Smith v. State

Citation255 Md.App. 544,283 A.3d 722
Decision Date28 September 2022
Docket Number283, Sept. Term,2021
Parties Jonathan D. SMITH, Sr. v. STATE of Maryland
CourtCourt of Special Appeals of Maryland

Argued by Susan Friedman (Barry C. Scheck, The Innocence Project, New York, NY) (Donald P. Salzman, Nathan P. Wacker, Andrew Hanson, William A. Bejan, Barri T. Dean, Ariana M. Taylor, Lucy Dicks-Mireaux, Skadden, Aprs, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Washington, D.C.), on brief, for Appellant

Argued by Daniel Jawor (Brian Scott Kleinbord, Brian E. Frosh, Atty. Gen., Baltimore, MD), on brief, for Appellee

Panel: Wells, C.J., Graeff, Deborah S. Eyler (Senior Judge, Specially Assigned), JJ.*

Graeff, J.

This is the sixth time that this Court has considered challenges to the convictions of Jonathan D. Smith, Sr., appellant, relating to the 1987 murder of Adeline Wilford, who was stabbed to death in her farmhouse in Talbot County, Maryland.1 In this appeal, appellant contends that the Circuit Court for Talbot County erred in denying his motion to dismiss the charges against him on due process and double jeopardy grounds.

For the reasons set forth below, we shall affirm the judgment of the circuit court.


The underlying facts and proceedings have been detailed in previous reported opinions. See Faulkner and Smith v. State , 468 Md. 418, 227 A.3d 584 (2020) ; Smith v. State , 233 Md. App. 372, 165 A.3d 561 (2017).2 We set forth here only the facts needed to address the issues on appeal.

I.The Murder of Adeline Wilford

On January 5, 1987, Ms. Wilford was stabbed to death in the kitchen of her farmhouse in Talbot County. A neighbor of the 68-year-old victim found her body. When Maryland State Police ("MSP") officers arrived at the farmhouse, they saw the keys to the house still in the door lock and Ms. Wilford lying face up on the kitchen floor. She was wearing a blue wool coat and had a pair of corded glasses around her neck. "There were numerous stab wounds to Ms. Wilford's hands and face, and a large butcher knife was imbedded in Ms. Wilford's cheek/eye area. There were numerous defensive wounds on Ms. Wilford's hands and arms, suggesting that she had struggled with her killer, attempting to ward off the attack." Faulkner , 468 Md. at 428, 227 A.3d 584.

A ground-floor window of the farmhouse was propped open with a stick. The window led to a utility room containing a washing machine. The police "lifted latent fingerprints and palm prints from various places in the home, including the exterior of the utility room window and the washing machine in the utility room." Id. at 428-29, 227 A.3d 584.3

Based on the condition of the farmhouse and items missing from the home, the police "theorized that one or more individuals burglarized Ms. Wilford's home on the afternoon of January 5 by entering the utility room through the propped-open window, and were in the process of stealing items when Ms. Wilford returned home." Id. at 429, 165 A.3d 561.4 The burglars then "stabbed Ms. Wilford to death after she entered the home, and left before Ms. Wilford's neighbor arrived." Id.

II.Subsequent Investigations and the Arrest of Appellant

The murder investigation continued for years. In 1991 and 1992, James Brooks told MSP that his friend, William Thomas, advised that he and Tyrone ("Ty") Brooks burglarized Ms. Wilford's farmhouse and stabbed her to death.5

The investigation stalled until December 1999, when Ms. Wilford's son asked to have the case reopened due to information from a potential witness. Id. at 431-32, 227 A.3d 584.6 On January 17, 2000, Beverly Haddaway advised the police that, on the afternoon of the Wilford murder, she observed three individuals, David Faulkner, Ray Andrews, and her nephew, appellant, exit a cornfield on foot near the intersection of Black Dog Alley and Kingston Road. Id. at 426, 227 A.3d 584.7 They had blood on them. Id. Ms. Haddaway stated that, two years after the encounter, appellant told her that he killed Ms. Wilford. Smith , 233 Md. App. at 381, 165 A.3d 561.

Ms. Haddaway subsequently agreed to wear a wire and record a conversation between herself and appellant. During a recorded conversation on April 11, 2000, Ms. Haddaway asked appellant about "that day" she saw him on Kingston Road when "that old woman got murdered," and appellant told her that a dog had bit him and he stabbed it. Faulkner , 468 Md. at 433, 227 A.3d 584. Ms. Haddaway asked appellant: "Who killed the old woman, you? You told me you did." Id. Appellant answered: "I don't know." Id. The conversation then continued, as follows:

