State v. Reynolds, Nos. A--7

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
Writing for the CourtPROCTOR; HANEMAN; HANEMAN
Citation195 A.2d 449,1 A.L.R.2d 1438,41 N.J. 163
Parties, 1 A.L.R.3d 1438 STATE of New Jersey, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. Martin REYNOLDS and Michael Reynolds, Defendants-Appellants.
Decision Date18 November 1963
Docket Number8,Nos. A--7

Page 163

41 N.J. 163
195 A.2d 449, 1 A.L.R.3d 1438
STATE of New Jersey, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
Martin REYNOLDS and Michael Reynolds, Defendants-Appellants.
Nos. A--7, 8.
Supreme Court of New Jersey.
Argued Sept. 24, 1963.
Decided Nov. 18, 1963.

Page 168

[195 A.2d 451] Joseph Lordi, Asst. Pros., of Essex County, for plaintiff-respondent (Brendan T. Byrne, Essex County Pros., and Peter Murray, Asst. Pros., of counsel and on the brief).

Philip J. Mylod, Newark, for defendant-appellant Martin Reynolds.

Richard M. Glassner, Newark, for defendant-appellant Michael Reynolds (Salvatore A. Brancato, Jersey City, on the brief).

The opinion of the court was delivered by

PROCTOR, J.

The defendants, Martin Reynolds and Michael Reynolds, brothers, were convicted of the robbery-murder of Fred Garcia. The jury did not recommend life imprisonment, and the defendants were sentenced to death. The defendants appeal to this court as of right pursuant to R.R.1:2--1(c).

The facts on the issue of the guilt of both defendants were substantially undisputed; in fact, defendants frankly admitted their guilt and appealed to the jury to spare their lives. In their plea for mitigation of punishment, they introduced background evidence of their inadequate home life, slum environment, their histories of prior antisocial behavior and their addiction to narcotics.

The testimony of the eyewitnesses to the robbery and shooting established the following facts. On April 1, 1962, at about 7:00 P.M., Fred Garcia, 69 years old, was making sandwiches behind the counter of his confectionery store in Newark. His daughter Geraldine was behind the cigar counter near the front of the store. Several young boys were also in the store. The defendants entered the store; Martin went to the rear and stood in front of the counter opposite Garcia, and Michael stood [195 A.2d 452] by the cigar counter. Martin pointed a gun at Garcia and said, 'Don't move. This is a stickup.' Michael went behind the cigar counter, pushed Geraldine

Page 169

aside, opened the cash register, and took $51 from it. When Garcia saw his daughter being pushed, he headed toward Michael with a knife in his hand, whereupon Martin shot at Garcia, hitting him in the back. Michael then ran out of the store, and Garcia and Martin ran to the door. A scuffle followed in which Martin fired the gun again and then ran out of the store. Garcia took a few steps and collapsed behind the counter.

After the shooting defendants went directly to the home of Dolores Brown, Martin's girl friend. She testified that Martin told her there had been a holdup and he had shot a man. He gave her the gun to keep for him, and the brothers then left in a taxicab. The following week, after a detective had visited her house, Dolores threw the gun into a sewer where it was later recovered by the police.

Within a few minutes after the shooting the police were on the scene and called an ambulance. The doctor who arrived with the ambulance pronounced Garcia dead. An autopsy performed later that night disclosed that death was due to a wound in back of the right chest caused by a bullet which perforated both lungs, with massive hemorrhages into both chest cavities. There were no blackening, scorching, or tattoo marks on the body, indicating that the weapon had been fired at least 20 inches away from the body. A bullet was found under the skin just below the left armpit.

Shortly after their arrival, the police searched the premises and the vicinity for expended bullets but found none. After questioning the eyewitnesses, they discovered a knife on the floor behind the counter.

On June 15, 1962 both defendants admitted their guilt in oral and written statements to the police. It was conceded that these statements were voluntary, and they were admitted into evidence without objection.

In his statement, Michael said that he lived in New York City and worked as a longshoreman; that on Sunday morning, April 1, 1962, he went to Newark to the home of his mother and father, with whom Martin was living. Dolores

Page 170

Brown came to the house in the early afternoon. They sat and watched television and drank some gin. At about 6:00 P.M. he and Martin went with Dolores to her house where they listened to some phonograph records. Dolores fell asleep, and the brothers decided to go out and 'make some money.' Martin had a gun and suggested they stick up somebody with it. The brothers left the Brown house and worked out their plan as they walked down the street. Michael said they should find a store where there was an old man because he would be more afraid of a gun. Michael was to get the money and Martin was to hold the gun on the man. The defendants found a confectionery store open and looked inside. They saw an old man, a woman, and four customers in the store and decided to wait until the customers left. About five minutes later they went into the store. Michael's version of what happened in the store coincided substantially with the accounts of the eyewitnesses. After leaving the store the defendants returned to Dolores Brown's house and called a cab. In the cab the defendants split the money that Michael had taken from the store register. They stopped at a hot dog stand, and then Michael took a bus to New York.

Martin's statement related substantially the same facts as that of Michael regarding the events of the day. In addition, Martin stated that when his brother was bent over the cash register, Garcia ran at his brother with a knife, and Martin 'tried to shoot him in the arm to stop him.' When he attempted to leave the store, Garcia tried to cut at him with a knife, and he shot the gun again.

Shortly after the above statements were taken, the defendants were examined by Dr. Marcus H. Greifinger, Chief Surgeon of the Newark Police. Dr. Greifinger testified[195 A.2d 453] that both defendants admitted their participation in the robbery and shooting to him. The doctor found no evidence that either defendant had been mistreated in any way. Michael had numerous old tracks on both forearms with one recent scab on an old track of the right forearm. Martin had two old tracks on his left forearm. Tracks, the doctor explained, are

Page 171

markings on the skin over a vein which has been damaged by the introduction of foreign substances. Later that evening, at the request of the police, both defendants were examined by Dr. Samuel R. Kesselman, a psychiatrist. The following day the defendants re-enacted the crime and were arraigned.

The theory of the defendants' case was that Michael was a narcotics addict suffering from withdrawal symptoms on the day of the crime and that the robbery was motivated by a desperate urge to get money to buy narcotics to relieve his suffering. Further, the shooting was prompted by Martin's protective concern for his brother; Martin did not intend to kill Garcia but meant only to disable him from attacking Michael. The defense also urged that the defendants were the victims of an inadequate home life in a slum environment which was to a large extent responsible for their anti-social behavior, which they pointed out had begun when they were nine or ten years old.

Dr. Aaron Smith, a psychologist, who had examined the defendants shortly before the trial, testified for the defense. He related at length the histories he had obtained from the defendants, their schooling, home environment, their membership in street gangs, their prior brushes with the law, and their use of narcotics. The records of Annandale Reformatory, where Martin had been incarcerated on two occasions, and the records of the Essex County Juvenile Court regarding his prior offenses were introduced in evidence on his behalf. Dr. Smith used these records in arriving at his diagnosis. He interpreted the background of both defendants and gave his opinion of the psychological and social factors which predisposed them to the commission of a violent crime. In his opinion, the brothers were the victims of inadequate parents who could not provide the time and love required in raising the brothers. As a result, their only source of human affection was each other, and an abnormal relationship developed between them--'More than just a brother relationship, it was brother, mother and father all rolled into one.' Dr. Smith concluded from his examination of the defendants and their

Page 172

prior history that both of them were exceedingly immature, distorted and dependent people.

Dr. Robert T. Latimer, a psychiatrist, was also called as a witness for the defense. He had interviewed the defendants and their parents a few weeks before the trial. He related the history given by them of their home and community environment, the defendants' prior offenses and their addiction to narcotics. He believed that there existed between Martin and Michael an abnormal relationship of love and affection, that Martin could not bear to see his brother suffer from the pains of withdrawal and, further, that Martin's shooting was an automatic response to Garcia's attack upon Michael. Dr. Latimer found that both defendants had below-average intelligence and sociopathic personalities. In his opinion the progessive anti-social behavior of the defendants, which had been allowed to proceed substantially unchecked, inevitably led to violence.

