People v. Smith, S065233

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Writing for the CourtKRUGER, J.
Citation4 Cal.5th 1134,233 Cal.Rptr.3d 1,417 P.3d 662
Parties The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Floyd Daniel SMITH, Defendant and Appellant.
Decision Date21 May 2018
Docket NumberS065233

4 Cal.5th 1134
417 P.3d 662
233 Cal.Rptr.3d 1

The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
Floyd Daniel SMITH, Defendant and Appellant.


Supreme Court of California.

Filed May 21, 2018

Michael J. Hersek and Mary K. McComb, State Public Defenders, under appointments by the Supreme Court, Barry P. Helft, Chief Deputy State Public Defender, Joseph E. Chabot, Jamilla Moore and Elias Batchelder, Deputy State Public Defenders, for Defendant and Appellant.

Edmund G. Brown, Jr., and Xavier Becerra, Attorneys General, Dane R. Gillette and Gerald A. Engler, Chief Assistant Attorneys General, Gary W. Schons and Julie L. Garland, Assistant Attorneys General, Annie Featherman Fraser, Gil Gonzalez, Holly D. Wilkens, Kimberley A. Donohue and Allison V. Acosta, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.


4 Cal.5th 1141

A jury convicted defendant Floyd Daniel Smith of one count of first degree murder ( Pen. Code, § 187 ), and found true an alleged special circumstance that he committed

233 Cal.Rptr.3d 11

the murder while lying in wait (id. , § 190.2, subd. (a)(15) ). The jury also convicted defendant of two counts of attempted voluntary manslaughter (id. , §§ 664, 192, subd. (a) ), two counts of first degree burglary (id. , § 459), and one count each of assault with a firearm (id. , § 245, subd. (a)(2) ), false imprisonment (id. , § 236), and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (id. , former § 12021, subd. (a)(1) ). As to all but the last charge, the jury found firearm use enhancement allegations to be true (id. , § 12022.5). At the special circumstance phase, the jury found true a second special circumstance—that defendant had a prior murder conviction (id. , § 190.2, subd. (a)(2) ).

4 Cal.5th 1142

At the penalty phase, the jury returned a verdict of death. This appeal is automatic. ( Pen. Code, § 1239, subd. (b).) We affirm the judgment in its entirety.


A. Guilt Phase Evidence

Defendant was convicted of the murder of Joshua Rexford. The prosecution argued that defendant committed the murder in retaliation for the murder of defendant’s close friend, Manuel Farias.

1. Prosecution’s case

On November 23, 1994, Linda Farias attended the funeral of her brother Manuel. After the funeral, she overheard defendant conversing with three other men. Although Linda could not remember who said what, defendant did most of the talking. In the conversation, the men said that "Brian" killed Farias, that "Josh" was Brian’s cousin, and that "they were going to get through him to find Brian." Within a day or two of the funeral, defendant had a conversation with Troy Holloway. Defendant questioned Holloway about Joshua Rexford, who, like Holloway, played on the football team at A.B. Miller High School in Fontana. Defendant asked how Rexford was, what he was like, where he lived, and where he hung out, explaining that he wanted to talk to Rexford.

On the morning of November 27, four days after the funeral, Michael Honess saw defendant and a Hispanic man sitting on a wall in the back of Honess’s apartment complex in Rancho Cucamonga. Later that morning, Honess again saw defendant, now alone, sitting on the stairs adjacent to Honess’s third floor apartment. Defendant asked if he could use

417 P.3d 671

the telephone in Honess’s apartment to call his mother. Honess allowed him to do so, but instead of calling his mother, defendant called a directory service and requested the number of the Church of God in Christ. He called the number he received from the directory service but did not appear to speak to anyone. He then left Honess’s apartment.

