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Davis-Martin v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

February 4, 2019

Jabreeh Cash Davis-Martin, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff

          Appeal from the St. Joseph Superior Court The Honorable Elizabeth C. Hurley, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 71D08-1603-MR-002

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Amy D. Griner Griner & Company Mishawaka, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Ian McLean Supervising Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          Vaidik, Chief Judge.

         Case Summary

         [¶1] Jabreeh Cash Davis-Martin was convicted of murder for the brutal beating death of Jodie Henderson in South Bend in January 2016. He now appeals his conviction on a variety of grounds as well as his maximum sentence of sixty-five years. Specifically, Davis-Martin contends that (1) the State withheld his cell-phone records in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), (2) the State violated his due-process rights by not correcting a detective's false testimony, (3) the trial court erred in not supplementing the pattern jury instruction on impeachment by prior inconsistent statements, (4) the trial court admitted evidence that he told his mother he did not want to talk to the police in violation of his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, (5) the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction, and (6) the trial court erred in not identifying three mitigators. We affirm.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2] Around 6:30 p.m. on January 15, 2016, Jodie and his aunt, Donna Forrest, went to Felisha Sconiers's house on Sorin Street in South Bend. Felisha's mother and son, Davis-Martin, also lived in the house, with Davis-Martin staying in the basement. Shortly after arriving at the Sorin Street house, Jodie suggested buying alcohol. Jodie, Donna, and Felisha went to the liquor store and bought some vodka. Upon returning to the house, they sat around the kitchen table and drank. Throughout the evening, other people were coming and going, including Davis-Martin and his friend, Ricky Jackson. While Jodie, Donna, and Felisha were at the kitchen table, Jodie, an openly gay man, told Felisha that he "want[ed]" her son, Davis-Martin. Tr. Vol. II p. 32; Ex. 278 (video). Felisha told Jodie not to talk about her son, adding "you can talk to me about my husband, though, you can have that motherfu**er." Ex. 278. Jodie responded that he didn't want her husband, he was "gonna git [her] son." Id. Felisha told Jodie to stand up, because she was going to "kick [him] in [the] a** right now." Id. Jodie then asked Felisha what made her think that Davis-Martin "ain't in love with me too?" Id. Felisha responded, "I know he ain't." Id. When Jodie called Davis-Martin his "husband," Felisha, upset, warned him not to talk about her son "like that." Id.

         [¶3] As the evening wore on, Jodie passed out. It was later determined that his blood-alcohol content had been in the range of 0.25. Tr. Vol. III p. 31. Donna was unable to rouse Jodie, so around 11:45 p.m. Davis-Martin, who was getting ready to go out, moved Jodie to the living-room couch. Donna put Jodie's two cell phones and car keys in his coat pocket and then put his coat on top of him as a blanket. After confirming with Felisha that Jodie could sleep on the couch, Donna went home. As she left, she saw Davis-Martin standing at a car talking to someone.

         [¶4] Meanwhile, Felisha went to sleep on the couch near Jodie. At some point, Felisha heard Jodie get up and say he was leaving.

         [¶5] Sometime around 2:00 to 3:00 a.m., Ricky returned to the Sorin Street house because he had left his coat there. According to Ricky, the outside of the house "didn't look right" because there was "like blood and stuff." Tr. Vol. II p. 207. Ricky also saw "a dude sitting up across the street" on the curb. Id. at 208. After he got his coat and was leaving, Ricky noticed that the man across the street (he did not know who it was, but he could tell it was not Davis-Martin) was mumbling that he wanted to go home. Id. at 212. Ricky did not help the man, however, because he had just been released from prison two weeks earlier and did not want to get in trouble.

         [¶6] Shortly before 7 a.m., police officers from the South Bend Police Department were dispatched to the 1200 block of East Sorin Street on a report of an unresponsive male in the street. Upon arrival, the officers found Jodie lying face down in the street across from the Sorin Street house. Jodie, who had significant head trauma, did not have a coat on, and he was missing his left shoe. Paramedics arrived and pronounced him dead.

         [¶7] There was a good deal of evidence for the officers to collect at the scene. At the Sorin Street house, the officers observed blood in the snow in the front yard, on the cement walkway leading to the house, and on the front porch. More blood was found near Jodie's body across the street from the house. The officers observed that a paver had been removed from the top of a retaining wall and was on the ground near Jodie's body. In addition, the porch railing by the front door of the house had been broken away from the house and was leaning out toward the yard. One of the spindles was broken, with half of it missing. In the front yard, the officers found the missing half of the spindle with blood on it as well as part of a broken chair, a piece of black material, and a piece of circular foam with blood on it.

         [¶8] The snow also contained clues about Jodie's death. The officers found several footprints in the snow that had been made by two different shoes. The tread pattern of one was consistent with Nike Air Force 1 shoes. The officers also found an impression in the snow that resembled a folding chair with a circular seat. Finally, the officers found drag marks in the snow leading away from the Sorin Street house toward Jodie's body across the street.

