after these events, Arroyo told his mother what he had seen. His mother dialed 911, and the police came. Arroyo told them what he had seen. He had not done so until then. The police investigator who spoke with Arroyo testified that Arroyo was terrified about talking to him; Arroyo said that defendant would kill him if he found out that he was speaking with the police. Arroyo told the police that he had seen A.J. throw a square object over the fence before the police became aware that a small square safe was missing from the Florville home.

Considerable evidence was presented regarding the lighting conditions at the time Arroyo said he observed these events. There were no streetlights in the area, so it was dark, but it was possible to see in the area at night. The [51 Cal.4th 354] sun would not have been up yet at that time, but the evidence indicated it was beginning to get light. Arroyo testified that a motion detector light next door, which a police investigator described as bright, was turned on. He said the sun was not yet out, but he could see. The lighting was like when he got up for school; it was

[247 P.3d 91]

“misty.” Timmons testified that a porch light was on that morning at her home. The distance from where Arroyo stood when he observed these events to where he said defendant's car was parked was 166 feet eight inches, and to the Florville's gate was 127 feet. It was an additional 39 feet eight inches, from the gate to the front of the residence.

Mary Holmes testified that the morning of the...

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  • People v. Mani, C088716
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • September 30, 2021
    ...tends to negate an innocent mental state and tends to establish the presence of the normal criminal intent." ( People v. Jones (2011) 51 Cal.4th 346, 371, 121 Cal.Rptr.3d 1, 247 P.3d 82 ; see also Ewoldt , at p. 402, 27 Cal.Rptr.2d 646, 867 P.2d 757.) "[T]he similarities between the two eve......
  • People v. Jackson, No. S139103.
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    • August 1, 2016
    ...to show that the conditions were substantially similar but need not show that they were absolutely identical. (People v. Jones (2011) 51 Cal.4th 346, 375, 121 Cal.Rptr.3d 1, 247 P.3d 82.) We review the trial court's decision to admit 376 P.3d 583 experimental evidence for abuse of discretio......
  • People v. Rodriguez, No. S122123.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • February 20, 2014
    ...If the court does elect, in its discretion, to conduct such an inquiry it may be based on an offer of proof.” ( People v. Jones (2011) 51 Cal.4th 346, 380, 121 Cal.Rptr.3d 1, 247 P.3d 82.) Here, the trial court did conduct a preliminary inquiry. It read the moving papers and the prosecutor'......
  • People v. Baker, S170280
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • February 1, 2021
    ...Cal.Rptr.3d 214, 299 P.3d 1185 ; People v. Elliott (2012) 53 Cal.4th 535, 565, 137 Cal.Rptr.3d 59, 269 P.3d 494 ; People v. Jones (2011) 51 Cal.4th 346, 366, 121 Cal.Rptr.3d 1, 247 P.3d 82 ; People v. Taylor (2009) 47 Cal.4th 850, 896, 102 Cal.Rptr.3d 852, 220 P.3d 872 ; People v. Gutierrez......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
309 cases
  • People v. Mani, C088716
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • September 30, 2021
    ...tends to negate an innocent mental state and tends to establish the presence of the normal criminal intent." ( People v. Jones (2011) 51 Cal.4th 346, 371, 121 Cal.Rptr.3d 1, 247 P.3d 82 ; see also Ewoldt , at p. 402, 27 Cal.Rptr.2d 646, 867 P.2d 757.) "[T]he similarities between the two eve......
  • People v. Jackson, No. S139103.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • August 1, 2016
    ...to show that the conditions were substantially similar but need not show that they were absolutely identical. (People v. Jones (2011) 51 Cal.4th 346, 375, 121 Cal.Rptr.3d 1, 247 P.3d 82.) We review the trial court's decision to admit 376 P.3d 583 experimental evidence for abuse of discretio......
  • People v. Rodriguez, No. S122123.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • February 20, 2014
    ...If the court does elect, in its discretion, to conduct such an inquiry it may be based on an offer of proof.” ( People v. Jones (2011) 51 Cal.4th 346, 380, 121 Cal.Rptr.3d 1, 247 P.3d 82.) Here, the trial court did conduct a preliminary inquiry. It read the moving papers and the prosecutor'......
  • People v. Baker, S170280
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • February 1, 2021
    ...Cal.Rptr.3d 214, 299 P.3d 1185 ; People v. Elliott (2012) 53 Cal.4th 535, 565, 137 Cal.Rptr.3d 59, 269 P.3d 494 ; People v. Jones (2011) 51 Cal.4th 346, 366, 121 Cal.Rptr.3d 1, 247 P.3d 82 ; People v. Taylor (2009) 47 Cal.4th 850, 896, 102 Cal.Rptr.3d 852, 220 P.3d 872 ; People v. Gutierrez......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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