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The People v. Calvin Sylvester Lynn

March 13, 2013

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
CALVIN SYLVESTER LYNN, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. 09F01642)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Blease , Acting P. J.

P. v. Lynn

CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

A jury found defendant Calvin Sylvester Lynn guilty of the first degree murder of his brother Lawrence Lynn.*fn1 (Pen. Code, § 187, subd. (a).)*fn2 In a bifurcated proceeding, the trial court found true an allegation defendant had a prior "strike" conviction within the meaning of the three strikes law. (§§ 667, subds. (b)-(i), 1170.12.) The trial court sentenced defendant to an aggregate term of 50 years to life in state prison, consisting of 25 years to life for murder, doubled for the prior strike conviction.

Defendant appeals, contending (1) the trial court prejudicially erred in excluding evidence of Lawrence's drug use and drug lifestyle to establish "potential third party involvement" in the murder, (2) there is insufficient evidence to support the jury's finding of premeditation and deliberation, and (3) the trial court erred in denying his posttrial petition for confidential juror information without conducting a hearing on the issue. Finding no error, we shall affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND*fn3

Defendant and Lawrence were brothers who, along with their five siblings, grew up in their mother's home on Dry Creek Road in Sacramento. Prior to her death, their mother indicated that she wanted her daughter Dolores "to be in charge of her Will regarding control of the Dry Creek house" because Dolores "was already taking care of her and . . . her personal business." Defendant became angry, and their mother "didn't proceed with it." Consequently, their mother did not execute any testamentary document devising the house to anyone. Lawrence was living with their mother in the Dry Creek house at the time of her death in 2001 and continued to reside in the house until he was murdered there in August 2007. Lawrence had a cocaine habit. He received Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and earned additional money recycling.

Over the years, defendant made it clear that he wanted Lawrence out of the house and to take control of the house himself. In or about 2004, defendant told Dolores that Lawrence was using drugs, and that he wanted to put Lawrence in a rehabilitation program. He also told her that he wanted to raise his children, who were then placed in foster care, in the house. He made similar statements to others over the years. In December 2005, he wrote in his journal about being "commanded to take control of my house on Dry Creek Road"; in January 2006, he wrote that he had "decided to go take [the house] by physical force" and "thank[ed] God for Calvin Lynn, Jr., who thought it was wrong"; and in April 2006, he wrote that "the house I was raised in is now ready for me to control" and asked God "to enable me to take control" of it.

In March 2007, defendant rented two rooms in the house to a woman and told her that while Lawrence was currently living in the house, he would be "moving out very shortly." The woman and her daughter lived in the house until June 2007. During the time they lived there, defendant entered the house unannounced two or three times a week. Nearly every time he stopped by he asked Lawrence when he was moving out, demanded Lawrence pay him rent, and told Lawrence "this is my house." Lawrence told defendant he was not leaving and "[t]his is my house." On at least one occasion, defendant told Lawrence that "[h]e was going to do whatever it took to get him out of the house."

Just prior to Lawrence's murder, defendant learned that the house he was living in on Buckboard Road in Rio Linda was going to be sold, and he was going to have to move.

A few days prior to Lawrence's murder, defendant's and Lawrence's nephew James, who lived down the street from the Dry Creek house, saw defendant walking back and forth in front of the house. Defendant was agitated and said Lawrence had stolen some tools. When James passed the house the following morning, he did not see Lawrence out front. Normally, Lawrence was out front in the mornings getting ready to turn in his recycling. Lawrence's shopping cart, which he used to do his recycling, was also missing. James knocked on the door, but no one answered.

On or about the same day, defendant told his longtime live-in girlfriend and mother of his children, "I'm going to kick [Lawrence's] ass for . . . letting somebody . . . steal my tires off my car." Defendant was "real mad." That is why his girlfriend "kind of flipped out when ain't nobody seen [Lawrence] the next day." Defendant was gone a few hours, and when he returned, he was "[d]istant" and in "his own little world."

On August 22, 2007, Lawrence's body was discovered in the backyard of a nearby vacant home on South Avenue. It was wrapped in a blanket. There also was a shopping cart in the backyard that was not there a few days earlier. Lawrence's pants' pockets were turned out, and his wallet was missing. Law enforcement was not able to identify his body until the following afternoon.

Law enforcement went to the Dry Creek house at approximately 8:00 p.m. on August 23, 2007, but did not begin searching the house until early following morning. The blood evidence inside the house suggested that Lawrence was beaten in the front room and his bedroom. There was "cast off" spatter on the living room curtains consistent with blood being cast off of a bat or other weapon as it was being swung. There was also blood on the arm of a loveseat, a table, and on a pillow located in the front room. A blood stained baseball bat was found next to the loveseat, and Lawrence's blood was found on the "tip" end of the bat. There also were large blood stains on Lawrence's bedroom carpet, "impact spatter" on the walls, a pool of blood on a phone book, and blood and tissue on some other books. The blood stains on the carpet were covered in paint. There was a trail of blood from the house on Dry Creek to South Avenue.

As defendant's and Lawrence's nephew James walked home from the bus stop on August 23, 2007, he saw defendant ride past the Dry Creek house on his bike. James could see police lights and asked defendant "what was going on on Dry Creek." Defendant said he ...


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