Vreeland v. Warren, Civil Action No. 11-5239 (JAP)

CourtUnited States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
PartiesJAYSON VREELAND, Petitioner, v. CHARLES WARREN, et al., Respondents.
Docket NumberCivil Action No. 11-5239 (JAP)
Decision Date01 May 2013

CHARLES WARREN, et al., Respondents.

Civil Action No. 11-5239 (JAP)


DATED: May 1, 2013



JAYSON VREELAND, Petitioner pro se

LAURA LILLIAN NAZZARO, Counsel for Respondents
Sussex County Prosecutor's Office

PISANO, District Judge

Petitioner Jayson Vreeland ("Petitioner"), a prisoner currently confined at New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, New Jersey, has submitted a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The respondents are Administrator Greg Bartkowski, the Attorney General of New Jersey and the Sussex County Prosecutor's Office. For the reasons stated below, the Petition will be denied.


This Court, affording the state court's factual determinations the appropriate deference, see

Page 2

28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1)1 , will simply reproduce the recitation of facts as set forth by Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division on direct appeal:

After burglarizing a sporting goods store and stealing firearms therefrom, Koskovich [Petitioner's separately-tried co-conspirator] gave a .40 caliber handgun to Michael Conklin, his co-conspirator in that burglary and theft, and told Conklin that he was planning to rob "some pizza men, holding them up...for the money." Conklin agreed to participate and continued to do so, even after Kosovich changed his plan to "hold up pizza men in Vernon, shoot them and take their money and their car." Subsequently, Koskovich met with Conklin and defendant, although the plan was not discussed at the time. Nevertheless, at some time thereafter, Koskovich told Conklin that defendant would participate in the crime. On cross-examination, Conklin testified that Koskovich "never indicated" that defendant agreed to be involved prior to its occurrence.
Nevertheless, before the crimes occurred, defendant participated with Koskovich in taking target practice with the stolen guns. Koskovich also spoke with defendant about his plan to rob and kill a pizza deliveryman. He explained that pizza men were "an easy target." According to defendant's subsequent recorded statement to the police, Koskovich indicated that he wanted to "kill someone...just for the thrill of killing someone."
On the morning of April 19, 1997, Koskovich went to Conklin's home and told Conklin that he was going to commit the murder that night. Conklin made himself unavailable to participate in the crime.
Defendant arrived at Koskovich's home between 6:30 and 7:00 that evening. They drove to Conklin's house in Koskovich's car, a light blue 1984 Chevrolet Cavalier. The car was "loud" and one headlight was not working. They returned to Koskovich's home after discovering that Conklin was not home.
While there, Koskovich's girlfriend, Kimberly Prestidge, saw defendant tear a list of pizza restaurants out of the telephone book, and saw either defendant or Koskovich copy telephone numbers onto a piece of paper. She also saw both defendant and Koskovich put guns in their belts or under their shirts.
On the evening of April 19, 1997, Scott Madden was working in the garage of his residence on Scott Road in Franklin Township when he heard a vehicle traveling

