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People v. Glover

Court of Appeals of Colorado, Third Division

February 26, 2015

The People of the State of Colorado, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Roger Julius Glover, Defendant-Appellant

Page 737

El Paso County District Court No. 11CR4262. Honorable Barney Iuppa, Judge. Honorable David A. Gilbert, Judge.

Cynthia H. Coffman, Attorney General, John T. Lee, Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Neff Services, Inc., Lauretta A. Martin Neff, Bayfield, Colorado, for Defendant-Appellant.

Webb and Richman, JJ., concur.

OPINION

Page 738

DAILEY, JUDGE.

[¶1] Defendant, Roger Julius Glover, appeals the judgment of conviction entered on a jury verdict finding him guilty of first degree (after deliberation) murder. We affirm.

I. Background

[¶2] Defendant, who went by the name " Brooklyn," was the thirty-six-year-old " leader" of a " street family" of homeless and runaway teens and young adults. The dead body of one of those young adults was discovered by the police in a gully next to an apartment complex; the victim had suffered numerous " chop" and stab wounds to his head and neck, and one of his fingers was missing.

[¶3] On the day the victim's body was found, nineteen-year-old Jordan Rowland was arrested on a wholly unrelated matter. In his pocket, however, police found the victim's missing finger.

[¶4] The prosecution's theory was that Rowland killed the victim at defendant's behest. According to several teens in the street family, defendant had become angry with the victim because the victim was a snitch, owed him money, and would not stop commenting on defendant's Facebook posts. Three teens testified that defendant had placed a " green light" on the victim's head, meaning that defendant wanted the victim killed. A.L. related that he was initially supposed to carry out the " green light" but that he did not want to do it. K.M. related that she had been present when defendant ordered her boyfriend, Rowland, to kill the victim and to bring him evidence that the " job was done."

Page 739

According to her, defendant threatened to kill her and Rowland if he did not comply; Rowland went to find the victim on the evening of the murder and told her he was going to " work everything out" ; she saw Rowland the next morning without the victim; and Rowland told her that he had " taken care of" the victim and " had evidence that the job was done."

[¶5] In addition to this evidence, the prosecution presented conversations recorded on defendant's Facebook account. In one of the posts from defendant's account, he threatened to " beat the shit outta" the victim and told him " its over for u." In another conversation between defendant and another teen, R.D., R.D. asked " [I]s there still a green light on [the victim's] head[?]," to which defendant responded, " hell yeah I need ur number asap." [1]

[¶6] Defendant did not testify. He did, however, call two witnesses on his behalf: the lead detective, whom defense counsel questioned about the thoroughness of the investigation; and another police officer, who related that R.D. was a gang member. In closing argument, defense counsel asserted that the teens' testimony was unreliable, pointing out that their stories had changed over time and were inconsistent with each other. Counsel also noted that defendant had not communicated with Rowland following the murder and that A.L. was admittedly high on drugs when he was interviewed by police. Additionally, counsel asserted that if Rowland had killed the victim, it was on his own accord and not at defendant's direction. To support this theory, counsel argued that " everyone had a problem with [the victim]," pointing to evidence that the victim had been in several physical fights in the months before his death, including one with Rowland a few days before the murder.

[¶7] The jury found defendant guilty of first degree (after deliberation) murder; solicitation to commit first degree (after deliberation) murder; and two crime of violence counts. The trial court merged the solicitation convictions into the murder conviction, disregarded, as surplusage, the crime of violence verdicts and sentenced defendant to a term of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole in the custody of the Department of Corrections.

II. Facebook Records

[¶8] Defendant initially contends that the trial court erroneously admitted printouts of communications relating to the murder from his Facebook account. We are not persuaded.

[¶9] " The admissibility of a computer printout is governed by the rules of relevancy, authentication, and hearsay." People v. Huehn, 53 P.3d 733, 736 (Colo.App. 2002). Defendant raises two of these admissibility issues -- the Facebook printouts were not properly authenticated and constituted inadmissible hearsay.

[¶10] We review all evidentiary rulings, including those regarding authentication, for an abuse of discretion. People v. Bernard, 2013 COA 79, ¶ 8. A court abuses its discretion if it misconstrues or misapplies the law or otherwise reaches a manifestly arbitrary, unreasonable, or unfair result. See People v. Garcia, 169 P.3d 223, 226 (Colo.App. 2007).

A. Authentication

[¶11] CRE 901 through 903 govern the authentication and identification of objects whose admission into evidence is sought by a party.

[¶12] Authentication is a condition precedent to admissibility of physical evidence that is satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the evidence in question is what its proponent claims. CRE 901(a); see People v. Crespi, 155 P.3d 570, 574 (Colo.App. 2006) (trial court should admit physical evidence if a reasonable jury could decide that it is what the proponent claims it to be).

Page 740

[¶13] The burden to authenticate " 'is not high -- only a prima facie showing is required,' and a 'district court's role is to serve as gatekeeper in assessing whether the proponent has offered a satisfactory foundation from which the jury could reasonably find that the evidence is authentic.'" United States v. Hassan, 742 F.3d 104, 133 (4th Cir. 2014) (applying rule identical to CRE 901) (quoting United States v. Vidacak, 553 F.3d 344, 349 (4th Cir. 2009)).

[¶14] A proponent of evidence may establish the authenticity of evidence in numerous ways. CRE 901(b)(1). In some circumstances, proffered evidence can be self-authenticating. See CRE 902.

[¶15] Under CRE 902(11), extrinsic evidence of authenticity is not required with respect to a business record, as defined by CRE 803(6),

if [the record is] accompanied by an affidavit of its custodian or other qualified person . . . certifying that the record
(a) was made at or near the time of the occurrence of the matters set forth by, or from information transmitted by, a person with knowledge of those matters;
(b) was kept in the course of the regularly conducted activity; and
(c) was made by the regularly conducted activity as a regular practice.[2]

[¶16] In the present case, the prosecutor produced an affidavit from a Facebook records custodian stating that

o " [T]he records are basic subscriber information, IP logs, messages, photos, and expanded content for" the profile pages ...

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