Session Heard May 25, 2016 at Cookeville 
by Permission from the Court of Criminal Appeals Circuit
Court for Hickman County No. 11-5005-CR Timothy L. Easter,
granted this appeal to consider whether the Court of Criminal
Appeals incorrectly held in State v. Hayes, No.
M2012-01768-CCA-R3-CD, 2013 WL 3378320, at *7 (Tenn. Crim.
App. July 1, 2013), no perm. app. filed, that
retroactive application of the Exclusionary Rule Reform Act,
Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-6-108, would violate
constitutional protections against ex post facto laws and to
re-evaluate the ex post facto analysis in Miller v.
State, 584 S.W.2d 758 (Tenn. 1979), in light of
Collins v. Youngblood, 497 U.S. 37 (1990). Having
concluded that Miller was wrongly decided, we
overrule Miller and hold that the ex post facto
clause of the Tennessee Constitution has the same definition
and scope as the federal ex post facto clause. To be an ex
post facto violation, a law must be retroactive in its
application and must fall within one of the four categories
set forth in Calder v. Bull, 3 U.S. (3 Dall.) 386,
390 (1798) (opinion of Chase, J.). We conclude that the
Exclusionary Rule Reform Act is not an ex post facto statute
as applied in this case and that as a result, the
Defendant's motion to suppress the evidence against him
was not well-taken. In addition, we conclude that the
Defendant's issues regarding the sufficiency of the
evidence to convict him and to sentence him to life without
the possibility of parole do not entitle him to relief.
Accordingly, the judgments of the Court of Criminal Appeals
are affirmed on the separate grounds stated herein.
R. App. P. 11 Appeal by Permission; Judgment of the Court of
Criminal Appeals Affirmed
Vanessa Pettigrew Bryan, District Public Defender; J. Gregory
Burlison (at trial and on appeal), and Robert Jones (at
trial), Assistant District Public Defenders, for the
appellant, John Henry Pruitt.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Andrée S. Blumstein, Solicitor General; Sarah K.
Campbell, Special Assistant to the Solicitor General and the
Attorney General; Kim Helper, District Attorney General;
Michael J. Fahey and Kate Yeager, Assistant District
Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
A. Page, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
Jeffrey S. Bivins, C.J., Cornelia A. Clark, Sharon G. Lee,
and Holly Kirby, JJ., joined.
A. PAGE, JUSTICE.
Factual and Procedural Background
October 18, 2010, John Henry Pruitt ("the
Defendant"), shot three people in his front yard, two of
whom died. The third victim was paralyzed. The responding law
enforcement officers shot the Defendant four times. The
Hickman County Grand Jury indicted him for two counts of
first degree premeditated murder (victims Amber Hopkins and
John Louis Luster), one count of attempted premeditated
murder (victim James E. Kennedy), and three counts of
aggravated assault (victims Deputy Jody Simmons, Detective
Johnny Davis, and Deputy Ricky Harness). On March 16, 2012,
the Defendant filed a motion to suppress evidence seized from
his residence based upon an allegedly illegal search
warrant. After a pretrial hearing on April 13,
2012, the trial court denied the Defendant's motion, ruling
that Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-6-108,
commonly known as the Exclusionary Rule
Reform Act ("ERRA"), applied to the case despite ex
post facto concerns because it was a procedural statute, that
the mistake in the search warrant was a good faith or
technical violation of Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure
41, and that the mistake did not require the exclusion of
evidence. The evidence presented at the suppression
hearing and the Defendant's trial is set forth below.
suppression hearing,  the documents entered as exhibits include
the affidavit in support of the search warrant (which was
dated October 18), the search warrant itself (which has two
dates, October 19 above the magistrate's signature and
October 18 on the "Issued on" line), and the search
warrant return (dated October 18). Hickman County
Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Scott
Smith testified that he wrote the search warrant
affidavit and signed it on October 18, 2010. He met with the
magistrate, who found probable cause for the search and
"issued" the warrant at 11:53 p.m. on October 18.
He acknowledged that October 19 was the date listed above the
magistrate's signature. Chief Deputy Smith stated that
the date might have changed "in between the time that
she issued [the search warrant] and [when] she signed
it." We understand his testimony to mean that the
magistrate might have dated the "Issued on" line
prior to signing and dating the signature line. Chief Deputy
Smith conjectured that because the time was "so close to
midnight, " either it had become October 19 by the time
she signed the warrant or that her timepiece was incorrect.