Page 3

by. Madden, an automobile parts employee for General Motors, observed a light blue Chevrolet Cavalier hatchback drive past his house and, twenty minutes later, return in the opposite direction. Due to its hatchback design, Madden was able to identify the vehicle as manufactured between 1984 and 1987. Madden further testified that he was able to easily hear the vehicle because "it had no muffler or [had] a hole in the muffler." Another Scott Road resident, Claudia Simet, confirmed Madden's report. She testified that she heard a "loud car" pass her house between 9:00 and 9:30 p.m. and observed that the vehicle had one burned out headlight. Both accounts buttressed defendant's statement in which he referred to an abandoned house on Scott Road as the place where he and Koskovich planned to have the pizzas delivered.
Defendant and Koskovich were observed at a Dunkin' Donuts in Franklin between 9:00 and 11:00 on the evening of April 19. Koskovich obtained a telephone book, and defendant began calling pizzerias to place an order. Defendant first called Tony's Pizzeria, but terminated the call after discovering Giordano - a person who he knew and was once "pretty close" with - was working that night. Defendant and Koskovich then took turns placing calls to other pizzerias. Ultimately, Tony's Pizzeria was called a second time. Defendant and Koskovich ordered two pizzas to be delivered to an abandoned house on Scott Road. Gallara, the owner of Tony's restaurant, took the call and accepted the order. The cook started to prepare pies at approximately 10:30. Giordano and Gallara left to deliver the order at about 10:45.
Between 10:00 and 11:00 p.m., Harriet Yonkers looked out the window of her home on Scott Road after hearing a car with a bad muffler, and saw a blue car with one burnt out headlight parked across the street from her home. She observed both the driver and passenger get out of the vehicle.
According to defendant's statement, when the pizza delivery was made to the abandoned house on Scott Road, Koskovich "just started shooting" through the open passenger window of the victims' car. Koskovich shot the driver in the head causing what defendant described as a "huge hole." According to defendant's statement, Koskovich also fired at the passenger and defendant picked up his gun from the grass where it had been placed and began to fire at the dashboard of the car because he "just wanted...to prove that...[he] was a friend of Koskovich." He said he "didn't want to kill anybody" and had "pretty much more or less [shot] towards the dashboard." However, in his prior oral statement to the police, defendant said he pulled out his gun and began firing at the same time that Koskovich did. Defendant fired four shots. Thereafter, Koskovich pulled Gallara from the car, and defendant realized that Giordano was the driver of the delivery vehicle. At about 11:30 p.m., Ms. Yonkers heard noises and observed the loud vehicle drive away from the scene at a fast rate of speed.
Defendant and Koskovich returned to Koskovich's home and changed from their

Page 4

bloody clothes. Ms. Prestidge testified that the two returned between 11:15 and 11:20 and looked "pretty wrecked." According to defendant's statement, Koskovich made phone calls to his friends asking "have you ever talk[ed] to someone that just murdered someone."
On April 20, 1997, Madden observed the car he had seen on Scott Road the day before and called the police with identification. Koskovich was arrested by the State Police and on April 21, 1997, a search was conducted of his residence pursuant to a warrant issued by a judicial officer. Among the items retrieved were firearms, Gallara's wallet, and a gym bag containing blood stained clothes.
Defendant was subsequently arrested pursuant to a separate warrant. Because defendant was a juvenile his parents were invited to be present during an interview, and defendant's parents agreed to do so because they wanted him to cooperate and tell the truth. After being advised that defendant did not have to answer questions and that his parents had the right to be present, defendant told the police "he had no problem with talking to...[them] but he wanted to be interviewed. He was read his Miranda rights, and defendant and his parents both signed a Miranda waiver form. Defendant's parents also signed a form granting the police permission to interview defendant and opting to be present during the interview. In his oral statement, defendant acknowledged that "we both shot into the car."
After the oral statement was complete, the police asked for the opportunity to tape the statement, and defendant and his parents once again agreed. The Miranda warnings were administered a second time. In the recorded statement defendant stated, among other things, that he had placed his gun in the grass and had to retrieve it after Koskovich began shooting. As already noted, in the taped statement defendant said he shot at the dashboard.
Subsequent to his arrest and the statements, defendant was placed in the Sussex County Juvenile Detention Center. There he told another detainee, Charles Varella, that he never thought that the events would occur or that Koskovich would go through with the plan, which included making the telephone calls from Dunkin' Donuts and shooting the delivery person or persons at an abandoned house. Defendant told Varella that he fired a .22 caliber shotgun into the dashboard of the delivery vehicle. He also told Varella that he and Koskovich wanted to see "[w]hat it was like to kill somebody."
The DNA analysis revealed that Giordano's blood matched the blood stains on the pants found inside a bag which was retrieved outside of Koskovich's home during the search. The State Police expert testified that Giordano was shot by a .45 caliber pistol but could not conclusively indicate whether bullets that killed Gallara came from the .22 caliber firearm. No damage was found on the passenger side dashboard of the delivery car.

Page 5

Dr. Paula Bortnichak, a psychologist, testified that defendant became dependent upon Koskovich and had a submissive relationship. Defendant viewed Koskovich as "charismatic" and a "powerful leader." Defendant told her that while they were at Dunkin' Donuts, Koskovich devised the

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT