Baynum v. DelawareAnnotate this Case
Appellant-defendant Steven Baynum and Manisha Baynum married in 2009. In 2012, the couple experimented with having an “open marriage” and shared an intimate experience with Dakota Holdren (“Dakota”). Thereafter, Manisha was romantically involved with Dakota. In 2013, Manisha filed for divorce. Manisha was granted a Family Court Order affording her exclusive use a property owned by Steven's grandparents. The Order prohibited Baynum from accessing the residence and, as a result, he often stayed with his grandparents at another residence, located on the same property the house now occupied by Manisha. In the early hours of October 24, Dakota and Manisha were at Manisha's home. Interested in “check[ing] out the place,” Baynum communicated with Manisha via text messages and phone calls regarding whether he could come. After being dissuaded by Manisha, Baynum temporarily refrained from going to the house, although he “decided to put a ladder at the base of [28 Harvest Lane’s] driveway . . . .” Later that evening, Manisha was awakened by noises emanating from the bathroom, later discovering Baynum, who jumped on the bed, pulled a blanket off of Dakota, and started punching him. After convincing Baynum to join her in the kitchen, Manisha dialed 9-1-1, but was unable to speak with an operator because Baynum “took the phone out of [her] hands” and “took the battery out of the phone.” Thereafter, Baynum “dragged” Manisha back to the bedroom, where he proceeded to “tie up” Dakota utilizing an ethernet cord. Baynum then pushed Manisha onto her stomach and attempted to tie her hands together using an iPhone charging cord. Manisha testified that she bit Baynum on his arm during the struggle. Baynum responded by punching her in the face and holding a knife to her throat. New Castle County police officers were dispatched to Manisha's house. The next day, Baynum appeared at his grandparents’ residence, explaining to his grandmother that “he had beat the crap out of the man that was living -- sleeping with his wife. And [Baynum] said [he] was just trying to defend [his] -- [his] wedding vows, reaffirming his marriage.” After Baynum left, his grandmother informed the police. The Superior Court denied Baynum’s Motion in Limine prior to his trial on charges stemming from the incident at Manisha's house. The ruling was issued following an evidentiary hearing conducted in connection with Baynum’s Motion, which sought dismissal of his case before trial or, in the alternative, a "Lolly" jury instruction, on the theory that the State failed to collect or preserve potentially material evidence. Baynum appealed his convictions and argued that the Superior Court erred in denying his Motion. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed the Superior Court.