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Hamby v. Farmon

May 20, 2010

SUE MARCELLA HAMBY, PETITIONER,
v.
TINA FARMON, RESPONDENT.



FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

I. INTRODUCTION

Petitioner Sue Hamby is a state prisoner proceeding with counsel on a second amended petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Hamby attacks her March 16, 1994 conviction in the Solano County Superior Court, case number C35712, for conspiracy to commit first degree murder.

II. ISSUES

Petitioner's May 20, 2009, second amended petition raises three issues as follow, verbatim:

A. Petitioner was denied her rights to Due Process and to jury trial by the court's failure to instruct the jury on conspiracy to commit a lesser offense;

B. Petitioner was deprived of rights guaranteed by the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments by the court's refusal to instruct on accessory after the fact, which decision was made after argument was completed; and

C. The accumulation of error rendered her conviction fundamentally unfair and a violation of her rights to Due Process under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Upon careful consideration of the record and the applicable law, the undersigned will recommend that this petition for habeas corpus relief be denied.

III. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

A. Facts*fn1

The events occurred in Hawkins Bar, a small hamlet located on Highway 299 in Trinity County. Hawkins Bar consists of a general store, a set of BP gasoline pumps adjoining the store, and a bar (Simon Legree's) located across the highway from the store. Next to the store was a trailer park. It was here that Barbara Adcock lived with Bernard "Bird" MacCarlie and her three children from a prior marriage.

Below the highway, along the river, was a United States Forest Service campground accessible by a service road. In September and October 1991 a group of people were camped in the campground. They were described by local residents as drunk and violent, especially wild and out of control. Some of the campers had been there several weeks; some were drifters. One couple had come to get married at the Harvest Moon Festival on October 5. Defendant Cherri Frazier was there to attend the wedding. Some of the local residents-including Adcock, MacCarlie and defendants Fenenbock and Hamby-spent time at the campground.

The Prosecution's Case

It was the prosecution's theory that Hop Summar was killed by a mob from Hawkins Bar seeking to avenge an alleged act of child molestation upon Barbara Adcock's daughter.

The Victim

Hop Summar was a pathetic figure. Crippled from numerous childhood orthopedic surgeries, he walked with a limp (hence the nickname, "Hop"). Though he was in his 30's, he was physically frail, wore a colostomy bag, and had a rather meek disposition. He lived on SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and drank to excess nearly every day. He seldom bathed and was distinctive for his offensive body odor.

Hop had known Bird MacCarlie for several years, and he often lived with Bird in the trailer Bird shared with Barbara Adcock and her children. Sometimes Hop looked after Adcock's children while Adcock was partying at the campground.

The Molestation Accusations

On September 30, 1991, Barbara Adcock reported to the Trinity County Sheriff's Department that Hop Summar had molested her five-year-old daughter Rachelle H. (Ultimately neither the sheriff nor the county's Child Protective Services found any evidence that Rachelle had been molested.) Adcock and Bird MacCarlie then proceeded to spread the accusations among the denizens of Hawkins Bar.

Solicitation of Mike Sutton

Defendant Cherri Frazier arrived at the Hawkins Bar campground on September 30. She was there to attend the wedding of Leafe and Michelle Dodds. Frazier had camped at Hawkins Bar earlier that summer.

Almost immediately upon her arrival, Frazier encountered Barbara Adcock, who told her of the molestation of Rachelle. That same day, or the following day, Frazier gave a ride to Mike Sutton, a drifter also camping at Hawkins Bar. During the ride Sutton noticed a blue-handled knife on the dashboard. Frazier said, "I'm going to go and cut off Hop's balls." Frazier asked Sutton to come with her, but he refused. She then told him to "stay out of it."

In that same ride, Frazier told Bert Jones (another transient camped at Hawkins Bar) that she needed to do something about Hop's molestation of Barbara Adcock's daughter; that she would drag Hop into the woods herself and kill him if she had to.

On the evening of October l, Mike Sutton was in the campground and heard Bird MacCarlie, Barbara Adcock and "Redbeard" Bob Bond discussing how to kill Hop. Barbara Adcock was sitting at a picnic table with defendants Cherri Frazier and Sue Hamby. Barbara and Cherri asked Sutton if he wanted to be in on it, as they weren't getting any help from the others. He declined. As he walked away from the group of women, Sutton heard the women discussing that defendant Sue Hamby was to keep Hop at her house so that Barbara Adcock could find him once she rounded up help to hurt him. Later that night, Sue Hamby apologized to Mike Sutton for being so forward in the conversation.

