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Sevier v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

November 10, 2014

DEANGELO SEVIER
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

Assigned on Briefs August 5, 2014

Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 06-09190 Lee V. Coffee, Judge.

R. Todd Mosley (on appeal) and James P. DeRossitt, IV (at hearing), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Deangelo Sevier.

Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Ann L. Schiller, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Alan E. Glenn, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and Roger A. Page, J., joined.

OPINION

ALAN E. GLENN, JUDGE

FACTS

The petitioner was convicted of felony murder and attempted especially aggravated robbery and was sentenced to life imprisonment and ten years, respectively. State v. Deangelo Sevier, No. W2009-00172-CCA-R3-CD, 2010 WL 796948, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Mar. 9, 2010), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Aug. 24, 2010). This court affirmed the judgment of the trial court on direct appeal, and the Tennessee Supreme Court denied his application for permission to appeal. Id. The underlying facts of the case were recited by this court on direct appeal as follows:

On the morning of May 13, 2006, the Memphis Police Department responded to a report made by an off-duty police officer of a "man down" at 3896 Lamar, the location of the 78 Motel. Upon investigation, police located three men who had been shot. Darryl Smith and Jarrett Robinson were dead and the third, Regie Renfroe, was severely wounded. After an investigation, [the petitioner] was identified as a suspect in the murder of Darryl Smith. At the time of his arrest, [the petitioner] was seventeen years old.
In June of 2006, the Shelby County Juvenile Court conducted a juvenile transfer hearing concerning the allegations against [the petitioner]. After the hearing, [the petitioner] was transferred to criminal court for prosecution as an adult. Subsequently, [the petitioner], along with Tosha Taylor and Lakeysha Hill, were indicted by the Shelby County Grand Jury in November of 2006 for first degree felony murder and attempted especially aggravated robbery[.]
Prior to trial, [the petitioner] filed a motion to dismiss the indictment. In the motion, [the petitioner] alleged that there was no recording preserved of the juvenile transfer hearing. According to [the petitioner], "the hearing was presumably properly recorded, [but] the computer hard drive containing the electronic recording malfunctioned and all information contained thereon was lost." [The petitioner] asked the trial court to dismiss the indictment and remand the matter to the juvenile court for a new transfer hearing. The trial court denied the motion after a hearing.
Prior to trial [the petitioner] also sought to suppress his statement to police. [The petitioner] argued that his statement was obtained in violation of his constitutional rights, that he was coerced into making the statement, that he was under the influence of drugs at the time the statement was made, and that the statement was "secretly filmed by a mass media production organization without [the petitioner's] consent. . . ."
The trial court held a hearing on the motion to suppress the statement. At the hearing, Sergeant William Merritt testified that he participated in the investigation of the attempted robbery that resulted in the murder of Darryl Smith and injuries to Regie Renfroe.
Sergeant Merritt informed the trial court that he responded to the crime scene around 9:00 a.m. on the morning of May 13, 2006. Sergeant Merritt met two females, Lakeysha Hill and Tosha Taylor, who were witnesses to the crimes. Concerned that [the petitioner] may have been shot, a family member of [the petitioner] was also present. Ms. Hill and Ms. Taylor were interviewed and implicated themselves and [the petitioner] in the crimes.
[The petitioner] was arrested several days later. At the time of his arrest, [the petitioner] was seventeen years of age. [The petitioner] was escorted to an interview room at the homicide office and officers waited until [the petitioner]'s mother arrived before beginning the interview. Both [the petitioner] and his mother were offered food and drink, and [the petitioner] was advised of his Miranda rights. The officers explained the advice of rights form to both [the petitioner] and his mother. [The petitioner] informed the officers that he had gone to school through the ninth grade and was able to read and write. In order to confirm this, Officer Merritt asked [the petitioner] to read from the advice form. [The petitioner] confirmed that he could read without difficulty. Both [the petitioner] and his mother signed the form. Sergeant Merritt did not think that [the petitioner] was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the interview.
The officers told [the petitioner] that they were aware he was at the hotel when the incident occurred. [The petitioner] began by telling the officers that he and Jarrett Robinson went to the hotel together. According to [the petitioner], only Mr. Robinson had a gun. When they entered room "120 something" the men inside attempted to rob [the petitioner] and Mr. Robinson at gunpoint. [The petitioner] stated that shots were fired and he fled the scene when he saw that Mr. Robinson had been shot and killed. The officers told [the petitioner] that they did not believe his story because they had already interviewed Ms. Taylor and Ms. Hill who had implicated [the petitioner] and Mr. Robinson in a plot to rob the two men who were at the hotel. The officers also told [the petitioner] at that time that they had recovered at least two handguns from the scene that were going to be fingerprinted.
Once confronted with these facts, [the petitioner] admitted his involvement in the crimes by telling officers that he and Mr. Robinson went to the hotel to rob the two men. [The petitioner] stated that the women encouraged the men to perpetrate the ...

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