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State v. Valentine

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

April 9, 2015

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
WILLIAM VALENTINE

Assigned on Briefs January 21, 2015

Appeal from the Criminal Court for Hamilton County No. 278667 Barry A. Steelman, Judge

Following a jury trial, the Defendant, William Valentine, was convicted of attempted first degree murder, a Class A felony, and aggravated assault, a Class C felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-12-101, -13-102, -13-202. The Defendant was sentenced to sixteen years for the attempted first degree murder conviction and five years for the aggravated assault conviction.[1] In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends (1) that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the Defendant's conviction for attempted first degree murder; (2) that the trial court erred in denying the Defendant's motion to suppress and allowing the State to cross-examine him regarding statements he made to the police; (3) that the trial court erred in admitting photographs depicting scars on the victim's body from several gunshot wounds when the victim already displayed the scars to the jury during his testimony; (4) that the trial court erred in admitting the victim's medical records; (5) that the trial court erred in admitting a recording of a 911 call made by a witness to the shooting; (6) that the State committed prosecutorial misconduct; (7) that the trial court erred by not allowing the Defendant to testify regarding his opinion of a local nightclub; (8) that the trial court erred by not allowing the Defendant to introduce extrinsic evidence of a prior inconsistent statement made by the victim; (9) that the trial court erred by denying the Defendant's motion for a new trial on the grounds that the victim recanted a portion of his trial testimony; and (10) that the Defendant received ineffective assistance from his trial counsel.[2] Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

R. Garth Best, Chattanooga, Tennessee (at motion for new trial hearing and on appeal); Arvin H. Reingold, Chattanooga, Tennessee (at trial); and Jonathan Turner, Chattanooga, Tennessee (at motion for new trial hearing), for the appellant, William Valentine.

Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; and Bret Alexander, Carl Thomson Huskins, and David Schmidt, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ., joined.

OPINION

D. KELLY THOMAS, JR., JUDGE

FACTUAL BACKGROUND[3]

This case arises from a shooting that occurred outside Riverside Wine and Spirits (Riverside) in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The victim, Marquel Lane, testified that on August 12, 2010, he got a ride from his aunt, Lena Miller, to his father's house. On the way to drop off Mr. Lane, Ms. Miller stopped at Riverside to purchase some alcohol. Mr. Lane testified that Ms. Miller parked her black Honda Civic in front of the liquor store, close to the entrance. Mr. Lane sat in the front passenger seat while Ms. Miller went into the liquor store. According to Mr. Lane, he then saw the Defendant and another man, known as "Magic, " pull into the parking lot. The men got out of their car and started walking towards the entrance to the liquor store.

Mr. Lane testified that as the Defendant and Magic were walking towards the liquor store, Magic pointed him out to the Defendant. According to Mr. Lane, the Defendant then walked around the front of Ms. Miller's car to the passenger side door with a gun in his hand, said, "I got this, " and "just started shooting." Mr. Lane testified that he heard Ms. Miller call his name from the door of the liquor store. According to Mr. Lane, this caused the Defendant to turn and point the gun "at the door." While the Defendant was turned away, Mr. Lane started to crawl towards the driver side door. Mr. Lane testified that he was shot twice in the back as he was crawling out of the car. Mr. Lane also recalled that Magic "was just standing right there" while the Defendant shot him.

Mr. Lane testified that once he got out of the car, he "took off running" towards the road. The Defendant chased Mr. Lane, shouting, "Where you going?" Mr. Lane testified that when the Defendant caught up to him, he tried to put the Defendant "in a headlock." According to Mr. Lane, he and the Defendant fell to the ground and the Defendant started hitting him. Mr. Lane testified that the Defendant said, "You [sic] fixing to die[, ]" as he hit Mr. Lane. Mr. Lane also testified that he believed the Defendant was striking him with the gun. The Defendant repeatedly asked Mr. Lane where he got "hit at" and told him that he was about to die. Mr. Lane testified that the Defendant held him down until he passed out.

