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State v. Bradshaw

Decided: October 2, 1979.


On appeal from Superior Court, Law Division, Somerset County.

Allcorn, Morgan and Horn.

Per Curiam

[170 NJSuper Page 528] Having been charged with the commission of the following crimes with Isaac Allen and Clyde Cofield, defendant Anthony Bradshaw was, after a lengthy trial, found guilty by a jury on June 12, 1976, of the murder of one Fred Reynolds, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2A:113-1 and N.J.S.A. 2A:113-2, and of the armed robbery of Wallace Hill and others, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2A:141-1 and N.J.S.A. 2A:151-5. On July 2, 1976 the trial judge sentenced defendant to life imprisonment on the murder conviction, after having merged the armed robbery conviction

into the murder conviction. Defendant filed a timely appeal raising a number of issues.

The conviction arose out of a series of crimes which took place on December 6, 1974. On that day, at about 11:10 p.m., three or four black men entered the barroom of the Bound Brook Hotel in Bound Brook, New Jersey. One of the men said, "This is a hold-up." A patron, Freddie Reynolds, responded, "Are you kidding?" Reynolds was immediately fatally shot in the right side of his chest by a man described as wearing a tan coat and carrying a sawed-off shotgun.

After the shooting the men robbed the patrons of the bar, who included George Chismar, Joseph Calvo, Peter Kulcyski and a bartender, Wallace Hill. The robbery victims were then herded into a cellar.

Shortly before the robbery and murder Lillian Leon, the assistant manager of the Brook Theater in Bound Brook, became suspicious of a car parked on the other side of the street, in front of the Town Tavern. The car was parked at an angle across the street, with its back end against the curb. The car's motor was running and its lights were on.

Samuel Leon, Lillian's husband, who had been a state trooper for 31 years, followed his wife's request to take down the car's license plate numbers. Leon noticed that a black male was behind the wheel of the car and that it appeared that two other black men were in the back seat. As Leon was observing the license plate numbers, a fourth black male left the Town Tavern and entered the car. This last man wore a long, camel-hair coat, which was wrapped tightly around him. The car which the Leons observed was a yellow, four-door, 1964 Buick, which was actually owned by codefendant Isaac Allen's mother.

Not long after the robbery five youngsters, Mark Clay, Donald Lindbach, Danny Hartman, Rosemary Killough and Donna Porch, were driving toward Lindbach's house to drop him off after a concert they had attended. After Clay (the driver) let

Lindbach out, a car appeared traveling at a high rate of speed. Hartman said the car was an old, yellow Buick. As the car passed Clay someone rolled down the front right-hand window and an object, which looked like a shotgun shell, was thrown on the ground. When Clay and his friends learned about the robbery they decided to go back to get the shell, which they found where it had been thrown. Hartman picked up the shell and gave it to Somerset County Detective Jack Gardner at the Bound Brook Hotel. Isaac Allen was arrested as a material witness in the early morning hours of December 7, 1974 as he returned home.

In the week following the murder of Reynolds, Detective Richard Thornburg of the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office received information from various sources linking defendant and codefendant Cofield with Isaac Allen on the night of the murder.

Defendant poses numerous arguments for reversal, which we discuss hereinafter. However, we find that none of them is persuasive. Accordingly we affirm.


Defendant first argues that the investigative detention and subsequent interrogation of him violated his Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.*fn1 Specifically, it is contended that the order signed by Judge Leahy on December 14, 1974 in response to Detective Thornburg's application for a search warrant did not legally authorize the detention, and therefore evidence which was obtained thereby and the answers of defendant to the interrogation which followed in consequence thereof were tainted, and the judge erred in denying defendant's motion to suppress said evidence.

We considered this same argument in the appeal of Cofield, State v. Cofield , Docket A-1165-75, in which we rendered an unreported opinion on November 6, 1978. What we said there as to Cofield's contention on this point is applicable here.*fn2 We repeat:

Before defendant was "detained" a search warrant to enter defendant's dwelling was issued upon a verified complaint therefor. The warrant, in addition to authorizing said search, also authorized the police "to detain Clyde Cofield for a period of time not to exceed five (5) hours" for the purposes of his finger and palm ...

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