He stated that he called the officers at the scene
immediately after the signing of the search
warrant. Chief Deputy Smith acknowledged that the
date on the warrant return was October 18, stating that he
was referring back to the date on the search warrant when he
entered the date on the return. He denied that the search
warrant was executed prior to its signing. Chief Deputy Smith
testified that a box of ammunition was recovered from the
Defendant's residence and that officers saw a shotgun in
the residence during the search. According to Tennessee
Bureau of Investigation ("TBI") Agent Mike Cox, the
investigators did not know that the shotgun had any
significance until a witness mentioned it. Agent Cox obtained
a waiver from the Defendant to allow investigators to collect
the shotgun. Because the Defendant's sister had already
obtained the shotgun from the residence, Chief Deputy Smith
recovered the shotgun from her.
at the Defendant's trial testified that one of the
victims, Amber Hopkins, had been in a relationship with the
Defendant for approximately a year prior to her death. Ms.
Hopkins lived with the Defendant during that year, with the
exception of a week that she spent at the residence of James
"Elvis" Kennedy, some three to four weeks before
the incident in question. Mr. Kennedy described his
relationship with Ms. Hopkins as "friends with benefits,
" noting that they had known each other since they were
teenagers. Mr. Kennedy testified that he helped Ms. Hopkins
move her things out of the Defendant's residence several
weeks before her death, and in the Defendant's statement
to Agents Vance Jack and Mike Cox, the Defendant said that
Ms. Hopkins returned to his home after several days at Mr.
October 17, 2010, Ms. Hopkins went to Honda Hills, a
recreational area, to ride four-wheelers with Mr. Kennedy and
her daughter. Ms. Hopkins' daughter was in an
accident that resulted in a broken wrist and required a visit
to the hospital. According to Ms. Hopkins' mother,
Belinda Conley, Ms. Hopkins asked the Defendant to take them
to the emergency room, and when he refused, Mr. Kennedy took
them instead. While Ms. Hopkins and Mr. Kennedy were at the
hospital, the Defendant went to Ms. Conley's house.
Hopkins and Mr. Kennedy arrived at Ms. Conley's house
soon after the Defendant. According to Mr. Kennedy, the
Defendant thanked him for bringing the young girl home, but
when the Defendant began conversing with Ms. Hopkins, the
Defendant became angry. Ms. Conley described the Defendant as
being upset when he left her house. Ms. Hopkins spent the
night at Mr. Kennedy's house that evening.
following day, October 18, Mr. Kennedy worked until noon and
then ran errands with Ms. Hopkins. His friend and co-worker,
John Luster, was at his house when they returned around 6:00
p.m. The three of them then went to the Defendant's house
in Mr. Kennedy's truck. They planned to pick up Ms.
Hopkins' belongings, which were supposed to be by the
roadside. According to Mr. Kennedy, he had not had any
alcohol that day, but Mr. Luster drank a beer on the way to
the Defendant's house.
they arrived at the Defendant's house, Mr. Kennedy parked
in front of the pile of Ms. Hopkins' possessions. He and
Mr. Luster both exited the truck while Ms. Hopkins remained
inside. Mr. Kennedy began putting Ms. Hopkins' belongings
in the bed of his truck, and he was standing at his
truck's tailgate when he first saw the Defendant. Mr.
Kennedy testified that the Defendant had "a rifle on his
shoulder and a pistol in his hand." Mr. Kennedy yelled
to Mr. Luster that the Defendant had a gun.
Kennedy said that he was standing on the back of his truck
when he was shot under his right arm. He fell to the ground
but pulled himself up enough to see Ms. Hopkins lying on the
seat of the truck. He again fell to the ground and could not
move his legs. Mr. Kennedy recalled the Defendant's
pointing a double-barreled, twelve-gauge shotgun at his head
and his telling Mr. Kennedy to get up. Mr. Kennedy said that
the Defendant told him to move to the front of the truck so
the Defendant could see Mr. Kennedy's face. Mr. Kennedy
managed to move himself to the front of his truck and
proceeded to beg for his life. He said that he heard Ms.
Hopkins' voice and then "heard a thump hit the
ground." Believing that the Defendant had dragged Ms.
