Skyline vs Lincoln 4

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Skyline vs Lincoln 4

Unread post by gautier » April 6th, 2011, 11:13 pm

May 5, 2006


APPEALS from judgments of the Superior Court of San Diego County, John M. Thompson, Judge. Affirmed in part and reversed in part. (Super. Ct. No. SCD176296).

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Huffman, J.


Because the sufficiency of the evidence is challenged by both defendants, we set out the facts in the light most favorable to the judgment,*fn4 which shows both Downey and Tittle, stepbrothers by marriage,*fn5 were members or associates of the Lincoln Park Bloods (Lincoln Park) criminal street gang on June 15, 2003, when the events pertinent to this case began unfolding. On that day, each met up with other Lincoln Park gang members and associates to travel to Mission Bay Park to attend the annual Puerto Rican Festival. When the group arrived at the beach in their traditional colors of red and green, they saw a large group of people associated with their rival criminal street gang, the Skyline Pirus (Skyline). The men from the Lincoln Park group, which included Tittle and Downey, walked quickly toward the Skyline group. As they did so, several members donned gloves, and Downey and others put green bandanas over their faces.

When the groups met face to face, they exchanged hostile, degrading and derogatory words, with Tittle telling the Skyline group, "we ain't trippin', if you ain't trippin'." When someone in the Skyline group said there were "no truces" and asked who Tittle was, Tittle declared, "I'm Knock-out-D from Lincoln Park murda gang." When the Lincoln Park group began chanting "murda gang," someone, probably Tittle, tossed a soda can at Skyline member Michael Canty, who immediately punched Tittle in the face, causing other Lincoln Park and Skyline members to exchange blows. Within seconds of this outbreak, Downey pulled out a .38 caliber revolver from his waistband and fired four to six shots at the Skyline group. Members of both groups fled after the shots were fired and police immediately arrived on the scene.

While detaining people for questioning, the police saw several Black males driving in an Oldsmobile, which they later found abandoned in the beach parking lot. A search of the car revealed a Dupont jacket with a digital camera in a pocket on the back passenger seat and the firearm used in the shooting under that seat.

As a result of the shooting, Skyline member Travis Thomas was hit in the upper chest by one bullet and died at a hospital within the hour. A second bullet passed through Canty's calf causing him great bodily injury and a third bullet hit Skyline member Greggory Fulgham's foot.

Because many of the witnesses to the altercation and shooting were friends, associates or members of the gangs involved, there was a tremendous amount of intimidation placed on them in the months following the shootings and the actual trial. Numerous witnesses were reluctant to talk to police or testify about the incident. Downey had even telephoned one witness, Angel Parrison, telling her she should leave town.

At trial, the above evidence was presented as well as the testimony of a number of witnesses associated with Lincoln Park and Skyline, and two cooperating witnesses, Deandre Moore and Kenny Reed. The testimony revealed the group from Lincoln Park knew members of Skyline would likely be at Mission Bay Park that fateful day and there would be a fight if the members of Skyline posed any problems as they had in 2002 at the Puerto Rican festival, which had also erupted in a fight and shooting between the two rival gangs. In addition to independent witnesses giving accounts of how the Lincoln Park group menacingly advanced toward the Skyline group at Mission Bay Park and giving physical descriptions of the shooter as having long hair pulled back in a ponytail, wearing a Dupont jacket with a green bandana over his face, being about 5'10" to 5'11" tall and thin, the jury received video and photographic evidence taken by Skyline member Allen Reddick at the beach that day showing the approaching gang's actions, and included stills of the 11 persons originally charged in this case. The physical descriptions of the shooter matched Downey's physical build.

In addition, both Moore and Reed, who had originally been charged with the same crimes as Downey and Tittle, and had pled guilty to lesser charges to avoid prison terms, testified as accomplices as a matter of law. Each had been at the Bay Vista Apartments with Downey, known as "Li'l Knock-out," and other Skyline members before heading for the beach in several carloads via a liquor store, where Tittle, Silvels and additional Lincoln Park members joined the caravan. Before leaving the apartments, Reed heard the group talk about Skyline being at the beach and Downey ask "who was going to carry the gun or whatever." Both Reed and Moore described Downey as wearing a Dupont jacket or red "race car jacket" that day and said he had a digital camera with him earlier in the day.

