Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Assigned on Briefs February 19, 2015
Appeal from the Criminal Court for Knox County No. 100942 Mary Beth Leibowitz, Judge
J. Liddell Kirk, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Andrew Mann.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Ahmed A. Safeeullah, Assistant Attorney General; Charme P. Allen, District Attorney General; and Leslie Nassios, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.
D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Norma McGee Ogle and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ., joined.
D. KELLY THOMAS, JR., JUDGE
In June 2007, the then twenty-one-year-old Petitioner shot and killed the father and stepmother of his then fifteen-year-old girlfriend, Amanda McGhee, at her behest. State v. Andrew Mann, No. E2010-00601-CCA-R3-CD, 2012 WL 184157 (Tenn. Crim. App. Jan. 23, 2012), perm. app. denied (Tenn. June 20, 2012). Following a jury trial, the Petitioner was convicted of two counts of first degree premeditated murder and was sentenced to two consecutive life terms. Ms. McGhee ultimately pled guilty to two counts of second degree murder and received an effective sentence of forty-five years. The evidence at trial established that Ms. McGhee and the Petitioner planned to kill the victims after Ms. McGhee discovered she was pregnant with the Petitioner's child. Id.
Ms. McGhee's father's body was found in his bed with a gunshot wound to the back of his head. Mann, 2012 WL 184157, at *3. Ms. McGhee's stepmother's body was found in a hallway with gunshot wounds to her back and arm. One of Ms. McGhee's friends testified at trial that she had been given "a Crown Royal bag" by Ms. McGhee to give to the Petitioner. Id. at *2. The friend further testified that when she gave the bag to the Petitioner, he revealed to her that it contained a gun. According to Ms. McGhee's friend, she asked the Petitioner "if he intended to kill [Ms. McGhee's] parents, " and the Petitioner "just smiled." The friend further testified that the Petitioner told her that he was going to kill Ms. McGhee's parents because "he did not want to go to jail, " which she took to mean that the Petitioner was afraid Ms. McGhee's parents "would press a statutory rape charge against him." Id.
The Petitioner's friend, Christopher Kirkland, testified at trial that a few days before the murders, the Petitioner "expressed his anger at [Ms. McGhee's] parents for trying to keep . . . them apart because of their age and stated that he wanted to shoot and kill them." Mann, 2012 WL 184157, at *2. The Petitioner and Mr. Kirkland then had a conversation about how best to kill the victims, and Mr. Kirkland agreed to "help in killing the victims." Mr. Kirkland testified that on the morning of the murders, he received a phone call from the Petitioner. The Petitioner told him that he was in Ms. McGhee's father's bedroom and that her father was asleep, "facing away from" him. The Petitioner wanted to know if he should shoot Ms. McGhee's father "in the back of the head because he could not shoot him in the front of the head." Mr. Kirkland testified that he told the Petitioner, "I don't know, " and hung up the phone. Id.
Mr. Kirkland further testified that the Petitioner called him later that day and requested that he come to Ms. McGhee's house to see her father's body. Mann, 2012 WL 184157, at *2. According to Mr. Kirkland, he met the Petitioner and Ms. McGhee, who told him that they planned on killing Ms. McGhee's stepmother "when she returned home from work . . . because otherwise she would be a witness to the murder." Mr. Kirkland testified that it seemed to him that killing Ms. McGhee's stepmother was the Petitioner's idea and that Ms. McGhee "did not want to do it." Mr. Kirkland believed that the Petitioner was "calling the shots." Mr. Kirkland stated that when he saw the body, he "freaked out" and fled the house. Mr. Kirkland further stated that he met with the Petitioner and Ms. McGhee again later that night, and "they acted as if nothing had happened." Mr. Kirkland testified that the Petitioner tried to get him to help dispose of the bodies. Id.
Mr. Kirkland testified on cross-examination that the Petitioner had told him that Ms. McGhee "was being physically abused by her father and that the [Petitioner] was worried for her safety." Mann, 2012 WL 184157, at *3. Mr. Kirkland also admitted that the Petitioner had told him about an incident where Ms. McGhee's father had threatened the Petitioner with a gun and taken the Petitioner's identification. In addition to the foregoing evidence, two recorded confessions made by the Petitioner were played for the jury. Id. at *1. At the close of the State's proof, the Petitioner sought to have two experts testify regarding his mental capacity at the time of the murders. Id. at *3. The State objected to the experts' testimony because "neither expert could testify with a reasonable degree of scientific or medical certainty" that the Petitioner lacked the mental capacity to form premeditation. The trial court took the issue under advisement, and the Petitioner was called to testify. Id.
Before the Petitioner testified in front of the jury, the trial court had him sworn in and conducted a brief hearing. The trial court informed the Petitioner of his right to testify and the converse right to remain silent, and explained the potential consequences of each option. The following exchange then occurred:
[Trial court]: I've told you about your two options. This is the last thing I need to tell you about, and this is very important. And that is that this is your decision. Okay? This isn't ...