Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Murphy v. Harrington

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

April 21, 2014

RYAN MURPHY, Petitioner,
RICK HARRINGTON, Warden, Menard Correctional Center, [1] Defendants.



Pro se petitioner Ryan Murphy is an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections. He is serving a sixty-year sentence for a conviction on first degree murder including a firearm sentence enhancement for the death of Curtis Thomas. Murphy has petitioned the Court under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that his conviction was the result of violations of his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process and his Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel. For the reasons stated herein, the petition is denied.


I. Trial Court Proceedings

Petitioner has not directed the Court to clear and convincing evidence that the state court's factual determinations were incorrect. Therefore, the Court adopts them for purposes of reviewing his habeas petition. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1); Wooley v. Rednour, 702 F.3d 411, 426-27 (7th Cir. 2012). The state court's factual determinations were set out in People v. Murphy, No. 1-06-1978 (Ill.App.Ct. Sept. 3, 2008) (Dkt. 15-2, Respondent's Ex. D), and the relevant facts are summarized here with much of the trial testimony included.

Testimony of Joseph Dean

On the evening of May 27, 2000, decedent Curtis Thomas was hanging out in front of a restaurant at 5637 West Division Street in Chicago, Illinois, with Joseph Dean, his brothers Richard Dean and Thomas Dean, Joseph's cousin Michael Boyce, Quendalyne Alexander, Nakenya Hardy, and Darnell Hayes. Joseph testified that he and Curtis Thomas grew up together and he considered Curtis to be his big brother. He also testified that he and Curtis were members of the Four Corner Hustlers gang, and that Curtis had been a member of the gang's "Body Snatcher" section but was retired at the time. Joseph testified that Quendalyne was Curtis' girlfriend at the time. The group frequently loitered in front of the restaurant at Parkside Avenue and Division Street, including every day in 2000.

On the night in question, the group was talking and drinking next to Joseph's car. Quendalyne was sitting in the back seat of the car on the passenger side with her feet hanging out. Joseph was sitting on the trunk. At about 11 p.m., Joseph heard a gunshot and began running down Division Street. He continued running after hearing several more gunshots. The gunfire stopped and Joseph was about a half of a block away when he saw petitioner Ryan Murphy shoot Curtis who was already on the ground. Joseph then saw petitioner walk around the corner and down Parkside Avenue. Joseph ran back to his car and drove to Quendalyne's mother's house. According to his testimony, Joseph did not approach Curtis because he thought Curtis was dead. When he returned to the scene a short time later, Joseph did not talk to the police because he "wanted to stay out of it."

Joseph testified that he had known petitioner Ryan Murphy from the neighborhood for about 13 years and that he saw him hanging out in the neighborhood five or six times a week before the shooting. He also testified that petitioner hung out at the corner of Parkside Avenue and Division and had been shot at that corner in February 2000. Joseph testified that petitioner was affiliated with the Cicero Insanes gang, but that gang and the Four Corner Hustlers were at peace at the time of the shooting. Joseph moved out of the neighborhood after his brother Thomas was killed on March 10, 2001, and he did not see petitioner in the neighborhood between Curtis' death and when he moved.

Joseph testified that he had two convictions for possession of a controlled substance and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, and he was on probation at the time of his testimony. Joseph acknowledged that he had contact with police officers after Curtis was shot, but that he did not talk about the shooting until August 2003. Joseph was at the police station on March 13, 2001, and was arrested on September 7, 2002, but at neither time did he tell the police about Curtis' shooting.

Testimony of Goldie Enochs

Goldie Enochs testified that he had known both Curtis and petitioner since 1994, but that he was better friends with Curtis. Goldie testified that he and Curtis were both members of the Four Corner Hustlers gang. Goldie had lived near the corner of Parkside and Division since 1992, except for a brief period when he was incarcerated. Between December 1999 and May 2000, Goldie saw petitioner near the corner of Parkside and Division four or five times a week.

The day before Curtis was killed, Goldie spoke to petitioner in front of petitioner's home. Goldie told him to "leave it alone, " to which petitioner responded, "you don't shoot nobody and don't kill them." Goldie testified that petitioner was referring to Curtis, who had previously shot petitioner. On the evening that Curtis was shot, Goldie testified that he was in a parked car with his girlfriend and a friend named "Sean, " smoking a "blunt" when petitioner approached the car. Petitioner leaned against the car and Goldie saw the handle of a gun inside petitioner's jacket pocket. Goldie and petitioner talked about Curtis having shot petitioner, and discussed petitioner getting back at Curtis. Petitioner asked Goldie if he wanted to "take care of some business." Goldie declined to help him. Goldie told petitioner that it was not worth it because defendant had a life ahead of him. Goldie testified that petitioner then walked away from him through a vacant lot to an alley leading to Parkside Avenue. Goldie ordered his girlfriend and friend out of the car so he could go warn Curtis. As Goldie approached the corner of Parkside and Division he saw petitioner shoot Curtis in the face. Curtis fell to the ground and petitioner shot him again. Goldie then drove home.

Goldie explained that petitioner confided in him because he did not know how close of a friendship Goldie had with Curtis. Goldie denied that he shot dice with petitioner a few days before the shooting, and Goldie did not recall telling a grand jury that he had done so. Goldie admitted that at the time of his testimony he was in custody in DuPage County for failing to appear in court. Goldie admitted that he had several felony convictions: in 1992 for two burglaries with a sentence of two consecutive five-year prison terms; in 1997 for unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon with a sentence of two years in prison; in 1998 for unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon with a sentence of three years in prison. Goldie was arrested in June 2000 for possessing narcotics and cannabis. Only after he was arrested and out on bond in August 2000, Goldie told the police and the assistant state's attorney that petitioner had shot Curtis. Goldie was subsequently convicted and sentenced to two concurrent four-year prison terms for possession of a controlled substance and possession of cannabis. A detective and the prosecutor visited him in prison to discuss the shooting.

In 2002 Goldie was convicted of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver for which he received probation. He violated his probation in August 2002 when he was found to be in possession of a weapon. Goldie received 120 days in jail before being put back on probation. Goldie again violated his probation in 2004 and pleaded guilty to another felony for which he received two years' probation. Again in 2004, Goldie was arrested for drug possession and remained in custody at the time of his testimony. He admitted that every time he was arrested, he used a different name, date of birth, and social security number. Goldie also testified that his testimony was not made in exchange for any promises with respect to his most recent arrest.

Testimony of Quendalyne Alexander

Quendalyne Alexander testified that on May 27, 2000, she was with her ex-boyfriend Curtis, Lakesha Hardy, Michael Boyce, and Donnell Hayes. Joseph, Thomas, and Richard Dean, were also present at the corner of Parkside and Division. The group was standing by Joseph's car talking and drinking beer. Quendalyne was sitting in the back passenger seat with her feet out on the curb. At about 11 p.m. Quendalyne saw petitioner walk around the corner from Parkside toward Curtis and the group. She testified that she knew petitioner from the neighborhood and was aware that Curtis had previously shot him. Quendalyne was afraid when petitioner approached the group. She testified that petitioner pointed a gun at Curtis and shot him. Quendalyne fell to the floor of the car and the rest of the group ran away. She heard several shots fired as she crawled through the vehicle to exit the other side. After the shooting stopped, Quendalyne ran across the street to a cab stand and asked a dispatcher to call an ambulance. Quendalyne saw petitioner get into his car and drive away. She also saw Curtis' body lying on the ground and believed he was dead.

Quendalyne testified that Joseph returned to his vehicle with Quendalyne's mother and they took her home. Quendalyne further testified that the police neither contacted her nor asked her any questions. She testified that she never contacted the police because she was scared. Quendalyne testified that she did not see petitioner in the neighborhood until one or two years later. She did not talk to anyone in law enforcement until August 2003 when she was subpoenaed to come to court.

Testimony of Other Prosecution Witnesses

Richard Amberger, a forensic scientist with the Illinois State Police specializing in firearms identification. Amberger examined five fired bullets and one fired bullet fragment associated with this case. He determined that all five fired bullets were.38 or.357 caliber, which is usually associated with a revolver. In his opinion, all five bullets and the fired bullet fragment were discharged from the same gun.

Dr. Edmund Donoghue testified that he was employed as the Chief Medical Examiner for Cook County and conducted the autopsy of Curtis Thomas on May 27, 2000. Dr. Donoghue found evidence of six gunshot wounds: one to the left rear of Curtis' head, two to his left shoulder, one to his left upper chest, one to his left upper back, and one on the back of Curtis' right hand. Dr. Donoghue found no evidence of close-range firing.

Detective Michael Landando testified that, on September 11, 2001, he and police officers from the McHenry County Sheriff's Office arrested defendant in Island Lake, Illinois. Detective Landando testified that at the time, he was assigned to a fugitive apprehension unit. He explained that the unit attempts to locate and arrest offenders identified in connection with homicides. He testified that on August 13, 2000, he received a stop order identifying petitioner as an offender in connection with this case. Detective Landando learned that defendant worked for a roofing contractor. Detective Landando admitted that petitioner had been working under his own name rather than an alias. On cross-examination Landando testified that he identified himself as an unemployment agent when he contacted petitioner to place him under arrest.

Defendant's Case-in-Chief

Officer Anthony Johnson testified that on May 27, 2000, he was assigned to talk to any witnesses at the crime scene where Curtis was shot. Officer Johnson testified that no one came forward to tell him what happened and he did not discover any witnesses at the scene. Officer Johnson testified that he was aware on that date that the corner of Division and Parkside was a "drug spot" where illegal narcotics were sold by gang members.

Assistant State's Attorney ("ASA") Barbara Dawkins testified that, on August 25, 2003, she took a written statement from Quendalyne Alexander. ASA Dawkins testified that she questioned Quendalyne about what happened when Curtis was shot and wrote down anything relevant that Quendalyne stated with respect to the shooting. Dawkins did not remember whether Quendalyne told her that after the shooting she ran to a cab stand and spoke to a dispatcher. Dawkins admitted that she did not include this information in the handwritten statement because it occurred after the shooting and was not relevant.

The parties then stipulated that, on October 1, 2001, Goldie testified before the grand jury that he shot dice with petitioner a few days before the shooting. The parties also stipulated that, on August 3, 2000, the police interviewed Goldie at the station and the written report from that interview did not indicate that Goldie stated that his friend "Sean" was in the car on the day of the shooting. Lastly, the parties ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.