United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Waycross Division
WILLIAM T. MOORE, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
the Court is Petitioner's Renewed Motion for an
Evidentiary Hearing. (Doc. 88.) For the following reasons,
Petitioner's motion is DENIED. As a result,
Respondent's Motion Requesting Ruling on Petitioner's
Motion for Evidentiary Hearing (Doc. 93) is DISMISSED AS
MOOT. Respondent's Motion for Leave to File Excess Pages
(Doc. 106) is GRANTED.
facts of this case were set forth by the Supreme Court of
Jones and his co-defendant, Allen Bunner, began the crime
spree which led to the death of Keith Holland on the night
before the murder, when they stole four cases of beer from a
convenience store in Ware County. The co-defendants fled in
an automobile with three other companions, who were waiting
for them outside the store. The group spent the remainder of
the night driving around aimlessly and drinking the stolen
beer, until their car broke down and (Tones and Bunner left
the others, stating they were going to find a truck.
The co-defendants stole a Ford truck, belonging to Rudolph
Melton, which was parked in front of Melton1s residence.
After driving around for several more hours in the stolen
truck, they arrived at the home of the victim, Keith Holland.
Bunner knocked on Holland's front door at approximately 5
a.m. and asked Holland's wife Mamie for assistance, on
the pretext that the truck's battery was dead. Mamie
Holland woke her husband, and he went outside to assist
Bunner. As Holland was leaning over to look in the engine
compartment of the truck, Jones struck him in the head from
behind with a sledge hammer.
Mamie Holland witnessed the first blow from her dining room
window and reacted by screaming for Jones to stop and by
banging on the window. Jones turned and looked at her but
continued to pound the victim, inflicting at least six blows
to the head and face, all of which were potentially fatal.
Prior to leaving in the victim's truck, Jones got out of
the vehicle and hit the victim again, while he was lying on
the ground. EMS workers arrived within minutes after the
co-defendants1 departure. Because of the injuries to the
victim's face, EMS workers were unable to perform CPR or
intubate the victim, and he died before reaching the
Jones and Bunner drove to Florida in the victim's truck.
They tossed Holland's personal belongings out of the
truck along the way, and pawned two chain saws belonging to
Melton. Police learned of their whereabouts through telephone
calls made by the co-defendants to a friend in Georgia, and
they were arrested at a welcome station south of the
Georgia-Florida line. The victim's truck, which Jones and
Bunner had burned, was found in the woods a short distance
Jones v. State, 267 Ga. 592, 592-93, 481 S.E.2d,
was arrested on the afternoon of March 31, 1993. Seven days
later, he was indicted in the Superior Court of Ware County,
Georgia for malice murder, felony murder, armed robbery,
interference with government property, and theft by taking.
(Doc. 96, Attach. 1 at 14.) He pled not guilty. (Doc. 96,
Attach. 2 at 133.) His jury trial began on June 8,
1995. (Doc. 24 at 13.) On June 10, 1995, he was
convicted of all charges. (Doc. 96, Attach. 2 at 133.) Four
days later, he was sentenced to death. (Doc. 24 at 13.)
hearing, the trial court denied Petitioner's motion for a
new trial. (Doc. 98, Attach. 8 at 29.) On March 10, 1997, the
Georgia Supreme Court affirmed his convictions and sentences.
Jones v. State, 267 Ga. 592, 481 S.E.2d 821 (1997).
A petition for writ of certiorari to the United States
Supreme Court was denied on November 3, 1997. Jones v.
Georgia, 522 U.S. 953 (1997).
February 5, 1998, the trial court signed an execution warrant
and scheduled Petitioner's execution for the time period
between February 24 and March 3, 1998. (Doc. 99, Attach. 6 at
7.) In response to the death warrant, Petitioner filed a
state habeas corpus petition in the Superior Court of Butts
County. (Id. The state habeas court conducted an
evidentiary hearing on March 15, 1999 (Doc. 100, Attachs.
1-4; Doc. 101, Attachs. 1-5; Doc. 102, Attachs. 1-3), and
ultimately denied the petition, as amended, on January 7,
2000 (Doc. 103, Attach. 1) . Further attempts to appeal were
filing a 28 U.S.C. § 2254 petition in this Court (Doc.
5), Petitioner filed a Motion for Discovery seeking the
opportunity to depose his trial and sentencing jurors (Doc.
31). The Court addressed Petitioner's request and
ultimately denied his motion, concluding that many of his
claims were procedurally defaulted. (Doc. 37.) Petitioner
subsequently filed a Motion for an Evidentiary Hearing
requesting an evidentiary hearing on similar claims to those
for which he had requested discovery. (Doc. 50.) The Court
dismissed that motion and ordered Petitioner to resubmit his
request. (Doc. 54.) The Court denied Petitioner's second
motion for an evidentiary hearing (Doc. 58) and ordered the
parties to file supplemental briefs addressing
Petitioner's request for an evidentiary-hearing in light
of the United States Supreme Court's decision in
Cullen v. Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170 (2011) . (Doc.
79.) The parties filed the requested briefs and Petitioner
filed a renewed motion for an evidentiary-hearing. (Doc. 88.)
Thereafter, the Court requested additional supplemental
briefing on the issue of procedural default and exhaustion.
(Doc. 94.) The parties have complied with the Court's
directives and Petitioner's motion is now ripe for
review. (Doc. 88.)
Petitioner's Renewed Motion for an Evidentiary Hearing
(Doc. 88), he requests that the Court permit an evidentiary
hearing on his claims based on juror misconduct, the seating
of incompetent jurors, improper trial court rulings related
to the dismissal of two jurors, the denial of his right to be
present at a critical stage, and ineffective assistance of
counsel. (Doc. 88.) Respondent argues that Petitioner is not
entitled to an evidentiary hearing because his claims are
either unexhausted and thus should be found procedurally
defaulted, or were found to be procedurally defaulted by the
state courts. (Doc. 107.) Respondent also ...