The opinion of the court was delivered by: L. T. Lafferty, Senior Judge
Knox County Honorable Ray L. Jenkins, Judge (First Degree Murder)
REVERSED AND REMANDED FOR A NEW TRIAL
The appellant, Paul Anthony Dejongh, referred herein as "the defendant," appeals as a matter of right from his conviction by a Knox County jury of murder first degree. The trial court imposed a sentence of life imprisonment. The defendant presents the following issues for appellate review:
1. Whether there was sufficient evidence as a matter of law for a rational trier of fact to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of premeditated murder first degree.
2. Whether the trial court erred in allowing the prosecution to cover glossy, color photographs of obscene, vulgar graffiti with translucent masking tape in the presence of the jury.
3. Whether the trial court erred in granting the state's oral motion in limine to preclude cross-examination of the state's witnesses of the issues of the decedent's possession of a gun, as well as his violent and threatening conduct.
4. Whether the trial court erred in precluding the defense from cross-examining prosecution witnesses on the context and substance of admissions allegedly made by the defendant.
5. Whether the trial court erred in preventing the defendant from offering a proffer of a witness to perfect the appellate record.
6. Whether the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jurors on the lesser included offenses of murder first degree.
After a thorough review of the entire record, briefs of the parties, and applicable law, we reverse the trial court's judgment and remand for a new trial.
On January 22, 1996, Deputy Drew Martin, patrol officer with the Knox County Sheriff's Department, responded to a complaint at the Red Roof Inn in Knox County. Deputy Martin talked to Holly (Martin) Dailey and Floyd Anderson Petgrave. After their conversation, Petgrave gave Deputy Martin some keys to apartment K7 in the Walker Springs Apartments. Deputy Martin went to the apartment where he found blood around the door handle and blood droplets on the ground. After obtaining gloves, Deputy Martin opened the door and observed a pool of blood in the foyer. Upon entry into the apartment, Deputy Martin found the victim, Michael Evans, lying face down in some multi-colored balls that were strewn about in one of the rooms. Evans had no pulse. Deputy Martin and the other officers secured the apartment.
Holly (Martin) Dailey testified that she, the defendant, Anna Warren, "Pink" Floyd Anderson Petgrave, and the victim shared the apartment in the Walker Springs Complex. On January 21, 1996, Mrs. Dailey left work at approximately 3:00 a.m. and arrived home. After going to bed, Mrs. Dailey was awakened by "popping noises." She then heard Ms. Warren screaming in the hallway and saw the defendant standing behind Ms. Warren. Michael Evans was lying in the doorway. Mrs. Dailey, the defendant, Ms. Warren, and Petgrave grabbed their clothes and proceeded to leave. Before leaving, the defendant picked Evans up from the doorway and moved him into the "ball room." *fn1 Mrs. Dailey observed blood all over the floor. All four left and drove to a winery in Loudon. During the ride, the defendant talked to himself and said he had shot the victim. Later that day, Mrs. Dailey and Petgrave obtained a room at the Red Roof Inn. After a Discussion with her father, Mrs. Dailey called 911. The Knox County sheriff deputies took her and Petgrave back to the Walker Springs Apartments. Mrs. Dailey did not see the defendant with a gun, nor was she aware of any plan or plot to kill Michael Evans.
Officer Miles Bradford Park, crime scene technician for the Knox County Sheriff's Department, testified that, upon his arrival at the Walker Springs Apartments, he began photographing the entrance and interior of the apartment. Officer Park took pictures of the different locations of blood and of a bullet found in the "ball room" where the victim was lying. The majority of the blood was in the foyer of the apartment. Officer Park observed a bullet hole in the apartment's front door and identified the hole as an exit hole. Officer Park identified two photographs of blood stains found on a wall in the living room adjacent to some ...