May 16, 2016.
from Superior Court, judicial district of Hartford,
Kirstin B. Coffin, assigned counsel, for the appellant
Jonathan M. Sousa, special deputy assistant state’s
attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Gail P. Hardy,
state’s attorney, and Richard Rubino, senior assistant
state’s attorney, for the appellee (state).
DiPentima, C. J., and Prescott and Bishop, Js.
defendant, Fred C., appeals from the judgment of conviction,
rendered after a jury trial, of three counts of assault in
the first degree in violation of General Statutes §
53a-59 (a) (3) and one count of criminal violation of a
protective order in violation of General Statutes §
53a-223 (a). The defendant raises two claims on appeal.
First, he claims that the court abused its discretion in
denying his motion for a new trial as to one of the assault
charges on the ground that forensic evidence demonstrated
that it was physically impossible that he committed that
assault. Second, he claims that his constitutional rights
‘‘to due process, [to] a fair trial, to present a
defense, and to confront witnesses against him’’
were violated when the court issued a coercive perjury
advisement to a witness and that, he argues, deprived him of
exculpatory evidence at trial. We affirm the judgment of the
jury reasonably could have found the following facts. At
approximately 2 a.m. on July 28, 2012, after following the
victims, G, P, and R, to a residence in Hartford, the
defendant stabbed all three of them with a curved knife.
First, the defendant cut G’s ear, then pinned her
against a grill and stabbed her multiple times in her back
and buttock, resulting in puncture wounds to her back, a
collapsed lung, and a nearly torn off ear. The defendant then
turned to P, stabbing her nine times in her chest and side,
leaving her paralyzed. The defendant and P have two children
together, but due to prior domestic violence, a full no
contact protective order had been issued by the court against
the defendant in favor of P. The order was in effect on July
28, 2012. As to the third victim, when R, P’s mother,
tried to intervene, the defendant stabbed her in her right
leg. After the assaults of the victims, the defendant left
police officers responded to the scene and observed the
victims, their injuries, and a significant amount of blood on
the grass, courtyard, and walkway in the vicinity of the
assaults. Paramedics transported the victims to the hospital,
where officers collected their bloodstained clothing as
later arrested the defendant and questioned him at the police
station. At the time of the defendant’s arrest,
officers noticed bloodstains on his clothing and a dried
bloodstain on his right hand. Officers collected the
defendant’s bloodstained clothing, swabbed the
bloodstain on his hand, and collected a sample of his DNA.
Thereafter, the police sent the clothing, the swab, and the
defendant’s DNA sample to the state forensics
laboratory for testing.
state forensics laboratory, state forensics technician
Kristen Madel tested various cut out portions of bloodstains
from the defendant’s clothing, the swab from the blood
found on his hand, and DNA samples from the defendant and all
three victims. Madel’s testing revealed P’s DNA
as contributing to the blood on the defendant’s
clothing and in the blood swabbed from his hand. Madel did
not detect G’s or R’s DNA on any of the tested
February 19, 2014, the state, in a long form information,
charged the defendant with three counts of assault in the
first degree in violation of § 53a-59 (a) (3), one count
each for stabbing P, R, and G, and one count of criminal
violation of a protective order in violation of §
53a-223 (a). The state also charged the defendant with two
counts of violating his probation pursuant to General
Statutes § 53a-32 by way of separate informations tried
to the court. Following a jury trial, the defendant was
convicted of all counts, and, subsequently, the court found
the defendant to have violated his probation. On May 13,
2014, the court sentenced the defendant to a total effective
sentence of twenty-one years and one day incarceration,
followed by ten years of special parole. This appeal
followed. Additional facts will be set forth as necessary to
our assessment of the issues on appeal.
defendant first claims that the court abused its discretion
in denying his motion for a new trial. Specifically, the
defendant argues that, with respect to the count alleging
that he assaulted G, the jury’s verdict was based on
physically impossible factual conclusions. To support this
argument, the defendant contends that the absence of
G’s DNA on his body and clothing renders his assault of
her physically impossible. We disagree.
following additional facts and procedural history are
relevant to our review of this claim. On March 31, 2014,
following the guilty verdicts, the defendant filed a motion
for a new trial, arguing ‘‘that the jury’s
verdict was clearly against the weight of the evidence . . .
.’’ More specifically, the defendant argued that
there were inconsistencies between the DNA evidence and the
eyewitness testimony that implicated him. On May 13, 2014,
during the defendant’s sentencing hearing, the court
heard oral argument on the defendant’s motion. At the
hearing, the defendant argued that the absence of G’s
DNA from the tested blood samples contradicted the testimony
of G and other eyewitnesses who stated that the defendant had
stabbed G. According to the defendant, if he had stabbed G,
her blood would have been found on his person or clothing
and, reciprocally, the absence of her blood from the tested
samples meant that he could not have stabbed her.
Accordingly, he asserted, the jury’s conclusion that he
had stabbed G was undermined by the evidence.
response, the state argued that Madel’s trial testimony
had provided the jury with two reasonable expla- nations for
the lab not detecting G’s DNA on the tested samples.
The state pointed out that Madel had testified that she did
not test every single bloodstain on the defendant’s
clothing, but selected various stains on his clothing for
testing. Additionally, the state noted that Madel had
explained during her trial testimony that one DNA source
could outcompete another DNA source, thereby concealing the
presence of the outcompeted source on the material under
examination. Accordingly, the state argued that Madel’s
explanations refuted the defendant’s claim of physical
impossibility. In reply, the defendant conceded that
R’s DNA could have been outcompeted because she was
injured less severely and bled less heavily, but argued,
nevertheless, that such an occurrence could not have
prevented the detection of G’s DNA because she had
suffered more serious injuries. According to the
defendant’s reasoning, G’s blood would have had
to be present on the defendant if he were the perpetrator.
After hearing argument, the court denied the
defendant’s motion for a new trial.
proper appellate standard of review when considering the
action of a trial court granting or denying a motion to set
aside a verdict and a motion for a new trial is the abuse of
discretion standard. . . . In determining whether there has
been an abuse of discretion, every reasonable presumption
should be given in favor of the correctness of the
court’s ruling. . . . Reversal is required only where
an abuse of discretion is manifest or where injustice appears
to have been done.’’ (Citations omitted; internal
quotation marks omitted.) State v.Ward, 76
Conn.App. 779, 786, 821 A.2d 822, cert. denied, 264 Conn.
918, 826 A.2d 1160 (2003). ‘‘We do not . . .
determine whether a conclusion different from the one reached
could have been reached. . . . A verdict must stand if it is
one that a jury ...