The Assaults Upon Hop

On October 1, Hop went into Arcata and withdrew $600 in cash from his bank account. About 5:30 in the evening, he returned to Hawkins Bar, having hitched a ride. The driver dropped him at the BP pumps. As Hop tried to enter the trailer where he resided with MacCarlie and Adcock, a group approached him and began to call him a rapist and a child molester. Included in the group were MacCarlie, Adcock, defendant Fenenbock, defendant Frazier and others. As the crowd egged her on, a woman named April May Gault chased Hop, caught up with him when he stumbled, and beat him.

The attendant at the BP pumps did not see the beating, but he saw Hop just afterward. His face was cut and bleeding. Hop told him April May had hit him with a beer can.

Sometime later, Hop was assaulted again. About 6:00 he went into Simon Legree's, the town bar. The bartender and patrons observed that Hop's face was cut and bleeding. Hop told the bartender that Harry Darr had struck him in the face with a pistol because he had refused to get into Darr's truck.

Indeed, just beforehand, Harry Darr had come into Maeolla Berry's trailer in the trailer park. When he left, he jumped into his truck and rode across the highway. Maeolla Berry could see a gun in the truck. Hop Summar was standing across the street. Maeolla Berry did not see Darr get out of his truck, but she heard Hop yelling for help, and she saw Darr drive off as patrons of the bar came out to help.

Defendant Hamby's Role

Defendant Sue Hamby lived in a trailer east of Hawkins Bar. Her friend, Michael "Scarecrow" Roanhouse, lived in a second trailer on Hamby's property. She gave him food in exchange for repairwork on the property. Hamby was engaged to marry Tex Lockley.

On the morning of October 1, Barbara Adcock and her children appeared at Hamby's trailer. Adcock told Hamby her accusations against Hop Summar. After Adcock left, Hamby told Scarecrow Roanhouse, but Scarecrow said he didn't believe Adcock's story.

That afternoon, Hamby went to Maeolla Berry's trailer and asked for her advice. Hamby told Maeolla Berry that she was supposed to keep Hop in her trailer and let Barbara Adcock know so that Adcock could call the police. Berry advised Hamby to call the police herself.

After their conversation, Berry drove Hamby to the campground so Hamby could retrieve her truck. On the way Hamby telephoned Hop to tell him to stay where he was, at Simon Legree's, and she would pick him up. Later that evening, Hamby and Scarecrow Roanhouse came into Simon Legree's. Hop was dozing on his bar stool, with his purple backpack at his side. When he awoke, Hamby got him into her truck and drove him to her trailer. He slept on her couch. The next morning, Hamby left her trailer and went to the campground. According to her testimony, Hamby told Scarecrow to keep an eye on Hop in case the police arrived.

The Confrontation with Hop

Hop did not stay in Hamby's trailer. About 6:15 or 6:30 p.m. Tex Lockley and Scarecrow Roanhouse were driving in Lockley's red flatbed truck from the general store down to the campground when they saw Hop on the access road. They stopped and gave him a ride in the back. Hop was carrying his purple backpack.FN

FN. Tex Lockley's truckbed was bloodied from the carcass of a wounded pit bull dog.

As the truck approached the campground, however, a group angrily came toward the truck, shouting, "Get him out of here." Barbara Adcock shook a baseball bat, yelling, "Get the fuck on out of here." Tex Lockley shifted quickly into reverse and backed the truck up the hill to the highway.

Scarecrow Roanhouse testified that as the truck reached the top of the hill and the passengers got out, defendant Fenenbock and Redbeard Bob Bond walked toward the truck. The two men walked up to Hop and struck him in the face. Redbeard Bob hit him in the mouth; defendant Fenenbock hit Hop in the eye. They accused Hop of being a child molester, and Hop replied, "Not guilty. Not guilty."

At this point Steven Thayer was walking up the access road and passed the red truck. As he did so, he saw Bird MacCarlie and Leafe Dodds drive up in Barbara Adcock's white Ranchero.FN2 They, too, talked to Hop, and Hop replied that he hadn't done anything. Hop asked, "What are you going to do? Kill me here? Throw me in the bushes or something?" Bird MacCarlie replied, "Yeah, something like that." Steven Thayer testified that when last he saw Hop, Hop was seated inside the Ranchero between Redbeard Bob Bond and Bird MacCarlie. The Ranchero pulled out onto the highway and headed east. The red truck followed.

