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Johnson v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

December 23, 2014

DEXTER FRANK JOHNSON
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

Assigned on Briefs August 20, 2014

Pro se Petitioner, Dexter Frank Johnson, appeals the summary dismissal of his third motion seeking to reopen his post-conviction proceedings and/or the denial of a writ of coram nobis by the Criminal Court of Hamilton County. He further claims that the post-conviction court [1] erred by failing to appoint counsel to assist him with his petition because he is illiterate. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal Court Affirmed.

Appeal from the Criminal Court for Hamilton County No. 290380 Barry A. Steelman, Judge.

Dexter Frank Johnson, Clifton, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; and Dave Denny, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Camille R. McMullen, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which John Everett Williams, J., and David A. Patterson, Sp. J., joined.

OPINION

CAMILLE R. McMULLEN, JUDGE

On February 11, 1994, and pursuant to a plea agreement, the Petitioner entered guilty pleas to two counts of first degree murder, one count of attempted first degree murder, and one count of attempted aggravated burglary. In exchange for his guilty plea, the Petitioner received a sentence of life for the two first degree murder convictions, twenty-five years for the attempted first degree murder conviction, six years for the attempted aggravated burglary conviction, and dismissal of "all remaining charges against [the Petitioner] based on episodes that [he] was involved in contemporaneous" to the instant offenses.[2] All of these sentences were ordered to be served concurrently. The factual basis supporting the Petitioner's guilty pleas provided, in pertinent part, the following:

[O]n March 18th [the Petitioner] in the company of at least two other individuals traveled to a location on Glass Street in Chattanooga. The parties visited a market which was adjacent to a liquor store and then quickly came back to the liquor store. . . . [The Petitioner] entered the liquor store, known as Sandy's Liquor Store, that he approached the counter, and there encountered Donald Sirhan. There was some sort of altercation at that scene, the result of which was that [the Petitioner] fired a shot and this shot had entered the left shoulder - - arm of Donald Sirhan. . . . As Donald Sirhan had attempted to run back through the storage counter area . . . [the Petitioner] proceeded after Mr. Sirhan . . . but was unable to locate him immediately.
. . . .
The other party present was Sandy Sirhan, the sister of the decedent, the victim in this case. She was also present in the back stock room and she also started to flee upon hearing the shot and hearing a warning given by the decedent, Donald Sirhan. [The Petitioner] was able to track Sandy Sirhan around the side of this Lookout Beverage truck and she fell to the ground. While on the ground [the Petitioner] using a .38 caliber weapon fired one time and shot Sandy Sirhan in the abdomen area. Donald Sirhan hearing this shot and hearing his sister had doubled back from his apparent escape . . . . It was sometime around this point [the Petitioner] was able to point a .38 at him . . . and [the Petitioner] [fatally] shot Donald Sirhan one time in the back.
. . . .
Sandy Sirhan did not realize under the stress of the event that she had been shot until some 10 to 12 minutes later. And that is the basis for the attempt first degree murder case ...

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