         [¶9] Inside the Sorin Street house, the officers found Jodie's missing left shoe underneath a recliner in the living room. The officers also found a pile of trash at the bottom of the basement stairs. Inside the pile of trash was a pair of Nike Air Force 1 shoes. Later forensic testing revealed that Davis-Martin's DNA was on the shoes. A comparison of the impressions from the Nike Air Force 1 shoes and the footprints in the snow showed that they were a match. Tr. Vol. III p. 62. The officers also found a folding chair in the basement that looked like the impression in the snow. The officers brought the intact chair outside, and it matched the impression. The broken chair part and piece of black material found in the yard also matched the chair found in the basement.

         [¶10] Later that day, South Bend Police Department Detective Brian Cook interviewed Felisha. During the interview, Detective Cook told Felisha that he wanted to interview her son. Felisha then called Davis-Martin from the interview room and told him that the police wanted him to come to the station "because they found Jodie dead across the street, and they want[ed] to talk to everybody who was [at the Sorin Street house] last night." Tr. Vol. II p. 66. Davis-Martin replied, "I ain't going down there to talk to nobody." Id. In a second call happening "immediately after," Davis-Martin told his mother that he did not have time to talk to the police because he was at work. Id.; Tr. Vol. IV pp. 16-17. It was later learned that Davis-Martin did not go to work that day.

         [¶11] An autopsy performed on January 17 found multiple abrasions on Jodie's hands, arms, legs, torso, back, and head. There were also lacerations to his head, which indicated that the skin had been split open by forceful impacts. There was a fracture to the outer layer of his skull and to a rib. According to the forensic pathologist, the manner of death was homicide, and the cause of death was multiple injuries, "including blunt and chop injuries." Tr. Vol. III p. 23. Jodie's alcohol consumption and exposure to the cold contributed to his death. Id. at 22.

         [¶12] The investigation of Jodie's death continued throughout February and March. On February 18, Davis-Martin was arrested on an unrelated charge and incarcerated in the St. Joseph County Jail. Around this same time, Detective Cook interviewed Davis-Martin. Tr. Vol. II pp. 218-20; Tr. Vol. IV p. 13. On February 21, Davis-Martin placed a phone call from jail, which was recorded. During the call, Davis-Martin stated that he had not yet finished cleaning his room in the basement and needed the recipient of the call to throw away the trash at the bottom of the stairs (which is where the Nike Air Force 1 shoes had been found).

         [¶13] In March, a man named Brandon Trotter contacted police and said that he had been at his sister's apartment in the early-morning hours of January 16 and had seen Davis-Martin there. According to Brandon, Davis-Martin was "geeked" and "[h]igh on cocaine, weed, [and] alcohol." Tr. Vol. III pp. 158, 161. Davis-Martin told the people gathered there that he had hit somebody "over the head" and the blood "squirted out like a movie." Id. at 158. Brandon noticed blood on Davis-Martin's shirt and in the webs between his fingers.

         [¶14] Also in March, police spoke with Cameron Wilson and Laura Luna, who were also at that same apartment in the early-morning hours of January 16. During their interviews with Cameron and Laura, police learned that between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. on January 16, Laura drove Cameron to the apartment. Laura stayed in the car while Cameron went inside. When Cameron walked in, Davis-Martin, whom he knew from high school, was there. Davis-Martin asked Cameron for a ride to Sorin Street. Cameron agreed, and Davis-Martin accompanied him to the waiting car. Laura then drove to Sorin Street. On the way, Davis-Martin said "he got into it [earlier that night] with somebody because they made a pass on him" and "tried to suck his di**." Id. at 171. Davis-Martin referred to the person as a "fa**ot." Id. at 195. Davis-Martin said he stabbed the person "a couple times," threw him out of the house, and thought he had killed him. Id. at 195. Neither Cameron nor Laura believed Davis-Martin at the time.

         [¶15] When they were almost to Sorin Street, however, Davis-Martin called his mother and told her to get rid of a coat, boil some water and bleach and melt the snow with blood in it, and clean the blood on the porch. Cameron said Davis-Martin did not use Cameron's phone to make the call and that he assumed Davis-Martin used Laura's phone. Laura, however, said she did not know what phone Davis-Martin used. In any event, when they pulled up across from the Sorin Street house, the car's headlights illuminated Jodie lying in the street in a curled-up position. He was barely moving. Upon seeing this, Davis-Martin exclaimed, "fu**ing fa**ot is still alive." Id. at 200. Davis-Martin got out of the car and started kicking and punching Jodie. Jodie, who did not fight back, grunted. Davis-Martin then retrieved a paver from a nearby retaining wall and was about to hit Jodie with it when Cameron got out of the car and stopped him. As Cameron and Laura pulled away from the house, Jodie's body was no longer curled up but rather face down-the same position he was in when police arrived shortly before 7 a.m. Numb and afraid, neither Cameron nor Laura called police.

