United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
PAUL W. GRIMM, District Judge.
Per my Order, ECF No. 9, the parties have provided further briefing regarding Petitioner's request for stay and abeyance, ECF No. 8. See ECF Nos. 10-15. For the reasons stated below, the case shall proceed for briefing on the merits of the claims asserted in the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus.
On September 5, 2008, Petitioner was tried and convicted of first-degree murder in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County. State Ct. Docket, Resp. Ex. 1, ECF No. 3-1. Petitioner was sentenced to serve life, with all but fifty-five years suspended. Beauchamp v. Maryland, No. 02390, at 1 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. Aug. 10, 2010) (unreported), Resp. Ex. 5, ECF No. 3-5. The following evidence was produced at trial:
On the afternoon of August 30, 2007, police found the body of Patrick Pearce lying under a pile of trash on Todd's Lane, which appellant describes as a "dirt road" in Baltimore County. An autopsy determined that Pearce's cause of death was a small-caliber bullet wound to his chest. Appellant was later charged with Pearce's murder.
At trial, the State and the defense presented several witnesses.... [A]ppellant was convicted of first-degree murder after the following evidence was presented at trial.
On the morning of August 26, 2007, appellant drove his sports utility vehicle to pick up Pearce purportedly "to price a job and go to Wal-Mart." Before going to either destination, appellant stopped at a convenience store so that Pearce could buy cigarettes and a drink. According to a statement appellant eventually gave to police, once Pearce returned to the vehicle, appellant turned left out of the store's parking lot to continue on the way to the potential job site. Instead, video footage from the store's surveillance camera showed appellant turning right out of the parking lot, which put him in the direction of the scene of the murder.
As the two drove away from the convenience store, Pearce received a telephone call from his fiancee, Tammy Fisher. During that call, when asked where they were, both Pearce and appellant simply told Fisher that they were driving on a "country road." Later that afternoon, appellant told Fisher that he left Pearce at Wal-Mart so that appellant could run some personal errands. However, a subsequent review of the Wal-Mart's security cameras did not corroborate appellant's story because there was no video evidence of appellant's vehicle in the Wal-Mart parking lot or of Pearce entering the store. At around four o'clock that afternoon, Fisher reported Pearce missing when he failed on several occasions to answer his cell phone.
Four days later, Pearce's body was found under a pile of trash on Todd's Lane, which, as noted, appellant describes in his brief as a "dirt road." A subsequent police investigation determined that Pearce had likely been dead for three to four days before his body was found. He was also found in the same clothes that he was wearing on the day he was reported missing. A cigarette butt with appellant's DNA was found approximately twenty-five feet from Pearce's body, and cell phone records disclosed that appellant and Pearce were likely near Todd's Lane when Pearce received the phone call from Fisher. In addition, police recovered other evidence from the scene of the murder that was substantially similar to items found near appellant's temporary residence, including some corrugated plastic sheeting and fairly distinctive cardboard shipping boxes (only 208 such boxes were ever manufactured).
Id. at 1-3 (footnote omitted).
After he was found guilty, Petitioner noted a timely appeal wherein he raised the following claims:
1. Do Tammy Fisher's medical records contain any information that should have been disclosed to Beauchamp?
2. Did the trial court err in admitting prejudicial hearsay evidence relating to Tammy Fisher's saying Beauchamp was out of ...