Mr. Lane testified that the next thing he remembered was waking up in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. Mr. Lane testified that he was shot in his chest, "sides, " and leg. The State had Mr. Lane raise his shirt and show the jury the scars from the gunshot wounds to his torso. Mr. Lane explained to the jury that he was shot in the right side of his chest, the left and right sides of his abdomen, and his lower back. Mr. Lane further testified that he was shot in his right thigh near his groin. The State also introduced photographs taken shortly before the trial depicting the scars on Mr. Lane's torso. Mr. Lane testified that as a result of his injuries, he had "major surgery" and was in the hospital for "two to three months." However, the medical records admitted by the State only covered a period of fifteen days. According to Mr. Lane, it took him a year "to get back to normal."

Mr. Lane explained to the jury that he first met the Defendant approximately a year before the shooting. Mr. Lane testified that, at that time, the Defendant was dating his girlfriend's cousin. Mr. Lane described an altercation when he and his girlfriend had gotten "into it" and her cousin "wanted [him] to leave." Mr. Lane testified that he told the Defendant, who was also present, to "tell [his] girl to stop tripping." According to Mr. Lane, as he was leaving, the Defendant hit him "with some brass knuckles." Mr. Lane claimed that he and his girlfriend were "just arguing, " but he later admitted that he pled guilty to domestic assault for hitting his girlfriend during the incident. Mr. Lane denied threatening to hit the Defendant's girlfriend. Mr. Lane also admitted that the Defendant was not arrested for striking him with the brass knuckles because the police "didn't believe" him.

Mr. Lane testified that about three days before the shooting, he saw the Defendant at a local nightclub. Mr. Lane explained that throughout the night, the Defendant kept smirking and bumping into him. Mr. Lane testified that when he was leaving the nightclub, the Defendant said "some stuff" to him and he "just hit" the Defendant. Mr. Lane claimed that he hit the Defendant "about two times, he fell, and that was it." Mr. Lane denied using brass knuckles on the Defendant or having any other weapons on him that night. Mr. Lane testified that two of his "boys" were with him, but he denied that they "jumped on" the Defendant. Mr. Lane insisted that he was the only person "fighting" the Defendant that night.

Mr. Lane admitted that, at the time of the trial, he was in custody for pending charges of failure to appear, possession of drug paraphernalia, criminal trespass, and a "stop sign violation." Mr. Lane testified that all of the pending charges were misdemeanor offenses and that he had never been convicted of a felony. Mr. Lane further testified that on the night of the shooting, he did not have any weapons with him or in the car. Mr. Lane also testified that he did not say anything to the Defendant before the Defendant started shooting at him. Mr. Lane admitted that he started to open the car door when the Defendant and Magic approached him. Mr. Lane testified that he was going to get out of the car to talk to them, but the Defendant already had the gun out. Mr. Lane denied telling the police that the Defendant did not have the gun while the Defendant was beating him.

Ms. Miller testified that she was inside the liquor store talking to the clerk when she heard approximately five gunshots. Ms. Miller testified that the counter was "almost directly in front of the door" and that she looked out and saw the Defendant with a gun shooting into her car. Ms. Miller saw her "windshield shatter[]" and "the door to the driver's side open." Ms. Miller testified that people inside the liquor store "were telephoning the police" and that the employees "locked the doors . . . so [she] couldn't get out." Ms. Miller testified that she saw the Defendant and Mr. Lane "struggling" in the parking lot and that the Defendant's hand was moving in "a stabbing motion." Ms. Miller further testified that she saw a second man with the Defendant but that she did not see him do anything. After the Defendant fled, Ms. Miller went out to Mr. Lane and saw him bleeding from his nose, mouth, and waist.

Emily Pinner testified that she was working at Riverside on the day of the shooting. Ms. Pinner testified that she "was dealing with a customer" when she heard "some pops" coming from outside. Ms. Pinner recalled that the customer got "pretty hysterical" because of what she saw outside the store. Ms. Pinner looked out the door and saw a car with a broken window. Ms. Pinner testified that she locked the door, tried to keep the customer away from the door, and then called 911. An audio recording of Ms. Pinner's 911 call was played for the jury. Ms. Pinner told the operator that "somebody just got shot out in the parking lot." Ms. Pinner saw the victim on the ground and another man on top of him, kicking him. Ms. Pinner then told the operator, "Somebody is getting hurt very badly." Ms. Pinner described the attacker as a black man, with "long dreadlocks" and driving "a black Blazer."