Moore, who rode to the beach in an Oldsmobile with Downey and others, stated they parked the car near the roller coaster and walked across the street toward Bonita Cove after meeting with Reed and other Lincoln Park members who had arrived at the beach. When the group saw people from Skyline, gang signs and yelling began between the two rivals. Although he saw Downey pull a green handkerchief out of a pocket, saw someone in the Skyline group punch Tittle, and heard about six shots before running back toward the parking lot where he was detained by police, Moore did not see a gun or who was shooting it that day.

Although Downey had threatened Moore about testifying in this case, Moore identified Downey in court as the person wearing the Dupont jacket visible in one of the video stills, noted Downey had cut his hair two days after the shooting, and said Downey had merely smiled when asked later if he had anything to do with the shooting.

Reed claimed he did not see the fight with Skyline take place, but only saw the two groups of people "running at each other." According to Reed he bent down to tie his shoe and when he got up he heard gunshots. He froze when he saw the gun and saw Downey firing it in "their direction." When Reed ran back across the street to the parking lot, he saw Downey run to the Oldsmobile and return from the car without the Dupont jacket. When Reed later talked with Downey about the shooting, Downey told him he was the shooter and "it wasn't supposed to happen like that." Reed told others he had been close to the shooting and Downey was the shooter. Reed was impeached with many inconsistent statements he had made during the investigation about whether he had seen the shooting or knew who the shooter was.

The jury further received evidence that, besides Downey, an older Lincoln Park member, Chantell Wilson, also carried a gun to the beach that day, and that Downey had essentially admitted afterwards to various Lincoln Park members and associates other than Reed that he was the "shooter."

Parrison also unwillingly testified regarding her threats from Downey about her testifying and was impeached by numerous statements she had made to the police during the investigation when she denied knowing anything about the shooting at trial. In those earlier statements, she had told police Downey and others had planned the encounter with Skyline before leaving the Bay Vista Apartments, with Downey to carry the gun, and that afterwards, at her apartment, many of the Skyline members met, including Downey, and everyone talked about Downey being the one who shot "the kid" at the beach. Parrison also told the police Downey had cut his hair the day after the shooting. She thought the person in the Dupont jacket in the photograph stills could have been Downey.

In addition to the above, testimony of numerous police officers regarding the investigation and pretrial statements of other witnesses, who later changed their testimony at trial, as well as a gang expert testifying about the history of violence between Lincoln Park and Skyline and the significance of gang colors, monikers, signs and language were presented. The expert opined violence and shootings would be expected when large groups of these two antagonistic gangs came in conduct while in full gang colors. The expert and another police officer also discussed the gang songs on various CDs and letters found in the possession of Lincoln Park gang members, including Tittle and Downey, which contained words and lyrics about murdering Skyline members and warning about "snitches." The expert further discussed the "code of silence" among gang members and the practices of switching clothing around so as not to be identified by police.

Tittle presented several witnesses in his defense to show he did not fight back after Canty swung at him, he was angry with Downey and he thought the shooting was a "stupid thing" to do. He also relied on co-defendant Silvels's testimony that he (Tittle) had made it clear to the Skyline group that he did not want any problems and the Lincoln Park group was only there to pick up girls at the festival. Downey's mother and an investigator testified in Downey's defense, hoping to show Downey had worn a striped sweater that day and was not the shooter as depicted in the video still photographs shown the jury.

After considering all the evidence, arguments and instructions, the jury convicted Tittle and Downey of various offenses stemming from the shootings, with Downey being found to have been the person who fired the gun that killed Thomas and wounded Canty and Fulgham.


it was reasonably foreseeable that a fatal shooting could result from the confrontation between the rival gangs of Lincoln Park and Skyline in Mission Bay Park on June 15, 2003. The evidence showed that Tittle, Downey and other Lincoln Park gang members traveled in caravan to Mission Bay Park dressed in full gang colors with the knowledge that their rival gang Skyline would likely be present at the annual Puerto Rican festival where there had been a shooting between the two gangs the year before. When the Lincoln Park group spotted Skyline in the distance, they proceeded in masse to confront them, with some members donning gloves and others covering their face with green bandanas. As the two groups began yelling at each other, Tittle, who one witness described as the instigator, told the Skyline group, "we're not trippin, if you're not trippin," and then identified himself as "Knock-out-D from Lincoln Park Murda Gang." As the Lincoln Park crowd began yelling "murda gang" repeatedly, Tittle tossed a soda can at Skyline member Canty who then hit Tittle and fisticuffs broke out between the two groups followed shortly by gunshots fired by Downey.

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