United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
Pleasants, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, has filed a
petition for a writ of habeas corpus, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254, challenging the constitutionality of his
convictions in the Circuit Court of King George County.
Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss and Rule 5 Answer, along
with a supporting brief and exhibits. Dkt. Nos. 12-13.
Petitioner was given the opportunity to file responsive
materials, pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528
F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975) and Local Rule 7K. Dkt. No. 14.
Petitioner filed a response. Dkt. Nos. 17-18. For the reasons
that follow, respondent's Motion to Dismiss will be
granted, and the petition will be dismissed, with prejudice.
record reflects the following. Petitioner is detained
pursuant to a final judgment of the Circuit Court of King
George County, entered December 3, 2015. Nos. CR15-24, -27,
-142. Pursuant to a jury trial, petitioner was convicted of
burglary with intent to commit rape, attempted rape, and
malicious wounding. Id. Petitioner was sentenced to
seventy-eight years imprisonment. Id.
pursued a direct appeal to the Court of Appeals of Virginia,
asserting, among other claims, that there was insufficient
evidence to convict him of burglary with intent to commit
rape and attempted rape because the evidence failed to prove
he intended to rape the victim. Record No. 0163-16-2.
The facts as laid out by the Court of Appeals are as
[T]he evidence proved that D.K. was home alone in her bedroom
at approximately 1:00 a.m. when she saw two flashes of light
in the living room. Upon walking to her bedroom doorway, D.K.
saw a man in her living room. The man, later identified as
[petitioner], asked D.K. if her husband was home and walked
toward her. D.K. retreated into her bedroom and sat on her
[Petitioner] followed D.K. into her bedroom. When he was
inches away from her, she turned on her bedside lamp.
[Petitioner], who was wearing blue nitrile gloves and a mask,
told her not to do so and turned off the lamp. He instructed
D.K. to be quiet and to lie down on the bed. D.K. said,
"No." [Petitioner] again told her to lie down and
be quiet. D.K. again told him "no." When
[petitioner] repeated the instruction a third time, he moved
his right hand from about her knee up the inside of her legs
and up towards her body.
D.K. pushed his hand away and said "no" more
forcefully. [Petitioner] pulled out a folding knife and said,
"Lay down and be quiet or I swear to God I'll come
back and kill your kids." D.K. grabbed both of
[petitioner's] wrists and tried to keep his hands away
from her. The struggle continued as D.K. pushed [petitioner]
out of her bedroom and into her kitchen. D.K. pulled a
decorative dagger from the wall and stabbed [petitioner]. She
turned on the light and saw a puddle of blood on the floor.
[Petitioner] yelled, "You stabbed me, bitch," and
stabbed D.K. in the abdomen with his knife. D.K., fearing
[petitioner] was going to try and stab her a second time,
tried to get control of [petitioner's] wrist. Their
struggle continued back into D.K.'s bedroom from which
[petitioner] eventually fled. When emergency personnel
arrived and prepared to transport D.K. to the hospital, a
teenage boy approached and asked a deputy to come help his
injured brother. The deputy followed the boy to a nearby
trailer and found [petitioner] semi-conscious, bloody, and
breathing heavily. He had a stab wound in his chest.
Upon investigating the perimeter of the residences, the
deputies found several items between D.K.'s trailer and
[petitioner's] trailer that matched D.K.'s account of
her attack. They found a black mask, a pair of blue nitrile
gloves, and a black folding knife. They also discovered a
large pool of blood and a pool of vomit.
When the police searched [petitioner's] trailer, they
found a pair of jeans wet with blood. In the pocket of the
jeans were a condom, a set of keys, and a pair of eyeglasses.
The keys opened the door to [petitioner's] home, and
[petitioner] was known to deputies to normally wear
eyeglasses with black frames.
D.K. suffered from a punctured abdomen and a perforated bowel
as a result of the stabbing. She required surgery and was
hospitalized for several days.
Deputies submitted samples of blood from around D.K.'s
home for analysis. DNA tests determined the blood was that of
Id. The appeal was denied on June 28, 2016.
Id. Petitioner then appealed to the Supreme Court of
Virginia but his petition for appeal was refused on February
8, 2017. Record No. 161036.
then filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the
Supreme Court of Virginia where he claimed, inter
alia, that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing
to ensure that his petit jury was comprised of a fair cross
section of petitioner's community and failing to raise a
Batson challenge. Record No. 171611. The state habeas
petition was denied on August 15, 2018. Id.
September 27, 2018, petitioner filed the instant federal
petition, wherein he challenges his convictions on the
1. There was insufficient evidence to convict him of burglary
with intent to commit rape and attempted rape.
2. Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to raise a
Batson and/or fair-cross-section challenge regarding
the Commonwealth's systematic exclusion of members of
petitioner's race from the jury.
Dkt. No. 2.