Hopkins out of the truck, Mr. Kennedy looked to the side and
saw her. Mr. Kennedy testified that Ms. Hopkins said,
"Johnny, don't touch me, " repeatedly. She
looked at Mr. Kennedy and told him, "I'm
sorry." Thereafter, Mr. Kennedy heard the Defendant
talking on the telephone.
Defendant called several people after the shooting. Having
already called Belinda Conley multiple times during the day
to relay messages to Ms. Hopkins, he called her again between
7:10 and 7:15 p.m., telling her, "[T]hey're all
dead." The Defendant told Ms. Conley that he was sorry
and hung up. The Defendant also called 9-1-1. He told the
dispatcher his name and location, that three people had come
into his home, and that he had shot them. The Defendant's
brother-in-law, Billy Alvin Hannah, also received a call from
the Defendant that evening.
County Sheriffs Deputy Jody Simmons was the first law
enforcement officer to arrive at the Defendant's house.
He had met the Defendant's sister and brother-in-law at
the turn onto the Defendant's road and followed them to
the Defendant's house. When he arrived at 7:30 p.m., he
saw a black truck in the road with its doors open and
"bodies lying on the ground in the yard." The
Defendant was standing on his porch with a gun in his hand.
Deputy Richard Harkness arrived soon thereafter, and he and
Deputy Simmons took cover behind the doors of Deputy
Simmons' car. They tried to talk the Defendant into
dropping his weapon, and Deputy Simmons fired his Taser at
the Defendant. However, the Taser did not reach him.
Police Detective Johnny Davis was the next to arrive at the
Defendant's house. The Defendant was kneeling in the
driveway. Detective Davis testified that he had been to the
Defendant's house before because he had returned a Colt
.380 pistol to the Defendant after the pistol had been stolen
and recovered. Detective Davis reminded the Defendant who he
was, and the Defendant said, "You're the man that
brought me this weapon[, ] and you're the man that's
going to have to kill me with it." According to
Detective Davis, the Defendant stood up, took two steps
backward, and raised his pistol. Detective Davis shot the
Defendant in the right arm, causing the Defendant to drop the
pistol. Deputy Simmons saw the Defendant reaching for the
pistol with his left hand and proceeded to shoot the
Defendant three times in the torso. According to Detective
Davis, the Defendant's sister grabbed the pistol, and he
secured it from her.
the shooting victims, Ms. Hopkins and Mr. Luster, died at the
scene. The medical examiner testified that Mr. Luster had
been shot once in his torso. Ms. Hopkins had been shot twice
in her right hip. Mr. Kennedy was paralyzed by the bullet
that lodged in his spine. He explained that the bullet
remained there because its removal would cause additional
paralysis or death.
recovered four .380 cartridge cases from the Defendant's
yard and three .380 bullets from the deceased victims.
Forensic testing showed that the bullets recovered from the
victims had been fired through the Defendant's weapon.
When the laboratory received the Defendant's pistol and
its magazine, the magazine contained six bullets. Detective
Davis had ejected a seventh bullet from the pistol's
chamber, and testimony indicated that the pistol could
contain a maximum of eight bullets. Testing of the
victims' clothing showed no signs of nitrites, gunpowder,
or lead vapor, which would have been present if the muzzle of
the weapon had been closer than five feet to the garments.
Pursuant to the search warrant obtained by Chief Deputy Scott
Smith, officers seized a box of .380 ammunition from the
Defendant's residence, and they later obtained from the
Defendant's sister a shotgun originally seen in the
Agents Mike Cox and Vance Jack assisted the local authorities
in their investigation, with Agent Cox investigating the
homicides and Agent Jack investigating the officer-involved
shooting of the Defendant. The agents interviewed the
Defendant at Vanderbilt University Medical Center on October
21, 2010. A recording of the Defendant's statement was
played for the jury.
to the Defendant, when Ms. Hopkins arrived with Mr. Kennedy
and Mr. Luster, one of the men was cursing at him and
threatened to "cut" him. When the man reached for
the Defendant, the Defendant shot him. He said that Ms.
Hopkins and the other man began running toward him, that he
panicked, and that he shot them, once each. The Defendant
stated that he only had one gun that evening and that he
fired three times. The Defendant told the agents that he did
not shoot to kill the victims. According to the Defendant, he
had been diagnosed with mental health problems during the
1980s or 1990s. The day of the shooting he drank two to three
beers and took his prescriptions for Lortab and Xanax. After
the shooting, he called 9-1-1 and Ms. Hopkins' mother.
