November 28, 2016
from Superior Court, judicial district of Hartford,
Richard E. Condon, Jr., senior assistant public defender,
with whom was S. Max Simmons, assigned counsel, for the
Weller, senior assistant state's attorney, with whom, on
the brief, were Gail P. Hardy, state's attorney, and
Robin D. Krawczyk, senior assistant state's attorney, for
the appellee (state).
Keller, Mullins and Sullivan, Js.
defendant, Maurice Snowden, appeals from the judgment of
conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of murder in
violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a and criminal
possession of a pistol or revolver in violation of General
Statutes (Rev. to 2011)§ 53a-217c (a) (1) (criminal
possession). On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the
trial court erred in permitting joinder of one information
charging murder with a second information charging a separate
instance of criminal possession; and (2) this court should
adopt a ‘‘clear failure of judicial
obligation'' standard for conducting a harmless error
analysis under the facts of this case. We affirm the
judgment of the trial court.
jury reasonably could have found the following
facts. For some time preceding the murder of the
victim, Michael Taylor, the defendant and the victim had been
involved in an ongoing dispute. Additionally, approximately
one week prior to the murder, the defendant told a lifelong
friend, Everett Walker, that he wanted to kill the victim.
Indeed, the victim knew that the defendant intended to harm
him because he had told Walker, also a lifelong friend, that
the defendant was ‘‘out to get me, '' and
the victim was so nervous that he sat on his porch armed with
in the morning on July 26, 2011, T.M. was driving with his cousin,
Desmond Wray, around the north end of Hartford selling drugs
when the defendant flagged him down on Enfield Street and
asked to buy crack. At first, T.M. did not recognize the
defendant, whom he had known since childhood and spent time
with earlier the same month, because the defendant was
wearing a disguise comprised of a fake beard drawn on with a
marker and a shirt over his head, as well as utilizing
crutches. At the same time, the defendant engaged the victim,
who was nearby, in a discussion, looking to buy marijuana
from him. After the defendant crossed the street to approach
the victim, the defendant shot the victim in the face,
resulting in his death.
the defendant got into the back of T.M.'s car and told
him to drive to Earle Street in Hartford. Once the defendant
was in the car and began removing his disguise, T.M.
recognized him as the defendant. T.M. took the defendant to
Earle Street and the defendant exited the car.
approximately 3 a.m. on July 26, 2011, the defendant arrived
at the apartment of another childhood friend, Latia Avril, at
31 Owen Street in Hartford. During his visit, the defendant
showed Avril a black gun, and how to open and fire it. Later
that evening while the defendant was still there, police
officers knocked on Avril's door to serve a warrant for
the defendant's arrest for unrelated offenses. The
defendant threw a .38 caliber revolver into a clothes hamper
and attempted to escape through a bedroom window, but police
officers, who were waiting outside the window, apprehended
him. As the police officers escorted him to their vehicle, he
stated, ‘‘that gun I used it's not here,
it's on Enfield Street.''
Avril went to the door and police officers entered the
apartment. Avril indicated to police that the defendant had
thrown something in a clothes hamper in a bedroom closet. In
the clothes hamper, police located a .38 caliber Smith &
Wesson revolver with a five round capacity, but it contained
only four cartridges when retrieved.
victim died from a single bullet wound under his left eye.
Upon entry, the .38 caliber bullet shattered. The medical
examiner recovered two fragments from the victim's skull.
The state's ballistics expert could not make a positive
match of the bullet fragments recovered from the victim to
those test-fired from the revolver recovered from Avril's
apartment, but one of the fragments possessed rifling
characteristics consistent with that revolver. Accordingly,
the expert could not eliminate or identify the weapon seized
as the weapon used in the victim's murder.
October 28, 2013, in a long form information, the state
charged the defendant with murder and criminal possession in
violation of the aforementioned statutes, as well as attempt
to tamper with a witness in violation of General Statutes
§§ 53a-151 (a) and 53a-49. The criminal possession
charge arose from the defendant's possession of the
revolver at Avril's apartment. Originally, the state had
charged the defendant with the three offenses in three
separate informations, but the state moved to join the
informations on October 28, 2013, the day that jury selection
began. That day, the defendant orally objected to the
consolidation on the grounds that the tampering and criminal
possession charges were not cross admissible in the murder
case. The court granted the motion for joinder, finding that
the tampering and criminal possession charges were cross
admissible in the murder case and that the defendant was not
prejudiced under the factors established in State v.
Boscarino,204 Conn. 714, 722-24, 529 A.2d 1260 (1987).
Following a jury trial, the jury returned a verdict of guilty
on the murder and criminal ...