PEOPLE v. DOMBLEWSKI

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

PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. Darrell DOMBLEWSKI, Appellant.

Decided: April 25, 1997

Before GREEN, J.P., and PINE, CALLAHAN, BALIO and BOEHM, JJ. Linda S. Reynolds by David Schopp, Buffalo, for Appellant. Frank J. Clark, III by Susan Nusbaum, Buffalo, for Respondent.

Defendant appeals from a judgment convicting him of two counts of murder in the second degree (Penal Law § 125.25[1], [3] [intentional and felony murder] ) and one count each of burglary in the first degree (Penal Law § 140.30[2] ) and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree (Penal Law § 265.01[2] ).

 We reject the contention of defendant that he met his burden of establishing the affirmative defense of extreme emotional disturbance and that the verdict is therefore against the weight of the evidence (see, Penal Law § 125.25[1][a] ).  To establish that defense, defendant had to prove by a preponderance of the evidence “both a subjective element (that defendant did in fact act under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance) and an objective element (that there was reasonable explanation or excuse for the emotional disturbance)” (People v. Moye, 66 N.Y.2d 887, 890, 498 N.Y.S.2d 767, 489 N.E.2d 736;  see, Penal Law § 25.00[2];  People v. Walker, 64 N.Y.2d 741, 743, 485 N.Y.S.2d 978, 475 N.E.2d 445, rearg. dismissed 65 N.Y.2d 924, 493 N.Y.S.2d 1030, 483 N.E.2d 136).   As a general rule, “the statute requires mitigation to be afforded an emotionally disturbed defendant only when the trier of fact, after considering a broad range of mitigating circumstances, believes that such leniency is justified” (People v. Casassa, 49 N.Y.2d 668, 681, 427 N.Y.S.2d 769, 404 N.E.2d 1310, cert. denied 449 U.S. 842, 101 S.Ct. 122, 66 L.Ed.2d 50).   In assessing the validity of the defense, the jury was entitled to consider the conduct of defendant before and after the homicide and to reject his explanation for his conduct (see, People v. Burse, 234 A.D.2d 950, 652 N.Y.S.2d 439;  People v. Dominguez, 226 A.D.2d 391, 640 N.Y.S.2d 583;  People v. Murden, 190 A.D.2d 822, 593 N.Y.S.2d 837, lv. denied 81 N.Y.2d 1017, 600 N.Y.S.2d 205, 616 N.E.2d 862).

Defendant further contends that his conviction of burglary and felony murder is not supported by legally sufficient evidence because the People failed to establish that he possessed the requisite intent to commit a crime when he unlawfully entered the victim's apartment.   That contention is not preserved for our review (see, People v. Gray, 86 N.Y.2d 10, 19, 629 N.Y.S.2d 173, 652 N.E.2d 919;  People v. Blunt, 176 A.D.2d 741, 742, 574 N.Y.S.2d 812) and, in any event, is without merit.

 County Court did not abuse its discretion in admitting into evidence a photograph depicting the deceased victim.   The photograph was properly admitted to illustrate the nature and extent of the victim's injury and to corroborate the testimony of the medical expert (see, People v. Stevens, 76 N.Y.2d 833, 836, 560 N.Y.S.2d 119, 559 N.E.2d 1278;  People v. Ponce, 213 A.D.2d 725, 624 N.Y.S.2d 283, lv. denied 85 N.Y.2d 978, 629 N.Y.S.2d 738, 653 N.E.2d 634;  People v. Secore, 187 A.D.2d 1008, 1009, 591 N.Y.S.2d 126, lv. denied 81 N.Y.2d 847, 595 N.Y.S.2d 746, 611 N.E.2d 785).

In light of the heinous nature of the crime, we conclude that defendant's sentence is neither unduly harsh nor severe.

Finally, we have reviewed the remaining contention of defendant and conclude that it is without merit.

Judgment unanimously affirmed.

MEMORANDUM: