On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County.
Petrella, Shebell and Landau. The opinion of the court was delivered by Shebell, J.A.D.
Defendant David Glover appeals his jury convictions for murder (N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1) and (2)); possession of a firearm without a permit (N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5c), which was merged into the murder conviction, and aggravated arson (N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1a). Defendant also appeals his sentence of life imprisonment with 30 years of parole ineligibility imposed for the murder and the concurrent 7-year term imposed for the aggravated arson.
Defendant, in his appeal, alleges the following:
POINT I: THE TRIAL COURT'S FAILURE TO INSTRUCT THE JURY ON THE DIMINISHED CAPACITY DEFENSE OF N.J.S.A. 2C:4-2, SUA SPONTE, DENIED DEFENDANT HIS DUE PROCESS RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL AND HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO PRESENT A DEFENSE .
POINT II: THE TRIAL COURT'S FAILURE TO CHARGE THE LESSER INCLUDED HOMICIDES OF AGGRAVATED MANSLAUGHTER AND RECKLESS MANSLAUGHTER, SUA SPONTE, DENIED DEFENDANT HIS DUE PROCESS RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL .
POINT III: DEFENDANT WAS DEPRIVED OF CONSTITUTIONALLY ADEQUATE REPRESENTATION BY COUNSEL IN VIOLATION OF BOTH THE SIXTH AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION AND ARTICLE I, PARAGRAPH 10, OF THE NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTION .
POINT IV: DEFENDANT'S CONFESSION WAS INVOLUNTARY AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN SUPPRESSED BY THE TRIAL COURT.
POINT V: THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR IN ADMITTING GRUESOME AND INFLAMMATORY PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE DECEASED INTO EVIDENCE.
POINT VI: THE TRIAL JUDGE ERRED IN FAILING TO TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION WITH RESPECT TO A SLEEPING JUROR.
POINT VII: THE TRIAL JUDGE ERRED IN RULING A SEVEN YEAR OLD WITNESS COMPETENT TO TESTIFY.
POINT VIII: THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO DECLARE A MISTRIAL, SUA SPONTE, AS A RESULT OF THE WITNESS' EMOTIONAL OUTBURST. .
POINT IX: THE PROSECUTOR'S SUMMATION WAS IMPROPER AND VIOLATED DEFENDANT'S RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL. .
POINT X: ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT THE INDIVIDUAL ERRORS DO NOT CONSTITUTE REVERSIBLE ERROR, THE ERRORS AGGREGATELY DENIED DEFENDANT A FAIR TRIAL.
POINT XI: THE SENTENCE IMPOSED BY THE TRIAL COURT IS MANIFESTLY EXCESSIVE.
The facts surrounding this tragic crime are of little dispute. Defendant at approximately 1 a.m., on October 30, 1986, poured gasoline on to the back porch and side entrance of the home of his next-door neighbors and set the building ablaze. As the family exited their burning home, defendant fired two blasts from his shotgun and killed the head of the household. Defendant then threw the shotgun into his car which was parked in ...