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Jones v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

June 24, 2015

CHARLES E. JONES
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

Assigned on Briefs May 5, 2015

Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. P-26528 Lee V. Coffee, Judge

Charles E. Jones, Pikeville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Caitlin Smith, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Karen Cook, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

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

OPINION

ROGER A. PAGE, JUDGE

I. Facts and Procedural History ]

In this court's opinion denying petitioner's direct appeal, the following facts were ascertained:

On May 29, 1998, Officer Jeff Dennison of the Memphis Police Department was on patrol when he was flagged down by Hubert Sturdivant. Sturdivant advised Officer Dennison that there was a dead body in Sturdivant's house at 1357 Taylor Street in Memphis. Officer Dennison immediately radioed for assistance and was followed to the scene by Officer Stephen Thaggard. When the officers arrived at the scene, they saw broken glass on the steps and porch of the house. As the officers stepped onto the front porch, the door opened and [petitioner] stood in the doorway.
When [petitioner] opened the door, the officers were able to see a dead body rolled up in carpet lying on the living room floor. Officer Dennison immediately ordered [petitioner] to get down, then handcuffed him, and placed him in the back of Officer Thaggard's car. Both officers observed that [petitioner] was calm during the entire episode and never appeared to be upset. [Petitioner] had scratches on his neck, blood splatters on his left ear, a scratch on his [cheek], blood splatters in his hair, and a cut on his finger.
Officer Thaggard proceeded into the house. He testified at trial that the victim's bloody head was sticking out of the carpet. He saw blood splatters in the living room, on the shades, on the floor, "everywhere-it's blood everywhere." In the dining area, he saw blood on the floor and marks on the floor that indicated that something had been dragged across the area. Next to the victim's body, Officer Thaggard discovered a bucket of soapy water with a rag in it. He noted that the water was red, as if discolored by blood. A garbage can in the room contained broken glass and blood.
[Petitioner] was taken from the scene to the Regional Medical Center (Med) for examination and treatment. Captain Joseph Eldridge of the Memphis Police Department interviewed [petitioner] at the Med. Captain Eldridge recounted that he advised [petitioner] of his Miranda rights and asked [petitioner] if he wanted to give a statement. [Petitioner] answered affirmatively and responded that he had killed the victim because she had "disrespected" him and knocked his crack pipe out of his hand. Captain Eldridge did not reduce this statement to writing.
[Petitioner] was taken from the Med to the Criminal Justice Center. After again being advised of his rights, [petitioner] gave a written statement. [Petitioner] related that he met the victim when he "went to the dope house" to buy crack cocaine. After purchasing the crack cocaine, [petitioner] went to a store up the street and purchased beer and cigarettes. The victim, who was standing in the parking lot of the store, began following [petitioner]. [Petitioner] invited her to accompany him to his house. When they arrived at his house, the two drank beer and smoked "$50 dollars worth of crack." After smoking crack cocaine, [petitioner] asked the victim to have sex with him. The victim agreed and removed her clothes. Later, the victim became angry when [petitioner] refused to give her more crack cocaine. According to [petitioner], the victim knocked a crack pipe from [petitioner]'s hand and they "got to wrestling."
[Petitioner] alleged that the victim had a box cutter, which she began swinging at him, and cut him on the finger. [Petitioner] insisted that he cut the victim only three times in an effort to defend himself. He admitted that during their struggle, the victim was unclothed. He claimed that, after being cut, the victim attempted to jump through a window. However, there were bars on the window and she was ...

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