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Dean v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

November 14, 2016


          Assigned on Briefs April 19, 2016

         Direct Appeal from the Circuit Court for Robertson County No. 74CC2-2011-CR-267 William R. Goodman, III, Judge

         The Petitioner, Jeffery W. Dean, filed for post-conviction relief from his convictions of aggravated kidnapping and carjacking, alleging that his trial counsel was ineffective by failing to explain the State's evidence against the Petitioner and counsel's trial strategy and by failing to prepare the Petitioner to testify at trial. The post-conviction court denied the petition, and the Petitioner appeals. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court is Affirmed.

          H. Garth Click, Springfield, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Jeffery W. Dean.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Andrew C. Coulam, Assistant Attorney General; John Wesley Carney, Jr., District Attorney General; and Jason White, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Norma McGee Ogle, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which John Everett Williams and Robert W. Wedemeyer, JJ., joined.



         I. Factual Background

         The Petitioner was charged with "the aggravated kidnapping and carjacking of the victim, Demetria Cantrell, from a Walmart parking lot in Springfield, Tennessee." State v. Jeffery W. Dean, No. M2013-00340-CCA-R3-CD, 2013 WL 5775783, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. at Nashville, Oct. 24, 2013). At trial, the parties stipulated that the Petitioner "was the individual wearing the yellow shirt that was on the premises of [Walmart] from 6:26 p.m. to 6:52 p.m. and who approaches [the victim] and entered her car on that date." Id. After the stipulation was announced, the victim testified that on the evening of September 24, 2010, she drove a 2003 silver Chevrolet Cavalier to Walmart and parked at the side of the building. Id. She entered the store, shopped, exited the store, and returned to her car. Id. As she was standing beside the driver's side door, she heard footsteps behind her and turned around. Id. She jumped and screamed, and the Petitioner looked in her eyes and threatened to kill her if she did not drive him where he wanted to go. Id. He appeared to be holding something under his shirt which the victim thought was intended to frighten her. Id. The victim got in the driver's seat, and the Petitioner got in the back seat. She asked "why he was doing this, and he replied that he did not want to scare her[, ] but he was trying to escape from someone who was trying to 'jump'" him. Id. At the Petitioner's instruction, the victim drove them away from Walmart. Id. The Petitioner first said that he wanted to go to Taco Bell then instructed her to take him to Wendy's. Id. While the victim was driving, the Petitioner leaned forward and began looking at her purse, which was in the front passenger seat. Id. The victim thought the Petitioner was planning to rob her and asked whether he still wanted to go to Wendy's. The Petitioner "responded in the negative" and told her to drive straight. Id. The victim knew that if she kept driving, they would be in a rural area. Id. She was concerned, particularly because it was dark, she was alone, and she was petite. Id. The victim also found the Petitioner's demeanor threatening and thought she needed to escape. Id. While they were stopped at a red traffic light, she removed her seat belt, put the car in park, opened the door, and darted across the street, dodging traffic. Id. When she reached a parked sport utility vehicle (SUV) in the parking lot of a bar, she looked back and saw the Petitioner driving away in the car. Id. The victim hit the window of the SUV and pleaded for help. Id. at *2. Jason Bibb got out of the vehicle "and asked what was wrong." Id. at *1, 3. She quickly got into the vehicle and asked him to get in and lock the door. Id. Bibb complied, and the victim explained what had occurred. Id. Bibb called the police, and they came to the scene and took her home. Id. While at home, she realized that her purse was still in the car. Id. The purse contained her cellular telephone, and the police were able to find her vehicle by using the global positioning system (GPS) that was on the telephone. Id. at *1, 4. The car was found "close by" the home of the Petitioner's grandmother, where the Petitioner lived. Id. at *4. The car was damaged, and the victim's purse was gone. Id.

         Springfield Detective Madison Burnett went to the victim's home to speak with her. Id. at *4. When the victim described the assailant, Detective Burnett recognized him as someone he spoke with earlier that day about an unrelated case. Id. Detective Burnett had photographed the people he spoke with in the other case and showed the photographs, which were on a digital camera, to the victim. Id. The victim identified the Petitioner from the photographs, and she identified him as the perpetrator in court. Id. at *1, 4. The police searched the Petitioner's grandmother's house and found the yellow shirt the Petitioner had been wearing at Walmart on the night of the offense, as shown in the video surveillance footage. Id. at *4.

         The asset protection manager at Walmart testified about the security footage as it was shown to the jury; the footage was recorded on three videos. Id. at *2. She said that the first video showed the Petitioner's exiting a vehicle then walking into the store. Id. Less than a minute later, the Petitioner came out of the store, opened the passenger door of the vehicle in which he had arrived, and had "'a confrontation'" with the driver of the vehicle. Id The Petitioner slammed the door and went back inside the store. Id The asset protection manager noted that the second video showed the Petitioner's "'stalking'" two other women before approaching the victim. Id at *3. The second video also showed "the interaction between [the Petitioner] and the victim, as well as the car being driven away from Walmart." Id

         The Petitioner testified and acknowledged that he had three prior aggravated assault convictions. Id at *5. He asserted that he went to "Walmart on the night in question to borrow money from a friend who worked there." Id He had an altercation with the person who drove him there, which "made him think that the driver would try to shoot him later." Id The Petitioner said that he followed the victim to her car because he needed a ride and that he told her he needed to leave Walmart because someone was trying to kill him. Id The Petitioner said the victim was "'spooked'" but that she agreed to give him a ride. Id The Petitioner promised not to hurt her. Id He acknowledged that he first asked the victim to drive him to Taco Bell but that he decided to go to Wendy's because a friend of his child's mother worked there. Id The Petitioner explained that when he told the victim to drive straight, he meant for her not to drive past Wendy's. Id The Petitioner said that he did not intend to take the victim's car but feared he would be taken to jail so he drove the car to his grandmother's house. Id He denied taking anything from the car and suggested that neighbors who took drugs might have stolen the victim's belongings from the car. Id The jury convicted the Petitioner of the charged offenses, and the Petitioner was sentenced as a multiple, Range II offender to concurrent sentences of thirteen years. Id

         The Petitioner filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief, alleging that his trial counsel was ineffective. A lawyer ...

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