When the law enforcement officers arrived, the Defendant told
them that he wanted them to kill him, but he denied pointing
his gun at them. The Defendant told the agents that he was
attempting to give his gun to Detective Davis when the other
officer shot him. When agents described to the Defendant a
knife that they had found on his porch, he stated his belief
that the knife belonged to him.
behalf of the Defendant, Casey Clemons testified that she
drove by the Defendant's house on the evening of the
shooting. She remembered seeing a red car but
could not remember anything else about that day. Ms. Clemons
agreed that her statement to law enforcement taken two weeks
after the shooting would be accurate, including her saying
that she saw two men in the yard and saw two people in a
pickup truck, but she could not determine whether the
document shown to her was her statement. In response to her
testimony, Chief Deputy Smith testified that he interviewed
Ms. Clemons on November 1, 2010, and that she told him she
had seen a pickup truck parked in front of the
Defendant's house with two people inside the truck. She
also saw a pile of property in the yard and a younger man
arguing with an older man in the yard. She did not see any
the Defendant's behalf, his sister Mary Nell Hannah and
his brother-in-law Billy Hannah testified about the events
after they arrived at the scene. According to Mr. Hannah, the
Defendant was holding his gun to the side and pointed at the
ground. An officer shot the Defendant's arm, causing the
Defendant to drop the gun, and Mrs. Hannah picked up the gun.
Then, the officers shot the Defendant three times. Mr. Hannah
recalled the Defendant's telling the officers that there
was one bullet left in his gun and that he planned to use it
on himself. Mrs. Hannah described essentially the same
scenario, adding that the Defendant was trying to hand her
the gun when he was shot the first time. She claimed that she
already had the gun when he was shot again. Mrs. Hannah
further testified that she had raised the Defendant to an
extent after the separation of their parents and that he had
been a "good kid." According to her, the Defendant
was on medication for "nerves" and depression, and
he had trouble with his vision but could not afford glasses.
The investigator hired by the Defendant's attorney
testified that he found a closed knife on the Defendant's
porch the day following the shooting, which he turned over to
the sheriff's department.
the close of proof and deliberations, the jury convicted the
Defendant as charged of two counts of first degree
premeditated murder, one count of attempted first degree
premeditated murder, and three counts of aggravated assault.
sentencing hearing to determine punishment for the first
degree murder convictions, Mr. Luster's mother testified
about the impact of his death on their family, especially his
nine-year-old son. For the defense, Rebecca Barnett, a
mitigation specialist, testified that the Defendant dropped
out of school at fifteen or sixteen and that he worked
steadily until 2010. He had been married twice, both
marriages resulting in divorce. He had two sons from his
first marriage, but one son had been killed in an accident.
Ms. Barnett testified that the Defendant tried to kill
himself after his first divorce. She further testified that a
mental evaluation given to the Defendant prior to trial
showed that the Defendant had "significant physical and
mental limitations." He was diagnosed with "major
depressive disorder with psychotic features." The
Defendant also suffered from a heart murmur and nerve damage
from a motorcycle accident. The jury determined that one
aggravating circumstance applied to the Defendant's
sentencing-he knowingly created a great risk of death to two
or more persons other than the victim murdered-and on that
basis, the jury sentenced him to life sentences without the
possibility of parole for the murders of Amber Hopkins and
John Luster. See Tenn. Code Ann. §
second sentencing hearing to determine punishment for the
remaining convictions, the trial court sentenced the
Defendant to twenty-five years for the attempted murder of
James Kennedy and six years for each of the three aggravated
assault convictions. The trial court ordered the attempted
murder sentence to be served consecutively to the
Defendant's murder sentences and the aggravated assault
convictions to be served concurrently with each other and the
attempted murder sentence.
Defendant appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals, arguing
that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress
the evidence and that the evidence was insufficient to
support his convictions for the murders and the attempted
murder, as well as his sentences of life without the
possibility of parole. State v. Pruitt, No.
M2013-02393-CCA-R3-CD, 2015 WL 5032016, at *1 (Tenn. Crim.
App. Aug. 26, 2015), perm. app. granted (Tenn. Jan.
