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Matthews v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

June 19, 2015


Session April 22, 2015

Appeal from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2009-D-3252, Mark J. Fishburn, Judge

Patrick B. Newsom, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Martez D. Matthews.

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Senior Counsel; Glenn R. Funk, District Attorney General; and Rob McGuire, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Alan E. Glenn, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which John Everett Williams and Roger A. Page, JJ., joined.




The evidence resulting in the petitioner's conviction for first degree murder was set out in the opinion of this court denying his direct appeal:

Inez Johnson, the victim's mother, testified that around 4:00 p.m. on April 25, 2009, she and the victim were at their home on Chesapeak Drive. They were lying down in Ms. Johnson's bedroom when they heard gunshots. Ms. Johnson stated that she "instinctively . . . dropped and rolled." She further stated that "instead of laying low and rolling from the bed, [the victim] raised her body up" and was struck by a bullet. The victim began bleeding from her mouth. Ms. Johnson called 9-1-1 and rendered aid to the victim in an attempt to stop the bleeding. She said that she could not tell from where the victim was bleeding. She recalled, "[B]lood was just everywhere, . . . and I was right there beside her[, ] and I knew [she] wasn't going to make it[, ] and I watched her take her last breath. . . ."
Christopher Cote, a detective with the Metro Nashville Police Department ("MNPD"), testified that around 4:00 p.m. on April 25, 2009, he responded to a call at 3652 Chesapeak Drive. The paramedics were already at the scene when he arrived. Officer Cote was advised that a sixteen-year-old female had been shot. He entered the home and observed the victim lying on the floor, bleeding profusely. The paramedics transported the victim to the hospital, and additional police officers arrived at the scene. Officer Cote stated that he secured the scene and advised his superior officers and investigators as to what had occurred.
Officer Cote recalled that Officer Brian Eaves arrived at the scene. He stated that a witness approached Officer Eaves and gave him a hat that the witness had found. He placed the hat, which the witness found in the street to the right of the victim's house, in an evidence bag and gave it to the crime scene investigators. Officer Cote stated that he also found multiple shell casings of different calibers at the scene.
Lynne Mace, a crime scene investigator with the MNPD, testified that she investigated the scene in this case. She drew a diagram of the scene, which she described for the jury. The diagram depicted the locations of bullet cartridge casings. Investigator Mace also photographed and collected the cartridge casings. Investigator Mace recalled that there were two .45 caliber automatic casings and six 9mm casings. She identified photographs that she had taken of the crime scene, including a photograph of the strike mark of the bullet that entered the victim's house.
Christopher Bridges testified that he lived at 3648 Chesapeak Drive. He stated that on April 25, 2009, at approximately 4:00 p.m., he was walking down Chesapeak Drive with Deandre Williams. As they were walking, a car with four or five people inside of it pulled up and began shooting. Christopher began to run, but he heard more than five shots fired. The State showed him a photograph of a vehicle and asked if it was the vehicle he observed on April 25, 2009, to which Christopher responded, "Yes, sir." Christopher stated that he was given the opportunity to speak with the police about what he observed, but he told them that he "really didn't see anybody, didn't see anything." He said that he did not want to speak with the police and that they forced him to go to the precinct. Christopher admitted that in April 2009, he was a member of the 107 Underground Crips but denied that he was still a member.
On cross-examination, Christopher testified that he did not know why someone would want to shoot at him. He stated that the shooting came from the driver's side of the vehicle. He did not know appellants and said that the first time he saw them was on the news. Christopher stated that he had an adequate opportunity to view the car because it passed him and made a u-turn. He said that the vehicle's license plate was in the window and that the vehicle's bumper was not damaged. Christopher later testified that the vehicle that he identified in the photograph had damage on its bumper. Christopher said that he ran between some houses when the people in the vehicle started shooting; however, the victim's house was not one of them.
Deandre Williams testified that he lived with Christopher and Christopher's family in April 2009. On April 25, 2009, he was walking to a friend's house with Christopher when he heard gunshots. He ran away and was unable to see from where the gunshots originated. He stated that he was sending text messages on his cellular telephone and did not observe any nearby vehicles or people. However, he recalled telling the police that he saw a small blue or green vehicle that looked like a Honda. He explained that he saw the vehicle before he and Christopher began walking. Mr. Williams further testified that he heard more than five gunshots. He estimated that he was three houses away from 3652 Chesapeak Drive when the gunshots began. He ran in the opposite direction from the victim's house.
Mr. Williams denied being a member of or affiliated with the 107 Underground Crips. He stated that he did not know whether Christopher was a member of the gang and denied noticing a tattoo of a ...

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