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Tennessee v. Blue

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

June 17, 2015


Assigned on Briefs May 5, 2015

Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 0402312 James C. Beasley, Jr., Judge

Patrick E. Stegall, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Stanley Blue.

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Reginald Henderson, Assistant District Attorney General for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Norma McGee Ogle and Roger A. Page, JJ., joined.



I. Trial

This case arises from the shooting of two victims, Mareco Robinson and Jessie Lewis, inside Brown's Barbecue restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee on March 11, 2003. Mr. Robinson died from his wounds. This Court summarized the underlying facts on the initial direct appeal as follows:

Toya Sanders testified that she and Robinson were childhood friends. She recalled that she saw Robinson at a club, the Hard Luck Café, on the night of March 11, 2003, and that everyone there was "[h]aving a good time." She admitted that she had smoked some marijuana that night but said that she did not drink. She stated that the [D]efendant, whom she had known since childhood as "Puff, " was also at the club that night. She saw the [D]efendant and another male, whom she later learned through the course of the investigation was Eddie Partee, leaving the club in a Cadillac. After leaving the club at approximately 3:00 a.m., Sanders and her friends decided to go to Brown's Barbecue to get something to eat. When they arrived at Brown's Barbecue, the [D]efendant and Partee were already at the restaurant. Soon after she and her friends arrived, Robinson arrived at the restaurant.
Sanders testified that the [D]efendant went out to his car while Partee waited in line for his order. She recalled that Robinson and Partee exchanged words about Robinson's order while waiting in line. Robinson went outside to his car and Partee followed him but went to the [D]efendant's vehicle where Sanders witnessed Partee and the [D]efendant talking. When Robinson returned to the restaurant, Partee and the [D]efendant followed him. While the [D]efendant went to the bathroom, Partee pulled a gun and shot Robinson in the back of the head. As soon as Partee shot Robinson, the [D]efendant came out of the bathroom shooting "a little old bitty gun." Everyone fled the restaurant for safety. Sanders saw Partee and the [D]efendant leave the restaurant, get into the Cadillac and flee the scene.
Sanders testified that as everyone was leaving the restaurant, Jessie Lewis was walking in. She said that Partee and the [D]efendant shot Lewis as he was entering the restaurant. She stated that as the men returned, she "was trying to get everybody out" because she could tell that something was about to happen when the men went outside to the parking lot. Sanders testified that she never saw Robinson threaten or display a weapon to either the [D]efendant or Partee, but she also admitted that she could not see whether Robinson retrieved anything from his car while he was outside listening to music with his hood up.
Jessie Lewis testified that he spoke with Robinson at Brown's Barbecue on the night of March 11, 2003. He recalled Robinson telling him that "something was wrong with [Partee]." Before Robinson could explain to Lewis what he meant, Partee entered the restaurant and shot him. Lewis had turned his back to Robinson but upon hearing the shot, he turned around and saw Partee standing over Robinson holding the gun. Lewis stated that the [D]efendant walked from the bathroom and fired two more shots toward Robinson as he lay on the ground. Lewis recalled that everyone except him had left the restaurant with the firing of the first shot. He said that he was standing at the door "so shocked, [he] couldn't go nowhere [sic]" when the [D]efendant came from the bathroom. The [D]efendant and Partee walked to the front door and saw Lewis. The [D]efendant then "bumped Partee in the back, " and Partee "looked at [Lewis] and kicked the door open and shot [him]." Lewis was shot in the groin with the bullet exiting through his hip. He saw the [D]efendant and Partee leave in the Cadillac with Partee driving. Lewis later identified the [D]efendant as one of the individuals involved in the shooting. Lewis also stated that he did not see Robinson with a gun.
Kevia Taylor testified that she was with her cousin, Toya Sanders, at Brown's Barbecue on March 11, 2003. Her testimony was consistent with Sanders' testimony regarding the events leading up to the shooting. She witnessed Partee go to a vehicle, retrieve a pistol and load it before returning to the restaurant. She recalled that the [D]efendant looked at Partee as they returned to the restaurant and she took that as a signal between the two men. Taylor stated that she "knew something was fixing to go down" so she started to leave the restaurant. As she was leaving, she heard the gunshots. She ran behind a building and did not see the [D]efendant or Partee leave. Afterwards, she saw that Lewis had been shot as well as Robinson. Taylor later identified the [D]efendant from a photographic lineup. Taylor admitted that she saw Robinson open the hood of his car and go to his trunk, but she could not see whether he got anything from the trunk before returning to the restaurant.
Memphis Police Department Officer Kimberly Houston testified that she responded to the scene of the shooting at Brown's Barbecue on March 11, 2003. When she arrived, she observed a black male on the floor suffering from a gunshot wound to the head and another black male sitting on a bench who had been shot in the leg. The man with the wound to the head was alive and conscious. She recalled that he was mumbling as if attempting to say something but that she could not understand him. She tried to calm him and tell him to stop talking; as she heard the ambulance approach, she looked to discover that he was no longer breathing. When the paramedics arrived, the man with the wound to his leg was treated and taken to the hospital by ambulance. Officer Houston stayed ...

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