January 19, 2016
from Superior Court, judicial district of Fairfield, Kahn, J.
Katherine C. Essington, assigned counsel, for the appellant
E. Mattei, assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the
brief, were John C. Smriga, state's attorney, and Howard
S. Stein, senior assistant state's attorney, for the
Sheldon and Prescott, Js.
defendant, Jayevon Blaine, appeals from the judgment of
conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of conspiracy to
commit robbery in the first degree in violation of General
Statutes §§ 53a-48 and 53a-134 (a)
On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the evidence was
insufficient to sustain his conviction; (2) the trial court
erred in denying his request for a jury instruction on third
party culpability; and (3) the court incorrectly instructed
the jury on the requisite intent to find him guilty of
conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree. We affirm
the judgment of the trial court.
supporting the following facts was presented to the jury. On
September 6, 2009, at approximately 9:35 p.m., Bridgeport
police Officer Paul Scillia was dispatched to Bretton Street
in Bridgeport to respond to reports of gunshots and a
suspicious vehicle. Upon arrival, he observed the victim,
later identified as Kevin Soler, lying in the backseat of a
vehicle, with his legs hanging out of an open door. Scillia
checked the victim for a pulse and determined that he was
deceased. He radioed for backup.
after the other officers arrived at the scene, Scillia and
the other officers were approached by Priscilla LaBoy. She
was crying hysterically. LaBoy told Scillia that the deceased
person in the car was her boyfriend. She told Scillia that
the victim had picked her up earlier in the day and that they
met a friend of his. The three drove to a designated location
where they parked and waited for another person. After they
waited there for a couple of minutes, a black male,
approximately six feet tall and wearing a black hoodie,
approached their vehicle from across the street. The victim
exited his vehicle and met the other man in the middle of the
street. LaBoy overheard Soler, who sounded anxious, tell the
other man that they had met each other at the other man's
‘‘baby mama's party.'' LaBoy told
Scillia that the other man then shot her boyfriend.
investigators at the scene found a cell phone belonging to
Robert Taylor, who had been the third person in the car; an
examination of the cell phone led the police to Jihad
Clemons. The police questioned Clemons, who said the
defendant was the shooter. Two days later, police executed a
warrant for the arrest of the defendant on other charges. The
defendant lived at the time with DeAndre Harper and
Harper's younger brother and sister, Sean Harper and
Antonajia Pettway. In the course of executing the warrant,
the police found two guns under a mattress, which Harper and
his brother slept on; the defendant slept in the same small
bedroom on a different mattress. One of the guns, a nine
millimeter handgun, was determined by a firearms expert to
have fired the bullet recovered from the victim's body.
Further investigation led to the arrests of four people who,
together with the defendant, were charged with, inter alia,
conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree.
four of the defendant's coconspirators, Clemons, Craig
Waddell, Hank Palmer, and Mike Lomax, who had known each
other for several years but had only recently been introduced
to the defendant, testified for the state at the
defendant's trial. The crux of their testimony, as it
related to the charge of conspiracy, was that they and the
defendant had entered into an agreement to rob Robert Taylor,
a drug dealer.
was the first of the conspirators to testify. He testified
that on September 6, 2009, he and Waddell visited their
friend, Braxton Gardner, and decided to buy some marijuana.
To that end, Gardner made a phone call to Taylor, a drug
dealer with whom he was familiar. Gardner met Taylor a block
or two from his house and completed the purchase. Clemons,
Waddell, and Gardner smoked the marijuana that they had
purchased, and then Gardner left to attend his younger
brother's football game.
thereafter, Clemons and Waddell decided that they wanted more
marijuana, so they called Gardner to get Taylor's
telephone number. Clemons then called Taylor, who met them
near Gardner's house and sold them more marijuana. While
Clemons and Waddell were smoking the newly purchased
marijuana, they walked to Palmer's house and discussed
robbing Taylor. Lomax arrived at Palmer's house, and the
four men discussed their plan to rob Taylor.
Waddell, and Lomax left Palmer's house- leaving Palmer
behind-and drove Lomax's car, a white Honda, to
Harper's house to ask Harper if he would like to be
involved in their planned robbery of Taylor. They found
Harper outside on his porch with his cousin, the defendant.
Harper and the defendant approached Lomax's vehicle,
where they discussed the robbery. Clemons, Waddell, and Lomax
first asked Harper if he wanted to participate in the
robbery, but Harper declined. They then asked the defendant