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[U] Commonwealth v. Glover

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

March 4, 2014



Appeal from the PCRA Order January 30, 2013 In the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-22-CR-0005101-2006

Jason McMurray, Esq., Office of the District Attorney.

Michael A. Trimmer, Esq., Jason B. Duncan, Esq.




Appellant, Justin Anthony Glover, Jr., appeals from the order entered on January 30, 2013, in the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County that dismissed his petition for relief filed pursuant to the Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA), 42 Pa.Cons.Stat.Ann. §§ 9541-9546. We affirm.

Following a jury trial, Glover, along with his co-defendant, was convicted of first-degree murder, criminal conspiracy – murder and abuse of corpse in connection with the death of Wesley Person. This Court previously summarized the factual background of the case as follows:

During late 2005, [Glover], co-defendant Lawrence Murrell and the victim, Wesley ("Sonny") Person, were involved in a loan scheme whereby they, with the participation of a Karyn Jackson and others, fraudulently applied for loans with the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union ("PSECU"). With no intention to repay the loans, Jackson would receive and deposit loan checks, share the proceeds, and default on the loans.
In December, 2005, having obtained a fraudulent loan with [Glover], Jackson withdrew $20, 000 in separate transactions. In in initial transaction in early December, Jackson withdrew $9, 000 and gave it to the victim, Person, although she filled out the loan application with [Glover]. [Glover] was not present when she withdrew $9, 000 of the loan proceeds. Within a few days of Christmas, 2005, Jackson withdrew another $6, 000 in cash and gave the majority of it to Person. In both transaction, Jackson kept a few hundred dollars for herself. When she last saw the victim on December 23, 2005, he had over $8, 000 cash with him.
On that day, December 23, 2005, Steven Aikens, the victim's cousin, and another friend, known as Abdul McCauley, "Koppo[, ]" went to Sneaker Villa in Harrisburg. Koppo drove, and dropped off the other two to shop. Person bought two pair of sneaker[s], two coats and a hat. Person became impatient when he finished shopping, and wanted to be picked up. Aikens called [Glover] to ask for a ride; [Glover] inquired as to what they were doing. Aikens replied that Person was shopping. [Glover] responded that he was not available to pick them up. Person asked Aikens to call Koppo to pick them up. While waiting for their ride, Aikens and the victim ordered pizza at a nearby pizza shop.
Within a few minutes McCauley arrived and Person put his packages in the trunk of McCauley's car. Unexpectedly, Murrell and [Glover] pulled up in an Accura [sic] Legend, and asked for Person. McCauley and Murrell spoke for a few minutes about real estate; McCauley said he had a cousin interested in real estate, but Murrell told him not to call that evening, that he "would be busy". Aikens got into the car with Murrell. Aikens attempted to engage Murrell in conversation, but Murrell gave him an "evil look." [Glover] and the victim were outside the car standing near the trunk. Although he had not planned to do so, Person told Aikens that he was going to go to Steelton, and needed to retrieve his things from McCauley's trunk. Aikens asked the victim if he could have $20. The victim took out a "wad" of money consisting of a 2 ½ to 3 inch roll of $50 and $100 bills, and gave Aikens $50. Person, then took his bags, and got into the car with Murrell and [Glover], with Murrell driving. Neither McCauley nor Aikens saw the victim again.
Later that afternoon, Aikens expected Person to be at home, but he was not. Aikens continued to call Person the rest of the day, but Person did not answer. Nor had the victim's girlfriend heard from him. In checking Person's house, they saw that the items Person purchased that day had been dropped off, as if hurriedly thrown down. Aikens did not see or hear from the victim the [sic] for the remainder of the day.
The next evening, December 24, 2005, while out at a club, Aikens saw [Glover]. Aikens observed a small split on [Glover's] lip, which [Glover] explained as a cold sore.
Having not seen Person since December 23rd by December 25th, Aikens became very concerned, and believed that something must have happened to Person.