[Ms. Haddaway]: ... I just wanted to know before I died. I always think that [Mr. Faulkner] done it. You? You said you did. Why are you laughing?
[Appellant]: I didn't do nothing like that.
[Ms. Haddaway]: Why were you in that field with blood all over you and no coat? ... [Y]ou said that blood [had] come off of a dog, but I think that you held her and [Mr. Faulkner] killed her. Or one of you three done it.
[Appellant]: They never found out yet have they?
[Ms. Haddaway]: I know that's why I want to know before I die. I [saw] you, did I ever tell anybody? You know I ain't going to tell, God damn you're my blood. I just wanted to know if you done it. I didn't really think you did. I think crazy [Mr. Faulkner] did.
[Appellant]: They could of, it's a secret when one person knows it ain't a secret when two people know.
[Ms. Haddaway]: Well all three of you know.
[Appellant]: What, there's only two of us.
[Ms. Haddaway]: It was you and [Mr. Andrews] and [Mr. Faulkner].
[Appellant]: [Mr. Andrews] wasn't there until after it was over.
[Ms. Haddaway]: Where was he?
[Appellant]: Down the road.
[Ms. Haddaway]: [Mr. Andrews] was right with you in the God damn field.
[Appellant]: That was after it was all done with.
[Ms. Haddaway]: ... What the hell did you kill her for or did he kill her for?
[Appellant]: I don't know I can't remember.
[Ms. Haddaway]: Jonathan you're lying because you're laughing.
[Appellant]: I can't remember.
[Ms. Haddaway]: Well why do you think I would tell anybody? I ain't never told nobody in 12 God damn years. I just wanted to know.
[Appellant]: (inaudible)
[Ms. Haddaway]: Huh?
[Appellant]: She had money.
[Ms. Haddaway]: ... I just wondered if [Mr. Faulkner] did it or you? Tell me. I ain't going to tell nobody. I just want to know –
[Appellant]: (inaudible) didn't do it.
[Ms. Haddaway]: You done it. You said you did before. Why did you kill her? ...
[Appellant]: I knew she had money.
[Ms. Haddaway]: You knew she had money.
[Appellant]: She had money.

Faulkner , 468 Md. at 433-35, 227 A.3d 584. Appellant then stated that the men got $60,000 and split it three ways.

Appellant stated that he and Mr. Faulkner both stabbed Ms. Wilford, noting: "If there's enough money I'll do it." Smith , 233 Md. App. at 384, 165 A.3d 561. Ms. Haddaway said, "it's alright if you don't get caught," and appellant replied: "I won't get caught." Id.

On April 25, 2000, the police brought appellant, Mr. Faulkner, and Mr. Andrews to the Easton MSP barrack for questioning. Mr. Andrews told the police that he, Mr. Faulkner, and appellant walked to a friend's home on the day of the Wilford murder, and appellant and Mr. Faulkner "said something to the friend about ‘rob or robbing.’ " Faulkner , 468 Md. at 436, 227 A.3d 584. The three men left the friend's residence and walked toward Ms. Wilford's farmhouse. Mr. Andrews waited at the edge of the woods off Kingston Road while appellant and Mr. Faulkner walked across a field to the farmhouse. Approximately 20 minutes later, Mr. Andrews saw appellant and Mr. Faulkner running from the house toward the woods. They told Mr. Andrews to run, and he saw blood on appellant's shirt. They encountered Ms. Haddaway on their way to Black Dog Alley, and appellant told Ms. Haddaway that he had been attacked by a dog. When they got to appellant's house, appellant and Mr. Faulkner pulled approximately $300–$400 from their pockets. The next day, when there was news of the Wilford murder, appellant told Mr. Andrews to "keep his mouth shut" about what had happened.

Appellant also talked to the police. He was advised of his rights, and "although he initially ‘almost seemed happy to be answering [their] questions,’ his demeanor changed when [MSP] Sergeant Jack McCauley asked if appellant and Mr. Faulkner had been involved in any criminal activity together." Smith , 233 Md. App. at 384, 165 A.3d 561. "At that point, appellant ‘became somewhat withdrawn, dropped his head ... [a]nd he became very evasive, fidgety in his seat.’ " Id. "Appellant denied any involvement with the murder of a woman. He acknowledged his conversation with Ms. Haddaway, but he claimed that he admitted involvement in the murder because he wanted Ms. Haddaway to think that he was a tough person." Id.

MSP Sergeant John Bollinger subsequently questioned appellant again on April 25, 2000. Appellant ultimately confessed to breaking into Ms. Wilford's home with Mr. Faulkner, while Mr. Andrews waited outside. As discussed in more detail, infra , Officer Bollinger testified that appellant stated that Mr. Faulkner stabbed Ms. Wilford. When Sergeant Bollinger asked appellant if he had stabbed Ms. Wilford, appellant asked for an attorney.

III.Appellant's Trial

Appellant subsequently was charged with burglary, murder, and related offenses.

Trial began in February 2001. The State's fingerprint expert, Alexander Mankevich, testified that "he never matched any of the latent prints found at the crime scene to anyone submitted as a suspect in the case." Faulkner , 468 Md. at 439, 227 A.3d 584. The State's evidence of appellant's guilt consisted of testimony from Mr. Andrews, Ms. Haddaway, and Michael Snow, a jailhouse informant, as well as appellant's statements to Ms. Haddaway and Sergeant Bollinger.

Mr. Andrews testified consistently with the account he gave to the officers. Id. He stated that, "in exchange for his testimony against appellant and his agreement to enter an Alford plea to the crime...

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1 cases
  • Brown v. State
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • June 7, 2023
    ...of charges for prosecutorial misconduct is an extreme sanction," which "should be used sparingly, if at all." Smith v. State, 255 Md.App. 544, 570 (2022) (quotation marks and citations omitted), cert. granted, 482 Md. 534 (2023). "Even in the situation where a defendant shows willful miscon......

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