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State v. Dawara

March 4, 2010

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
DADJE DAWARA, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment No. 01-02-0559.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted January 19, 2010

Before Judges Reisner and Yannotti.

Defendant Dadje Dawara appeals from an order entered by the trial court on April 2, 2008, denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). We affirm.

I.

Defendant and co-defendants Maurice Anderson (Anderson) and Hamadi O. Aaron (Aaron) were charged with four counts of first degree robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 (counts one to four); third degree unlawful possession of a weapon, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b) (count five); four counts of second degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(a) (counts six to nine); third degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(1) (count ten); second degree possession of CDS with intent to distribute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(b)(2) (count eleven); third degree possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 1000 feet of school property, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 (count twelve); fourth degree unlawful possession of a weapon, specifically mace, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(d) (count thirteen); and third degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, specifically mace, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(d) (count fourteen). In addition, defendant was charged with fourth degree possession of a defaced firearm, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3(d) (count fifteen), and fourth degree possession of hollow point bullets, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3(f) (count sixteen).

Defendant was tried before a jury. At the trial, the State presented evidence that on the evening of October 24, 2000, at approximately, 8:00 p.m., three individuals robbed a market on 15th Avenue in Newark. Angel Luna, Sr. (Luna), the store's owner, was in the store with his girlfriend, Rose Rodriguez (Rodriguez), and his eleven-year-old son. Rodriguez was at the cash register and his son was in the basement, doing his homework.

Luna went outside to prepare to close the store for the evening. He observed a blue or green car. He saw two persons in the car and one standing outside. As Luna was returning to the store, he observed the three individuals at the store's entrance. One was armed with a silver pistol. Another sprayed Luna with mace.

Luna was thrown to the ground. One of the intruders told Luna to remain still or he would be shot. Luna instructed Rodriguez to give the intruders the money. Luna's son said that one of the intruders was wearing an army jacket. Rodriguez stated that another intruder was wearing blue jeans with a red mask covering his face from the nose down. After the robbery, the intruders left the store.

Luna said that it took about thirty five minutes for the mace to stop burning his eyes. He then called the police. The police arrived shortly thereafter and Luna informed them that the store had been robbed. He said that the intruders had stolen $550 and some coins. A person outside of the store had observed an automobile at the time of the robbery and wrote down the license plate number on a piece of paper, which he gave to Luna. Luna gave the license plate number to the police.

The State also presented evidence that, on the same evening, at around 8:30 p.m., three individuals robbed a supermarket on Central Avenue in Newark. The owner of the market, Berto Estevez (Estevez), was behind the counter in the rear of the store. A worker, Jose Martinez (Martinez), also was present, along with a customer, Ronnie Saunderson (Saunderson). Estevez saw three persons enter the store and announce, this "was a holdup." Estevez was thrown to the floor. One of the intruders took a chain with several medallions from around his neck.

Another pointed a gun at Martinez and Martinez testified "they were gonna kill" him if he did not open the cash register. The intruder took money from the cash register and $100 from Martinez's wallet. Martinez said that the intruders had masks over their faces. One sprayed Martinez in the face with mace and threw him to the floor. Saunderson was forced at gunpoint to lie on the ground. He told the intruders that he did not have any money. He was sprayed in the face with mace.

At approximately 9:15 p.m., Detective Robert Daniel Moore (Moore) of the Newark Police Department (NPD) and his partner Detective Steven Rivers received a dispatch informing them about a car with the license plate number that Luna had provided the police. The officers saw the car, which was a 1997 green Mitsubishi Galant. They observed three persons in the vehicle.

The police stopped the car at the intersection of 14th Avenue and Littleton Avenue. Defendant, Anderson and Aaron were in the car. Moore found cash in the car, along with a bracelet with several charms, another charm and a pendant. The police also recovered 232 vials of cocaine from the trunk of the car.

The police brought Luna, his son and Rodriguez to the intersection of 14th Avenue and Littleton. They were shown a car and the three occupants inside. Luna said that it was the same car that he had seen outside his store earlier that evening. The license plate number matched the number he had given to the police. In addition, Estevez identified several items of jewelry recovered from the car as items that were taken from him in the robbery.

Defendant was found guilty on all counts, with the exception of count twelve, in which he was charged with possession of CDS with intent to distribute the same near a school zone. At sentencing, the court imposed an aggregate term of forty years of incarceration, with a thirty-four year period of parole ...


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