Sergeant Robert Lewis of the Chattanooga Police Department (CPD) testified that he responded to the shooting. Sgt. Lewis testified that he was one of several officers who stopped a black SUV a short distance from the liquor store. The Defendant was driving the vehicle and was its only occupant. Sgt. Lewis recalled that the Defendant had long dreadlocks, matching Ms. Pinner's description, and that his clothes were covered in blood. Sgt. Lewis testified that he "patted down" the Defendant and found an empty holster "in his waistband." A search of the Defendant's SUV by CPD officers revealed bloodstains on the driver side door and seat as well as the center console. A pair of brass knuckles was found in the center console. Officers also found two shirts with bloodstains on them in the back of the SUV.

CPD officers recovered a total of six .380 Winchester spent shell casings from inside and around Ms. Miller's car. One shell casing was found outside the car, two were found on the passenger seat, one on the center console, and two on the passenger side floorboard. Two bullet holes were found in the driver side door and another was found on the center console. CPD officers were eventually able to recover two spent bullets from inside the driver side door. There also appeared to be two bullet strikes on the passenger side door "where the rounds had actually impacted the door" and chipped the paint but "did not actually penetrate through the door." CPD officers also found "a small smear of blood" on the driver side seat.

Approximately 150 feet east of Ms. Miller's car in a gravel area, CPD officers found a puddle of blood. Near the puddle the officers found Mr. Lane's shirt with a bullet hole "near the right arm sleeve." Mr. Lane's undershirt also had a bullet hole "near the bottom." Some coins and Mr. Lane's cell phone were also found in the gravel area near his shirt. The Defendant's hands were tested for gunshot residue, but the results were inconclusive. CPD officers did not attempt to collect any fingerprints from the crime scene or any of the evidence collected. The gun used to shoot Mr. Lane was never recovered by the police.

Subsequent testing by Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) forensic scientists revealed that the blood on the driver side door of the Defendant's SUV had a mixture of genetic material. The major contributor was Mr. Lane while the minor contributor was the Defendant. The blood on the two shirts taken from the back of the Defendant's SUV was determined to belong to the Defendant. The bullets recovered from the driver side door of Ms. Miller's car were determined to have been fired from the same .380 caliber gun. The recovered shell casings bore "the same shape and contour firing pin impression as one another and some similar individual characteristics, " but the markings were insufficient to conclusively determine that they had been fired from the same gun.

Patrice Schermerhorn testified that she was the paramedic who responded to the shooting of Mr. Lane. Ms. Schermerhorn testified that when she arrived, Mr. Lane was "laying [sic] on the ground and shot multiple times." Ms. Schermerhorn described Mr. Lane's wounds as "[a]bsolutely" life-threatening. Mr. Lane had three gunshot wounds to his right chest "near and below the nipple, " one gunshot wound to "the right flank, " three gunshot wounds to his left abdomen, one gunshot wound to his right leg, two gunshot wounds to his back, one gunshot wound to his right buttock, and a "grazing wound" to the left side of his scalp.

Investigator Michael Wenger of the CPD testified that he was the lead investigator in this case. Inv. Wenger testified that he and another investigator spoke with Mr. Lane at the hospital ten days after the shooting. According to Inv. Wenger, during that interview, Mr. Lane was asked if he saw or felt a gun when the Defendant was attacking him after the shooting, and Mr. Lane replied that he did not.

At trial, several people testified on the Defendant's behalf that he regularly attended church, was truthful, and not "a murderer" or violent person. Adolphus Mitchell testified that he worked security at the nightclub on the night of the fight between the Defendant and Mr. Lane. Mr. Mitchell testified that he found the Defendant "getting ganged by six or seven [] guys." According to Mr. Mitchell, the Defendant "was in the fetal position, and [the] guys [were] over him beating him and stomping him." Mr. Mitchell testified that Mr. Lane was standing over the Defendant "beating him with a pair of brass knuckles." Mr. Mitchell testified that he broke up the fight and that the Defendant was bloody and had blood on his clothes. Mr. Mitchell further testified that Mr. Lane came to the nightclub often with the other men and that he suspected that they were in a gang.

