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Horton v. Allen

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

May 26, 2004, Decided

No. 03-1423


 [*78]  HOWARD, Circuit Judge. Petitioner Russell Horton, a Massachusetts state prisoner convicted of two first-degree murders, appeals from the denial of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. We affirm.

I. Factual Background 

In June 1998, a jury convicted Horton of committing two first-degree murders and an assault with the intent to murder. We provide a summary of the evidence introduced at Horton's trial. See Commonwealth v. Horton, 434 Mass. 823, 753 N.E.2d 119, 122-24 (Mass. 2001).

On May 25, 1994, the three victims, Carlos and Manuel Araujo and Kepler Desir drove together from Boston to Brockton, Massachusetts. During [**2]  the drive, Desir instructed Manuel to pick up Horton and Frederick Christian on Owens Street in Brockton. Desir knew these two men, but the Araujos did not. Christian and Horton got into the back seat of the car with Carlos, and the five men drove off together.

During the drive, Horton announced that he wanted to rob some "Dominican drug dealers" and instructed Manuel to drive to a certain location where he could carry out his plan. Along the way, Horton exposed a gun and asked the others if they had weapons. They claimed that they did not. Upon arriving at the site, Horton and Christian left the car but returned shortly, claiming that they were unable to complete the robbery. After reentering the car, Horton instructed Manuel to drive to a nearby parking lot.

In the parking lot, while staring out the window, Carlos was shot in the head. He immediately slumped forward, pretending to be dead. After two more shots were fired, Carlos heard Horton say, "Go through their pockets." Carlos then sensed Christian move from his seat and heard him ask Horton, "Did you do him?" Several minutes later, Christian and Horton departed the scene.

After laying still for a few more moments, Carlos [**3]  saw the bodies of Manuel and Desir and ran to the nearest house for help. Carlos told the people in the house that "Russell" had shot him. Later, at the hospital, Carlos repeated that "Russell" had shot him.

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370 F.3d 75 *; 2004 U.S. App. LEXIS 10377 **

RUSSELL J. HORTON, Petitioner, Appellant, v. PETER ALLEN, ET AL., Respondents, Appellees.

Subsequent History: US Supreme Court certiorari denied by Horton v. Allen, 2005 U.S. LEXIS 700 (U.S., Jan. 18, 2005)


Commonwealth v. Horton, 434 Mass. 823, 753 N.E.2d 119, 2001 Mass. LEXIS 418 (2001)

Disposition: Affirmed.


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Criminal Law & Procedure, Review, Standards of Review, General Overview, Jurisdiction, Cognizable Issues, Threshold Requirements, Appeals, De Novo Review, Juries & Jurors, Voir Dire, Individual Voir Dire, Challenges to Jury Venire, Pretrial Publicity, Prejudice, Reviewability, Preservation for Review, Failure to Object, Habeas Corpus, Independent & Adequate State Grounds, Procedural Default, Exceptions to Default, Cause & Prejudice Standard, Proof of Cause, Counsel, Effective Assistance of Counsel, Tests for Ineffective Assistance of Counsel, Order & Timing of Petitions, Procedural Default, Civil Procedure, Jurors, Selection, Voir Dire, Constitutional Law, Fundamental Rights, Criminal Process, Assistance of Counsel, Presumption of Correctness, Questions to Venire Panel, Trials, Defendant's Rights, Right to Public Trial, Right to Fair Trial, Right to Confrontation, Evidence, Hearsay, Unavailability, Absence of Declarants, Exceptions, Procedural Defenses, Retroactivity of Decisions, Rule Components, Statements, Examination of Witnesses, Cross-Examination, Commencement of Criminal Proceedings, Interrogation, Preliminary Proceedings, Preliminary Hearings, Evidence, Exemptions, Statements by Coconspirators, State of Mind, Jurisdictional Sources, Statutory Sources, Family Records & Statements, Defenses, Alibi, Murder, First-Degree Murder, Ineffective Assistance of Counsel, Trials