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O'Kelley v. Warden, Georgia Diagnostic Prison

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division

February 2, 2017

DORIAN FRANK O'KELLEY, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN, Georgia Diagnostic Prison, Respondent.

          ORDER

          WILLIAM T. MOORE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         In 2005, Petitioner Dorian Frank O'Kelley was convicted and sentenced to death by the Superior Court of Chatham County for -the murders of Susan Pittman and her thirteen-year-old daughter, Kimberly Pittman. After the completion of his direct appeal and state habeas court proceedings, Petitioner filed a petition for habeas corpus in this Court, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging his conviction and death sentence on a number of grounds. Petitioner also filed the instant Motion for Leave to Conduct Discovery. (Doc. 61.) Petitioner contends that discovery is necessary for the full and proper development of evidence and the presentation of his habeas case. After careful consideration, Petitioner's motion is DENIED.[1]

         BACKGROUND

         I. FACTUAL HISTORY

         The facts of this case were set forth by the Supreme Court of Georgia:

[S]hortly before midnight on April 10, 2002, O'Kelley and his co-defendant, Darryl Stinski, were observed at a convenience store by two Chatham County police officers. The officers noticed the defendants because they were dressed in black clothing, they carried a black duffle bag that appeared empty, and Stinski had several facial and ear piercings. Shortly after O'Kelley and Stinski left the store, the officers responded to a burglar alarm at a residence within walking distance of the store and discovered a broken window there. The occupant of the residence, who was not home at the time, testified at trial that she returned to find that someone had apparently tried to kick in her back door and had broken a window and bent the curtain rod inside the home. O'Kelley admitted in his first statement to police that he and Stinski went to a residence in order to commit a theft therein on the night in question but fled after the alarm went off.
A few hours later, at approximately 5:30 a.m. on April 11, the same police officers were leaving the convenience store when they spotted a fire in the distance. Rushing to the scene, they found the Pittman residence engulfed in flames. This home was in close proximity to the residence which had been burglarized earlier. In the headlights of the police car, one of the officers again observed O'Kelley and Stinski, this time standing in a wooded area across the street from the burning house. However, they had disappeared by the time the officers exited the vehicle. Once the fire was extinguished, officials discovered the remains of the victims.
That evening, O'Kelley and Stinski brought a duffle bag to the mobile home where Stinski was staying, and O'Kelley told the group of people present that he and Stinski had stolen items from automobiles in the neighborhood. He also confided in one member of the group that he had burglarized and set fire to the Pittman residence, and he claimed to have slit Ms. Pittman's throat and to have raped Kimberly. O'Kelley then removed from his wallet a tooth in a ziplock bag and stated that he had "busted it out of the little girl's mouth." After O'Kelley and Stinski left the mobile home, the group opened the duffle bag and discovered several items, including compact discs marked with Kimberly's initials and prescription pill bottles containing oxycodone with Ms. Pittman's name and address on the labels. A group member phoned the police and advised them of the bag's contents and O'Kelley's comments. After the contents of the bag were identified by a family member as belonging to the victims, O'Kelley and Stinski were arrested, and a human tooth later determined through DNA evidence to belong to Kimberly was found inside O'Kelley's wallet.
In his second statement to police, O'Kelley confessed to killing Ms. Pittman by repeatedly beating and stabbing her, to beating and stabbing Kimberly, to setting the Pittman residence on fire while Kimberly was still alive, and to taking numerous items from the residence. O'Kelley told police that items stolen from the home and from automobiles in the neighborhood were located in the attic of his house and that he had discarded the clothing and shoes that he was wearing during the murders in a garbage bag on top of an abandoned mobile home near his house. Police located these items as O'Kelley described. Blood on the clothing was identified as Ms. Pittman's, and blood on the shoes was identified as that of both victims.
Four witnesses testified that, early on the day following the murders, they discovered that someone had broken into and removed personal belongings from their automobiles parked in O'Kelley's neighborhood. O'Kelley's fingerprint was found inside one of these vehicles, and the witnesses identified their stolen property from items recovered by the police from O'Kelley's attic.

O'Kelley v. Georgia, 284 Ga. 758, 759-60, 670 S.E.2d 388, 392-93 (2008) .

         II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Petitioner was charged with two counts of malice murder, two counts each of burglary and arson in the first degree, one count of cruelty to children, one count of possession of a controlled substance, one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, and five counts of entering an automobile with intent to commit theft. Id. at 758. Petitioner's trial began on October 21, 2005, and he was found guilty on November 3, 2005 of all charges in the indictment with the exception of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. (Doc. 33, Attach. 5 at 15-16.) Five days later, Petitioner was sentenced to death for the murders of Susan Pittman and her daughter. (Doc. 16, Attach. 19 at 2-5.) The jury found, beyond a reasonable doubt, the existence of six statutory aggravating factors;

(1) The murders were committed while Petitioner was engaged in the commission of a burglary.
(2) The murders were committed while Petitioner was engaged in the commission of arson ...

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