         [¶16] The State charged Davis-Martin with murder on March 22; he was still in the St. Joseph County Jail on the unrelated charge when he was served with the arrest warrant. Appellant's App. Vol. II p. 137.

         [¶17] While incarcerated, Davis-Martin spoke to several inmates about his case. For example, Andrew Fry was housed with Davis-Martin for approximately six weeks beginning in June 2016. Davis-Martin and Andrew became friends, discussing the frequent jailhouse topics of "Women and sex, our cases and drugs, what we're in [jail] for," and "what is going on in the cell block." Tr. Vol. II pp. 223-24. During one of these conversations, Davis-Martin looked "down" and "depressed." Id. at 224. To cheer him up, Andrew told him about one of his and his wife's "swinger encounters." Id. At the end of the story, Davis-Martin asked Andrew if he was attracted to any of the men that he and his wife had encounters with. Andrew responded yes, because he was bisexual. Davis-Martin responded that he was bisexual, too. Davis-Martin then asked Andrew if he had told anyone about being bisexual, and Andrew answered that his wife knows "and whoever I decide to let know." Id. at 225. Davis-Martin, however, said he did not want anyone to know and "that's why he was in jail." Id. at 226. Davis-Martin then explained that he and Jodie had a relationship and that everything was going well until Jodie wanted to tell people about their relationship. Davis-Martin said one night, Jodie went to the Sorin Street house looking for him and ended up telling his mother about their relationship. Davis-Martin's mother then called him inquiring about his relationship with Jodie. Davis-Martin was "furious" about this. Id. at 228. When Davis-Martin saw Jodie later, they argued, and Davis-Martin hit him with a gun. Davis-Martin planned to hit Jodie "only a few times," but "he couldn't stop himself" and beat him up "until he couldn't move no more." Id. at 229. Davis-Martin told Andrew that although the police did not have a lot of physical evidence implicating him, he was worried about "some shoes." Id. at 231.

         [¶18] Davis-Martin also spoke with inmates Marcus Green and Anthony Lyons. Davis-Martin and Marcus were cellmates for a short time. According to Marcus, one day in September 2016 Davis-Martin told him that he was in jail for murder and that "all he did was beat the guy's ass and he froze to death." Tr. Vol. III p. 149. Davis-Martin explained that the guy had told people they were having a relationship, which made him "look like a f**." Id. at 150. In November 2016, Davis-Martin approached Anthony in the jail and said he heard that Anthony had beat a murder charge before and wanted to know his chances of doing the same. Anthony responded that he did not beat a murder charge; rather, he got convicted of a lesser charge. Davis-Martin then asked Anthony if he knew about his charge. When Anthony said no, Davis-Martin told him that he was in jail for "killing the f**." Id. at 137. Anthony responded that their cases were not the same. Davis-Martin told Anthony that he still might be able to beat his murder charge because no one saw him kill Jodie.

         [¶19] A jury trial was held in June 2017. At trial, Detective Cook testified on direct examination that when he eventually interviewed Davis-Martin in February 2016, Davis-Martin told him that he did not have a cell phone and had not had one for "quite some time." Tr. Vol. IV p. 17. Detective Cook, however, testified that this statement was not true, as he "received [Davis-Martin's] cellphone number during [his] investigation and actually did a search warrant, received his cellphone records . . . ." Id. Detective Cook explained that Davis-Martin's cell-phone records were "hit and miss" because with "[t]oday's technology you can actually make an internet call from your phone which is hard to track a number." Id. Detective Cook explained that despite Davis-Martin's claim that he did not have a cell phone, he could tell from Davis-Martin's cell-phone records that he, in fact, had a cell phone around the time of Jodie's murder. On cross-examination, defense counsel asked Detective Cook if he had Davis-Martin's cell-phone records with him, and Detective Cook responded that he only had his "notes" and "work product" with him. Id. at 20. Defense counsel then asked Detective Martin if there were any calls between Davis-Martin's cell phone and Felisha's cell phone between 10 p.m. on January 15 and the following day when Felisha called Davis-Martin from the police station, and Detective Cook said no. Id. at 22. Defense counsel also asked Detective Cook if there were any calls between Laura's cell phone and Felisha's cell phone around that same time, and Detective Cook said no. Id. at 23, 36, 37-38. Detective Cook reiterated that internet calls cannot be tracked, which is one of law enforcement's "biggest enemies" right now. Id. at 36; see also id. at 38 (explaining that the internet "makes phone calls disappear").

         [¶20] Defense counsel also cross-examined Detective Cook about whether Marcus and Anthony had given him information in the past:

Q Has Marcus Green provided you information on any other cases; either a defendant who is already charged or a case that you are investigating and he provides information that would assist in that?
A Not that I recall.
* * * * *
Q What about Anthony Lyons?
A Possibility. He has been around a while.
Q Did you investigate a case against Brian Lac[e]y?
A Bryant Lac[e]y, yes, ...

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