Martin Reynolds testified that his brother was a narcotics addict suffering from withdrawal symptoms on the day of the crime. The brothers were broke and unable to borrow money and planned the holdup to get money to buy narcotics to relieve Michael's suffering. Martin explained his failure to tell the police these facts when he gave them his statement by saying he was nervous at the time. When he left the house of Dolores Brown after the shooting, he went with his brother to New York to get a fix. In his written statement, he had said he went home to bed after leaving his [195 A.2d 454] brother in Newark. His failure to...

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39 practice notes
  • State v. Forcella, Nos. A--147
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • July 3, 1968
    ...shall be death or life imprisonment, N.J.S.A. 2A:113--4, 1 and the jury must be unanimous as to punishment. Page 270 State v. Reynolds, 41 N.J. 163, 187--188, 195 A.2d 449 (1963), certiorari denied, 377 U.S. 100, 84 S.Ct. 1930, 1934, 12 L.Ed.2d 1050 (1964). Thus, unlike the kidnapping statu......
  • State v. Cook, No. A--51
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • January 13, 1965
    ...trial court's action was within its discretionary power and citing State v. Tune, 13 N.J. 203, 98 A.2d 881 (1953), and State v. Reynolds, 41 N.J. 163, 195 A.2d 449 (1963), cert. denied, 377 U.S. 1000, 84 S.Ct. 1934, 12 L.Ed.2d 1050 At common law, discovery before trial was generally unavail......
  • State v. Coleman, No. A--6
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • November 8, 1965
    ...to play any part in its determinations. None of the Prosecutor's remarks lacked the support of evidence by the State (State v. Reynolds, 41 N.J. 163, 184--185, 195 A.2d 449 (163), cert. denied, 377 U.S. 1000, 84 S.Ct. 1930, 12 L.Ed.2d 1050 (1964)), and, none of them can be said to have impa......
  • State v. Jackson, Nos. A--125
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • July 31, 1964
    ...retrial the court's instructions will deal fully with the jury's functions relating to punishment as contemplated by State v. Reynolds, 41 N.J. 163, 189--198, 195 A.2d 449 (1963), cert. denied, 84 S.Ct. 1934, 12 L.Ed.2d 1050 Reversed and remanded for new trial. For reversal: Chief Justice W......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
39 cases
  • State v. Forcella, Nos. A--147
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • July 3, 1968
    ...shall be death or life imprisonment, N.J.S.A. 2A:113--4, 1 and the jury must be unanimous as to punishment. Page 270 State v. Reynolds, 41 N.J. 163, 187--188, 195 A.2d 449 (1963), certiorari denied, 377 U.S. 100, 84 S.Ct. 1930, 1934, 12 L.Ed.2d 1050 (1964). Thus, unlike the kidnapping statu......
  • State v. Cook, No. A--51
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • January 13, 1965
    ...trial court's action was within its discretionary power and citing State v. Tune, 13 N.J. 203, 98 A.2d 881 (1953), and State v. Reynolds, 41 N.J. 163, 195 A.2d 449 (1963), cert. denied, 377 U.S. 1000, 84 S.Ct. 1934, 12 L.Ed.2d 1050 At common law, discovery before trial was generally unavail......
  • State v. Coleman, No. A--6
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • November 8, 1965
    ...to play any part in its determinations. None of the Prosecutor's remarks lacked the support of evidence by the State (State v. Reynolds, 41 N.J. 163, 184--185, 195 A.2d 449 (163), cert. denied, 377 U.S. 1000, 84 S.Ct. 1930, 12 L.Ed.2d 1050 (1964)), and, none of them can be said to have impa......
  • State v. Jackson, Nos. A--125
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • July 31, 1964
    ...retrial the court's instructions will deal fully with the jury's functions relating to punishment as contemplated by State v. Reynolds, 41 N.J. 163, 189--198, 195 A.2d 449 (1963), cert. denied, 84 S.Ct. 1934, 12 L.Ed.2d 1050 Reversed and remanded for new trial. For reversal: Chief Justice W......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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