Ten minutes later, defendant knocked on Honess’s door. Honess opened the door and walked back into his apartment, assuming that defendant wanted to make another call. As Honess walked away, defendant, holding a dark gray or black automatic pistol, grabbed him and pushed him onto his hands and knees. Two other men then entered the apartment: the Hispanic man Honess had previously seen with defendant and a White man whom defendant called "Jay," who was carrying a sawed-off shotgun. Defendant told Jay to look

4 Cal.5th 1143

through the blinds out the window and to search for telephones in the apartment. He wiped off Honess’s telephone with a paper towel and cut the telephone wire. The Hispanic man took some of Honess’s money, but defendant told him to put it back.

After 15 to 20 minutes, the three men left Honess’s apartment; defendant told Jay to wait in the car. Before leaving, defendant told Honess that " ‘someone has done something bad’ " and that when Honess

233 Cal.Rptr.3d 12

spoke to the police he should "tell the truth."

Defendant then went downstairs to the apartment of Maikolo ("Walter") Pupua, who was seated in the living room with Ndibu ("Freddie") Badibanga and Joshua Rexford. He knocked on the door and Badibanga told him to enter. He opened the door and immediately opened fire with what appeared to be a nine-millimeter pistol. Pupua dove behind a speaker in the corner of the room, while Badibanga crawled to the bedroom and jumped out a window. Badibanga saw a second man accompanying defendant; Pupua saw only defendant, but inferred that there was a second gunman from the large number of shots ("at least about 15 or 16") that were fired.

Rexford, who was struck five times, died as a result of gunshot wounds in his chest and abdomen. "[L]arge caliber bullets ... approximately nine millimeters in diameter" were recovered from his body. Seven cartridge cases were recovered from the scene of the shooting, six of which had been fired and belonged to nine-millimeter cartridges. One cartridge, a ".25 caliber auto," was unfired.

That evening, defendant and two men came to the home of Troy Holloway. Defendant gave Holloway a nine-millimeter pistol, which was unchambered but loaded with four bullets. He did not charge Holloway for the gun, but told him that "a real man never shows anybody what he got." About three or four days later defendant called Patrick Wiley and asked him to retrieve the gun from Holloway. Wiley did so, returning the gun to defendant.

2. Defense case

The defense conceded that defendant was present at the scene of the murder, but claimed he was not there of his own free will. Testifying on his own behalf, defendant claimed that the night before the murder, three men kidnapped him and held him in his apartment overnight. The next day, they took him to an apartment complex, where they "loaf[ed] around ... for a long time." Defendant spoke to Honess and used his telephone to call his church. As Honess was starting to leave the apartment, defendant saw two of his kidnappers, a Hispanic male and a White male, approaching Honess’s

4 Cal.5th 1144

doorway. Fearing that the White male was going to start shooting because defendant was not sitting on the stairs, as his kidnappers had instructed him, defendant grabbed Honess’s arm and pulled him to safety.

According to defendant, he and his kidnappers then waited in Honess’s apartment. Defendant eventually left with the Hispanic kidnapper, while the White kidnapper went down a different flight of stairs. The Hispanic kidnapper took defendant to Pupua’s apartment. When they entered the apartment, the Hispanic kidnapper began shooting. Defendant claimed he tried to run away but got stuck between the door and a wall. Eventually he exited the apartment and ran to the apartment’s parking lot, with the Hispanic

417 P.3d 672

kidnapper behind him. Defendant and the three kidnappers then got into defendant’s car and drove some distance before they parked. A white truck approached. The kidnappers exited defendant’s car and told defendant he could leave. They departed in the truck.

Defendant denied giving a gun to Troy Holloway. He also denied making the statements attributed to him by Linda Farias at the funeral of her brother Manuel.

3. Jury verdict

The jury convicted defendant of murdering Rexford and found a lying-in-wait special circumstance to be true. With respect to the attempted murder charge, the jury

233 Cal.Rptr.3d 13

convicted defendant of the lesser included offense of attempted voluntary manslaughter. The jury also convicted defendant of burglarizing Honess’s apartment and falsely imprisoning him, of burglarizing Pupua’s apartment, and of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and it found firearm use enhancements to be true as to all but the last offense. The jury acquitted defendant of a charge that he dissuaded a witness.

B. Special Circumstance Phase Evidence

The prosecution presented a fingerprint card, a Riverside...

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