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People v. Spencer

Filed 7/12/18 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA THE PEOPLE, ) ) Plaintiff and Respondent, ) ) S057242 v. ) ) CHRISTOPHER ALAN SPENCER, ) ) Santa Clara County Defendant and Appellant. ) Super. Ct. No. 155731 ____________________________________ ) A jury convicted defendant Christopher Spencer of murdering James Madden. (Pen. Code § 187; all further undesignated references are to this code.) It also found true the special circumstance allegations that Spencer murdered Madden while robbing him and burglarizing his place of business. (§ 190.2, subd. (a)(17).) The jury returned a verdict of death, prompting this automatic appeal. (Cal. Const., art. VI, § 11; Pen. Code § 1239, subd. (b).) We affirm the judgment in its entirety. I. FACTS On January 24, 1991, four days before Madden was fatally stabbed, a group of men robbed Ben Graber outside of a liquor store in San Jose. One of the men shocked Graber with a stun gun. The use of this weapon, along with tips from an informant, eventually led the police to Daniel Silveria, John Travis, Matthew Jennings, Troy Rackley, and defendant Spencer. By the time police located and arrested the men, they had murdered Madden — a crime for which three of the 1 four adult defendants, Silveria, Travis, and Spencer, were convicted and sentenced to death.1 A. Robbery of Graber at the Gavilan Bottle Shop On the evening of January 24, 1991, a group of men stopped Ben Graber as he was leaving his job at the Gavilan Bottle Shop located in San Jose. One of the men shocked Graber on his hip with a stun gun. They robbed Graber and took cash from the store. 1. The Stun Gun Robbery Investigation John Boyles, a detective with the San Jose Police Department, investigated the Gavilan Bottle Shop robbery and another robbery at a Quik Stop convenience store that also involved the use of a stun gun. During his investigation, Detective Boyles learned that Troy Rackley and Matthew Jennings had been identified as suspects in the robberies. Detective Boyles disseminated this information generally via a broadcast “over all our channels within the City of San Jose” and specifically to Officer Brian Hyland, an officer assisting Detective Boyles with the investigation. At approximately 5:00 p.m. on January 28, 1991, Detective Boyles received a phone call from a female informant. The informant named “Danny, John, Matt, Chris and Troy” as the perpetrators of the stun gun robberies. Later that night, Detective Boyles had another phone conversation with a woman identifying herself as “Cynthia.” Based on her voice and the information she provided, Detective Boyles identified Cynthia as the female informant with whom he had 1 Rackley was a minor at the time of the murder. He pleaded guilty and received a sentence of 25 years to life. Jennings, who did not stab Madden, was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. (Jennings v. Runnels (9th Cir. 2012) 493 Fed. Appx. 903.) 2 spoken earlier. Cynthia provided the detective with additional information about …
Original document
Source: California Supreme Court