Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Assigned on Briefs April 23, 2014
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Cocke County No. 2362 Ben W. Hooper, II, Judge
Jessica S. Sisk, Newport, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Randy Ray Ramsey.
Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; Randall Eugene Nichols, District Attorney General; Joann Sheldon and Tonya Thornton, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.
Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Alan E. Glenn and Roger A. Page, JJ., joined.
THOMAS T. WOODALL, JUDGE
On June 17, 2010, Officer Jason Oury of the Cocke County Sheriff's Department was dispatched to a shooting at the Park Entrance Grocery located at 330 Highway 32 South. He arrived on the scene at approximately 2:20 a.m. and pulled up to the front of the store. He was then waved to a lower parking lot by Johnny Grooms. Officer Oury pulled to the rear of the store and then entered an apartment located on the back side of the store. He saw Defendant, who appeared distraught, kneeling on the floor beside the victim, Molly Green-Howard, holding some bloody towels. Defendant immediately said, "I dropped it, it went off."
Officer Oury testified that Defendant was cooperative but very emotional. Officer Oury was on the scene for approximately two hours and eventually transported Defendant to the Criminal Investigation Division to speak with investigators.
Detective Robert Caldwell later spoke with Defendant and obtained a written statement from Defendant which contained the following:
I moved in my room at the bottom of the Park Entrance Grocery sometime mid January of 2010. I met [the victim] in January of 2010. [The victim] moved in with me about a month ago, about one month ago. Last night, Wednesday June 16th, 2010, [the victim] and [I] went to Buddy's Bar. We stayed at the bar several hours. [The victim] and I drank some beer. I think we got home about midnight. When we got home [the victim] said she was going to take a shower. I had a 12 gauge shotgun in the room near the refrigerator. I had the gun to shoot water snakes. [The victim] asked me to take the gun to the building outside. I picked the gun up that was leaning against the wall. When I picked the gun up it went off. I did not know the hammer was cocked. I had the gun raised up when it went off. [The victim] was shot and fell to the floor. I did not intend to shoot [the victim]. The gun just went off. I know that I did not pull the trigger. I called 911 to get help, " signed [Defendant].
After the statement was written and signed, Defendant wanted the following added to the statement:
[The victim] wanted me to move the gun outside because she did not like guns. I always moved the gun out to the building before we went to bed. I do not know when the gun was cocked. I last shot the gun Tuesday June 15, 2010 when I killed a water snake. I think we had been home from Buddy's Bar about an hour when this incident occurred."
Detective Caldwell then asked Defendant to use a baseball bat to demonstrate how he was holding the weapon at the time of the shooting. The demonstration was photographed, and the photograph was made an exhibit at trial.
Special Agent Derek Newport of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) received a call from Detective Robert Caldwell during the early morning hours of June 17, 2010, concerning the shooting. Special Agent Newport arrived on the scene at approximately 3:33 a.m. and began processing the apartment. He diagramed and photographed the scene and collected a twelve gauge shotgun. Special Agent Newport testified that when he found the gun "the breech was closed, laying on the floor, hammer's forward." He also said that ...