Appellate court upholds conviction in internet casino shooting

Crime Watch

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — In 2018, Maurice Bailey was sentenced to 22 years in prison after being found guilty of shooting his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend at an internet casino.

Bailey argued on appeal the failure by police to obtain surveillance footage from a marijuana dispensary in the same building as the casino violated his due process rights. The footage, he said, likely captured the shooting and could have exonerated him.

The 5th District Court of Appeal has rejected that claim, finding no “intentional or wrongfully motivated delay by police in seeking to obtain the evidence,” which had been erased by the time they asked for it.

The court last week upheld Bailey’s conviction but ordered him returned to Bakersfield for the trial judge to strike a prior prison term enhancement due to a change in the law, and to give Bailey an opportunity to argue his ability to pay certain fines imposed by the court.

The case has its origins in a shooting that occurred shortly before 4 a.m. on March 14, 2017.

Police were called to an internet casino where they found Erskine Carr Jr. lying near the front door with a gunshot wound to his lower back. He told police “Nipp” shot him and drove away in a “black four-door BMW,” according to court records.

A records search revealed Bailey went by the nickname “Nipp” and had it tattooed on his arm, the documents said. He drove a black Mercedes-Benz sedan.

Investigators learned both men had been involved with a woman named Darneshia Stubbs. She was living with Bailey at the time of the shooting, but had been staying with Carr — the father of her child — just weeks earlier, according to the documents.

Stubbs was at the casino when the shooting occurred, police said.

Both Bailey and Stubbs denied involvement when brought in for questioning a week later. But they realized they gave conflicting statements when police left them in a room alone.

“Stick to the script,” Stubbs told Bailey, according to the documents. “I’m gonna clean it up. Just stick to your story, and I’ll clean it up.”

About the same time as the questioning, detectives tried obtaining surveillance footage from the dispensary but were told by an employee that it’s only kept for a limited time before being erased, the filings said. An officer told the trial court they just missed the deadline.

“The unobtained footage was impliedly found to have had potential exculpatory value,” the appellate court ruling said. “However, the trial court also found the police did not act in bad faith or with any wrongful intentions.”

Carr underwent multiple surgeries before dying nine months later. Stubbs and Bailey were charged with murder, and Bailey agreed to testify in exchange for a plea deal.

Before the shooting, Stubbs testified, Bailey showed her a gun and said Carr’s name was “written all over it,” according to the documents. She testified he later admitted shooting Carr.

Witnesses disagreed at trial on whether Carr died as a result of the gunshot wound or drug abuse.

The jury acquitted Bailey of first-degree murder, but deadlocked 10-2 in favor of convicting him of a lesser offense or attempted murder. It found him guilty of assault with a firearm on a person and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Bailey agreed to plead no contest to conspiracy and assault charges to avoid a retrial on the more serious charges, the documents said. He’s currently eligible for parole in 2034, according to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

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