United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
VINCENT C. MCGEE, Petitioner
BRIAN V. COLEMAN, Respondent
William J. Nealon United States District Judge
Petitioner, Vincent McGee, filed the instant petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. He attacks a conviction imposed by the Court of Common Pleas for Centre County, Pennsylvania. (Doc. 1). For the reasons that follow, the petition will be denied.
A portion of the factual and procedural background of this case has been extracted from the Pennsylvania Superior Court's March 31, 2004 Memorandum Opinion affirming McGee's conviction and sentence. (See Doc. 16-3 at 33-36, Memorandum Opinion).
The testimony at trial established that on November 8, 2001, Amy McGee was working as a employee at Verizon Wireless when she called home to speak to her two-year-old son. Amy realized that Appellant, who had a history of alcohol abuse and was home with his and Amy's two children, was intoxicated. Amy went home and made arrangements for her parents to baby-sit the children. When Amy returned to work that afternoon, she told one of her co-workers that it was over between her and Appellant, and that she wasn't going back to him. Appellant called the store several times that day to speak with Amy, and eventually appeared at the store in person an d followed Amy around. Subsequently, Appellant left the store with the truck that Amy had driven to work. At the end of the day, Amy's parents picked her up and Amy, her parents, and the children went to a restaurant for dinner. Appellant arrived at the restaurant, at which time Amy told him he had until the next day to move out of the house. Appellant stated that he was not going to leave without his sons; he then went home.
After dinner, Amy's parents drove her to her house so that she could pick up some clothing for the children. Amy went into the house, and approximately ten minutes later. Appellant came to the door and told Amy's parents to come inside because he had just shot Amy. When the police arrived at the residence, they saw Appellant in the living room leaning over Amy, who had a single gunshot would to the head. Appellant old the officers that he had been seated in a recliner chair, with Amy standing nearby, when the gun the Appellant had tucked into his waistband became uncomfortable. Appellant claimed that he decided to move the gun from his left side to his right, and that as he did so, the gun accidentally discharged and the bullet struck his wife. The forensic evidence indicated, however, that the bullet traveled from the top of Amy's skull downward.
That same day. Appellant was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, third-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. Prior to trial. Appellant filed an omnibus pretrial motion wherein he requested, inter alia, an amendment of the bill of information and suppression of his post-arrest statements to police. The motion was denied, in relevant part, by the trial court on May 20, 2002. At trial, the Commonwealth proceeded on the murder charges alone, and on September 19, 2002, Appellant was convicted of first-degree murder. He was immediately sentenced to life imprisonment. On September 27, 2002, Appellant filed timely post-sentence motions, which were denied by the trial court on February 10, 2003. This timely appeal followed.
On appeal, Appellant presents the following issues for our review:
1. Did the Trial Court commit reversible error in denying appellant's Motion in Limine, in allowing numerous co-workers of Amy McGee to testify to hearsay statements made by her to them, and in denying appellant's Motion for Mistrial raised during the testimony of coworker Timothy Guffey when he testified that Amy McGee had told him that appellant had punched her in the nose several months prior to her shooting death?
2. Did the Trial Court commit reversible error in denying appellant's Omnibus Pre-Trial Motions in the nature of Motions to Suppress Statements?
3. Did the Trial Court commit reversible en-or in denying appellant's Motion in Limine and Supplemental Motion in Limine and allowing Trooper Brian Hoover to testify as to the Bedford County incident on October 17, 1999, resulting in appellant being charged with Recklessly Endangering Another Person, that did not result in a conviction?
4. Did the Trial Court commit reversible en-or in denying appellant's Motion to Amend Bill of Information to include a count of Voluntary Manslaughter, an offense on which appellant was initially charged and bound over to stand Trial, and in refusing to charge the Jury on Voluntary Manslaughter and ton include it on the Verdict Slip?
5. Did the Trial Court commit reversible error in refusing to recharge the Jury on the defense of Voluntary Intoxication when it re-instructed the Jury on the elements of First Degree Murder and Third Degree Murder?
(See Doc. 16-3 at 33-36, Memorandum Opinion). By Memorandum Opinion dated March 31, 2004, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed Petitioner's first-degree murder conviction. Id- By Order dated July 21, 2004, the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court denied ...