Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
ROBERT W. RODDY
STATE OF TENNESSEE
Assigned on Briefs March 25, 2015
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Rhea County No. 16326 J. Curtis Smith, Judge
James S. Smith, Jr., Rockwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert W. Roddy.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; J. Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; and James W. Pope, III, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
John Everett Williams, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Norma McGee Ogle and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., JJ., joined.
JOHN EVERETT WILLIAMS, JUDGE
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The petitioner was convicted after the proof at trial showed that he shot and killed two victims, Robert C. Hawkins and Mikel L. Hawkins, and pointed his weapon at a third victim, Teresa Gaynell Byrd. State v. Robert W. Roddy, No. E2007-02185-CCA-R3-CD, 2008 WL 4117865, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Sept. 8, 2008). Several witnesses saw the shooting and reported that the petitioner appeared intoxicated at the time. Id. at *1-3.
Paramedics arrived on the scene and treated the petitioner's head injury. Id. at *3. The petitioner was belligerent and hostile toward the male paramedic, Paul Putnam. Id. However, whenever Mr. Putnam's female partner, Tiffany Coy, was in the petitioner's vicinity, "he would calm down." Id. The petitioner told Ms. Coy that "'he would do anything for' her." Id. While en route to the hospital, the petitioner attempted to get Ms. Coy's phone number and repeatedly asked her to be his girlfriend. Id.
The petitioner had to be transported to Erlangher Hospital to treat his head wound, and James Wolfe was in charge of the transport. Id. The petitioner struck Mr. Wolfe when Mr. Wolfe attempted to secure him for transport, and the petitioner had to be sedated. Id. According to Mr. Wolfe, the petitioner "did not have any problems understanding him or any other medical professional." Id.
After this court upheld the petitioner's convictions, he filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief. The post-conviction court appointed counsel, and counsel filed an amended petition. The post-conviction court held a hearing on the petition.
The petitioner did not appear at the post-conviction hearing and did not call any witnesses. Post-conviction counsel introduced a handwritten note, signed by the petitioner, indicating that he understood his right to be present at the hearing and his desire to waive that right. Counsel recited the list of allegations from the petition for post-conviction relief, including the petitioner's allegation that trial counsel were ineffective for failing to object to the testimony regarding the petitioner's behavior after the shootings. Counsel argued that proof that he was abusive to several medical personnel was prejudicial because "it would not endear" the petitioner to the jury. Counsel argued that the parties could have stipulated as to how the petitioner received an injury to his eye socket and that keeping "that proof out would have placed [the petitioner] in a much better light with the jury."
The State responded to the allegation, arguing that the testimony showing that the petitioner was "laughing and drinking a beer" after shooting one of the victims was relevant to show that the killings were premeditated and to negate a claim of self-defense.
The State also contended that testimony that the petitioner was fighting with the male paramedics and "coming onto" the female paramedic was relevant to negate the defense of intoxication. The State argued that the testimony of Mr. Wolfe that the petitioner "understood everything that [paramedics] were saying to him, but he just didn't want us treating him, but he wanted to flirt with the female" showed ...