Delaware Supreme Courts Hears Appeal in Barbershop Killings - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Supreme Courts Hears Appeal in Barbershop Killings

Posted:

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Attorneys for a Delaware death-row inmate convicted of fatally shooting a man and a 5-year-old boy at a barbershop asked the state Supreme Court on Wednesday to overturn his conviction, arguing that prosecutors withheld information and that his trial lawyer gave ineffective assistance.
    
Chauncy Starling, 40 was sentenced to death in 2004 for the 2001 killings of 5-year-old Damon Gist Jr. and Darnell Evans, 28, at the Made 4 Men barbershop in downtown Wilmington.
    
According to court records, Starling and two other men, Alfred Gaines and Richard Frink, were searching for Evans on the day of the shooting. After spotting him, police say in the records, Starling, wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a covering over his face, entered the barbershop shot Evans several times, twice as he stood over him. As Evans tried to run, a bullet struck the child in the head.
    
Defense attorneys argued Wednesday that prosecutors failed to disclose to Starling's trial lawyer that they had dropped a probation violation charge against Gaines, who was a key witness for the state, suggesting that prosecutors did him a favor in return for his testimony. The probation violation charge stemmed from an incident in which Gaines was found with drugs after being shot by Starling less than a month after the barbershop killings.
    
"He engineered a way out of his probation violation," said defense attorney David Fragale.
    
Deputy attorney general Maria Knoll said there is no evidence that Gaines knew he was receiving any benefit in exchange for his testimony.
    
Defense attorneys also argued that Starling's lawyer erred in failing to object to the admission of a statement given to police by Starling's brother, Michael Starling, who also was a major witness for the state.
    
Defense attorneys said the statement was coerced during a two-hour interrogation in which police threatened to charge Michael Starling with a crime if he didn't tell them what they wanted to hear, including corroborating Gaines' assertion that Chauncy Starling was "sorry" that the boy died.
    
"They told him what to say over a dozen times," said Chauncy Starling's attorney Jeremy Engle.
    
While Chauncy Starling's lawyer did not object to the admissibility of his brother's statement to police, he had the entire recording played for jurors in an effort to show that it was made involuntarily, a seemingly inconsistent defense strategy that left Justice Randy Holland puzzled.
    
"Why not make the first argument?" he asked.
    
The justices also grilled attorneys about the legal distinction between a statement given to police voluntarily and one that is made involuntarily under duress.
    
"Why is it OK ... to threaten someone with criminal prosecution without any good-faith basis?" Chief Justice Leo Strine Jr. asked deputy attorney general Maria Knoll.
    
Knoll said courts must look at the "totality of circumstances" in determining whether an out-of-court statement is admissible.
    
"A review of the totality of circumstances of Michael's statements reveals that under prevailing authority, his will was not overborne so as to render his statement involuntary," prosecutors wrote in their appellate brief. "Michael was an adult. He was not handcuffed nor was he denied food or drink or kept in a locked room."
    
The justices are expected to issue their ruling within 90 days.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Sleep Cheap Owner Has Answers To Furniture Fiasco

    Sleep Cheap Owner Has Answers To Furniture Fiasco

    Jul 16, 2018 7:08 PM2018-07-16 23:08:00 GMT
    Monday, July 16 2018 7:25 PM EDT2018-07-16 23:25:08 GMT
    After customers began complaining about not receiving furniture, Sleep Cheap store Owner Dana Santana has opened the doors again to provide customers answersAfter customers began complaining about not receiving furniture, Sleep Cheap store Owner Dana Santana has opened the doors again to provide customers answers
    After customers began complaining about not receiving furniture, Sleep Cheap store Owner Dana Santana has opened the doors again to provide customers answersAfter customers began complaining about not receiving furniture, Sleep Cheap store Owner Dana Santana has opened the doors again to provide customers answers
    After weeks of unanswered phone calls and emails, Sleep Cheap Mattresses and More owner Dana Santana opened the doors to the store in an attempt to provide some customers with answers.More
    After weeks of unanswered phone calls and emails, Sleep Cheap Mattresses and More owner Dana Santana opened the doors to the store in an attempt to provide some customers with answers. More
  • Police Still Searching for Suspect in Viral Video of Neighborhood Brawl