FN. Meanwhile, Mike Sutton was in the campground and saw Bird MacCarlie leave in the white Ranchero with Randy H. part way under some blankets in the back. Defendant Fenenbock was not in the campground. He showed up later that evening, along with Bird MacCarlie, Redbeard Bob Bond, and Tex Lockley.

The Murder

Barbara Adcock's son, Randy H., Jr., then age 9, was sleeping on a mattress in the back of the white Ranchero. He testified that after stopping at the top of the hill the Ranchero drove to a place where the men started stabbing Hop. The men included Bird MacCarlie, defendant Fenenbock, Redbeard Bob Bond and Leafe Dodds. Afterwards the men dragged Hop to another spot.

Four days later, on October 6, Hop Summar's body was discovered at a logging site. The body was covered with branches and dirt. A piece of rope was found nearby and there were ligature marks on Hop's arms, suggesting he had been tied and dragged. Two logs found nearby were bloodied with Hop's blood. A bloody knife was found 50 to 75 feet away. The blood was Hop Summar's. The knife was the same one used by Bird MacCarlie earlier on October 2 to stab Bert Jones. Faint tire marks consistent with Tex Lockley's red truck (but not the Ranchero) were found in the roadway at the end of the drag marks.

Hop Summar died of multiple stab wounds and bludgeoning. His genitals showed signs of severe trauma from a blunt instrument. Numerous bones in his face were fractured. His left ear had been cut off while he was still alive. He had been stabbed 18 times in the skull, 13 times in the chest. His left eye had been cut out. His arm and leg had been stabbed, bringing the total stab wounds to over 70.

The Stabbing of Bert Jones

Earlier on the day of the murder, on October 2, Bert Jones, a drifter staying in the campground, got into an altercation with Michelle Dodds. Defendant Cherri Frazier intervened by pushing Jones and demanding that he leave. Barbara Adcock came at Jones with a baseball bat. Jones retreated to his camp about a quarter of a mile from the main campground to pack up and leave.

That evening, Bird MacCarlie and Tattoo Ernie Knapp having heard about Jones's run-in with Michelle Dodds, drove in the Ranchero to Jones's campsite. Bird MacCarlie jumped out of the car and immediately began stabbing Jones. Bird MacCarlie forced Jones and his camp-mate, Steven Thayer, into the Ranchero, and they drove back to the main campground. When Jones got out of the car, Bird MacCarlie put a knife to his ear and threatened to cut it off. Harry Darr eventually intervened and told Jones to leave. Throughout the assault upon Jones, Barbara Adcock castigated Jones for defending Hop.FN

FN. A couple of days earlier, when accusations were circulating about Hop's molestation, Bert Jones had expressed his view to the group at the campground that he didn't believe Hop was guilty. After that, Bert Jones felt unwelcome at the campground, shunned by the others.

Bert Jones and Steven Thayer separately walked up the access road to Hawkins Bar. (It was on this walk that Thayer observed the confrontation between the men in the white Ranchero and Hop Summar.) At the general store Jones showed his stab wound to some people, and one man drove them to the nearest hospital in Willow Creek. There Jones called 911.

Jones told the responding sheriff's deputy that a man named "Hopalong" was going to be killed or injured. As a result of Jones's report, sheriff's deputies descended upon the campground to investigate. They did not find Hop's body. (It was not discovered until October 6, by a local resident searching for wood.) But they did uncover some incriminating pieces of evidence.

The Investigation

When various officers (from Humboldt and Trinity County Sheriff's Departments, the California Highway Patrol, the Department of Forestry) arrived in Hawkins Bar, the white Ranchero was parked at the top of the access road with Bird MacCarlie in the front seat.

Sergeant Kartchner, the investigating officer, first checked several places he thought he might find Hop-Sue Hamby's trailer, Bird MacCarlie's trailer, and adjoining trailers. In the trailer occupied by Ron Ammon and Ila Olson he found Redbeard Bob Bond and defendant Fenenbock, both drunk and disheveled. Neither had seen Hop, they said.

Sergeant Kartchner headed for the campground. On the way, he passed the white Ranchero with Bird MacCarlie at the wheel. Sergeant Kartchner stopped to talk to MacCarlie, and within a few minutes Randy H. popped up from beneath some blankets in the back of the truck; he then sank back down again.

A trail of blood drops led from underneath the Ranchero to a larger area of blood near some beads and scalp hair. The officers asked MacCarlie to move the Ranchero so they could get a better look, but MacCarlie told them the ...


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