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State of New Jersey v. Lamar Milbourne

December 13, 2012


On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Cumberland County, Indictment No. 03-12-0156.

Per curiam.



Submitted September 24, 2012 -

Before Judges Sabatino and Maven.

Defendant Lamar Milbourne appeals from denial of his petition for post conviction relief (PCR) alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm.

In 2004, a jury found defendant guilty of committing a series of horrific crimes against two teenagers who were parked in a car in an isolated area in Cumberland County. In our decision on direct appeal affirming the jury's verdict, State v. Milbourne, No. A-3068-04 (App. Div. Dec. 14, 2007), we recounted the brutal facts shown by the evidence at defendant's trial, which we now briefly summarize.

Defendant and his three co-defendants, Milledge, Nichols and Hinson, embarked on the night of September 19, 2002, to "rob some Mexicans." At approximately 9:15 p.m., they encountered two teenagers, C.P. and K.M., parked near a boat ramp at Elmer Lake in Bridgeton. Claiming to be police officers, defendant and the other young men pulled the teenagers from the car. Defendant brought K.M. to the rear of the vehicle where he "pressed [her] up against [the] side of the car," patted her down, and ordered her to spread her legs. When K.M. resisted, defendant punched her repeatedly in her ribs. Defendant took K.M.'s keys and wallet, which contained eighty-five dollars. Next, defendant lifted K.M.'s shirt, removed her bra, unbuttoned her pants, and inserted his finger into her vagina. One of the other men then approached her, pulled her shirt over her head so that she could not see, after which she felt fingers inserted into her vagina at least ten times. Defendant removed K.M.'s shirt and placed his fingers inside her rectum. When she screamed for help, defendant slammed her head into the trunk. She cried, "God, help me," and heard one of the men say, "God couldn't help [you]." The others yelled, "Shut up," and, "We'll kill you."

Next, all four defendants began participating in the sexual assault, punching and threatening to kill K.M. if she did not comply with their demands. They dragged her into a wooded area and continued the sexual assault over a half-hour period. They repeatedly punched C.P., while forcing him to watch the assault on K.M. C.P. was struck with a baseball bat, kicked and stomped. The men shouted words of encouragement to one another during these vicious attacks.

Once the defendants left, the victims managed to drive themselves to a hospital where they were treated for serious injuries. The savage attack was reported to the police. Suspects were quickly developed because C.P. recognized some of the young men from school.

When co-defendant Hinson was arrested later that night, he inculpated defendant. Shortly thereafter, police arrested defendant at his home. In the police vehicle, on the way to headquarters, defendant received his Miranda*fn1 rights. He also signed a Miranda rights card at the police station before questioning. Defendant was initially reluctant to discuss the incident. However, after being informed that Hinson implicated him, defendant admitted to police that he and the other men "were looking to screw up a prom in the projects and then they decided to go out and rob a Mexican." He then disclosed that when the men first arrived at the park, they unsuccessfully attempted to rob another individual. He explained that after driving slightly further, they came upon C.P. and K.M.

At that point, defendant agreed to provide a taped statement and was advised of his Miranda rights again. In his statement defendant gave his version of the incident.*fn2 Defendant maintained that he did not have intercourse with K.M.

After trial, the jury found defendant guilty of first degree aggravated sexual assault of K.M., N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(a); first degree kidnapping, N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1(b); third degree aggravated assault as a lesser-included offense, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b); third degree criminal restraint, N.J.S.A. 2C:13-2(a); possession of a weapon, a baseball bat, for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(d); second degree robbery N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1(a)(1); second degree conspiracy to commit robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1(a)(1); and disorderly persons simple assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(a), as a lesser-included offense of third degree aggravated assault. Defendant was acquitted of several other charges.

Following appropriate mergers, the trial court imposed an aggregate sentence of forty years with 85% parole ineligibility under the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2. We affirmed the conviction on direct appeal, Milbourne, supra, No. A-3068-04, but remanded for resentencing on Counts Ten through Fourteen, and Count Sixteen, in compliance with State v. Natale, 184 N.J. 458 (2005). The Supreme Court denied defendant's petition for ...

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