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State v. Davis

June 22, 2007

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
JAMES DAVIS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Mercer County, 02-05-0670.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted May 30, 2007

Before Judges Skillman, Lisa and Grall.

Defendant, James Davis, was found guilty by a jury of murdering his girlfriend, Natalie Williams, attempting to murder Natalie Williams' stepmother, Wanda Williams, and related weapons offenses. A judgment of conviction was entered setting forth a sentence of life imprisonment with a thirty-year parole disqualifier for murder, and a consecutive term of twenty years imprisonment with a ten-year parole disqualifier for attempted murder. The remaining counts were either merged or sentenced concurrent to the murder and attempted murder sentences.

Defendant argues on appeal:

POINT I:

THE TRIAL COURT'S REFUSAL TO INSTRUCT THE JURY THAT DEFENDANT COULD BE CONVICTED OF AGGRAVATED MANSLAUGHTER AND AGGRAVATED ASSAULT, AS LESSER INCLUDED OFFENSES OF MURDER AND ATTEMPTED MURDER, DEPRIVED DEFENDANT OF THE RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS OF LAW AND A FAIR TRIAL. U.S. CONST. AMEND. XIV; N.J. CONST. (1947) ART. I, PARS. 1, 9, 10.

POINT II:

THE IMPOSITION OF CONSECUTIVE TERMS FOR RELATED OFFENSES WAS MANIFESTLY EXCESSIVE.

We reject these arguments and affirm.

On December 7, 2000, at about 7:00 a.m., Natalie Williams called her stepmother, Wanda Williams, in an extremely upset state, informing her that defendant "had raped her, he had put a knife to her throat, he had forced her to have sex with him, he beat her head up against the dresser, and put a knife to her throat and told her if she told anybody, he would kill her." Defendant had left Natalie's apartment. Wanda called the police and reported the information related to her by Natalie.

Wanda then went to Natalie's apartment, where Natalie lived with her three-and-one-half-year-old daughter, Majanhe Williams. Wanda also informed James Williams, her husband and Natalie's father, of the incident.

When Wanda arrived at Natalie's apartment, defendant had returned. Natalie was crying. Wanda asked defendant whether he raped Natalie, to which defendant responded, "Boo, . . . we had sex a couple times." Wanda informed defendant that she had called the police, and he immediately grabbed Natalie's keys, ran out of the apartment, and drove away. Wanda followed him for a time in her car, but lost him in traffic, after which she returned to Natalie's apartment and made arrangements ...


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