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State v. Hansley

Supreme Court of Maine

March 5, 2019

STATE OF MAINE
v.
ROBERT HANSLEY

          Argued: February 4, 2019

          Tina Heather Nadeau, Esq. (orally), The Law Office of Tina Heather Nadeau, PLLC, Portland, for appellant Robert Hansley

          Janet T. Mills, Attorney General, and Donald W. Macomber, Asst. Atty. Gen. (orally), Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for appellee State of Maine

          PANEL: SAUFLEY, C.J., AND ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, AND HUMPHREY, JJ.

          GORMAN, J.

         [¶1] Robert Hansley appeals from a judgment of conviction of murder, 17-A M.R.S. § 201(1)(A) (2018), and of elevated aggravated assault with a firearm (Class A), 17-A M.R.S. § 208-B(1)(A) (2018), entered by the trial court (Penobscot County, Anderson, J.) following a jury trial. Hansley argues that there is insufficient evidence to support his convictions and that the trial court erred by (1) denying his requested jury instruction on eyewitness identification and otherwise giving an inadequate instruction on the topic, and (2) instructing the jury in a way that overemphasized the definition of accomplice liability.[1] We affirm.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURE

         [¶2] "Viewed in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict, the jury rationally could have found the following facts, which are supported by competent evidence, beyond a reasonable doubt." State v. McBreairty, 2016 ME 61, ¶ 2, 137 A.3d 1012.

         [¶3] At approximately 3:30 a.m. on November 27, 2015, Hansley and Thomas Ferguson entered an apartment in Bangor. Almost immediately after they arrived, one or both of them shot and killed Robert Kennedy and gravely injured Barry Jenkins. Kennedy suffered seven gunshot wounds; one bullet perforated his aorta, killing him. Jenkins suffered six gunshot wounds, but survived after being rushed to the hospital.

         [¶4] On December 30, 2015, the Penobscot County grand jury returned two indictments arising from these events. The first indictment charged Hansley with one count of murder, 17-A M.R.S. § 201(1)(A), and one count of elevated aggravated assault (Class A), 17-A M.R.S. § 208-B(1)(A). The second indictment charged Ferguson with the same crimes.[2] Hansley pleaded not guilty to both charges.

         [¶5] The court conducted a seven-day jury trial in November and December of 2017. Jenkins was among the witnesses called by the State. He testified that both Hansley and Ferguson had "pulled out" guns, that he "figured both of them [were] shooting," but that he did not know "who shot who," and that he did not see Hansley shoot at him. At the conclusion of the testimonial portion of the trial, Hansley asked that the jurors be given a specific instruction on eyewitness identification so that they could appropriately weigh and consider Jenkins's testimony in light of the "extremely high stress situation" of the shooting. Although the court did not give the jury the precise instruction requested by Hansley, it did instruct the jurors that, in reviewing the testimony of all witnesses, they should consider-among other things-"whether the witness was under stress, including the stress of the event being witnessed while observing the person or persons committing a crime"

         [¶6] Hansley also argued that the evidence presented at trial did not generate an instruction on accomplice liability. When the court correctly responded that such an instruction had been generated by the evidence presented, Hansley then asked for some additional instructions on that issue. Although the court denied Hansley's specifically-requested instruction, it did instruct the jurors on the law concerning accomplice liability.

         [¶7] The jury found Hansley guilty of both murder and elevated aggravated assault. The court entered a judgment on the verdict, imposing a forty-year term of imprisonment for the murder and a concurrent twenty-five-year term for the elevated aggravated assault. Hansley ...


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