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Alegre v. Hartley

September 20, 2010

ANTONIO J. ALEGRE, PETITIONER,
v.
JAMES D. HARTLEY, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION REGARDING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS [Doc. 1]

Petitioner is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a Petition For Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

BACKGROUND*fn1

Petitioner is currently in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) following his 1993 conviction for first-degree murder. Petitioner is serving a sentence of twenty-five years to life in prison.

In the instant petition, Petitioner does not challenge the validity of his conviction; rather, he claims the Board of Parole Hearings' (Board) November 29, 2007 decision finding him unsuitable because it was not supported by some evidence.

Petitioner challenged the Board's 2007 decision by way of Petition For Writ of Habeas Corpus in the San Joaquin County Superior Court. The superior court denied the Petition in a reasoned decision.

Petitioner then filed a habeas petition in the California Court of Appeal, which was summarily denied. Petitioner filed a Petition For Review in the California Supreme Court. The petition was summarily denied.

Petitioner filed the instant Petition For Writ Of Habeas Corpus in this Court on July 2, 2009. Respondent filed an answer to the petition on June 15, 2010, and Petitioner filed a traverse on July 6, 2010.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

In March of 1992, Petitioner approached Robert Breedlove and offered him cash to kill Petitioner's stepfather, Luis Coelho. Petitioner approached Breedlove on several more occasions and made the same request and then asked if Breedlove knew of someone who would comply.

Petitioner later made a comment to John and Jimmy Vargo that he wished his stepfather were dead. On two occasions, when John and Jimmy were visiting with Petitioner at his home, Theresa Coelho, Petitioner's mother, came outside to speak to Petitioner. Petitioner then told the brothers that his mother would pay them $40,000 and give them each a vehicle if they would kill her husband. The Vargo brothers introduced Lamar Richardson to Petitioner.

Approximately a month before the commitment offense, Petitioner and Jimmy Vargo were driving around a residential neighborhood in Stockton in Petitioner's Corvette. Vargo told Petitioner to pull over to the curb where Richardson was standing. Petitioner wanted Richardson to steal a Corvette so that he could use parts from it to fix up his own Corvette. During this encounter, Petitioner discussed the subject of Richardson murdering Luis Coelho. Petitioner and Richardson discussed the murder on other occasions as well.

On April 3, 1992, at approximately 2:00 p.m., Petitioner drove to Stockton to pick up Richardson, and the two returned to Petitioner's home in Tracy. Brandon Ramos arrived and the three of them drove to the home of Timothy Eggeres to collected money owed to Ramos. They then stopped to pick up marijuana and returned to Petitioner's home.

Theresa Coelho put some of the marijuana into soup and an omelet which she was making for Luis Coelho's dinner. When Luis returned from the store, Theresa handed him a Trazadone pill-an anti-depressant-which he took before he ate his food.

At 7:30 p.m., Breedlove and Doug Vigil went to Petitioner's home in Tracy to discuss the sale of Petitioner's Corvette. Luis Coelho answered the door and Petitioner went outside. As Breedlove and Vigil were leaving the area, Petitioner told them "we are going to take care of it tonight."

Angela Kendrix, Petitioner's girlfriend and mother of their child, normally spent the weekends at Petitioner's residence. At 5:00 p.m., that evening Petitioner telephoned Kendrix and told her he was tired and had company so he would not be picking her up that evening. Kendrix telephoned Petitioner at 10:00 p.m. And she could hear the voice of Brandon Ramos and another unidentified male.

Shortly thereafter, Ramos left for Sacramento and Richardson and Petitioner drove to Richardson's home in Stockton. Richardson obtained a long, dark bag which contained handcuffs. They then drove to Video Scene in Stockton and briefly talked to Valerie Means, Richardson's girlfriend. Petitioner and Richardson then went to eat at Burger King and returned to Petitioner's residence.

Luis Coelho was sleeping on the living room floor, when Richardson attacked him with an aluminum baseball bat and Petitioner placed handcuffs on Coelho's wrists. Petitioner and Richardson placed Coelho in the trunk of the victim's 1978 Nova. Richardson drove the vehicle out of town and Petitioner followed in a Ford Escort. Richardson ultimately parked in Alameda County, and opened the trunk and repeatedly stabbed the victim with an eight inch kitchen knife. He then removed the handcuffs, left the car keys in the trunk of the car and got into the passenger side of the car driven by Petitioner.

The two drove away and threw the knife from the vehicle. The knife was later located by a Sheriff's deputy. When the two returned to Petitioner's residence, Theresa Coelho gave Richardson $32,500 in cash. After taking the cash, Petitioner drove Richardson back to his home in Stockton.

Richardson met with Valerie Means at approximately 5:30 a.m., and they went to Denny's Restaurant for breakfast. Richardson purchased $2,500 worth of appliances at Circuit City for his mother, and later purchased a $9,000 car and paid for it with cash.

On April 4, 1992, at 6:10 p.m., a Sheriff's deputy discovered the Nova with the victim in the trunk. The victim was laying face down, and his pants were down to his ankles and his pockets were empty. Officers observed two blunt injuries to his head and stab wounds on his upper shoulder and neck. His wrists had marks consistent with binding.

At approximately 8:00 p.m., Theresa Coelho reported her husband missing. She told authorities that her husband went fishing at 3:00 a.m. and had not returned home.

An autopsy of the victim was conducted on April 5, 1992. The victim suffered a fractured skull, seven stab wounds to the left shoulder area and neck and contusions and lacerations to the face, and a laceration to the right lung caused hemothorax. The cause of death was reported as "multiple blunt trauma in sides and stab wounds."

Telephone calls from witnesses and relatives alerted the Sheriff's Department that the victim's death may have been the result of murder for hire. During the investigation, there were several discrepancies in the statements made by Petitioner and his mother. One of the discrepancies was the statement that Kendriz was present on the evening of April 3, 1992.

Officers also learned that Theresa Coelho's former husband had mysteriously died, and that she had recently borrowed $10,000 from a relative and purchased an insurance policy ...


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