PEOPLE v. SEALS

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York.

The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. William SEALS, Defendant-Appellant.

Decided: February 26, 1998

Before MILONAS, J.P., and WILLIAMS, MAZZARELLI and ANDRIAS, JJ. Hilary Hassler, for Respondent. Richard E. Mischel, for Defendant-Appellant.

Judgment, Supreme Court, New York County (Bernard Fried, J.), rendered September 27, 1995, convicting defendant, after a jury trial, of murder in the second degree and robbery in the first degree, and sentencing him to concurrent terms of 20 years to life and 8 1/3 to 25 years, respectively, unanimously affirmed.

 The evidence was legally sufficient to establish defendant's guilt of the crimes charged (see, People v. Contes, 60 N.Y.2d 620, 467 N.Y.S.2d 349, 454 N.E.2d 932).   The presence of defendant's fingerprint in the victim's apartment, considered along with the location of its recovery, from an item in the ransacked area from which property had been stolen, in addition to defendant's false denials regarding his acquaintanceship with the victim and with regard to his presence inside the victim's apartment, were sufficient to corroborate the testimony of the accomplice (CPL 60.22;  People v. Moses, 63 N.Y.2d 299, 482 N.Y.S.2d 228, 472 N.E.2d 4;  People v. Dawson, 160 A.D.2d 719, 554 N.Y.S.2d 46, lv. denied 76 N.Y.2d 733, 558 N.Y.S.2d 895, 557 N.E.2d 1191).   Upon our review of this record, we find that the verdict was not against the weight of the evidence.   We see no reason to disturb the jury's credibility determinations.

 The fingerprint evidence was properly admitted since the People laid a foundation for its admission and established a chain of custody (People v. Julian, 41 N.Y.2d 340, 392 N.Y.S.2d 610, 360 N.E.2d 1310).   Any discrepancy in the testimony of the police officers with respect to such evidence went to its weight, not to its admissibility (People v. Quinones, 191 A.D.2d 398, 595 N.Y.S.2d 442, lv. denied 82 N.Y.2d 758, 603 N.Y.S.2d 1000, 624 N.E.2d 186).

 The court properly precluded defendant from introducing into evidence serological findings regarding a shirt and surrounding circumstances since such evidence failed to clearly connect someone other than defendant with the crimes (see, People v. Coleman, 186 A.D.2d 509, 589 N.Y.S.2d 414, lv. denied 81 N.Y.2d 787, 594 N.Y.S.2d 733, 610 N.E.2d 406;  see also, People v. O'Gara, 239 A.D.2d 215, 657 N.Y.S.2d 661, lv. denied 90 N.Y.2d 861, 661 N.Y.S.2d 188, 683 N.E.2d 1062).

MEMORANDUM DECISION.