Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs June 2, 2015
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Robertson County No. 06-0350 John H. Gasaway, III, Judge
Jonathan A. Garner, Springfield, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Clark Derrick Frazier.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Ahmed A. Safeeullah, Assistant Attorney General; John W. Carney, District Attorney General; and Jason White, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.
Robert L. Holloway, Jr. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Robert W. Wedemeyer and D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., JJ., joined.
ROBERT L. HOLLOWAY, JR., JUDGE
Factual and Procedural Background
Evidence Underlying Guilty Plea
The Petitioner was convicted of second degree murder following a guilty plea. On appeal following the denial of post-conviction relief, this court summarized the facts supporting the Petitioner's conviction as follows:
Petitioner was indicted in count one of the indictment for first degree premeditated murder and in count two for first degree felony murder. The State withdrew count three of the indictment charging Petitioner with assault. On March 9, 2007, Petitioner entered a plea of guilty to the lesser included offense of second degree murder in count one of the indictment, and the State entered a nolle prosequi as to count two. Pursuant to the terms of the negotiated plea agreement, Petitioner was sentenced as a Range I, standard offender, to twenty-five years. The transcript of the guilty plea submission hearing does not contain a recitation of the State's factual basis in support of Petitioner's conviction. The trial court observed during the hearing that a sufficient factual basis had been developed during pre-trial hearings, but the transcript of these hearings [is] not included in the record. The indictment, however, alleges that Petitioner repeatedly stabbed the victim, Rosario Salas Angel, during a robbery causing the victim's death.
Clark Derrick Frazier v. State, No. M2008-01303-CCA-R3-PC, 2009 WL 1272278, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. May 5, 2009), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Aug. 31, 2009).
Additional facts regarding the offense are found in the transcript of the Petitioner's second preliminary hearing,  which is included in the record for the instant appeal. Testimony at the preliminary hearing established that the Petitioner engaged in an altercation with the victim, during which the Petitioner pinned the victim to the ground. Witnesses saw the Petitioner strike the victim. As one person walked away from the scene, he encountered a police vehicle and told the officers that the victim needed their help. The officers arrived on the scene almost immediately and observed the Petitioner walk away from the scene and the victim fall to the ground, covered in blood. Officers interviewed the Petitioner, and the Petitioner confessed to stabbing the victim in self- defense. In a second interview, the Petitioner admitted to stealing the victim's wallet during the incident.
Evidence in Error Coram Nobis Proceeding
On June 15, 2011, the Petitioner filed a pro se Petition for Writ of Error Coram Nobis ("the Petition") alleging, among other things, that he was entitled to a new trial because he was not aware, prior to his plea, that items collected from the crime scene had been tested for DNA and that the Petitioner's DNA was not found on some of the items.Counsel was appointed, and a "Memorandum of Coram Nobis" was filed. In that memorandum, the Petitioner averred that, had the results of ...