Assigned on Briefs November 4, 2014
Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 12-05328 W. Mark Ward, Judge.
Stephen C. Bush, District Public Defender; Tony N. Brayton (on appeal), Amy G. Mayne and Jane Sturdivant Tillman (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, for the appellant, Albert Jackson.
Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Caitlin Smith, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Joshua Corman and Meghan Fowler, 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 Robert L. Holloway, Jr., J., joined.
ALAN E. GLENN, JUDGE
The defendant was indicted for attempted second degree murder, aggravated assault, employing a firearm during the commission of a felony, reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, and felon in possession of a handgun, as a result of his pulling a gun on the driver and front seat passenger of a car in which he was riding.
Marquita Lee testified that, on April 7, 2012, she was at her house with her friends, "Red" and "Amber, " as well as her two-year-old son, Marjavius. Red had asked Lashun Peete to drive the women to the nail salon, and Peete arrived to pick them up. When Peete arrived, Keunshay Cooper was with him. Lee had known Peete for approximately ten years and was familiar with Cooper through Peete. Lee, her friends, and son got into the car with Peete and Cooper, and Peete drove Red and Amber to the nail salon. Lee asked Peete to drive her to a bail bondsman because she needed to deposit money for her sister's bond.
Lee testified that Cooper became angry at Peete because he gave Red $20 to get her nails done, and she hit Peete on the back of the head. Peete and Cooper continued to argue, and Cooper told Peete to drop her off somewhere. Cooper texted with someone who was supposed to meet her at University Cabana, but Peete wanted to meet at a gas station instead. They stopped at a gas station convenience store, but whoever was picking up Cooper did not show up so Peete drove her to the Tillman Cove Apartments.
Lee testified that, when they pulled into the Tillman Cove Apartments, the defendant exited a small black car, and Cooper, who exited Peete's vehicle, hugged and kissed the defendant. The defendant then got into the backseat of Peete's vehicle and spoke with Peete, while another man, who was with the defendant, asked for a ride to go pick up his child. Lee became suspicious of the other man's need for a ride considering he just got out of a car. However, Cooper told Peete that the man was "okay, " and Peete agreed to give him a ride. At that point, the defendant said that he was not going to join them, but the other man instructed him to come. The defendant and the other man were in the backseat with Lee's son, and Lee was in the front passenger seat.
Lee testified that, as they pulled away, she noticed one of the men in the backseat motion "come on" to a burgundy Dodge Charger partially painted with primer that was parked across the street. In order to avoid detection, Lee texted Peete that they were being followed by the Charger. The defendant's companion gave directions to Peete, and Peete asked the men if they knew they were being followed. The men denied that they were being followed, and Peete pretended to call his cousin who lived in the area. Peete pulled up to a house and acted like he knew the people who lived there, although he did not. He got out of the car and, again, pretended to call his cousin.
Lee testified that the defendant and the other man also got out of the car when Peete exited the vehicle. The defendant asked Peete why they had stopped and said, "I don't want to be in no shoot-out." Lee said that Peete did not have a gun, and she had not seen the defendant or the other man with a gun at that point in time. All three men got back into the car, and Lee brought her son into the front seat with her because she felt uneasy about what was going on. The defendant's companion instructed Peete to turn right, but Peete said that he would not turn right because it was a dead-end. Peete turned left instead, and the defendant said, "fuck this shit" and pulled out a gun. As the defendant tried to insert the clip into the gun, he and Peete started "tussling over the gun" and Peete eventually "pull[ed] the clip out." During the ordeal, the car was still moving at a "normal speed, " and the gun was pointed at Lee and her son. Lee, who was nervous and scared, tried to open the car door to jump out, but ...