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State v. Abdus-Sabur

Appellate Court of Connecticut

June 18, 2019

STATE of Connecticut
v.
Ismail H. ABDUS-SABUR

         Argued February 11, 2019

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          Jodi Zils Gagné, Bristol, for the appellant (defendant).

         Timothy F. Costello, assistant state’s attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Maureen Platt, state’s attorney, and Cynthia S. Serafini and Don E. Therkildsen, Jr., senior assistant state’s attorneys, for the appellee (state).

         Keller, Prescott and Pellegrino, Js.

          OPINION

         PRESCOTT, J.

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          [190 Conn.App. 590] The defendant, Ismail H. Abdus-Sabur, 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 firearm in violation of General Statutes § 53a-217 (a) (1). The defendant claims on appeal that (1) there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he possessed the specific intent to kill, as required for the crime of murder, (2) the trial court improperly denied his request for a third-party culpability instruction, and (3) that the court improperly admitted evidence of his gang affiliation. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.

          The facts, as could have been reasonably found by the jury, and procedural history, are as follows. On the evening of January 17, 2014, the defendant was at an apartment on the third floor of a Waterbury housing complex known as "Brick City." The defendant’s [190 Conn.App. 591] friends, Arvaughn Clemente and Daniel Clinton, were hosting a house party at the apartment. The defendant’s brother, Isa Abdus-Sabur (Isa), and Ryan Curry, Sthalron Freeman, and Katrina Montgomery were also in attendance. Clemente was dating Ja-Ki Calloway, who was also in the apartment. Calloway’s father, Kareem Morey, Sr. (victim), rented a second floor apartment in the same complex, where he resided with his adult son, Kareem Morey, Jr. (Kareem). On the evening of January 17, 2014, his other son, Kentrell Morey, was also at the housing complex.

          That night, Calloway’s brother, Kareem learned that Clemente had assaulted Calloway, and became angry. Kareem and Kentrell then presented themselves at the third floor apartment and demanded that Calloway leave the apartment, but she refused. Kareem wanted to fight Clemente for having assaulted his sister. A verbal altercation then ensued between the Morey brothers and the men inside the apartment, which spilled onto the landing outside the apartment. The altercation escalated into a fist fight between a number of the party attendees and the Morey brothers.

          After the fight ended, the Morey brothers, upset by the altercation, left and walked to a nearby neighborhood to recruit additional people to renew the fight. They also called the victim, who had not been present at the initial altercation, and he informed them that he would return home. When the Morey brothers left, the partygoers returned to the third floor apartment. At this point, Montgomery overheard the defendant mention a gun to the other men at the party.

          At about 10:30 p.m., the Morey brothers returned to Brick City with four additional men. Around this time, the victim also returned and parked his car on the street outside of the housing complex. The Morey brothers then entered the interior courtyard of Brick City through a passage from the street and climbed the [190 Conn.App. 592] stairs to the landing outside of Clemente and Clinton’s third floor apartment. The victim remained standing at ground level in the courtyard near the foot of the stairs. The Morey brothers began kicking Clemente and Clinton’s apartment door. Eventually, the door to the apartment opened, but all the lights were off inside the apartment. Shortly thereafter, Kareem heard the "click, click" sound of a gun. The Morey brothers then fled by descending the stairs toward the courtyard.

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          As the Morey brothers retreated down the stairs, the occupants of Clemente and Clinton’s apartment emerged onto the third floor landing overlooking the courtyard. Within the crowd on the third floor porch were the defendant, Isa, Clemente, Clinton, Curry, and Freeman. The defendant then began firing a ...


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