    Police Still Searching for Suspect in Viral Video of Neighborhood Brawl

    Jul 16, 2018 6:31 PM2018-07-16 22:31:00 GMT
    Monday, July 16 2018 6:31 PM EDT2018-07-16 22:31:58 GMT
    New details are emerging after a video of a Cambridge neighborhood brawl went viral on social media. The video involves hundreds of people and a car one man used as a weapon, according to Cambridge Police.More
    New details are emerging after a video of a Cambridge neighborhood brawl went viral on social media. The video involves hundreds of people and a car one man used as a weapon, according to Cambridge Police.More
  • Wicomico County Dam Repair at Morris Mill Road

    Wicomico County Dam Repair at Morris Mill Road

    Jul 16, 2018 6:02 PM2018-07-16 22:02:00 GMT
    Monday, July 16 2018 6:03 PM EDT2018-07-16 22:03:33 GMT
    Morris Mill Dam (Photo WBOC)Morris Mill Dam (Photo WBOC)
    Morris Mill Dam (Photo WBOC)Morris Mill Dam (Photo WBOC)
    FRUITLAND, Md.- Wicomico County officials are planning to rehabilitate the infrastructure under the roadway at the intersection of Morris Mill Road and South Division Street. The county has targeted this dam in particular as a 'high hazard' due to the risMore
    FRUITLAND, Md.- Wicomico County officials are planning to rehabilitate the infrastructure under the roadway at the intersection of Morris Mill Road and South Division Street. More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Updated: Teen Charged in Milford Crash That Injured 6

    Milford Crash Shuts Down Route One, Causes Critical Injuries

    Jul 15, 2018 9:08 PM2018-07-16 01:08:00 GMT
    Monday, July 16 2018 2:11 PM EDT2018-07-16 18:11:15 GMT
    A 16-year-old girl is facing traffic charges in connection with a Sunday evening crash in Milford, Delaware, that injured six people and shut down both directions of Route 1 for several hours.More
    A 16-year-old girl is facing traffic charges in connection with a Sunday evening crash in Milford, Delaware, that injured six people and shut down both directions of Route 1 for several hours. More
  • Maryland Man Killed in Millsboro Crash

    Maryland Man Killed in Millsboro Crash

    Jul 15, 2018 8:33 PM2018-07-16 00:33:00 GMT
    Sunday, July 15 2018 8:33 PM EDT2018-07-16 00:33:01 GMT
    MILLSBORO, Del.- A Maryland man is dead after a crash in Millsboro Saturday afternoon. According to the Delaware State Police, around 1:15 p.m., a 48-year-old Laurel woman was driving south on Route 24 near Nine Foot Road with the intention of turning lefMore
    MILLSBORO, Del.- A Maryland man is dead after a crash in Millsboro Saturday afternoon. According to the Delaware State Police, around 1:15 p.m., a 48-year-old Laurel woman was driving south on Route 24 near Nine Foot Road with the intention of turning lefMore
  • Traffic Stop Leads to Multiple Charges for Felton Man

    Traffic Stop Leads to Multiple Charges for Felton Man

    Jul 16, 2018 11:36 AM2018-07-16 15:36:00 GMT
    Monday, July 16 2018 11:38 AM EDT2018-07-16 15:38:35 GMT
    Paul BenchoffPaul Benchoff
    Paul BenchoffPaul Benchoff
    A Felton man was arrested on multiple charges after he reportedly led Seaford police on a brief chase Sunday.More
    A Felton man was arrested on multiple charges after he reportedly led Seaford police on a brief chase Sunday.More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices