United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Robert Blakey United States District Judge
Anthony Brown, a prisoner at the Stateville Correctional
Center, brings this pro se habeas corpus petition
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging his 1996 state
court convictions for murder, armed robbery, aggravated
criminal sexual assault, and vehicular hijacking. For the
reasons explained below, the Court denies the petition and
declines to issue a certificate of appealability.
following is taken from the state court record. The state
court's factual findings are presumed correct, and
Petitioner has the burden of rebutting the presumption of
correctness by clear and convincing evidence. Brumfield
v. Cain, 135 S.Ct. 2269, 2282 n.8 (2015) (citing 28
U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1)).
The Underlying Offense
was part of a group of five men who committed a double murder
and carjacking on Chicago's Southside late on the evening
of January 12, 1994. Illinois v. Brown, 705 N.E.2d
809, 812 (Ill. 1998) (“Brown Direct
Appeal”). The men were armed with a
nine-millimeter handgun. Id. The victims, Reginald
Wilson and Felicia Lewis, stopped Wilson's Chevrolet
Blazer at a gas station at 79th Avenue and the Dan Ryan
highway to use a bathroom. Id. at 811. With Wilson
and Lewis was Steven Fitch, a friend. Id. Wilson and
Lewis were in the Blazer when the carjacking occurred.
Id. Fitch was walking back from the bathroom when he
witnessed the carjacking in progress. Id. He fled
after unsuccessfully attempting to confront one of the
carjackers. Id. He called the police from a nearby
pay phone. Id.
was nearby, in his Chevrolet Caprice, when the carjacking
occurred. Id. at 812. He drove the group to the
carjacking. Id. Three of the assailants left
Petitioner's Caprice to commit the carjacking while
Petitioner and another offender waited in the Caprice.
Id. The men picked the Blazer to carjack because
they noticed the truck's wheel rims. Id.
assailants drove the carjacked Blazer, along with
Petitioner's Caprice, to a parking lot a few miles away
at 47th and Vincennes. Id. Petitioner repeatedly
raped Lewis in the back of his Caprice in the parking lot.
Id. Petitioner forced Lewis to engage in both oral
sex and vaginal intercourse. Id. at 812-13. Lewis
told Petitioner that she was wearing a sanitary pad because
she had given birth a few months earlier, and was also having
her period. Id. at 813. Petitioner instructed Lewis
to put her jacket on his car's backseat when he raped
returned Lewis to the Blazer and directed two of his cohorts
to watch the victims in the Blazer while he and two of the
other carjackers scouted a location to murder the victims.
Id. After Petitioner left in his Caprice with the
two other assailants, the two remaining carjackers opted
instead to take the victims to a nearby garbage dumpster,
where they shot Wilson twice in the head and shot Lewis twice
in the side, killing both of them. Id.
returned to find the victims murdered. Id. The group
then went to an apartment where they divided the proceeds
from the carjacking. Id. The group split cash,
compact discs, cassette tapes, a CD player, and a car speaker
resident found the victims' bodies in the dumpster the
next day and contacted the police. Id. at 814.
Police investigators discovered nine-millimeter cartridges in
the dumpster by the victims. Id. Lewis's hands
were tied with a bra. Id. The investigators also
recovered Lewis's sanitary pad. Id. at 815.
same day, the assailants drove the Blazer and the Caprice to
Sauk Village, Illinois, where the Blazer was spotted by
police. Id. at 813. The police stopped the Blazer
and arrested two of the assailants, but Petitioner escaped in
the Caprice back to Chicago. Id. Petitioner was
arrested later that day by the Chicago police. Id.
Fitch identified one of the assailants (not Petitioner) in a
lineup at the police station. Id. at 812.
had approximately $500 in cash on him when he was arrested,
and a search of his Caprice revealed, among other items, a
Kenwood cassette radio and a Panasonic CD Player.
Id. at 814. The police found in the victims'
vehicle, among other items, a Kenwood stereo instruction
manual and faceplate and a Panasonic CD Player case.
initial testing of swabs taken from Lewis's body came
back negative for the presence of semen. Id. A smear
type stain of blood was found on the seat cushions on the
backseat of the Caprice. Id. A small stain of human
blood and seminal material was found on Petitioner's
boxers. Id. However, the police laboratory could not
obtain any DNA results. Id. at 815. The police
technician, Pamela Fish, explained that the samples yielded
no results, either because they were too small or because the
DNA in the stains had degraded. Id.
and hair samples were taken from the Blazer and Caprice.
Id. Nothing in the Blazer matched Petitioner, and
nothing in Petitioner's Caprice matched Lewis.
Id. Lewis' hair was not found on
Petitioner's clothing, and Petitioner's hair was not
found on Lewis. Id. One and one-half condom wrappers
were recovered in the Blazer. [18-22] at 16.
the lack of forensic evidence, a jury convicted Petitioner of
two counts of first degree murder and one count each of
aggravated vehicular hijacking, aggravated criminal sexual
assault, and armed robbery. Brown Direct Appeal, 705
N.E.2d at 811. The state's primary witness was Zarice
Johnson, one of the carjackers, who entered into a plea
agreement. Id. at 813. Johnson testified for the
prosecution detailing Petitioner's role in the killings,
rape, and carjacking. The victims' friend, Fitch, also
testified about witnessing the carjacking. Id. at
final major piece of evidence was that the proceeds from the
carjacking - most notably the Panasonic CD player and Kenwood
stereo - were recovered in Petitioner's car. Id.
was sentenced to death for the murders, and concurrent
30-year sentences on the aggravated criminal sexual assault
and aggravated vehicular hijacking charges. Id. at
811. The court imposed no sentence for the armed robbery