The Defendant testified on his own behalf at trial. The Defendant told the jury that he had never been arrested for anything before shooting Mr. Lane. The Defendant stated that he had an associate degree, had been accepted to the city's fire academy prior to the shooting, had attended church for the past seven or eight years, was a greeter at his church, and was currently attending a local seminary. However, the Defendant admitted that he had never actually attended the fire academy and had only started his seminary program after the shooting. The Defendant testified that he owned the gun used to shoot Mr. Lane and that, at the time of the shooting, he had a valid handgun carry permit.

The Defendant testified about his prior altercations with Mr. Lane. The Defendant explained that, a year before the shooting, Mr. Lane had "made attempts to beat" his girlfriend and the Defendant's girlfriend in front of the Defendant. The Defendant testified that one of the women was holding a baby when Mr. Lane attacked her. According to the Defendant, he "defended the women and held [Mr. Lane] until the police got there." The Defendant denied using brass knuckles on Mr. Lane, testifying that he did not "need them." The Defendant further testified that he was not arrested or charged with anything as a result of this altercation with Mr. Lane.

The Defendant testified that he next saw Mr. Lane a few days before the shooting at a local nightclub. According to the Defendant, as he was leaving the club, one of Mr. Lane's friends hit him in the back of the head. The Defendant testified that he turned around and punched his attacker several times before Mr. Lane "came and hit [him] on the face with some brass knuckles." The Defendant claimed that after Mr. Lane hit him, "eight more people came" and attacked him. The Defendant testified that he was "balled up and they stomped [him] and kicked [him]."

The Defendant testified that the men beat him "pretty bad" and that the bloody clothes found in the back of his SUV after the shooting were the clothes he had worn to the nightclub. The Defendant claimed that after Mr. Lane beat him, he told the Defendant that "he was going to get [the Defendant] again" and not to call the police. Despite the severity of the attack, the Defendant testified that he did not go to the hospital. The Defendant testified that he "didn't hold a grudge" against Mr. Lane for the attack but that he was carrying his gun on the day of the shooting because of the attack. The Defendant testified that he "didn't always carry [his] gun everywhere" and that he did not have it at the nightclub.

The Defendant testified that on the day of the shooting, he had met Magic at Riverside and left his car parked in front of the liquor store while they left in Magic's car. When they returned, Ms. Miller's car was parked next to the Defendant's. The Defendant testified that he did not see Mr. Lane until Mr. Lane started to get out of the car and yelled at him, "Old snitching ass n----r, old b---h ass n----r, I'm fixing to beat your ass." The Defendant claimed that Mr. Lane hit him with the car door. The Defendant admitted that, at that point, Mr. Lane was still sitting in the car, but the Defendant claimed that Mr. Lane "was getting out, trying to attack [him]."

The Defendant described the shooting as follows: "[W]hile [Mr. Lane] was trying to open the door, I just, I stopped the door and then I retrieved my pistol and I shot in it. He was trying to take me. I just defended myself." The Defendant testified that he had never shot at someone before and that he was not trying to kill Mr. Lane. The Defendant claimed that he did not think and just started shooting on instinct. The Defendant testified that he did not "even remember aiming[, ] . . . [he] was just shooting." The Defendant further testified that he was shooting at Mr. Lane "to keep him away . . . and keep him in the car." The Defendant claimed that he only fired five or six rounds and then dropped the gun behind Ms. Miller's car.

The Defendant testified that Mr. Lane was able to get out of the car and started running away from him. The Defendant claimed that he decided to chase after Mr. Lane because he "saw those brass knuckles again, " just "snapped, " and "was just so angry." The Defendant testified that Mr. Lane grabbed his hair and tried to put him in a headlock when he caught up to Mr. Lane. The Defendant denied hitting Mr. Lane with the gun and testified that he "just punched him a couple of times" and they fell to the ground. The Defendant testified that he injured his elbow during the fall. The Defendant further testified that he did not recall saying anything to Mr. Lane as they struggled.

