Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Assigned on Briefs September 16, 2014
Direct Appeal from the Criminal Court for Knox County No. 99058C Steven W. Sword, Judge.
Dustin S. Dunham, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Deshawn Mahon Mancill.
Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence Lutz, Senior Counsel; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Philip H. Morton, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee,
State of Tennessee.
Norma McGee Ogle, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Roger A. Page and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ., joined.
NORMA McGEE OGLE, JUDGE
I. Factual Background
A Knox County Grand Jury returned a multi-count indictment charging the appellant and two co-defendants, Ricky Brown and Ronald Scott Crigger, with possession of less than 15 grams of heroin with the intent to sell; possession of less than 15 grams of heroin with the intent to deliver; possession of alprazolam with the intent to sell; possession of alprazolam with the intent to deliver; possession of clonazepam; being a convicted felon in possession of a .40 caliber handgun with the intent to go armed; and being a convicted felon in possession of a .380 caliber handgun with the intent to go armed. The appellant's case was severed from his co-defendants' cases.
At the appellant's trial, Ricky Brown testified that he lived in Knoxville and that he owned Studio Premonition, a business on Magnolia Avenue. Approximately five or six months prior to July 2011, the appellant, who was Brown's older cousin, moved to Knoxville from Detroit, Michigan, and lived mostly with Brown. Brown had purchased heroin from the appellant three or four times within the weeks before the instant offenses.
Brown said that on July 28, 2011, he spent the day with the appellant and Crigger. They went to Walmart and then proceeded to Brown's studio. While they were at the studio, Brown noticed that the appellant had heroin and several other types of drugs in a shopping bag and a firearm tucked into his waistband. As the men prepared to leave to go to a shopping mall to sell heroin, Brown told the appellant that he could not get into Brown's vehicle, which had been rented by Brown's wife, "with all of that stuff on him." The appellant removed three packets of heroin from the bag and put the firearm and the bag with the remaining drugs into a city dumpster outside the studio. Brown noticed that Crigger had a gym bag in the back seat with him; however, Brown did not know what was in the bag. Along the way, the men stopped at Sav-Way so the appellant could wire money to his brother, Marvin. Brown said that the appellant had another brother, Myron, who went by the nickname "Black Goat." Marvin and Myron lived in Detroit.
Brown said that after they left Sav-Way, they went to the mall, where the appellant intended to sell two packets of the heroin to two women they had just met. The other packet of heroin was for Brown and Crigger; Brown intended to pay for the heroin later. After they parked, the appellant left the heroin in the cup holder on the front center console and walked into the mall. Brown and Crigger smoked a marijuana cigarette and then followed the appellant. The men waited in the mall for about three hours, but the two women never arrived. The men left the mall and got back into the car. The heroin was still in the cup holder between Brown and the appellant. Brown backed out of the parking space while talking on his cellular telephone and trying to put on his seatbelt.
Brown said that after they left the parking lot, he noticed an unmarked police truck behind him with its lights flashing, and he pulled over. Because the heroin would have been visible from outside the vehicle, Brown panicked, grabbed the packets of heroin, and put them in his pocket. The police searched the vehicle and found his wife's .40 caliber Glock handgun in a lock box under the center console and a .380 caliber Bersa handgun in Crigger's gym bag. Brown did not know that the weapons were in the car. Police also found a set of scales that could be used to weigh drugs. Brown did not know the scales were in the vehicle, but he had seen the appellant with scales on previous occasions.
On cross-examination, Brown acknowledged that he was "high" at the time he was stopped by the police. Brown further acknowledged that the police found the heroin in his pocket. Brown also was indicted for the possession of twenty-five Xanax pills the police found in his left pocket and for possession of the .40 caliber Glock handgun.
On redirect examination, Brown said that one packet of heroin could be sold for thirty dollars. Brown bought the pills from a friend "from off campus."
Upon questioning by the court, Brown said that he did not know his wife's gun was in the vehicle. He explained that the lock box in the console could be unlocked with the key to the vehicle. Brown stated that Crigger kept his gym bag closed while it was in the vehicle.
Ronald Scott Crigger testified that he had not been promised anything in exchange for testifying truthfully against the appellant. Crigger said that at the time of the offense, he and Brown had been friends for almost three years and that they "got high" together by using alcohol, marijuana, heroin, or Xanax. Crigger met the appellant at Brown's studio about six months before the offenses. After meeting the ...