In the early morning hours of December 24, 2005, volunteer firefighter Ashton Chilcoat responded to a call reporting a brush fire along Route 83, between Middletown and Mount Carmel, Maryland. Approaching the area, Mr. Chilcoat saw a car sitting on the side of the road, and a couple standing nearby. Chilcoat could see small flames down a hill off a roadway which he believed to be a tree stump on fire. He told the couple they could leave, and went down the hill, intending to stomp out the small fire. When he walked closer, he realized that the burning form was a body. Police and firefighters arrived. Firefighters doused the flames with a small extinguisher so as not to disturb the scene.
Forensic Technician Kathi Michael, with the Baltimore County Police Department was called to the scene to sketch the area and collect evidence to be taken to the lab for analysis. Among the items of evidence retrieved were remnants of drywall, drywall screws, plastic and other construction debris.
The body was transported to the Medical Examiner's office where forensic examination, including fingerprinting, identified the victim as Wesley Person on December 28, 2005. The autopsy revealed that the victim sustained multiple gunshot wounds. A gunshot wound sustained to the head was sufficient to cause death within minutes. The examination revealed that the fire was started after the victim's death, in that there was no soot in the airways, and the carbon monoxide level was normal.
After identifying the victim as Person, on December 28, 2005, police contacted Person's girlfriend and friends who had responded to a sketch of Person released to the media. Several of those friends gathered as police came to Steelton to make notification of the death. [Glover] was one of those present when police arrived. At that meeting, McCauley told police that he learned of the bank scheme involving Person. [Glover] appeared nervous and agitated and left.
Police conducted an in depth cellular telephone investigation. Records of phone numbers attributed to Murrell and [Glover] were merged to indicate the timing of phone use, and the location of towers utilized during the calls. The merged records depicted what phones made calls at certain locations at various times. During the period in question, phone calls between [Glover] and Murrell's phones began at approximately noon on December 23, 2005 in Harrisburg and continued through the afternoon into December 24th. The sequence and timing of signals received at towers demonstrated a pattern moving in a southern direction along Route 83 from Harrisburg to Maryland.
Police further investigated by focusing upon a house in Harrisburg being renovated by Murrrell [sic]. Lawrence Murrell owned the house, located at 441 South 13th Street in Harrisburg. From that vacant house, police collected plastic from a basement wall, insulation, a piece of ductwork, drywall screws and debris from the basement. Inspection of the house revealed that the basement floors and walls had been freshly painted. A heating unit was wrapped in clear plastic with duct tape. Crime technicians at the scene "luminaled" the basement. Using this method, crime lab technicians applied a liquid spray to walls and ductwork. When illuminated in the dark, blood evidence would reflect a florescent- looking light. Using this method, the ductwork in the basement at 441 South 13th Street demonstrated a strong positive reaction of evidence of blood.
Cassandra Burke, a forensic chemist with Baltimore County Police Department conducted laboratory examination of items of evidence obtained in the investigation. Ms. Burke analyzed materials recovered from the scene where Person's body was found, and compared those with materials obtained from Murrell's house at 441 South 13th Street in Harrisburg. Paint chips found near the body and recovered from 441 South 13thStreet were chemically, elementally and microscopically consistent; "consistent" meaning originating from a common source. The drywall recovered from the body scene and 441 South 13th Street had consistent single and multiple layers of paint. Ms. Burke also tested chunks of plaster present in samples from the body location and from the 13th Street location. The plaster from both locations was a type of animal hair plaster used in construction from the 1930's and 1940's. Plaster from the scene of the body and 441 South 13th were microscopically, chemically and elementally consistent.
In addition, Baltimore County Forensic Biologist Laura Pawlowski examined evidence obtained in the homicide investigation of Wesley Person. Ms. Pawlowski conducted samplings of stains on ductwork submitted by police to determine if the stains were blood; [t]hey were. Ms. Pawlowski sent those blood samples, samples of Wesley Person's blood obtained during the autopsy, and cell samples from a lighter, to a technology group, Bode Technology, for specialized analysis.
Julia Kowalewski, from Bode Technology performed DNA analysis of the forensic evidence samples. Based upon the DNA profile, the blood sample from Wesley Person matched the sample from the ductwork.

Commonwealth v. Glover, 1033 MDA 2009 (Pa. Super., filed March 3, 2010) (unpublished memorandum) (quoting Trial Court Opinion, 11/19/09, at 2-7).

The trial court sentenced Glover to a term of life imprisonment. On direct appeal, this Court affirmed Glover's judgment of sentence. See id. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied his petition for allowance of appeal on August 3, 2010. See Commonwealth v. Glover, 607 Pa. 690, A.3d 670 (2010) (Table). Glover then filed a timely PCRA petition. Proceeding under Pa.R.Crim.P. 907, the PCRA court issued notice of its intent to dismiss the petition. Glover filed a response to that notice. Thereafter, on January 29, 2013, the PCRA court dismissed Glover's petition without a hearing.

Glover filed this timely appeal in which he contends the court erred by dismissing his petition without holding a hearing on his various PCRA claims, each of which involve allegations that his trial counsel was ineffective. See, Appellant's Brief, at 4.

Our standard of review of a PCRA court's denial of a petition for post-conviction relief is well settled. We must examine whether the record supports the PCRA court's determination, and whether the PCRA court's determination is free of legal error. See Commonwealth v. Hall, 867 A.2d 619, 628 (Pa. Super. 2005). The PCRA court's findings will not be disturbed unless there is no support for the findings in the certified record. See Commonwealth v. Carr, 768 A.2d 1164, 1166 (Pa. Super. 2001). Our scope of review is limited by the parameters of the PCRA. See Commonwealth v. Heilman, 867 A.2d 542, 544 (Pa. Super. 2005).

A petitioner is not entitled to a PCRA hearing as a matter of right; the PCRA court can decline to hold a hearing if there is no genuine issue concerning any material fact, the petitioner is not entitled to PCRA relief, and no purpose would be served by any further proceedings. See Commonwealth v. Rios, 591 Pa. 583, 618, 920 A.2d 790, 810 (2007); Pa.R.Crim.P. 907.

To establish ineffectiveness of counsel, "a PCRA petitioner must show the underlying claim has arguable merit, counsel's actions lacked any reasonable basis, and counsel's actions prejudiced the petitioner." Commonwealth v. Jones, 71 A.3d 1061, 1063 (Pa. Super. 2013) (citation omitted). "A failure to satisfy any prong of the test for ineffectiveness will require rejection of the claim." Commonwealth v. Morrison, 878 A.2d 102, 105 (Pa. Super. 2005) (citation omitted).

After a thorough review of the record, the briefs of the parties, the applicable law, and the well-reasoned opinion of the Honorable Todd A. Hoover, we conclude Glover is not entitled to PCRA relief. Judge Hoover's opinion comprehensively discusses and properly disposes of all the ineffectiveness claims raised by Glover. As we are in agreement with the PCRA court that Glover's issues lack arguable merit, we affirm the order dismissing his PCRA petition without an evidentiary hearing on the basis of the PCRA court's opinion. See Corrected Memorandum Opinion and Order, 1/3/13, at 1-22.

Order affirmed. Jurisdiction relinquished.

Judgment Entered.


NO. 5101 CR 2006

CHARGES: Murder; Criminal Conspiracy to Commit Murder; Abuse of a Corpse



The within appeal follows the denial of the request of Justin Glover, ("Defendant"), for relief pursuant to the Post Conviction Relief Act.

By our Memorandum Opinion and Order filed January 7, 2013, a copy of which we attach hereto for ease of reference, we set forth the bases of conclusion that no basis for relief exists, and provided Defendant of notice of intent to dismiss. Defendant filed Objections to Notice of Intent to Dismiss on January 28, 2013. We reviewed Defendant's Objections and concluded that all issues raised were fully addressed in our Memorandum Opinion. We entered a Final Order dismissing PCRA on January 29, 2013.

The docket reflects that Defendant filed a Notice of Appeal on February 11, 2013. However, Defendant provided no service of the Notice of Appeal upon the trial court. Therefore, we did not issue a 1925 (b) Order. It is anticipated that our Memorandum Opinion encompasses issues Defendant will raise on appeal.

For all of the reasons set forth in our Memorandum Opinion, the Final Order dismissing ...

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