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Krizka v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

January 27, 2017

GALE MARLEEN KRIZKA
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Session Date: July 26, 2016

          Appeal from the Criminal Court for Morgan County No. 8930 E. Eugene Eblen, Judge

          Petitioner, Gale Marleen Krizka, appeals from the denial of her petition for post-conviction relief, in which she alleged that her counsel was ineffective for failing to obtain an expert witness, failing to call witnesses, and failing to give an opening statement. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

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

          Cashauna C. Lattimore, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Gale Marleen Krizka.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Russell Johnson, District Attorney General; and Tiffany Smith, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Camille R. McMullen and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          THOMAS T. WOODALL, PRESIDING JUDGE

         Procedural history

         Petitioner was convicted of second degree murder for the death of her husband. The facts underlying Petitioner's conviction were summarized by this court on direct appeal:

On May 31, 2002, a body was located on a secluded embankment in Scott County. The area was commonly used for illegal dumping. A person riding a four-wheeler discovered the body and notified the authorities. The body was clothed in blue underwear-like shorts and had been wrapped in a shawl or blanket along with a black plastic tarp. The body appeared to have come partially out of the blanket and black plastic tarp when it rolled down the approximately fifty-foot embankment. Both of the items appeared to have been secured around the body by an old, frayed rope. The tarp and blanket contained blood stains from the body. Randy Lewallen, a detective from the Scott County Sheriff's Department, responded to the call.
According to Detective Lewallen, the body was in a moderate state of decomposition. There was maggot activity in the body. The body was removed by the Scott County Rescue Squad and transported to Knoxville for an autopsy.
The autopsy was performed by Sandra K. Elkins, a forensic pathologist. She described the victim as a five[-]foot six[-]inch tall male that weighed 316 pounds. The autopsy revealed that the victim had suffered multiple lacerations to the scalp, multiple skull fractures, and incisions of the right internal jugular vein, right carotid artery, esophagus, and cervical vertebrae. Dr. Elkins opined that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and a stab wound to the neck. There was no blood left in the body, so Dr. Elkins forwarded a liver sample to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation ("TBI") for completion of a DNA analysis.
At the time that the autopsy was performed, police had not yet identified the victim. In order to assist in their investigation and identification of the victim, the police contacted the local news media. Several Knoxville television stations ran a story about the discovery of the body and a plea was made for public assistance in identification of the body. Investigators were contacted by a person that identified herself as Ann ...

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