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State v. Perkins

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

November 7, 2016


          Session June 21, 2016

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2012-C-2144 J. Randall Wyatt, Jr., Judge

          Richard C. Strong, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Javonta Marquis Perkins.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General, Senior Counsel; Glenn R. Funk, District Attorney General; and Mindy Morris and Jude Santana, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which John Everett Williams, J., joined. Norma McGee Ogle, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part.



         Procedural History and Factual Summary

         On August 6, 2012, the Davidson County Grand Jury indicted Defendant on one count of aggravated robbery, one count of carjacking, one count of aggravated assault, one count of evading arrest, and one count of possession of a weapon during the commission of a dangerous felony.

         At trial, the proof showed that, on March 3, 2012, between 1:30 a.m. and 2:00 a.m., Maurice Hegwood went to his parents' home to deliver medicine to his mother. As Mr. Hegwood exited his vehicle, two men approached him. One of the men pointed a gun at Mr. Hegwood's head and ordered Mr. Hegwood onto the ground. The gunman took the keys to Mr. Hegwood's newly-purchased white 2009 Pontiac G-6 and handed them to the other man. The other man then attempted to reverse the Pontiac out of the driveway and into the road; however, he hit the house twice, damaging both the vehicle and the home. Mr. Hegwood heard the gunman accuse the other man of not knowing how to drive and demand that the other man "get out of the car." The gunman then commandeered the driver's seat, and the men drove away.

         At trial, Mr. Hegwood identified Defendant as the gunman. Mr. Hegwood testified that the home had motion-censor lights located on the porch near the garage and that the driveway was well-lit during the altercation. Mr. Hegwood was able to see the gunman's face while he was on the ground.

         Between 2:00 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. of the same night, two men approached Edward Crowder as he exited his vehicle in the driveway of his home, located only a few miles away from the Hegwood residence. Mr. Crowder heard "a couple of car doors closing" and saw a "light-colored" vehicle which was "running as though the muffler had damage to it or something was wrong with it." As Mr. Crowder walked along his driveway, two men approached him while pulling hoods over their heads. The two men moved quickly toward Mr. Crowder. Feeling threatened, Mr. Crowder produced a firearm from his right pocket. One of the men walked into Mr. Crowder's yard and pulled a gun from his pants. In response, Mr. Crowder retrieved another firearm with his left hand and turned around to confront the gunman. As soon as Mr. Crowder displayed the two firearms, both men ran back to the vehicle and sped away.

         Mr. Crowder was unable to identify either man because their hoods covered their faces and because they never came closer than "fifteen to twenty feet." However, Mr. Crowder testified that the gunman appeared taller than the other man.

         Officer Nicholas Carter of the Metro Police Department responded to the Hegwood residence and observed that the driveway had "enough ambient light to where [he] did not use a flashlight" to illuminate his notepad while taking notes. Mr. Hegwood told Officer Carter that he would be able to identify the gunman but not the other man. Mr. Hegwood was, however, able to describe the race, gender, height, and clothing of each perpetrator. Mr. Hegwood told Officer Carter that the gunman was the taller of the two men.

         While interviewing Mr. Hegwood, Officer Carter was notified that two black male suspects in "a white or light-colored vehicle had . . . attempted to commit another robbery close by." At approximately 2:55 a.m., while driving an unmarked vehicle, Officer Carter spotted a white 2009 Pontiac G-6 driving towards him on Trinity Lane. Officer Carter pointed his spotlight at the license plate and saw two individuals in the vehicle. Officer Carter verified that the vehicle belonged to Mr. Hegwood, made a radio report that he had located the stolen vehicle, and continued following it. Anticipating that the men in the Pontiac may have been armed, Officer Carter waited for assistance before activating his sirens. Officer Steven Spillers of the Metro Police Department, in a marked vehicle, took the lead behind the Pontiac, and the two officers initiated their lights and sirens together. The Pontiac came to a complete stop at a stop sign on Old Matthews Road then made a sudden right turn onto Trinity Lane and accelerated westbound.

         At this time, Sergeant Corey Sanderson of the Metro Nashville Police Department was travelling eastbound on Trinity Lane in response to the radio report and saw the accelerating Pontiac. As Sergeant Sanderson approached, the Pontiac entered into his lane of traffic while travelling at a high rate of speed. Sergeant Sanderson swerved to his right to ...

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