April 16, 2019
information charging the defendant with the crimes of murder
and conspiracy to commit murder, brought to the Superior
Court in the judicial district of Hartford and tried to the
jury before Bentivegna, J.; verdict and judgment of
guilty, from which the defendant appealed; thereafter, the
court, Bentivegna, J., deniedin part the
defendant’s motions for augmentation and rectification
of the record. Affirmed.
A. Barber, assigned counsel, for the appellant (defendant).
Timothy J. Sugrue, assistant state’s attorney, with
whom, on the brief, were Gail P. Hardy, state’s
attorney, and Robert J. Scheinblum and Donna Mambrino, senior
assistant state’s attorneys, for the appellee (state).
Keller, Prescott and Moll, Js.
defendant, Carlton Bryan, appeals from the judgment of
conviction,  rendered after a jury trial, of murder in
violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-54a
and 53a-8,  and conspiracy to commit murder in
violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48
and 53a-54a (a). On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the
trial court erroneously concluded that an unavailable
declarant’s hearsay statements were admissible as dual
inculpatory statements pursuant to § 8-6 (4) of the
Connecticut Code of Evidence, and (2) the state, in violation
of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 87, 83
S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963), failed to disclose to him
certain internal affairs records relating to Reginald Early,
a police sergeant whom the state called as a witness at
trial. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.
basis of the evidence adduced at trial, the jury reasonably
could have found the following facts. In April, 2013, the
victim, Shamari Jenkins, was four months pregnant with the
defendant’s child. At that time, the defendant had a
minor child with another woman, Iesha Wimbush, with whom the
defendant had an ‘‘off and on’’
relationship. On several occasions after learning of the
victim’s pregnancy, the defendant encouraged the victim
to have an abortion. After initially informing the defendant
that she would have an abortion, the victim told the
defendant that she ultimately had decided not to proceed with
an abortion. The victim’s decision angered and upset
the defendant because the victim’s pregnancy was a
source of contention between the defendant and Wimbush.
failed to convince the victim to have an abortion, the
defendant plotted with Matthew Allen Hall-Davis, a close
friend of his, to kill the victim and terminate the
pregnancy. Sometime in March, 2013, the defendant asked
Reginald Lewis, a former coworker of his, to clean and repair
a firearm, a .44 magnum Ruger Super Black Hawk revolver (.44
Ruger). Lewis was unable to fix the .44 Ruger and returned
it, along with certain gun components that the defendant had
ordered for the repair, to the defendant. Hall-Davis, who was
present when Lewis returned the .44 Ruger to the defendant,
told Lewis that he would fix the .44 Ruger. At some time
prior to the morning of April 29, 2013, the defendant and
Hall-Davis repaired the .44 Ruger.
April 28, 2013, the defendant, the victim, and Hall-Davis
attended a cookout at the home of the victim’s father
in East Hartford. The defendant and Hall-Davis left the
cookout together at about dusk. At approximately 11 p.m. that
night, the defendant and Hall-Davis met with Everett Walker,
a cousin of Hall-Davis’, near Walker’s apartment
building located on Magnolia Street in Hartford. The
defendant told Walker that he was having
‘‘problems’’ with the victim stemming
from the victim’s refusal to have an abortion and that
he wanted to kill the victim in the vicinity of
Walker’s apartment building. The defendant asked Walker
to provide assistance by acting as a lookout and by telling
the police officers who would be dispatched to the crime
scene that he had observed an unknown individual running away
from the scene. Walker did not respond to the
defendant’s request and returned to his apartment
between 12 and 12:30 a.m. on April 29, 2013, the victim left
her father’s cookout and met with the defendant, whom
she then drove in her car to Magnolia Street, where the
defendant purportedly intended to meet with and collect money
from a cousin of his. The victim parked her car along the
curb of the street, and the defendant exited the car. At
about that time, Hall-Davis had driven and parked the
defendant’s car on an adjacent street. After the
defendant had returned to and reentered the victim’s
car, the victim began driving away from the curb. At that
moment, Hall-Davis approached the car and, using the .44
Ruger, fired a single gunshot through the rear windshield of
the car, striking the victim. The car then accelerated and
crashed into the front stairs of a nearby home. The defendant
proceeded to call 911 to report that the victim had been
shot, without identifying the shooter.
approximately 1 a.m. on April 29, 2013, Officer Jay Szepanski
of the Hartford Police Department was dispatched to the area
of Magnolia Street and Mather Street in Hartford to
investigate a reported shooting. When he arrived at the
scene, Szepanski found the defendant in the street yelling
and waving him down. Szepanski found the victim slumped
between the front seats of her car and unresponsive. The
defendant told Szepanski that the victim had given him a ride
to meet with his cousin and that, after he had returned to
the car, an unidentified individual fired a gunshot through
the rear windshield of the car that struck the
victim.Shortly thereafter, medical personnel
arrived and transported the victim to Saint Francis Hospital
and Medical Center (hospital) in Hartford, where she was
pronounced dead as a result of a gunshot wound to the chest.
in the morning on April 29, 2013, Szepanski transported the
defendant to the Hartford Police Department and thereafter to
the hospital. Early, who was at the time a detective in the
Hartford Police Department’s major crimes division but
later was promoted to sergeant, briefly spoke with the
defendant at the police station and later at the hospital.
