Delaware Justices Overturn Conviction in Barbershop Killings - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Justices Overturn Conviction in Barbershop Killings

Posted: Updated:
(Photo: MGN) (Photo: MGN)

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The Delaware Supreme Court has overturned the conviction of a death-row inmate in the fatal shootings of a man and a 5-year-old boy at a Wilmington barbershop in 2001.
    
In ruling issued this week, the justices said Chauncy Starling was entitled to a new trial because his defense attorney's mistakes and prosecutors' failure to disclose that charges against the state's key witness had been dropped before Starling's trial.
    
Starling, 40, was sentenced to death in 2004 for the killings of 5-year-old Damon Gist Jr. and Darnell Evans, 28, at the Made 4 Men barbershop in downtown Wilmington.
    
Carl Kanefsky, a spokesman for the attorney general's office, said Tuesday that prosecutors were evaluating the court's decision.
    
Defense attorney David Fragale called the killings of Evans and Gist heinous, but said Starling was not responsible.
    
"The court's decision reversing Mr. Starling's conviction is consistent with his innocence," Fragale said in an email. "There is no reliable evidence on which to retry Mr. Starling. If the state of Delaware chooses to do so anyway, we are confident that a fair trial will lead to his complete exoneration and allow Mr. Starling to return home to his family where he belongs."
    
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, Starling entered the barbershop wearing a hooded sweat shirt and a covering over his face, and shot Evans several times, police said. As Evans tried to run, a bullet struck the child in the head.
    
In overturning Starling's conviction, the Supreme Court noted that his attorney forgot to examine an eyewitness who recalled seeing newspaper photographs of Starling and another suspect and told an investigator that neither had the same appearance as the shooter.
    
The court also noted that Starling's attorney failed to object to the admission of a statement by Starling's brother to police after several hours of interrogation that Starling said he was sorry for what he did to the boy.
    
"A substantial argument could have been made that the statement was involuntary and therefore inadmissible," Justice Collins J. Seitz Jr. wrote for the court.
    
The Supreme Court also noted that before the trial, prosecutors dismissed a warrant and probation violation charges against Gaines, the state's central witness, but told Starling's attorney at the time of trial that the charges against Gaines remained pending.
    
"Instead of providing accurate information, the state misinformed trial counsel about the status of Gaines' charges. This mistake, unintentional as it was, deprived the defense of important evidence that might have been used to attack the credibility of the state's main witness," Seitz wrote.
    
He said the errors, taken together, suggest a "reasonable probability" the case would have turned out differently without them.
    
Starling's attorneys suggested on appeal that prosecutors did Gaines a favor in return for his testimony. The probation violation charge against Gaines stemmed from an incident in which he was found with drugs after being shot by Starling less than a month after the barbershop killings.
 

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Anti-Discrimination Draft Concerns Some in Sussex County

    Anti-Discrimination Draft Concerns Some in Sussex County

    10/18/2017 16:58:00 -04:002017-10-18 20:58:00 GMT
    Wednesday, October 18 2017 5:06 PM EDT2017-10-18 21:06:55 GMT
    (Photo: MGN)(Photo: MGN)
    SUSSEX COUNTY, Del. - Months after Governor Carney issued a memorandum asking the Department of Education to create a model anti-discrimination policy for the state, a draft is available for public comment. Once finalized, the regulations will be inMore
    SUSSEX COUNTY, Del. - Months after Governor Carney issued a memorandum asking the Department of Education to create a model anti-discrimination policy for the state, a draft is available for public comment. Once finalized, the regulations will be inMore
  • Sussex Tech Educator Named Teacher of the Year

    Sussex Tech Educator Named Teacher of the Year

    10/18/2017 16:59:00 -04:002017-10-18 20:59:00 GMT
    Wednesday, October 18 2017 4:59 PM EDT2017-10-18 20:59:26 GMT
    A high school English teacher from the Sussex Technical School District is Delaware's nominee in a national competition after being named 2018 State Teacher of the Year.More
    A high school English teacher from the Sussex Technical School District is Delaware's nominee in a national competition after being named 2018 State Teacher of the Year.More
  • Orbital ATK Cygnus Spacecraft Set for November Mission to the ISS

