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State v. Sharpe

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

November 2, 2016


          Session March 8, 2016

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2012-A-471 Mark J. Fishburn, Judge

          Joshua L. Brand, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Quincy Terrell Brando Sharpe.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Senior Counsel; Glenn R. Funk, District Attorney General; and Janice Norman, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which D. Kelly Thomas, Jr. and Camille R. McMullen, JJ., joined.




         Defendant and his co-defendant, Deandre Rucker, were convicted for the first degree premeditated murder in the shooting death of Demetrius O. Riley.

         Evelyn Carter testified that her seventeen-year-old grandson Darius Rucker (who is not related to co-defendant Deandre Rucker) lived with her in October, 2009. At approximately 1:30 p.m. on October 8, 2009, Ms. Carter was sitting outside of her home. She testified that Defendant came to her house looking for her grandson. She told Defendant that he had not yet arrived home from school. At approximately 2:30 or 2:45 p.m., an orange Pontiac driven by Deandre Rucker pulled up in front of her house. Defendant got into the vehicle, and the car was driven away. Ms. Carter knew Defendant by the nickname of "Bran-Bran." Ms. Carter's grandson arrived home from school shortly after they left. Deandre Rucker dropped off Defendant at Ms. Carter's home 30 to 45 minutes after they left. She recalled that Jerry Springer was on television, and that show came on at 3:00 p.m.

         Ms. Carter testified that Defendant was "[s]cary looking" when he returned. She testified that "his eyes were big, " and she asked him what he had done. Ms. Carter followed Defendant inside, and Defendant asked to wash his hands. He asked Ms. Carter if she had any bleach. Defendant asked Ms. Carter's grandson to borrow a pair of shoes. Defendant changed shoes and put the shoes he had been wearing inside the neighbor's Jeep. Ms. Carter heard Defendant tell her grandson that he (Defendant) had shot "Deboskey." Ms. Carter testified that she heard Defendant tell her grandson that he shot the victim, the victim fell, and Defendant "went over and shot him again and stood there and looked at the blood run out of his mouth." Ms. Carter heard helicopters flying around outside her home. She testified that Defendant called Deandre Rucker and told him that he "needed to get rid of that orange car." Defendant left Ms. Carter's house approximately 20 minutes after he arrived. Ms. Carter testified that she did not contact the police because she "was afraid for [her]self and [her] grandson." Ms. Carter eventually contacted Sergeant Pat Postiglione after she had moved out of state.

         On cross-examination, Ms. Carter testified that she did not see Defendant with a gun on the day of the shooting, and she did not see any blood on Defendant. She recalled that she also heard Defendant tell Deandre Rucker "to get rid of the gun as well [as] the orange Pontiac." Ms. Carter testified about an incident in September, 2010, where Deandre Rucker came to her house with a gun. She contacted police in October, 2010, about the incident that occurred one year prior. Ms. Carter acknowledged that some of her statements to detectives were inconsistent. She agreed that she told Detective Tarkington that there was a third man in the car, but she had previously told Detective Fuqua that she did not see anyone else in the car. She also acknowledged that she did not testify in a prior court proceeding in January, 2011, that Deandre Rucker had threatened her grandson in 2009. Ms. Carter testified that she had been reluctant to come forward because of violence in the neighborhood.

         Sammeca Hall testified that she was sitting on her front porch in October, 2009, when the victim, who was known as "Deboskey, " was shot. She saw Deandre Rucker driving an orange car. She testified that her boyfriend, William Stokes, who was known as "Chill Will, " was in the front passenger seat with the window down. She heard Mr. Stokes say that they were "gonna handle some whacks." About 30 or 40 minutes after the car left, Ms. Hall learned that someone had been shot nearby. Ms. Hall testified on cross-examination that she knew Defendant, and she did not see him inside the orange car. She agreed that she told Detective Fuqua that she could not see who was inside the car because the windows were tinted. Ms. Hall testified that Mr. Stokes died prior to trial.

         Charles Mount, Jr., testified that he was currently incarcerated on federal drug trafficking charges. Mr. Mount had previously been incarcerated with Defendant. He testified that while they were cellmates, Defendant told him that he shot the victim "three times, then ran up on him and shot him some more." He testified that he and Defendant had "numerous conversations" about the shooting and that Defendant had initially asserted his innocence, but he admitted the shooting after he became more comfortable around Mr. Mount.

         Antonio Flenoy was serving a sentence for aggravated assault. He testified that the victim was his "homeboy." He testified that he did not know Defendant before the shooting. On October 8, 2009, Mr. Flenoy was walking down the street with the victim when an orange car drove past them. He testified, "we didn't think that car was fixin' to shoot or whatever, you feel me, so we kept on walking." About five or ten minutes later, "a little dude come down the hill . . . and started shooting." As Mr. Flenoy ran, he looked back and saw the victim fall to the ground. Mr. Flenoy testified that he "didn't get a good look at [the shooter's] face, " but he looked young, "like he was just . . . out of school[.]"

         Dr. Thomas Deering testified that the victim died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds of the torso.

         Sergeant Pat Postiglione testified that in October, 2010, he was contacted by Evelyn Carter, who stated that she had information about the shooting but was afraid to come forward. Sergeant Postiglione met with Ms. Carter, and she provided the names of three suspects: Defendant, Deandre Rucker, and William Stokes. Sergeant Postiglione testified that he instructed Ms. Carter not to say anything about her cooperation with police when she went to court on an unrelated matter involving Deandre Rucker. Sergeant Postiglione testified that Ms. Carter told him that it was a few hours between the time that the orange car left her house and when it returned.

          Marquita Winters testified that the victim, whose nickname was Deboskey, was the father of one of her children. She knew Defendant and Deandre Rucker. In August, 2011, Defendant called Ms. Winters and told her that he needed to talk to her. Defendant told Ms. Winters that he had killed the victim and promised that he would care for her son as if he was the child's father. Ms. Winters waited a few days before she contacted the police because she was hoping to get more information from Defendant.

         Detective Norris Tarkington, an investigator with the Metro Police Department's Cold Case Unit, testified that he was assigned to investigate the case in January, 2011. He had also been to the crime scene on the day of the shooting. He testified that six shell casings that came from the same weapon were recovered from the crime scene, but the weapon was never recovered. Detective Tarkington interviewed Ms. Carter. He testified that her prior statements to other investigators were "just pretty much down the line just like she told me." Ms. Carter told Detective Tarkington that Defendant left in the orange car with Deandre Rucker and they returned approximately 30 minutes later. Ms. Carter was afraid, and Detective Tarkington escorted her to court on another case involving Rucker.

         Detective Tarkington also interviewed Semeca Hall after he reviewed notes from Detective Fuqua's interview of Ms. Hall in October, 2009. Ms. Hall identified Deandre Rucker as the driver of the orange car. She knew Rucker by his nickname "Dreezy." Ms. Hall told Detective Tarkington that William Stokes was also in the car and that she heard someone say ...

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