With respect to the victim’s murder, the defendant told
Early that an unknown individual had attempted to rob the
defendant and the victim while they were sitting in the
victim’s car, the victim tried to drive away to escape
the attempted robbery, and, as the victim was driving away,
the individual fired into the car a gunshot that struck the
victim. The defendant did not provide a written statement at
that same day, after Early had spoken with the defendant at
the hospital, the defendant met with Hall-Davis and drove him
to the Hartford Police Department. There, Hall-Davis had a
conversation with Early about the victim’s murder;
however, he declined to provide a written statement at that
time. Following Hall-Davis’ conversation
with Early, the defendant picked up Hall-Davis from the
1, 2013, the defendant met with Early at the Hartford Police
Department and submitted a signed, sworn statement regarding
the victim’s murder. In that statement, the defendant
averred that an individual nicknamed ‘‘Low,
’’ whose real name was Kevan Simmons, attempted
to rob the defendant and the victim while they were sitting
in the victim’s car, and that Simmons shot the victim
as she tried to drive away. The defendant further averred
that he did not immediately identify Simmons as the shooter
to the police because the defendant wanted to get revenge on
Simmons himself, but, after giving it more thought, the
defendant decided to inform the police that Simmons had shot
the victim. Following an ensuing investigation, Early ruled
out Simmons as a suspect in the victim’s murder.
day of the victim’s funeral, which was held sometime
before May 11, 2013, Hall-Davis met with Kingsley Minto, a
mutual friend of his and the defendant’s, at
Minto’s home in Vernon. Hall-Davis confessed to Minto
that he had killed the victim at the defendant’s behest
in order to terminate the victim’s pregnancy.
Hall-Davis told Minto that he initially was reluctant to
comply with the defendant’s request to kill the victim;
however, after the defendant repeatedly had pleaded with him,
Hall-Davis agreed to commit the crime because he felt
obligated to assist the defendant on account that, during the
course of their friendship, the defendant had provided him
with financial support, written letters to him while he had
been incarcerated, and permitted him to stay at the
defendant’s home. Hall-Davis then asked Minto for money
so that he could flee the area. Minto replied that he had no
money to give to Hall-Davis.
11, 2013, Minto and Hall-Davis robbed a jewelry store in
Manchester (Manchester robbery). Hall-Davis brandished the
.44 Ruger in the course of the Manchester robbery, which was
recorded on surveillance video. As Hall-Davis and Minto were
driving away from the jewelry store, Hall-Davis tossed out of
the car window a shell casing, which Hall-Davis told Minto
was from the bullet that he had fired at the victim. Later
that day, Hall-Davis and Minto drove to a parkin Vernon,
where Hall-Davis hid the .44 Ruger under some leaves and
point after the Manchester robbery, the defendant and
Hall-Davis met with one another in Hartford. The defendant
asked Hall-Davis where the .44 Ruger was, and Hall-Davis
replied that he had gotten rid of it. The defendant, using
his cell phone, then showed Hall-Davis video footage of the
Manchester robbery that he had found on the Internet, which
depicted Hall-Davis holding the .44 Ruger during the
Manchester robbery. Evidently having had the belief that
Hall-Davis had disposed of the .44 Ruger immediately after
the victim’s murder, the defendant became upset that
Hall-Davis had lied to him about the disposal of the .44
Ruger, after which Hall-Davis left.
middle of May, 2013, the defendant traveled to Florida to
stay with his father. While he was in Florida, the defendant
called Early on numerous occasions to convey that Hall-Davis
and Minto had committed the Manchester robbery. Early shared
that information with the Manchester Police Department, and,
largely on the basis of that information, the Manchester
Police Department secured arrest warrants for Hall-Davis and
Minto in connection with the Manchester robbery. Hall-Davis
was arrested on May 23, 2013, and Minto turned himself in to
the police on May 25, 2013. While in police custody, Minto
admitted to his involvement in the Manchester robbery and
assisted the police in locating and retrieving the .44 Ruger
that Hall-Davis had hidden in the park in Vernon.
turning himself in to the police, Minto also submitted a
signed, sworn statement regarding the victim’s murder.
On the basis of information that he obtained during the
course of his investigation from, inter alia, Minto,
Hall-Davis, and Lewis, Early secured arrest warrants for
Hall-Davis and the defendant in relation to the
victim’s murder. On June 6, 2013, Early arrested the
defendant, who had returned from Florida, at Wim-bush’s
home in Windsor. After waiving his Miranda rights,
defendant agreed to be interviewed by Early, along with
another detective, and submitted a signed, sworn statement.
