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State v. Taylor

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

August 27, 2014

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
CURTIS TAYLOR

Assigned on Briefs July 8, 2014

Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 1203591 Glenn Wright, Judge

Juni Samrat Ganguli, Memphis, Tennessee for the appellant, Curtis Taylor.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; Colin Campbell, Assistant District Attorney General; and Charles Summers, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Jerry L. Smith, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which John Everett Williams and Camille R. McMullen, JJ., joined.

OPINION

JERRY L. SMITH, JUDGE

Factual Background

On July 27, 2011, at the Parkway Food Market, otherwise known as the "Nite-N-Day" by neighborhood residents, a group of people were standing outside talking. The group included Radrako Newsom, Timothy Watson, Appellant, Dominic Cooper, "Red, " and "Nook." Appellant was also known as "Cblow." The conversation between Mr. Cooper and "Red" became heated when "Red" asked Mr. Cooper why he was going around town telling people that he was going to kill "Red." Mr. Cooper informed "Red" that if he wanted to kill him, he would have done so already.

At that point, a crowd started to gather around the men. A fistfight broke out during which "Nook" punched Mr. Cooper. Mr. Watson heard someone shout, "he got a gun." Surveillance video showed Appellant holding a gun. Sallam Alothmani, an employee of the market, heard seven or eight shots. Mr. Newsom was hit twice before he managed to run away. Mr. Watson ran away from the scene. Mr. Newsom called out to Mr. Watson, telling him that he was shot. Mr. Watson turned around, ran back to Mr. Newsom, and laid him down in the street. Mr. Newsom died as a result of two gunshot wounds, one to the chest and one to the right leg. The medical examiner opined that the chest wound itself would have been fatal and, based on the bullet's path, the only person in a position to fire the shot and hit Mr. Newsom in the chest was Appellant.

The Memphis Police Department received a tip after the shooting that Mr. Cooper was involved in the incident. When he was located at a house on Lealand Street near the Parkway Food Market, a search of the home resulted in the recovery of a box of .25 caliber ammunition, the same caliber of ammunition that was found at the scene of the shooting. Mr. Watson identified Appellant and Mr. Cooper as the people that were shooting. Additionally, the surveillance video showed Appellant shooting a gun at the crowd.

The bullets recovered from Mr. Newsom's body were .22 caliber. There was testimony to indicate that if the bullets were fired through a .22 caliber revolver, there would not be any shell casings at the scene. Additionally, a .22 caliber bullet could not have been fired through a .25 caliber weapon.

At the conclusion of the testimony, the jury convicted Appellant of voluntary manslaughter of Mr. Newsom, attempted first degree murder, [1] possession of a firearm after having been convicted of a felony, and use of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. Appellant was sentenced to a total effective sentence of thirty-five years. After the denial of a motion for new trial, Appellant appeals.

Analysis

I. Sufficiency of the ...


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