United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM ORDER AND OPINION
Anthony John Morris (Petitioner) filed a
Petition asking the Court for a Writ of Habeas
Corpus, arguing that his New Mexico first-degree murder
conviction violates his constitutional rights. He makes the
following claims: (1) there was insufficient evidence to
prove Petitioner possessed any premeditated thought requisite
for a first-degree murder charge and conviction; (2) the
state failed to present any evidence of deliberate intent to
kill. In response, Warden Ron Haynes (Respondent) contends
that substantial evidence supports Petitioner's
conviction. On February 12, 2017, Petitioner untimely
sought to amend his Petition to include a claim of
ineffective assistance of appellate counsel based on
appellate counsel's failure to argue that trial counsel
had failed to object or contest state forensic
evidence. The Court has reviewed the Motion and all
briefing. For the reasons explained below, the Court denies
Petitioner leave to amend his Petition and dismisses the
Petition with prejudice.
December 26, 1991, at approximately 7:00 p.m., Victor Zabel
Senior found the body of Mary DuPris on a road on
the outskirts of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
morning, Mary DuPris, her children, her sister, her mother,
and a friend drove from their residence in Acomita, New
Mexico to Albuquerque, New Mexico. After dropping her mother
off to work at 8:00 a.m., Mary DuPris and the others spent
the day driving to various locations in the city. At a
grocery store, Mary DuPris purchased alcohol, which she
p.m., they went to pick up Mary DuPris' mother in
downtown Albuquerque. Her mother decided to take over driving
from Mary DuPris because of the alcohol her daughter had
consumed. Mary DuPris decided not to return to Acomita with
her family, but to stay in Albuquerque with her aunt. She
gathered her personal belongings from the car and started
walking toward Central Avenue.
Donja Kaye Nations, who at that time managed a hotel at 1020
Central Avenue, reported seeing a woman who resembled Mary
DuPris walking on Central Avenue sometime that afternoon. A
red truck pulled past the woman and stopped. A man jumped
out, picked up the woman, and forced her into the car.
According to Ms. Nations, the woman appeared terrified and
did not seem to know the man. Ms. Nations could not
positively identify Petitioner as the man who abducted the
day, the Zabel family worked at the Double Eagle Airport
outside of Albuquerque. Around 6:30 p.m., Victor Zabel Jr.
left the airport before his father. As he drove home, he saw
a yellow car make a U-turn and head toward the airport. He
also passed a red truck stopped by the side of the road. He
did not see the driver of the red truck or anything else out
of the ordinary. At the time Mr. Zabel Jr. drove by, the road
was clear of obstacles.
fifteen minutes later, Mr. Zabel Sr. left the airport using
the same road. About one mile from the highway, Mr. Zabel Sr.
saw something in the road and unsuccessfully swerved to avoid
it. He looked back to see what he had hit and realized it was
a person. After reporting the incident to the police from a
phone at a nearby gas station, Mr. Zabel Sr. returned to the
scene and waited. When the police arrived, they processed the
scene believing that a motor vehicle accident had killed Mary
DuPris. Later, the chief medical examiner determined the
cause of death as a gunshot wound to the right temple from a
9-millimeter handgun. Mary DuPris' body had other
injuries consistent with a vehicle or vehicles having hit her
the autopsy, the examiner took several swabs from the body.
The swabs revealed the presence of sperm cells in the
victim's mouth and stomach. In 1991, DNA testing was not
as sophisticated as it is today, so it could not establish
the identity of the individual who deposited the cells. The
police kept the swabs as evidence.
months later, another woman was murdered with a 9-millimeter
handgun. Her body was found 0.7 miles from where Mary DuPris
had been found. The police suspected Calvin Winfield
committed the crime. Subsequently, Mr. Winfield committed
suicide using a 9-millimeter handgun. Forensic examiners
inspected the 9-millimeter handgun for evidence of use in the
woman's homicide, Winsfield's suicide, and Mary
DuPris' homicide. The results were inconclusive in all
aspects. Mary DuPris' case went cold.
twenty years later, a detective reopened the Mary DuPris
case. The detective conducted DNA testing on the preserved
swabs. A CODIS hit matched the semen in the samples taken
from Mary DuPris' body to Petitioner.
20, 2012, Detectives interviewed Petitioner. During the
interview, Petitioner told detectives that at the time of
Mary DuPris' death, he “had a bad habit with
prostitutes” who he used to pick up on Central Avenue.
He also said sometimes he picked up a hitchhiker and that
“if it ended up that way, that's the way it ended
up, you know.” He stated that he did not remember Mary
DuPris and could not explain the presence of his DNA in her
body. The detectives took a buccal swab from Petitioner.
Further analysis revealed that Petitioner had a DNA profile
similar to that found in the swabs.
course of the interview, Detectives also learned Petitioner
owned a 1971 red Dodge pickup at the time of the murder, and
he still owned it. Following the interview, Petitioner spoke
telephonically about the truck with his ex-wife. He told her
to “junk” it. He further stated the police could
not get him on first-degree murder.
on the conversations between Petitioner and his wife,
investigators obtained a search warrant for the truck.
Forensic examination revealed blood on the seat. While
testing established the blood as human, ...