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Kenion v. Johnson

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

September 30, 2019

KEITH KENION, Petitioner,
v.
STEVEN JOHNSON, et al., Respondents.

          OPINION

          ROBERT B. KUGLER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Petitioner, Keith Kenion, is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner was convicted in 2006 by a jury of kidnapping, robbery, and related offenses. He is currently serving an aggregate term of life in prison with an eighty-five percent period of parole ineligibility pursuant to New Jersey's No. Early Release Act (“NERA”). N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:43-7.2. For the reasons set forth below, the petition will be denied and a certificate of appealability shall not issue.

         II. FACTS

         In its opinion on appeal from Petitioner's post-conviction relief (“PCR”) proceedings, the New Jersey Appellate Division provided the following summary of the factual background of Petitioner's case:

[. . .] On September 8, 2003, defendant and co-defendant Wayne Parker entered the home of Anthony and Carolyn Young, then ages 81 and 80, respectively. Defendant struck Mr. Young in the head with ceramic household objects and compelled Mr. Young to show him the location of a coin collection he maintained. Defendant then bound and gagged Mr. Young.
Parker assaulted Mrs. Young and forced her to open a safe and locked drawers containing coins and other valuables, which were removed, and then bound her with ripped clothing. A third accomplice, John Palmer, appeared and helped remove the valuables from the residence. Defendant, Parker, and Palmer fled when someone came to the residence and rang the doorbell. Mrs. Young untied herself and untied and removed the gag from Mr. Young, who was unresponsive.
Mrs. Young spent a week in the hospital recovering from her injuries. In our previous opinion, we described Mr. Young's condition as follows:
Mr. Young was diagnosed with blunt force trauma to the head, multiple facial fractures and severe swelling. Doctors deemed him unfit for surgery due to his pre-existing medical condition. As a result, his injuries are unlikely to heal or to heal well. His ... injuries created a substantial risk of death and of serious impairment of his ability to eat solid foods.
[State v. Kenion, No. A-5665-05T4, 2009 WL 2015772, at *2 ( N.J.Super.Ct.App.Div. July 13, 2009).]
Mrs. Young gave a description of the assailants and specifically naming Parker. Police interviewed Parker's girlfriend and obtained search warrants for her vehicle and home, where they recovered objects taken from the Young residence. Police also obtained and executed a search warrant for the residence occupied by Parker. While doing so, police observed Palmer and two individuals drive by the residence twice. Police stopped the vehicle. Detective Francine Webb and another officer recovered coins belonging to the Youngs from Palmer, who was operating the vehicle. After police secured Palmer in their vehicle, they returned to the vehicle Palmer had been operating, and removed defendant. They discovered more currency and coins belonging to the Youngs on the back seat and floor of the vehicle next to defendant.
Detective Webb asked defendant “[A]re you Keith[?]” and defendant responded “[Y]es. I'm from North Carolina. I'm Keith Kenion.” After defendant was removed from the vehicle, a pat down by another officer yielded more coins belonging to the Youngs. Defendant was thereafter tried, convicted, and sentenced.

State v. Kenion, No. A-1883-14T4, 2017 WL 5664395, at *1-2 ( N.J.Super.Ct.App.Div. Nov. ...


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