The Defendant testified that he then ran back to his SUV. The Defendant claimed that when Mr. Lane got out of the driver side of Ms. Miller's car, he managed to throw the brass knuckles behind the car. The Defendant testified that when he ran back to his SUV, he picked up the brass knuckles from behind the car to ensure that "nobody else got hit with those brass knuckles." The Defendant claimed that one of his friends picked up his gun and that he did not know where it was or what happened to it. The Defendant testified that he got into his SUV and drove away because he panicked. The Defendant pulled over when stopped by the police and "complied" with their instructions.

On cross-examination, the Defendant admitted that when the police asked him about the shooting, he "blurted out" that he did not shoot Mr. Lane, "but [he] kicked his butt." The Defendant claimed that he lied to the police because he was panicked and "not used to dealing with police." The Defendant also admitted that he may have told the police that he did not know who shot Mr. Lane. The Defendant claimed that he was afraid of Mr. Lane because Mr. Lane was in a gang, was "known to carry guns and weapons, " and was "a bad dude." The Defendant insisted that he did not plan to shoot Mr. Lane and that he "wish[ed] it never happened." The Defendant continued, "I want this all behind me so I can move on with my life. I have a great life. Really, I don't deserve to be here for defending myself."

Based upon the foregoing evidence, the jury rejected the Defendant's claim of self-defense and convicted him of attempted first degree murder and aggravated assault. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to an effective sentence of sixteen years. This appeal followed.

ANALYSIS

I. Sufficiency of the Evidence

The Defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction for attempted first degree murder.[4] The Defendant argues that the evidence did not establish "premeditation and deliberation" and that the jury erred in rejecting his claim of self-defense. Specifically, the Defendant alleges that the evidence established that he "did not 'arm' himself with the deliberate and premeditated plan of locating and attempting to kill the victim." The State responds that the evidence was sufficient to sustain the Defendant's conviction for attempted first degree murder.

An appellate court's standard of review when the defendant questions the sufficiency of the evidence on appeal is "whether, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt." Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319 (1979). This court does not reweigh the evidence; rather, it presumes that the jury has resolved all conflicts in the testimony and drawn all reasonable inferences from the evidence in favor of the state. See State v. Sheffield, 676 S.W.2d 542, 547 (Tenn. 1984); State v. Cabbage, 571 S.W.2d 832, 835 (Tenn. 1978). Questions regarding witness credibility, conflicts in testimony, and the weight and value to be given to evidence were resolved by the jury. See State v. Bland, 958 S.W.2d 651, 659 (Tenn. 1997).

A guilty verdict "removes the presumption of innocence and replaces it with a presumption of guilt, and [on appeal] the defendant has the burden of illustrating why the evidence is insufficient to support the jury's verdict." Bland, 958 S.W.2d at 659; State v. Tuggle, 639 S.W.2d 913, 914 (Tenn. 1982). A guilty verdict "may not be based solely upon conjecture, guess, speculation, or a mere possibility." State v. Cooper, 736 S.W.2d 125, 129 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1987). However, "[t]here is no requirement that the State's proof be uncontroverted or perfect." State v. Williams, 657 S.W.2d 405, 410 (Tenn. 1983). Put another way, the State is not burdened with "an affirmative duty to rule out every hypothesis except that of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." Jackson, 443 U.S. at 326.

The foregoing standard "applies to findings of guilt based upon direct evidence, circumstantial evidence, or a combination of [both] direct and circumstantial evidence." State v. Pendergrass, 13 S.W.3d 389, 392-93 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1999). Our supreme court has held that circumstantial evidence is as probative as direct evidence. State v. Dorantes, 331 S.W.3d 370, 379-81 (Tenn. 2011). In doing so, the supreme court rejected the previous standard which "required the State to prove facts and circumstances so strong and cogent as to exclude every other reasonable hypothesis save the guilt of the defendant, and that beyond a reasonable doubt." Id. at 380 (quoting State v. Crawford, 470 S.W.2d 610, 612 (Tenn. 1971)) (internal quotation marks omitted).

