People v. Woodmore

Docket Number347252
Decision Date18 August 2022
PartiesPEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JAMAR LEVON WOODMORE, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtCourt of Appeal of Michigan — District of US


Wayne Circuit Court LC No. 18-006013-01-FC.

Before: Michael F. Gadola, P.J., and Mark J. Cavanagh and Kirsten Frank Kelly, JJ.


Defendant appeals as of right his jury convictions of first-degree premeditated murder, MCL 750.316(1)(a), carrying a concealed weapon (CCW), MCL 750.227, felon in possession of a firearm MCL 750.224f, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony (felony-firearm), MCL 750.227b Defendant was sentenced as a third-offense habitual offender MCL 769.11, and his sentence included life imprisonment without parole for the murder conviction. On appeal defendant challenges the circuit court's jurisdiction, the sufficiency of the evidence with respect to the murder conviction, and the effectiveness of his counsel. We affirm.


Defendant's convictions arise from the fatal shooting of Leon Webb ("the victim") in the afternoon of June 28, 2018, following a verbal and physical altercation between defendant and the victim at the barbershop where they both worked.

At trial, a male barbershop patron testified that he was getting a haircut when defendant walked in the barbershop obviously upset, disturbed, and yelling. Defendant worked there but was not working on that day. Other people in the barbershop wanted defendant to leave and the victim asked defendant to step outside. They went outside and started to fistfight. While fighting, the victim dropped a handgun, discarding it like he did not want it involved in the fight. The fight did not last long, maybe about a minute. Then the victim went back inside the barbershop and continued cutting the hair of a young child who was sitting in his barber chair. After the fight, defendant went and sat in his vehicle parked in front of the barbershop. The patron-witness saw that defendant was rocking back and forth in his vehicle in a pretty aggressive manner like he was really upset. After the patron paid for his haircut and was preparing to leave, defendant walked through the front door of the barbershop with a black handgun in his hand. Defendant approached the victim and pointed his gun at the victim and the child sitting in the barber chair. There were at least 15 people there-adults and children-and the witness and other people began moving towards the back door of the barbershop. As the patron-witness looked to see if the child was still in the barber chair, he saw defendant's handgun fire a shot. The victim-who had tried to crouch down behind his barber chair and whose gun had been in his waistband-then fired his gun also. While outside, this witness heard several gunshots and called 911. Within a couple minutes, he went back inside the barbershop and found the victim on the floor, bleeding but alive. As shown on the surveillance video, the shooting took about one minute, after which defendant walked out of the barbershop, got into his vehicle, and drove off.

Another barbershop patron, a lady who brought her child in for a haircut, saw defendant start an argument with the victim. There were about 12 people in the barbershop, including adults and children. Defendant invited the victim to step outside and they went outside and began fistfighting. She looked out the window and saw that the victim was getting the best of defendant. She saw no weapons. The fight was over within a couple of minutes, after which the victim came back inside and began cutting the hair of a little boy who was sitting in his barber chair. A short time later, defendant was at the front door and she heard people tell him not to "come in here with that." She believed defendant was coming back in to retaliate. And she saw defendant with what she believed was a gun in his hand. She and her son and his barber began moving toward the back door of the shop but that door was locked. She heard about six shots before another barber came and unlocked the back door, which they ran through. She stayed outside in the back until she saw defendant leave in his Jeep. She then went back inside the barbershop and saw the victim laying on the floor bleeding. She got in her car and left.

A barber who was working at the barbershop on the day of this shooting also testified that he heard defendant and the victim arguing in the shop until defendant suggested that they go outside to fight. The barber watched the fistfight and it was a fair fight that lasted only 30 seconds to a minute. The victim hit defendant, defendant fell, and the victim hit him some more; although defendant tried to hit the victim, he did not connect. During the fight, a gun fell to the ground and he assumed it came from the victim. The barber saw defendant try to reach for it, but the victim pushed defendant away from it and moved the gun while saying that it was going to be a fair one-on-one fight. After the fight ended, the victim went back inside, changed his shirt, and started cutting a little boy's hair. The victim was not upset; it seemed like it was just a big brother-little brother situation. After the fight, defendant went and sat inside his vehicle for about five minutes. The barber then saw defendant walk inside the barbershop with a pistol in his hand. Defendant walked directly up to the victim's barber station and pointed the black handgun directly at the victim and the child sitting in the barber chair. Defendant said to the victim, "I'll slump your bitch ass," which meant that he would shoot him. The barber-witness heard people yelling for a key to the backdoor-which he had-so he ran and unlocked the back door and people ran out. He did not see the shooting begin but he heard a "mass amount of gunshots" and stayed by the back door. Eventually he looked toward the front of the shop and saw defendant leave out the front door, get in his car, and drive away. As he was driving away, defendant blew his car horn, then held up a two-finger peace sign. The barber-witness ran into the barbershop and saw the victim's barber chair turned over on the floor with bullet holes in it. The victim was laying on the floor bleeding and yelling for help.

The victim was subsequently taken to the hospital by ambulance where he ultimately died from his gunshot wounds. Personnel from the Detroit Police Department arrived at the barbershop and evidence was recovered, including one 9-millimeter semiautomatic Ruger pistol, 23 fired shell casings, and 13 bullets or fragments of bullets. Examination by a firearm and toolmark expert revealed that seven of the shell casings came from the pistol that was recovered, but the remaining 16 shell casings came from an unknown-but the same 9-millimeter-handgun. And of the 13 bullets or fragments that were recovered, at least 10 were eliminated as having been fired from that recovered pistol.

On July 4, 2018, defendant was contacted by the Wayne County Sheriff Department and asked to participate in a live line-up but he declined. Cellular phone detail records were analyzed in this case for a cell phone number associated with defendant as the subscriber. On the date and at the time of this shooting, no calls were placed by this phone to 911. The cellular records for this phone indicate that it was at the scene of this incident and active at 3:18 p.m. The time of the shooting was about 3:45 p.m. and the phone was traveling in a southerly direction by 3:58 p.m.

The chief medical examiner for Wayne County testified that the victim's cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds; 13 in total and four were wounds to the back of the victim, but none appeared to be from close range firing.

The police officer in charge of this case testified that surveillance camera video footage showed that after the fistfight ended, a person entered into the passenger side of a black Jeep Cherokee that was registered to defendant and, about two minutes and 26 to 30 seconds later, that person went into the barbershop.

After the prosecution rested its case, defendant moved for a directed verdict, arguing that the evidence presented did not establish the element of premeditation to support a finding of first-degree premeditated murder. The trial court denied the motion, holding that there was enough evidence presented-including the almost 2½ minutes that defendant sat in his vehicle after the fistfight-for the jury to conclude that defendant had enough time to reflect on his actions and intent to kill before proceeding into the barbershop with a gun and killing the victim.

Thereafter, defendant waived his right to remain silent and testified that he was at work at the barbershop on the day of this incident and got into a verbal argument with the victim. Then the victim asked him to step outside. Defendant followed the victim through the front doorway but before defendant could completely step out the door, the victim swung and hit him. Defendant was caught off balance because he was not expecting that and then the victim pulled him outside. The victim removed his own pistol from his waistband and hit defendant a few times in his face with the gun before he dropped it. Defendant and the victim began "tussling" for no longer than about two minutes. The fight just ended with them pushing off each other. The victim retrieved his pistol and put it back on his waist, then walked back into the barbershop.

Defendant went to his car because his face was bloody and he used napkins in his car to clean off the blood. While sitting in his car he thought that he might need stitches at the hospital, but realized his belongings were in the barbershop and he still had clients waiting to see him. Defendant exited his vehicle to grab his...

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