In that statement, the defendant averred that, while he was
sitting with the victim in her car on Magnolia Street on
April 29, 2013, Hall-Davis entered the car and sat in the
backseat behind the victim. Early questioned the defendant as
to how Hall-Davis could have entered the car, which had two
doors only, without the defendant first exiting the car, and
Early noted that the bullet that struck the victim had been
shot through the rear windshield of the car and would have
hit Hall-Davis had he been seated in the backseat of the car.
The defendant terminated the interview at that juncture.
of a long form information dated May 1, 2015, the defendant
was charged with murder in violation of §§ 53a-54a
(a) and 53a-8, and conspiracy to commit murder in violation
of §§ 53a-48 (a) and 53a-54a (a). On May 28, 2015,
following a jury trial, the jury found the defendant guilty
on both counts, and the trial court, Bentivegna, J.,
accepted the jury’s verdict. On July 30, 2015, the
court sentenced the defendant to sixty years of incarceration
on the charge of murder and twenty years of incarceration on
the charge of conspiracy to commit murder, with the sentences
to run consecutively, for a total effective sentence of
eighty years of incarceration. This appeal followed. Additional
facts and procedural history will be set forth as necessary.
defendant first claims that the court erroneously concluded
that certain hearsay statements made by Hall-Davis to Minto
concerning the victim’s murder were admissible as dual
inculpatory statements pursuant to § 8-6 (4) of the
Connecticut Code of Evidence. Specifically, the defendant
asserts that (1) portions of Hall-Davis’ statements
were not against Hall-Davis’ penal interest but,
instead, shifted the blame for the victim’s murder to
the defendant, and (2) Hall-Davis’ statements were not
sufficiently trustworthy. We conclude that the court did not
abuse its discretion by admitting the statements.
following additional facts and procedural history are
relevant to our disposition of the defendant’s claim.
During its case-in-chief on the second day of evidence, the
state called Hall-Davis as a witness. As the clerk attempted
to swear him in, Hall-Davis invoked his fifth amendment
privilege against self-incrimination and declined to testify.
The court excused Hall-Davis after determining that he had
properly invoked his fifth amendment privilege against
third day of evidence, the state called Minto as a witness.
Before Minto was sworn in, the court noted that there was an
evidentiary issue to resolve relating to Minto’s
testimony and asked the state to make an offer of proof.
Outside of the jury’s presence, the state proffered
that, pursuant to the statement against penal interest
exception to the hearsay rule codified in § 8-6 (4) of
the Connecticut Code of Evidence, Minto would testify, inter
alia, as follows: Hall-Davis told Minto on the day of the
victim’s funeral that Hall-Davis killed the victim
after the defendant had ‘‘kept
pressuring’’ Hall-Davis to do so and that
Hall-Davis felt that ‘‘he needed’’ to
comply with the defendant’s request because of their
close friendship; Hall-Davis confessed to Minto that he had
shot the victim because he trusted Minto not to share that
information with anyone; Hall-Davis and Minto had known each
other for approximately ten years at the time of the
victim’s murder; Minto was familiar with
Hall-Davis’ life and upbringing; Hall-Davis’
mother and Minto’s wife were friends; Hall-Davis at
times had lived with Minto; and Hall-Davis and Minto
committed the Manchester robbery together. The defendant
objected to the proffered testimony, arguing that
Hall-Davis’ statements to Minto were self-serving,
Minto and Hall-Davis did not have a close relationship, and
Hall-Davis’ statements were not recorded.
argument, the court overruled the defendant’s objection
and determined that Hall-Davis’ hearsay statements to
Minto were admissible as dual inculpatory statements pursuant
to § 8-6 (4) of the Connecticut Code of Evidence. In
reaching its decision, the court determined: (1) Hall-Davis
was unavailable to testify because he had invoked his fifth
amendment privilege against self-incrimination; (2)
Hall-Davis’ statements were against his penal interest;
and (3) the statements were sufficiently trustworthy.
the court’s ruling, the state elicited testimony from
Minto. Minto testified that, on the day of the victim’s
funeral, Hall-Davis met with Minto at Minto’s home in
Vernon. Minto then testified in relevant part as follows:
‘‘Q. And what did [Hall-Davis] tell you?
‘‘A. He asked me: Who [do] you think kill[ed]
‘‘Q. And what was your response?
‘‘A. I said I think [the defendant] did it.
‘‘Q. And what did [Hall-Davis] tell you?
‘‘A. He said, no, I did it.
‘‘Q. And what was your reaction when [Hall-Davis]
told [you] that he did it?
‘‘A. I was shocked and I was upset and I was
‘‘Q. And did you say something specifically to
him when he told you that?
‘‘A. Yes. I said he was stupid, like, why would
you even kill [the victim] if you didn’t get her
‘‘Q. And what was [Hall-Davis’] response to
you when you asked him that question?
‘‘A. He said he did it for [the defendant].
‘‘Q. And when he said he did it for [the
defendant], did he tell you that he did this-that ...