Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Session November 16, 2016
from the Criminal Court for Morgan County No. 09-CR-9490 E.
Eugene Eblen, Judge No. E2015-02240-CCA-R3-CD
Defendant, Heather Young, was convicted by a Morgan County
Criminal Court jury of first degree premeditated murder.
See T.C.A. § 39-13-202(a)(1) (2014). The
Defendant received a life sentence. On appeal, she contends
that the evidence is insufficient to support her conviction.
We affirm the judgment of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
Cashauna C. Lattimore (on appeal), Knoxville, Tennessee; Joe
H. Walker, District Public Defender; and Walter B. Johnson
and Alfred Hathcock (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders,
for the appellant, Heather Young.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Benjamin A. Ball, Senior Counsel; Russell Johnson, District
Attorney General; and Frank Harvey, Assistant District
Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
H. Montgomery, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court,
in which D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., and Timothy L. Easter, JJ.
H. MONTGOMERY, JR., JUDGE
case relates to the June 25, 2009 death of Memford Hamby, who
was fatally shot while inside his house. Morgan County 9-1-1
dispatcher Amanda Hamby testified that on June 25, 2009, she
answered a call from the victim, and the recording of the
call was played for the jury.
recording, the victim breathed heavily and told the
dispatcher that he had just been shot in the stomach and the
leg by the Defendant, who was still present. The victim said,
"It's not loaded, stupid, " and told the
dispatcher that the Defendant had picked up one of his guns.
He stated that he thought she was "wanting to finish the
job" and that he had not hurt the Defendant other than
"knocking her upside . . . her head with her gun."
He said that he had taken her gun away from her, that he
thought she was preparing to leave, and that he would not try
to stop her. The Defendant said in the background, "Tell
her I'm going home to finish the job." The victim
repeated the phrase and told the dispatcher that he did not
know what the Defendant meant. The Defendant said,
"You're going to get caught with all my pills,
here?" The victim responded, "It looks like it,
don't it." The Defendant told the victim to tell the
dispatcher the victim was "hold[ing] my pills for
ransom." The victim said, "Out the door with you,
whatever you're going to do." The victim said that
the Defendant was wiping off her "bloody head, "
and he told the Defendant that she could not talk to the
dispatcher but could talk to the police when they arrived.
The Defendant again told the victim to tell the dispatcher
that the victim had her pills, and the victim told the
Defendant to "shut up." The victim said that he
would not tell the dispatcher anything else. The Defendant
again told the victim to tell the dispatcher about her pills,
and the victim told her to "shut up, get out of here, or
do something. Can't you see I'm trying to talk to
this woman, I'm hurting?" The victim said that the
Defendant had "got my gun now" and that she was
"apparently crazy." The victim said that the
gun's safety was engaged, and a gunshot was audible. The
victim said that the Defendant had shot him again and that
"You'd better hurry." Two more gunshots
sounded, the first louder than the second, and a clattering
sound was audible. Rustling and clattering noises continued
in the background. The dispatcher repeatedly said,
"Hello, " but no one responded.
County Sheriff's Deputy Samuel Hamby testified that he
responded to the crime scene. He said that when he arrived,
Deputy Steven Harris was handcuffing the Defendant in the
front yard and that no one else was present. Deputy Hamby
stated that he went inside the house and found the victim
lying on his back on the bathroom floor. Deputy Hamby said
that the victim was deceased, that a large pool of blood
surrounded the victim's head, that pink foam was around
the victim's mouth, and that "some sort of a brown
liquid" was on the floor. Deputy Hamby stated that he
left the house, that the Defendant was sitting in the front
yard, that Deputy Hamby saw a revolver and a bloodstained
cloth on the ground beside the Defendant, and that the
Defendant had a piece of paper in her hand. Deputy Hamby said
that he collected the revolver and placed it on the trunk lid
of Deputy Harris's police cruiser, that he told the
Defendant to drop the piece of paper, and that the Defendant
complied. Deputy Hamby stated that he did not collect the
paper. He said that the Defendant had a bleeding cut on her
head. He stated that the deputies placed the Defendant in
Deputy Harris's police cruiser and secured the scene. He
said that Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) Special
Agent Brad Nealon assisted with the case.
Brad Nealon testified that when he arrived on the scene, he
met with Deputy Hamby and Chief Deputy William Angel and that
the Defendant was not present. Agent Nealon identified
photographs of the scene, which were received as exhibits.
The photographs depicted the exterior of the victim's
house, drops of blood in the kitchen, the victim's body
as it was found by the police, guns in the house, cartridge
casings, and bullet strikes.
Nealon testified that two bloodstained towels, a bloodstained
shirt, and two bloodstained pieces of paper were collected
from the front yard. He said that he processed the crime
scene and that no weapons other than the .22-caliber revolver
Deputy Hamby collected were present outside the house. Agent
Nealon stated that the revolver contained four fired
cartridges and two unfired cartridges and that he sent the
revolver to the TBI laboratory for analysis.
papers were received as exhibits. They consisted of ledger
sheets reflecting paid and received sums of money with
notations reading "doctor, " "med., "
"loan, " and other terms.
Nealon testified that inside the house, he recovered a
.22-caliber semiautomatic rifle with the safety disengaged,
an "older military type rifle" in the living room,
which was covered in dust, several rifles in the corner of
the master bedroom, and a .38-caliber revolver in a closed
box in the bedroom. Agent Nealon said that drops of blood
were found in the kitchen and that bloody shoe prints were
found on carpet near the kitchen and in the hallway.
Nealon testified that a bullet strike was found on the
hallway wall, that a fired cartridge was recovered from the
baseboard near the strike, and that he determined the bullet
was fired toward the kitchen. He said that a second bullet
strike was found on the master bedroom door and that he
recovered a bullet from a nearby wall stud. He stated that a
third bullet strike was found on the master bedroom wall and
that a bullet was recovered from the bedroom floor. Agent
Nealon said that three .22-caliber bullets and an additional
fired cartridge were found inside the house. He noted that
the .22-caliber rifle recovered from the house ejected spent
cartridges but the revolver did not. Agent Nealon stated that
a cordless telephone was found ...