19, 2016). The appellate court concluded that the search
warrant did not violate Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure
41(c) because "the correct date and time were in fact
endorsed on the warrant" and because "the date
October 19, 2010, . . . on the warrant . . . was rendered
''extraneous and inapplicable' when the
magistrate stated on the warrant that the document was
''Issued on Oct. 18, 2010.'" Id. at
*12. Addressing the trial court's reliance on ERRA, the
appellate court noted that ERRA would apply but for the fact
that the Court of Criminal Appeals had previously determined
in State v. Hayes that ERRA could not be applied
retroactively to validate a warrant. Id. (citing
State v. Hayes, No. M2012-01768-CCA-R3-CD, 2013 WL
3378320, at *5 (Tenn. Crim. App. July 1, 2013)). The court
further concluded that the seizure of the shotgun did not
violate the Defendant's constitutional rights because he
had voluntarily agreed to the seizure. Id. The court
upheld the Defendant's convictions and sentences, ruling
that the evidence was sufficient to support his convictions
and that the evidence was sufficient to support the
aggravating circumstance found by the jury in sentencing.
Id. at *12, *15.
Defendant filed a timely Rule 11 application to this Court,
which we accepted with the instruction to address whether
State v. Hayes was correctly decided and whether
this Court should modify the Tennessee ex post facto analysis
found in Miller v. State, 584 S.W.2d 758 (Tenn.
1979), in light of Collins v. Youngblood, 497 U.S.
37 (1990). The other issues raised in the Defendant's
application are sufficiency of the evidence to uphold his
convictions and sufficiency of the evidence to uphold the
aggravating circumstance relied upon by the jury in
sentencing him to life without the possibility of parole for
each count of premeditated murder.
Suppression of the Evidence
Standard of Review
reviewing the trial court's decision on a motion to
suppress, we review the trial court's legal conclusions
de novo. State v. Northern, 262 S.W.3d 741, 747
(Tenn. 2008). In doing so, we give deference to the trial
judge's findings of fact unless the evidence
preponderates otherwise. Id.; see State v.
Ross, 49 S.W.3d 833, 839 (Tenn. 2001); State v.
Odom, 928 S.W.2d 18, 23 (Tenn. 1996).
"''[C]redibility of the witnesses, the weight
and value of the evidence, and resolution of conflicts in the
evidence are matters entrusted to the trial judge as the
trier of fact.'" Northern, 262 S.W.3d at
747-48 (alteration in original) (quoting Odom, 928
S.W.2d at 23). In reviewing the findings of fact, evidence
presented at trial may "''be considered by an
appellate court in deciding the propriety of the trial
court's ruling on the motion to suppress.'"
State v. Garcia, 123 S.W.3d 335, 343 (Tenn. 2003)
(quoting State v. Walton, 41 S.W.3d 75, 81 (Tenn.
2001)). The prevailing party on the motion to suppress is
afforded the "''strongest legitimate view of the
evidence and all reasonable and legitimate inferences that
may be drawn from that evidence.'"
Northern, 262 S.W.3d at 748 (quoting State v.
Keith, 978 S.W.2d 861, 864 (Tenn. 1998)); see State
v. Daniel, 12 S.W.3d 420, 423 (Tenn. 2000);
Odom, 928 S.W.2d at 23. "The question whether
Rule 41(c) of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure
requires suppression of the evidence in this case is a
question of law which we review de novo with no presumption
of correctness afforded to the judgment of the court
below." State v. Coffee, 54 S.W.3d 231, 232
issue in this case is a search warrant purported by the
Defendant to be invalid based on a failure to adhere to the
specifications of Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 41(c).
Rule 41 "imposes specific procedural safeguards"
that "are intended ''to secure the citizen
against carelessness and abuse in the issuance and execution
of search warrants.'" Coffee, 54 S.W.3d at
233 (quoting Talley v. State, 345 S.W.2d 867, 869
(1961)). As relevant to this case, Rule 41(c)(3)(D) requires
that the magistrate "endorse on the search warrant the
hour, date, and name of the officer to whom the warrant was
delivered for execution." Tenn. R. Crim. P. 41(c)(3)(D).
If a magistrate does not comply with that section, Rule 41
directs a court to grant an aggrieved party's motion to
suppress the evidence seized as a result of the noncompliant
warrant. Tenn. R. Crim. P. 41(g)(5)(B). The purpose of Rule
41(c)'s endorsement criteria is "to ensure that if a
search warrant is executed prior to its issuance, such
discrepancy will be apparent on the face of the