    Orbital ATK Cygnus Spacecraft Set for November Mission to the ISS

    10/18/2017 16:49:00 -04:002017-10-18 20:49:00 GMT
    Wednesday, October 18 2017 4:49 PM EDT2017-10-18 20:49:44 GMT
    Orbital ATK shows off it's Cygnus Spacecraft at the NASA Flight Facility on Wallops IslandOrbital ATK shows off it's Cygnus Spacecraft at the NASA Flight Facility on Wallops Island
    Orbital ATK showed off the latest Cygnus spacecraft ahead of it’s upcoming mission Wednesday morning.More
    Orbital ATK showed off the latest Cygnus spacecraft ahead of it’s upcoming mission Wednesday morning.More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Wicomico County Sheriff's Facebook Post Questioned

    Wicomico County Sheriff's Facebook Post Under Fire

    10/17/2017 17:44:00 -04:002017-10-17 21:44:00 GMT
    Tuesday, October 17 2017 6:30 PM EDT2017-10-17 22:30:06 GMT
    SALISBURY, Md. - A now-deleted Facebook post from Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is causing controversy in the county.Lewis' post referred to protesters outside a Ravens Game on Sunday. The protesters were demonstrating next to a Maryland State PolicMore
    SALISBURY, Md. - A now-deleted Facebook post from Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is causing controversy in the county.Lewis' post referred to protesters outside a Ravens Game on Sunday. The protesters were demonstrating next to a Maryland State PolicMore
  • Arrest Made in Seaford Animal Cruelty Case

    Arrest Made in Seaford Animal Cruelty Case

    10/17/2017 15:28:00 -04:002017-10-17 19:28:00 GMT
    Tuesday, October 17 2017 3:50 PM EDT2017-10-17 19:50:18 GMT
    A Seaford man has been arrested on animal cruelty charges.More
    A Seaford, Del. man has been arrested on 449 charges, including felony animal cruelty, according to the state's Office of Animal Welfare.More
  • 18 Inmates Charged in Deadly Del. Prison Uprising

    16 Inmates Charged With First-degree Murder in Del. Prison Uprising

    10/17/2017 10:14:00 -04:002017-10-17 14:14:00 GMT
    Tuesday, October 17 2017 2:25 PM EDT2017-10-17 18:25:59 GMT
    Sixteen inmates have been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a deadly uprising that occurred in early February at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna.More
    Sixteen inmates have been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a deadly uprising that occurred in early February at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. Two other inmates were also charged in connection with the incident.More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • 18 Inmates Charged in Deadly Del. Prison Uprising

    18 Inmates Charged in Deadly Del. Prison Uprising

    Sixteen inmates have been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a deadly uprising that occurred in early February at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. Two other inmates were also charged in connection with the incident on Feb. 1-2 that resulted in the murder of Lt. Steven Floyd, injuries to Correctional Officers Winslow Smith and Joshua Wilkinson, and the kidnapping of counselor Patricia May.

    More

    Sixteen inmates have been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a deadly uprising that occurred in early February at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. Two other inmates were also charged in connection with the incident on Feb. 1-2 that resulted in the murder of Lt. Steven Floyd, injuries to Correctional Officers Winslow Smith and Joshua Wilkinson, and the kidnapping of counselor Patricia May.

    More
  • Wicomico County Sheriff's Facebook Post Questioned

    Wicomico County Sheriff's Facebook Post Questioned

    A now-deleted Facebook post from Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is causing controversy in the county. Lewis' post referred to protesters outside a Ravens Game on Sunday. The protesters were demonstrating next to a Maryland State Police trooper. In the post, Lewis referred to the protesters as "fist wielding, black power activists" who decried law enforcement officers' work.

    More

    A now-deleted Facebook post from Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is causing controversy in the county. Lewis' post referred to protesters outside a Ravens Game on Sunday. The protesters were demonstrating next to a Maryland State Police trooper. In the post, Lewis referred to the protesters as "fist wielding, black power activists" who decried law enforcement officers' work.

    More
  • Political Mudslinging Ahead of Hurlock Town Elections

    Political Mudslinging Ahead of Hurlock Town Elections

    Samantha McDonald posted her support for mayor of Hurlock to Michael Henry on Facebook. That's when current Mayor Joyce Spratt messaged her.

    In that message, Mayor Spratt said McDonald had been fed lies. McDonald says the Mayor's message was completely inappropriate.

    WBOC went to Mayor Spratt to ask her about the message and allegations McDonald and others have made against her.

    More

    Samantha McDonald posted her support for mayor of Hurlock to Michael Henry on Facebook. That's when current Mayor Joyce Spratt messaged her.

    In that message, Mayor Spratt said McDonald had been fed lies. McDonald says the Mayor's message was completely inappropriate.

    WBOC went to Mayor Spratt to ask her about the message and allegations McDonald and others have made against her.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices