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State v. Heyward

Court of Appeals of South Carolina

February 14, 2018

The State, Respondent,
v.
Denzel Marquise Heyward, Appellant. Appellate Case No. 2015-000709

          Heard November 16, 2017

         Appeal From Charleston County Roger M. Young, Sr., Circuit Court Judge

          Donald Michael Mathison of the Richland County Public Defender's Office and Chief Appellate Defender Robert Michael Dudek, both of Columbia, for Appellant.

          Attorney General Alan McCrory Wilson and Assistant Attorney General James Clayton Mitchell, III, both of Columbia; and Solicitor Scarlett Anne Wilson, of Charleston, for Respondent.

          LOCKEMY, C.J.

         Denzel Heyward appeals his convictions for attempted murder, armed robbery, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. Heyward argues the trial court erred in (1) admitting a photo lineup identification into evidence; (2) admitting evidence of domestic violence by Heyward against a witness; and (3) commencing sentencing proceedings at 1:30 a.m. and permitting victim impact testimony unrelated to the crimes for which Heyward was convicted. We affirm.

         FACTS/PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Heyward was indicted in January 2014 for the murder of Kadeem Chambers, the attempted murder of Jujuain Hemingway, armed robbery, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. A jury trial was held November 10-15, 2014.

         At trial, Quasantrina Rivers[1] testified for the State. According to Rivers, on the night of May 16, 2012, she drove Heyward and Dashaun Simmons[2] to Johns Island, South Carolina. Rivers testified she and Heyward had a disagreement that night and she was forced into the car. Rivers drove Heyward and Simmons to the home of "Skrill, " a friend of Heyward. When they arrived, Heyward entered Skrill's home and returned with a duffel bag containing a gun that he then placed in the trunk of Rivers' car. Rivers then drove Heyward and Simmons to the home of Lorenzo Mehciz. According to Rivers, Chambers and Hemingway arrived at Lorenzo's home in another car shortly thereafter. Rivers testified Heyward approached Chambers and "bum-rushed" him, slamming him against his car. Simmons, armed with a gun, then ran towards the men and ordered Chambers and Hemingway to get on the ground. Heyward and Simmons repeatedly asked Chambers and Hemingway, "Where is the money at" and the men replied they didn't have anything. Rivers testified Heyward "stomped" Hemingway's head while he was on the ground multiple times. Simmons then fired a shot towards Hemingway who was still lying on the ground. According to Rivers, Chambers began tussling with Simmons on the ground and two more shots were fired, both striking Chambers. Heyward and Simmons ran back towards Rivers' car, placed the gun in the backseat, and Rivers drove the car away from the scene. Chambers and Hemingway also ran from the scene. Chambers was found by officers shortly after the shooting bleeding heavily in his wrecked car. Chambers told an officer he was shot by "Fat." Several witnesses stated Heyward's nickname is "Fat." Chambers later died at the hospital.

         After the shooting, Rivers drove Heyward and Simmons back to Skrill's house. Rivers testified Heyward talked to Lorenzo on the phone after the shooting and instructed Lorenzo not to discuss what happened.[3] Verna Lockhart-Carter, Lorenzo's mother, also testified at the trial. The shooting took place outside the home she shared with Lorenzo. Lockhart-Carter testified she arrived home on the night of May 16, 2012, and Lorenzo was outside talking to Heyward.

         On May 17, 2012, just hours after the shooting, Hemingway gave descriptions of the assailants to investigators. On May 18, 2012, investigators presented Hemingway with a six-person photo lineup containing Heyward's photo. Hemingway failed to make an identification. The following day, investigators presented Hemingway with a second photo lineup also containing a photo of Heyward. Hemingway identified Heyward. Hemingway was unable to identify Simmons or Rivers in subsequent photo lineups. Heyward was subsequently arrested.

         The jury found Heyward guilty of attempted murder, armed robbery, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. A mistrial was declared as to the murder charge. The trial court sentenced Heyward to consecutive sentences of thirty years for attempted murder, thirty years for armed robbery, and five years for the weapons charge. This appeal followed.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         "In criminal cases, this [c]ourt sits to review errors of law only and is bound by factual findings of the trial court unless an abuse of discretion is shown." State v. Laney, 367 S.C. 639, 643, 627 S.E.2d 726, 729 (2006). An abuse of discretion occurs when the court's decision is unsupported by the evidence or controlled ...


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