April 17, 2018
information charging the defendant with the crimes of
conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree and attempt
to commit robbery in the first degree as an accessory,
brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of New
Haven and tried to the jury before the court, Alander,
J.; thereafter, the trial court granted a motion for a
judgment of acquittal as to the conspiracy count; verdict and
judgment of guilty of attempt to commit robbery in the first
degree as an accessory, from which the defendant appealed to
this court. Affirmed.
Ann Miller, assigned counsel, with whom, on the brief, was
Owen Firestone, for the appellant (defendant).
A. Chiarenza, assistant state's attorney, with whom, on
the brief, were Patrick J. Griffin, state's attorney, and
John P. Doyle, Jr., senior assistant state's attorney,
for the appellee (state).
Alvord, Elgo and Pellegrino, Js.
defendant, Marquis J. Harper, appeals from the judgment of
conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of one count of
attempt to commit robbery in the first degree as an accessory
in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-8 (a),
53a-49 (a) (2) and 53a-134 (a) (2). On appeal, the defendant
claims that (1) the evidence adduced at trial was
insufficient to sustain his conviction and (2) the court
improperly declined to furnish a jury unanimity instruction
requested by the defendant. We disagree and, accordingly,
affirm the judgment of the trial court.
basis of the evidence presented at trial, the jury reasonably
could have found the following facts. The defendant, Kevin
Blackman, Marquis Winfrey, and Anthony Carmichael were
smoking marijuana together in Hamden on the evening of July
1, 2010. When they later discussed how to obtain more
marijuana, the defendant proposed robbing the victim, John
Belcher. The defendant assured the others that the victim had
marijuana at his residence.
time, the four individuals were inside the defendant's
vehicle. The defendant then placed a telephone call to the
victim and confirmed that he was home. During that call, the
defendant identified himself to the victim, who had never
received a telephone call from the defendant. When that brief
conversation concluded, the defendant drove his vehicle
toward the victim's residence. Carmichael was seated in
the front passenger seat, while Blackman and Winfrey were in
the back of the vehicle.
defendant parked his vehicle on Fawn Ridge Drive in Hamden, a
dead end street 986 feet from the victim's residence. He
positioned his vehicle on a corner pointed in the direction
of Woodin Street; to do so, the defendant had to turn around
his vehicle on that dead end street. The defendant, at that
time, informed the others that he ‘‘just was the
driver'' and would stay with the vehicle.
the defendant remained in the vehicle, Black-man, Winfrey,
and Carmichael exited and walked to the victim's
residence. Blackman and Winfrey wore black masks that
concealed everything but their eyes. Black-man also wore what
Winfrey testified was a ‘‘White Sox hat''
and carried a firearm as he approached the residence. Kevin
Russell, a friend of the victim, was exiting the residence as
the men arrived. From his kitchen, the victim watched as a
masked individual approached and began ‘‘tussling
back and forth'' with Russell. The victim came
outside and noticed that the assailant was holding a gun. As
he looked for an object to strike him with, the victim saw
‘‘a flash and [heard] a loud noise'' and
then fell face down to the ground. The victim sustained a
gunshot wound to the neck, which ultimately left him
paralyzed from the chest down. Attrial, Winfrey testified
that he witnessed Black-man shoot the victim.
assailants immediately fled the scene. Carmichael returned to
the defendant's waiting car and the defendant began to
drive away. The defendant also picked Blackman up as he was
leaving the area and drove him home. Winfrey, who lived
nearby on Fawn Ridge Drive, ran home on foot.
their criminal investigation, the police recovered a Chicago
White Sox baseball cap from the scene of the crime.
Subsequent testing at the state forensic laboratory confirmed
the presence of DNA belonging to Blackman on the cap.
Blackman thereafter was arrested and charged with various
crimes stemming from his involvement in the attempted
robbery. Winfrey also was arrested after the police
learned of his alleged involvement in that incident. While in
police custody, Winfrey provided a statement admitting his
involvement therein. Winfrey, at that time, indicated that
the defendant, Blackman, and Carmichael also were
the police interviewed the defendant, he initially denied
having any involvement in the attempted robbery and asked
‘‘who made a statement against him, what was said
in the statement, and what other evidence [the police] had to
implicate his involvement.'' Approximately
thirty-seven minutes into that interview, the defendant
admitted that he had driven Blackman, Winfrey, and Carmichael
to Fawn Ridge Drive, but maintained that he did so
‘‘without knowledge of what was going to
defendant was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit
robbery in the first degree in violation of General Statutes
§§ 53a-48 and 53a-134 (a) (2) and attempt to commit
robbery in the first degree as an accessory in violation of
§§ 53a-8 (a), 53a-49 (a) (2) and 53a-134 (a) (2). A
jury trial followed. After the state rested its
case-in-chief, the defendant moved for a judgment of
acquittal on the conspiracy count, claiming that the evidence
was insufficient because there was no evidence, direct or
circumstantial, that the defendant had agreed or intended
that his coconspirators would use a firearm during the
robbery. See State v.Pond, 315 Conn. 451,
489, 108 A.3d 1083 (2015). In response, the state conceded
that although a firearm was used in the attempted robbery of
the victim, ‘‘there wasn't any evidence that
[the defendant] knew that there was a firearm
present.'' The court agreed with the defendant,
stating that because no such evidence was introduced at
trial, the jury could not reasonably find ...