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State v. Gill

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

November 7, 2017

STATE OF CONNECTICUT
v.
ANDRE GILL

          Argued September 13, 2017

          Lisa J. Steele, assigned counsel, for the appellant (defendant).

          Jennifer F. Miller, deputy assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Gail P. Hardy, state's attorney, and Anne Mahoney, state's attorney, for the appellee (state).

          DiPentima, C. J., and Alvord and Kahn, Js. [*]

         Syllabus

         Convicted, after a jury trial, of, inter alia, the crime of murder in connection with an incident in which the defendant shot the victim in the parking lot of a nightclub, the defendant appealed, claiming that there was insufficient evidence to prove the specific intent element necessary to support his murder conviction. Held that the state presented sufficient evidence from which the jury reasonably could have inferred that the defendant intended to cause the victim's death to support the defendant's conviction of murder: the evidence and testimony presented by the state demonstrated that the victim had grabbed the defendant by the throat during a fight inside the nightclub and that the dispute continued in the club's parking lot, where the defendant yelled at the victim, got out of his car with a revolver as the victim walked toward the car, and fired the revolver directly at the victim, striking him in his torso, just below the breastbone; moreover, there was ample evidence of the defendant's conduct after the shooting from which the jury could have inferred an intent to kill, as the defendant displayed a consciousness of guilt by cleaning the revolver and another gun involved in the incident with bleach to remove any fingerprints or DNA, asking his brother's friend to dispose of the guns, and making untruthful statements to the police.

         Procedural History

         Substitute information charging the defendant with the crimes of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, criminal possession of a firearm, carrying a revolver without a permit, tampering with a witness, false statement in the second degree and tampering with evidence, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Hartford and tried to the jury before Dewey, J.; thereafter, the charge of criminal possession of a firearm was tried to the court; verdict and judgment of guilty of murder, criminal possession of a firearm, carrying a revolver without a permit, false statement in the second degree and tampering with evidence; subsequently, the court denied the defendant's motion for a judgment of acquittal, and the defendant appealed. Affirmed.

          OPINION

          ALVORD, J.

         The defendant, Andre Gill, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of murder in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-54a and 53a-8; carrying a revolver without a permit in violation of General Statutes § 29-35 (a); false statement in the second degree in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 2011) § 53a-157b; and tampering with physical evidence in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-155 and 53a-8.[1] On appeal, the defendant's sole claim is that there was insufficient evidence to prove the element of specific intent necessary to support the murder conviction. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         The following facts, which the jury reasonably could have found, are relevant to the defendant's appeal. On the night of November 18, 2011, the defendant drove his Acura with his friend Charles Young to a nightclub in Hartford, Mi Bar, to perform rap music. At the time, the defendant lived at his grandmother's house with his children and others, including Young. A few days earlier, the house had been invaded, and the defendant's daughter and Young were tied up. After the home invasion, the defendant asked his brother's friend, Antoine Armour, to bring a gun to the house for protection. Armour provided the defendant with a .38 caliber Taurus revolver and a .380 caliber semiautomatic handgun. Armour also gave the defendant ammunition.

         Initially, the defendant did not bring the guns to Mi Bar on November 18, 2011. After seeing people in the nightclub whom he knew to be associated with the home invasion, however, he returned to his grandmother's house with Young to retrieve the two guns. They then returned to Mi Bar, left the guns in the defendant's car, and reentered the nightclub.

         During a performance by Arkeit Iverson, the sound system in the nightclub malfunctioned, at which point a fight broke out. The performer at the time, Iverson, was a cousin of the victim, Fred Pines. Iverson began pushing through the crowd, which included the defendant and the defendant's cousin, to reach the disc jockey. The defendant tried to stop Iverson from reaching the disc jockey, at which time the victim grabbed the defendant by the throat. The fight was captured on video, which was played for the jury during the evidentiary portion of the trial.

         After the fight, people began running out of the nightclub into the parking lot, where the argument continued. The defendant testified that he was ‘‘having some words'' with the victim in the parking lot. According to Young, the defendant went back to his car and got into the driver's seat, and Young got into the passenger's seat. The defendant began to drive out of the parking lot, but stopped to roll down his window and yell at the victim. The victim walked toward the car, at which time the defendant got out of the car. Young also got out of the car with the .380 caliber semiutomatic handgun and fired two shots into the air. The defendant then fired one shot from the .38 caliber revolver at the victim. Young ...


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