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Beasley v. Woods

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

February 12, 2015

WILLIAM BEASLEY, Petitioner,
v.
JEFFREY WOODS, Respondent.

OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

GERALD E. ROSEN, Chief District Judge.

Michigan state prisoner, William Beasley, has filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 2254. Petitioner, who is currently incarcerated at the Chippewa Correctional Facility in Kincheloe, Michigan, challenges his convictions for first-degree felony murder, assault with intent to rob while armed, breaking and entering, felonious assault, and three counts of felony-firearm. Respondent argues that the petition should be denied because it was not timely filed and the claims are meritless. For the reasons discussed, the Court denies the petition.

I. Background

Petitioner's convictions arise from the shooting death of George Eccles and the assault of Joseph Thomas in February 1989. Michael Thomas testified that, on February 18, 1989, he and George Eccles were walking toward a friend's house in the city of Pontiac, when they saw two men, Petitioner and co-defendant Alonzo Bradford exit the home. Bradford picked up a rifle and asked them for money. Eccles and Michael began walking away. Bradford fired gunshots into the air. After a pause, there were more gunshots and Michael realized Eccles had been shot. Michael looked back and saw Petitioner holding the rifle. Michael fled the scene. When he returned to his home, he found that his back door had been kicked in and there were bullet holes in the side of the house.

Pontiac Police officer Michael Miles responded to the police call regarding a shooting at approximately 2:30 a.m. He found Charles Eccles lying on the ground in a pool of blood. Eccles was transported to the Pontiac Osteopathic Hospital where he later died. Dr. Linda Biedryzcki testified that she performed an autopsy on Charles Eccles. She observed four gunshot wounds, one to the back of the head, two to the victim's back, and a fourth to his hip. She testified that, based upon the nature of the victim's injuries, the victim likely was running at the time he was shot.

Arthur Smith testified that, at approximately 2:00 a.m. on February 19, 1989, his cousin Alfonso Bradford, accompanied by Petitioner, found Smith at a friend's house and asked to borrow Smith's 1986 Cadillac. Smith initially denied the request, but, Bradford became agitated, so Smith allowed Bradford to borrow the vehicle. Smith next saw the vehicle four days later at the police station.

Joseph Thomas III, testified that he and his brother Michael shared a home in Pontiac. At approximately 3:00 a.m. on February 19, 1989, Joseph was awakened by a loud knocking on the door. Two men he identified as Petitioner and Bradford kicked open the home's door and entered without permission. The men, who were carrying a rifle, went upstairs. A few moments later they left. Joseph went to close the front door and heard gunshots. He dropped to the floor and slammed the door shut. The next morning, Joseph saw six or seven bullet holes in the side of his house.

Petitioner went to the Pontiac Osteopathic Hospital the same morning Eccles arrived. Petitioner was suffering from a gunshot wound. A nurse went through Petitioner's clothing to inventory any valuables. She found eleven bullets in Petitioner's jeans, which she turned over to police.

Henry Steigmeyer, a security officer working at Pontiac Osteopathic Hospital during the early morning hours of February 19, 1989, testified that he saw a Cadillac speed into the parking lot and stop suddenly in front of the emergency room entrance. Two men exited the Cadillac and ran into the emergency room. Steigmeyer observed the Cadillac had several bullet holes. He looked into the vehicle and saw some live and some spent.22 caliber rounds and casings on the floor. A Michigan State Police firearms expert testified that a.22 caliber slug taken from Eccles' body was fired from the same rifle as the spent shell casings found in the Cadillac.

Petitioner did not present any witnesses in his defense. A jury convicted him of first-degree felony murder, assault with intent to rob while armed, breaking and entering, felonious assault, and three counts of felony firearm, third offense. On October 20, 1989, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder and assault convictions, 10 to 15 years' imprisonment for the breaking and entering conviction, 2-1/2 to 4 years' imprisonment for the felonious assault conviction, and 10 years' imprisonment for each of the felony firearm, third offense convictions.

Petitioner filed an appeal of right, raising four claims of error. The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed his convictions. People v. Beasley, No. 122826 (Mich. Ct. App. Dec. 23, 1991). Petitioner did not seek leave to appeal in the Michigan Supreme Court. See Affidavit of Corbin R. Davis, 11/14/12, Dkt. # 7-3.

Petitioner filed a motion for relief from judgment in the trial court on January 7, 2003. On February 3, 2009, the trial court granted Petitioner's request to withdraw his motion for relief from judgment. He filed another motion for relief from judgment on March 30, 2009, raising six claims for relief. The trial court denied the motion. People v. Beasley, No. 89-091260-FC (Oakland County Cir. Ct. Apr. 15, 2010). The Michigan Court of Appeals denied leave to appeal on October 4, 2011. People v. Beasley, No. 303214 (Mich. Ct. App. Oct. 4, 2011). The Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal on June 25, 2012. People v. Beasley, 491 Mich. 941 (Mich. June 25, 2012).

Petitioner filed the pending habeas petition on ...


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