Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Session January 13, 2015
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Grundy County No. 2639 Thomas W. Graham, Judge
B. Jeffery Harmon, Public Defender, and Robert G. Morgan, Assistant Public Defender, Jasper, Tennessee for the appellant, Charles Edward Meeks.
Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; J. Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; and David L. Shinn, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., J., joined.
ROBERT W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE
I. Facts and Procedural History
A Grundy County jury convicted the Petitioner of the first degree premeditated murder of Charles Coffelt, and the trial court sentenced the Petitioner to serve life in prison. On direct appeal, this Court summarized the facts presented at trial as follows:
In January, 1994, the [Petitioner] was shot in the forehead with a .22 caliber bullet. The bullet lodged in his right frontal sinus and remained there for several months. On February 19, 1994, the [Petitioner] was admitted to the hospital to have an abscess treated that had formed around the wound. He was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday, February 23, 1994, and was given two Percocets and a prescription for antibiotics. Percocet is a Schedule II drug used for moderate pain.
On Saturday, February 26, 1994, the [Petitioner] was suffering from a severe headache. Rose Meeks, the [Petitioner]'s ex-wife, called a doctor at the hospital where the [Petitioner] had been treated, who prescribed Percocet for the [Petitioner]'s pain. At about 4:00 p.m., Ms. Meeks drove the [Petitioner] to the hospital where she picked up the prescription. Ms. Meeks then drove to a pharmacy and had the prescription filled. Between 6:00 and 8:30 p.m., she gave the paper bag containing the prescription bottle to the [Petitioner], who immediately took "some" of the drug. On the way home from the hospital, Ms. Meeks stopped at a liquor store and the [Petitioner] purchased some liquor.
After arriving home at approximately 10:30 p.m., the [Petitioner] prepared a mixed drink for himself and Ms. Meeks. He also took some more Percocet. The [Petitioner] testified that he had taken a total of four to five Percocets that day. Shortly after they arrived home, Ms. Meeks invited Ann Coffelt and the victim, Charles Coffelt, over for a visit. Ann Coffelt is Ms. Meeks' sister. Upon the Coffelts' arrival between 11:00 and 11:30 p.m., the [Petitioner] mixed himself another drink and also fixed one for the victim. The [Petitioner] testified that he had had no other alcohol that day.
After visiting for a few minutes, the [Petitioner] and the victim began arguing. Although the exact sequence of events was disputed at trial, the [Petitioner] testified that the victim had struck him with his fist "right between the eyes." He testified that, after hitting him, the victim "came back at me again with another right, " at which point the [Petitioner] produced a pistol and shot the victim twice. Although the [Petitioner] subsequently administered CPR to the victim, Mr. Coffelt died a short time later. The [Petitioner] was taken into police custody at approximately 11:45 p.m., and gave a sworn statement at approximately 2:00 a.m. on February 27, 1994. The TBI agent who took the statement testified that the [Petitioner] was "very nervous" but "sober."
Meeks, 1995 WL 687695, at *1.
The Petitioner filed a post-conviction petition in 1997, asserting that his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to prepare and present evidence at trial of the Petitioner's lack of capacity for intent to commit murder and in failing to seek a jury instruction regarding such "diminished capacity." He also asserted that trial counsel was ineffective because he declined to make an opening statement to the jury. This Court affirmed the post-conviction court's denial of ...