Instead, "direct and circumstantial evidence should be treated the same when weighing the sufficiency of such evidence." Dorantes, 331 S.W.3d at 381. The reason for this is because with both direct and circumstantial evidence, "a jury is asked to weigh the chances that the evidence correctly points to guilt against the possibility of inaccuracy or ambiguous inference." Id. at 380 (quoting Holland v. United States, 348 U.S. 121, 140 (1954)). To that end, the duty of this court "on appeal of a conviction is not to contemplate all plausible inferences in the [d]efendant's favor, but to draw all reasonable inferences from the evidence in favor of the State." State v. Sisk, 343 S.W.3d 60, 67 (Tenn. 2011).

First degree premeditated murder is defined as "[a] premeditated and intentional killing of another." Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-202(a)(1). A person acts intentionally "when it is the person's conscious objective or desire to engage in the conduct or cause the result." Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-11-302(a).

[P]remeditation is an act done after the exercise of reflection and judgment. Premeditation means that the intent to kill must have been formed prior to the act itself. It is not necessary that the purpose to kill pre-exist in the mind of the accused for any definite period of time.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-202(d) (internal quotation marks omitted). Criminal attempt, as charged to the jury in this case, occurs when a person acts with the kind of culpability otherwise required for the attempted offense and "[a]cts with intent to cause a result that is an element of the offense, and believes the conduct will cause the result without further conduct on the person's part." Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-12-101(a)(2).

The element of premeditation only requires the defendant to think "about a proposed killing before engaging in the homicidal conduct." State v. Brown, 836 S.W.2d 530, 541 (Tenn. 1992) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). The presence of premeditation is a question for the jury and may be established by proof of the circumstances surrounding the killing. Bland, 958 S.W.2d at 660. Our supreme court has held that factors demonstrating the existence of premeditation include, but are not limited to, the following: the use of a deadly weapon upon an unarmed victim, the particular cruelty of the killing, declarations by the defendant of an intent to kill, evidence of procurement of a weapon, preparations before the killing for concealment of the crime, destruction or secretion of evidence of the killing, and calmness immediately after the killing. See State v. Davidson, 121 S.W.3d 600, 615 (Tenn. 2003); Bland, 958 S.W.2d at 660. Additional factors cited by this court from which a jury may infer premeditation include lack of provocation by the victim and the defendant's failure to render aid to the victim. See State v. Lewis, 36 S.W.3d 88, 96 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2000).

Here, the evidence established that the Defendant and Mr. Lane had engaged in two previous altercations. Both men agreed that Mr. Lane, at the very least, punched the Defendant a few days before the shooting. The Defendant himself testified that, despite his handgun carry permit, he did not always carry his gun with him. The Defendant testified that he was carrying his handgun on the day of the shooting because of his altercation with Mr. Lane. While there was conflicting testimony about whether Mr. Lane spoke to the Defendant or was exiting the car when the Defendant started shooting, the Defendant admitted that Mr. Lane was seated in the car when he started shooting at him. The only evidence that Mr. Lane was armed was the Defendant's testimony that he saw Mr. Lane throw a pair of brass knuckles, a pair of which was later found in the Defendant's SUV, as he was running from the car.

The Defendant shot at Mr. Lane at least six times, but likely more. Mr. Lane suffered eleven gunshot wounds and was grazed on the top of his head. Mr. Lane testified that the Defendant shot him twice in the back as he was crawling out of the car. After Mr. Lane fled, the Defendant chased him down and attacked him. The Defendant testified that he wrestled Mr. Lane to the ground and punched him. Mr. Lane testified that the Defendant beat him with the gun. Mr. Lane also testified that the Defendant repeatedly told him that he was going to die and wanted to know where he had been shot. Once Mr. Lane passed out, the Defendant fled. The Defendant admitted that one of his friends took the gun and disposed of it. Accordingly, we conclude that there was sufficient evidence to establish the element of premeditation.

With respect to the Defendant's argument that he shot Mr. Lane in self-defense, Tennessee law provides that a person may use deadly force in self-defense when that person has a reasonable belief, based upon reasonable grounds, that there is an imminent, real danger of death or serious bodily injury. Tenn. Code Ann. ยง 39-11-611(b)(2). It is well established, under Tennessee law "that whether an individual acted in self-defense is a factual determination to be made by the jury as the sole trier of ...


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