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State v. Edwards

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

December 3, 2014


Assigned on Briefs August 5, 2014

Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 12-05320 J. Robert Carter, Jr., Judge

James E. Thomas (on appeal) and Michael Burton (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Devaughn Edwards.

Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter; Ahmed A. Safeeullah, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Paul Hagerman and Anita Spinetta, Assistant District Attorneys 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.




The defendant's convictions resulted from the home invasion of a residence on Mud Island in Memphis by the defendant and three others, during which the two residents were robbed and one was beaten.

Tad Robbins testified that he was a lieutenant in the United States Navy and was living on Mud Island on April 11, 2012. That evening, he and his wife heard a commotion coming from a neighbor's house, and he saw a Lincoln automobile backed into the driveway of a nearby vacant house. He observed two men entering "quickly" into the garage and went out his back door because he thought "there was something weird." He noticed that the car was "running" and returned to his house to call 911. As he watched, the garage door opened, and he saw two men leaving a house carrying a television set, a guitar, and a bag of other items. Two more men came out of the house, and they "loaded up" in the car to leave.

Jaredan Braal testified that he was a mechanical engineer for Medtronic. On April 11, 2012, he was living on Mud Island and returned home "around 10:45 or 10:50 at night" from teaching a dance class. He pulled into his garage, which was in an alley behind his house. As he was unloading items from his car, he saw a vehicle in front of the neighbor's house behind him. One of the two men at the car said he wanted to ask Mr. Braal a question, adding that he was looking for a particular street. They were joined by another man who soon produced a pistol, which he pointed at Mr. Braal. Mr. Braal then threw down his cell phone and wallet and ran into his garage but was hit in the head multiple times and fell to his hands and knees. Two of the men then entered Mr. Braal's house, while a third kept watch on him. Mr. Braal's roommate was brought from the house and made to lie down beside him. After the men loaded their vehicle with items from the victims' house, they asked for the PIN number for Mr. Braal's debit card, and he made up a number. The four men then left, and the victims telephoned 911 from a neighbor's telephone. Mr. Braal was hospitalized for twelve days as a result of his injuries. He identified the defendant as the person who hit him with the pistol.

Frederick Krafcik, Jr. testified that he was living on Mud Island on April 11, 2012, and was employed by the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, working at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. He said that, during that evening, he was on the bed in his room when the door was kicked open and two men entered at pistol-point. They took different items, including cash, and ordered him to go downstairs to the garage, where he found his roommate already lying facedown and blood on the floor. He said that as "the criminals were still going back and forth in the house, removing items, " he stayed facedown on the garage floor, as they ordered. After the men left, the two victims ran to neighbors for help, "knocking on doors, looking bloody and beaten up, [but] people weren't answering."

Mr. Krafcik said that he at first thought it was his roommate coming up the stairs, but then his door was kicked in. The man who came through the door pointed a pistol at him, and another man then came in, the two of them asking, "[W]here is the cash?" He said that the two men took his DVD player and computer, the cash from his wallet and, later, he discovered they had taken his cell phone. At gunpoint, he was made to go down the stairs to the garage. He described his roommate, who already was in the garage:

He did not look very good. I could see that there was blood on the floor of the garage and he was also laying [sic] face down. But, at one point when I got down there he turned his head and said, "I'm sorry, " to me, because he thought that he was somehow to blame for this. And his face was beaten in and bloodied.

Mr. Krafcik said that at least three men came into the house, but "it sounded like there was a fourth person." He said that he had paid between $3000 and ...

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