Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Assigned on Briefs October 25, 2016
from the Criminal Court for Johnson County No. 2014-CR-119
Stacy L. Street, Judge
Oaks, District Public Defender; Melanie Sellers, Assistant
District Public Defender (at trial and on appeal), for the
appellant, Franklin Dale Grayson, Jr.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Katherine C. Redding, Assistant Attorney General; Tony Clark,
District Attorney General; and Matthew Roark, Assistant
District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of
Ross Dyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
James Curwood Witt, Jr. and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., JJ.,
ROSS DYER, JUDGE
September 15, 2014, investigators from the Johnson County
Sheriff's Department arrested the defendant after finding
an active, one-pot methamphetamine lab in his possession.
Investigators learned of the defendant's active
methamphetamine lab through Richie Greene, a confidential
informant. Prior to the defendant's arrest, Mr. Greene
contacted Investigator Jonathan Stout and informed him that
the defendant would be cooking methamphetamine that evening.
Mr. Greene stated that prior to contacting Investigator
Stout, he travelled to Virginia with Quincy Roark. While in
Virginia, Mr. Roark purchased pseudoephedrine pills from
Walgreens. After purchasing the pills, Mr. Roark
asked Mr. Greene to take the pills to the defendant so that
the defendant could make methamphetamine. At the time, the
defendant was staying in a trailer rented by Mr. Roark
located at 6171 Highway 91 North in Johnson County,
Tennessee. The defendant was also in a relationship with Mr.
Roark's wife. This tension led Mr. Roark to ask Mr.
Greene to deliver the pseudoephedrine pills to the defendant
for the cook.
than immediately delivering the pills to the defendant, Mr.
Greene contacted Investigator Stout. The two met, and Mr.
Green showed Investigator Stout the box of pseudoephedrine
pills purchased by Mr. Roark. According to Mr. Greene,
Investigator Stout instructed him to go to the Highway 91
property "to see if there was any evidence of a lab
there." Investigator Stout kept the pseudoephedrine
pills and began preparing a search warrant. While Mr. Greene
was at the property, the defendant told him that "he had
everything he needed. He [was] just waiting on the
pills." The defendant then asked Mr. Greene to come back
with the pseudoephedrine pills, and Mr. Greene agreed to do
leaving the defendant, Mr. Greene then met with Investigator
Stout a second time. Investigator Stout gave Mr. Greene the
pseudoephedrine pills and a recorder. Mr. Greene had the
recorder on when he returned to the Highway 91 property with
his wife and a friend, Mary Howard. After receiving the
pseudoephedrine from Mr. Greene, the defendant began to cook
methamphetamine. The other ingredients needed for the cook
were already in the defendant's possession.
State played the recording for the jury at trial. Mr. Greene
identified his voice on the recording along with the voices
of his wife, Mary Howard, and the defendant. Mr. Greene also
identified portions of the recording that captured the
defendant in the process of making methamphetamine.
Specifically, he testified that 52 minutes and 8 seconds into
the recording, the defendant "already had the pills
crushed up, put in the bottle, mix, and it was
starting." Mr. Greene also identified portions of the
manufacturing process that could be heard on the recording,
including the sound of the cook bottle being shaken and being
opened to release pressure. Mr. Greene stated that no one
assisted the defendant with the manufacturing process. After
the cook was underway, Mr. Greene and his wife left the
Highway 91 property and called Investigator Stout.
Stout, along with three other investigators from the Johnson
County Sheriff's Department, then initiated a search of
the Highway 91 property. Upon their arrival, they found the
defendant on the telephone in front of the trailer on the
property. Investigator Christopher Allen Lipford detained the
defendant, and the defendant consented to a search of the
property. The consensual search of the property
revealed an active, one-pot methamphetamine lab on the back
porch of the trailer. Investigator Stout photographed the
property and collected a sample of liquid from the one-pot
methamphetamine lab to be tested by the Tennessee Bureau of
the search, investigators also found drug paraphernalia
throughout the property. Investigator Lipford logged all of
the evidence, which included: a four-pack of Energizer
batteries, Ultimate Lithium; tubing; two hypodermic syringes;
a spoon with residue; a plastic baggie with residue; two
Tennessee citations issued to the defendant; a black
suitcase; iodized salt, 20 ounce; a Walmart receipt; a CVS
pharmacy receipt; a red straw; Ronsonol lighter fluid; a
black funnel; Drano, 18 ounce; a Walgreens bag with a
receipt; a bottle with unknown liquid; a rubber hose with pop
bottle lid; a bottle with unknown liquid; small weight
scales; a Samsung Verizon cell phone; and a pop bottle with
Shawn Brown interviewed the defendant during the search and
obtained a statement from him. In his statement, the
defendant admitted that the cook bottle found on the back
porch was his and that it contained "pills (sudo), lye,
ammonia (sic) nitrate, Coleman fuel, [and] lithium."
When asked about the intended purpose of the cook bottle, the
defendant stated, "To manufacture meth, I reckon."
Further, the defendant indicated he normally got
"[a]lmost two grams" of methamphetamine from this
type of cook. The defendant's signed statement was
entered into evidence at trial.
Ashley Cummings, a forensic chemist with the Tennessee Bureau
of Investigation, tested the liquid that Investigator Stout
extracted from the cook bottle during the search. Agent
Cummings' report indicated that the liquid sample
contained methamphetamine. James Michael Derry, an expert in
the process of manufacturing methamphetamine and in
methamphetamine lab deconstruction, explained the process of
making methamphetamine to the jury. He listed
pseudoephedrine, lye, ammonium nitrate, fuel, lithium, and
water as necessary ingredients in the manufacturing of
methamphetamine. Mr. Derry also reviewed a photograph of the
cook bottle found during the search, and opined that the
defendant was "well in the process" of making
defense proof consisted of testimony from Earl Dunn, Steven
Bunn, and the defendant. Mr. Dunn testified that he owned the
Highway 91 property and believed Mr. Roark, not the
defendant, was living in the trailer on the property. Mr.
Bunn also testified that on September 15, 2014, he picked the
defendant up around 11:00 a.m., worked the defendant until
about 5:00 or 5:30 p.m., drank beer with the defendant, and
then dropped him off at the Highway 91 property.
defendant testified that after working for Mr. Bunn, he
returned to the Highway 91 property around 7:00 or 8:00 p.m.
The defendant admitted to drinking beer and taking a
"shot" of methamphetamine on the day of his arrest.
The defendant further testified that Mr. Greene came to the
Highway 91 property one time on September 15, 2014, with a
bottle and pseudoephedrine pills. The defendant stated that
he and Mr. Greene put the cook together, testifying: "It
wasn't just me. I mean, I - I can't say that I'm
innocent of any of it." When asked about his plans for
the methamphetamine, the defendant admitted that if he's
"involved in it, if it's being made, [he's]
doing it." Additionally, the defendant testified that he
was previously convicted of felony evading arrest, failure to
appear, and theft under $500.
conclusion of the trial, the jury found the defendant guilty
of initiating a process to manufacture methamphetamine and
possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia. As to Count
2, the jury found the defendant guilty of the lesser-included
offense of simple possession of a Schedule II controlled
substance. The jury found the defendant not guilty of
maintaining a dwelling for using or selling controlled
substances as charged in Count 3.
trial court sentenced the defendant to thirteen years in
confinement as a Range II, Multiple Offender, for initiating
a process to manufacture methamphetamine, eleven months and
twenty-nine days for simple possession of a Schedule II
controlled substance, and eleven months and twenty-nine days
for possession of drug paraphernalia with all sentences to be