Assigned on Briefs December 6, 2016
from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 09-04389 Lee V.
Mason ("the Petitioner") was convicted of one count
of second degree murder and three counts of aggravated
assault by a Shelby County jury, for which the Petitioner
received an effective sentence of thirty-seven years. The
Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief
arguing that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to
argue self-defense. The post-conviction court denied relief
after finding that trial counsel's failure to argue
self-defense was not deficient and did not prejudice the
Petitioner. On appeal, we affirm the post-conviction
court's denial of relief.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
A. Timmerman, Bartlett, Tennessee, for the appellant, Alexis
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy
Wilber, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney
General; and Karen Cook, Assistant District Attorney General,
for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
L. Holloway, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Norma McGee Ogle and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ.,
L. HOLLOWAY, JR., JUDGE
Factual and Procedural Background
direct appeal, this court summarized the facts of the
Petitioner's case as follows:
Laketra Campbell testified that the last time she saw her
sister, Sabrina [Campbell], alive was on March 21, 2009.
Laketra stated that on March 20, 2009, she loaned her car to
her friend, Sherika Swift, and her sister. When her sister
and Swift returned home with Laketra's car, it had a dent
in it. Laketra later learned that [the Petitioner] was
responsible for the dent in her car. That same day, Laketra
called [the Petitioner] to inquire "what happened,
" and [the Petitioner] "[went] off and start[ed]
cussing, " so [Laketra] hung up the phone.
The next day, March 21, 2009, Laketra called [the Petitioner]
and told her that she was on her way to her house. Laketra,
Sabrina, Swift, and [Shamika] Farris drove to the home of
Swift's boyfriend, Rernardo Wilson,  and dropped off
their children. On her way to [the Petitioner]'s house,
Laketra saw [the Petitioner] and Derwin Owens. When Laketra
asked [the Petitioner], "Why is this dent in my car,
" she said that [the Petitioner] "talked
crazy" and was "cussing." Laketra said that
[the Petitioner] specifically told her, "Bitch, I'll
kill again." Eventually, Farris, age fifteen at the time
of the offense, and [the Petitioner] began to fight. [The
Petitioner] had a knife; however, Owens took it from her.
During the fight, [the Petitioner] was biting Farris
"like a pit bull, " so Laketra hit [the Petitioner]
to get her off Farris. Laketra said that [the Petitioner]
went into the house and grabbed a broomstick, but Sabrina
took the broomstick from [the Petitioner] and struck [the
Petitioner] with it. Laketra then saw blood coming from a cut
on [the Petitioner]'s eye. After approximately ten
minutes, they stopped fighting. The victims got in the car
Laketra, Sabrina, Farris, and Swift drove to Wilson's
house to check on the children. Before Laketra left the area,
[the Petitioner] called her on the phone. Laketra was able to
see [the Petitioner] on the phone, standing outside of a
black SUV waving a gun in her hand, but [the Petitioner]
could not see Laketra. Laketra tried to "ride past [the
Petitioner] real fast." When Laketra drove past the SUV,
she saw the driver of the SUV and described him as a man with
a dread lock hairstyle. Laketra later noticed the same SUV
"on the side of her [car]" forcing her to
"slid[e] and hit[ ] somebody's car[.]" She
pulled her car to the side of the street, and the SUV pulled
beside them. [The Petitioner]'s hand came out of the
window of the SUV, and the victims said, "'We [sic]
fixing to die.'"
Laketra heard shots and closed her eyes. When Laketra opened
her eyes, her sister, Sabrina, had gotten out of the car.
Laketra and the other passengers stayed inside Laketra's
car for fear of being killed. Laketra panicked and later
heard Sabrina say, "'I'm shot.'"
Laketra and the other women then saw Sabrina "[fall]
down real slow." Laketra called for help from a house
nearby the shooting.
Laketra identified [the Petitioner] as the shooter in a
photographic lineup on the day of the offense and at trial.
Laketra also identified [co-defendant] Harris as the driver
of the SUV in a photographic lineup on the day of the
offense, which was admitted as an exhibit at trial. Laketra
was unable to identify [co-defendant] Harris as the driver of
the SUV at a previous hearing in May 2009, because he had a
On cross-examination by [the Petitioner], Laketra was
questioned regarding her preliminary hearing testimony and
the statement she gave police soon after the shooting. She
acknowledged testifying at the preliminary hearing that she
closed her eyes during the shooting. She acknowledged telling
the police that she drove to Wilson's house after the
initial fight to get two crowbars. She testified at trial,
however, that the crowbars had been in the car all along.
On cross-examination by [co-defendant] Harris, Laketra
testified that she had never seen [co-defendant] Harris
before she drove by him at the time of the shooting. He was
not involved in the earlier confrontations. Laketra further
acknowledged getting mad after she spoke to [the Petitioner]
on the phone the evening of March 20.
On redirect examination, Laketra's police statement was
admitted as an exhibit. Laketra testified that the crowbars
had been in the car before the fight and that the ...