Assigned on Briefs November 1, 2016
from the Circuit Court for Madison County No. 15-167 Roy B.
Morgan, Jr., Judge.
bifurcated trial, a Madison County jury convicted the
defendant, Christopher Minor, of two counts of first degree
murder, two counts of aggravated burglary, one count of
aggravated assault, one count of convicted felon in
possession of a firearm, one count of employing a firearm
during the commission of a dangerous felony, one count of
employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous
felony having been previously been convicted of a felony, and
six counts of violating Tennessee Code Annotated section
40-35-121, the criminal gang offenses enhancement statute.
The trial court imposed an effective sentence of life plus
twenty years. The defendant appeals his conviction,
challenging the sufficiency of the evidence and the
constitutionality of Tennessee Code Annotated section
40-35-121. The State argues the evidence was sufficient to
support the defendant's convictions, and the defendant
waived his constitutional challenge by raising his argument
for the first time on appeal. We agree with the State and
affirm the judgments of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Circuit
Sparks, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christopher
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; James G.
Woodall, District Attorney General; and Aaron J. Chaplin,
Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State
Ross dyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
John Everett Williams, J., joined. Camille R. McMullen, J.,
filed a separate opinion concurring in part and dissenting in
ROSS DYER, JUDGE.
and Procedural Background
appeal arises as a result of the murder and aggravated
burglary of deceased victim Rico Swift, and the aggravated
robbery and aggravated assault of female victim Julie Frye.
The jury trial began on September 22, 2015. At trial, the
parties presented the facts summarized below.
afternoon of June 8, 2014, Terron Kinnie called the defendant
and asked that the defendant and Freddie Booth meet at his
house around 4:00 p.m. Mr. Booth and the defendant complied.
All were members of a street gang known as the Black
P-StoneNation. Mr. Kinnie had the rank of
"general" and oversaw the gang. The defendant was a
low-ranking member of the organization known as a "foot
the defendant and Mr. Booth arrived at Mr. Kinnie's home,
Rayshawn Norman, Kijuan Murphy, Terry Thompson, and Mr.
Kinnie were present. Mr. Norman was also a member of the
Black P-Stone Nation, but Mr. Murphy and Mr. Thompson were
members of the Vice Lords, a related street gang. According
to the defendant's trial testimony, Mr. Kinnie announced
that Mr. Norman needed to prove himself to the gang by
robbing the deceased victim. Mr. Kinnie chose the deceased
victim because he had animosity towards him and considered
him weak. The deceased victim also sold marijuana, and Mr.
Kinnie knew he kept a large sum of cash in his apartment.
defendant testified that the men developed a plan. Later in
the evening, they would go to the deceased victim's
apartment. The defendant and Mr. Booth would enter first
under the guise of purchasing marijuana. While making their
purchase, they would surveil the apartment and determine
whether anyone else was present. The remaining men would then
enter the apartment and rob the deceased victim.
9:00 p.m., the men parked in the nearby driveway of a friend.
The defendant drove Mr. Booth, Mr. Kinnie, and Mr. Norman in
his girlfriend's white Chevrolet Malibu. A man known as
"Big Ghost" drove Mr. Thompson and Mr. Murphy. The
defendant and Mr. Booth then walked to the deceased
the parties presented similar evidence at trial as to the
subsequent events, the accounts of the female victim and the
defendant differ as to who beat and injured the victims. The
female victim testified that she and the deceased victim were
in the apartment watching basketball on television when they
heard a knock on the door. The deceased victim looked out the
window, gave a funny look, and opened the door. He then let
Mr. Booth and the defendant into the apartment and locked the
door behind them.
Booth entered the apartment first, followed by the defendant.
The men each asked for a "blunt" and gave the
deceased victim $5 apiece. After taking the money, the
deceased victim turned to get the marijuana. Once the
deceased victim turned around, the defendant and Mr. Booth
"jumped" him. The men grabbed the deceased victim
around the neck and beat him in the left side of his head.
The female victim testified that "[t]hey just kept
busting him in his head, just everywhere." While this
was happening, she sat on the couch in shock. Mr. Booth and
the defendant eventually pushed the deceased victim onto the
couch and continued to punch him in the head. They then
choked him. The deceased victim's legs began jumping and
he turned blue.
female victim testified that she decided to do something to
help her boyfriend. She got up to walk to her bedroom and
retrieve a pocketknife; however, before she got to the end of
the couch, the defendant directed Mr. Booth to "[g]et
that bitch, get that bitch, get that bitch." Mr. Booth
then grabbed the female victim, slammed her into the wall,
and threw her onto the kitchen floor. As she was being pushed
into the kitchen, the female victim saw three other men in
the apartment. According to the female victim, somebody must
have let the men into the apartment because she remembered
the deceased victim locking the door. The defendant then came
into the kitchen, put a small gun between her eyes, and said,
"Bitch, you got a phone? You got a phone, bitch?"
After she did not respond, the defendant drew back the gun.
She next remembers waking up on the kitchen floor covered in
cockroaches and at trial agreed she got "knocked out or
waking on the kitchen floor, the female victim walked into
the living room and found the deceased victim on his knees
with his face down over the couch. She saw blood everywhere.
In search of help, the female victim ran to the parking lot
and found two men, Jarkius Person and Chance Mitchell. The
men entered the apartment with her and called 911.
trial, the defendant offered a different account of his role
in the events occurring June 8, 2014. According to the
defendant, after leaving their friends in the nearby
driveway, he and Mr. Booth walked to the deceased
victim's apartment and knocked on the door. The deceased
victim answered the door, and the defendant and Mr. Booth
asked for two "dime sacks" of marijuana. Mr. Booth then
walked into the apartment followed by the defendant, who
closed the door behind him.
inside the apartment, the defendant began to look around and
noticed the female victim in the bedroom. The deceased victim
retrieved the marijuana from his bedroom, gave it to the
defendant and Mr. Booth, and the men paid. Mr. Booth and the
defendant then exited the apartment and found Mr. Kinnie, Mr.
Thompson, Mr. Murphy, and Mr. Norman in the stairwell. The
defendant walked past, said "no, " and held up two
fingers, attempting to signal that there were two people in
the apartment, so they should abandon the robbery. Despite
his warning, Mr. Kinnie, Mr. Thompson, Mr. Murphy, and Mr.
Norman went inside the deceased victim's apartment. Mr.
Booth closed the door behind them, and the defendant and Mr.
Booth ran to the nearby driveway where they had parked their
cars. Big Ghost was waiting in his car, and the defendant
advised him that there were two people in the apartment, but
the men went forward with the robbery anyway. After a couple
minutes, Mr. Kinnie, Mr. Thompson, Mr. Murphy, and Mr. Norman
ran back to the cars. Mr. Kinnie, Mr. Murphy, and Mr. Norman
got inside the car driven by the defendant. They were covered
in blood, but Mr. Norman had the most blood on his body.
returned to Ms. Kinnie's house. According to the
defendant, once at Mr. Kinnie's house, they split the
money taken from the deceased victim. The defendant, Mr.
Booth, and Big Ghost each received $50 for driving and
scoping out the property. The other four men received $300
apiece. Mr. Kinnie, Mr. Thompson, Mr. Murphy, and Mr. Norman
discussed the beating in the defendant's presence. They
told the defendant that the deceased victim tried to bite Mr.
Norman, so Mr. Norman put him into a headlock. Mr. Kinnie
bragged to the group about hitting the deceased victim in the
head. The men said the female victim "just fell
out." The defendant denied hitting either victim. The
defendant further denied having a gun. According to the
defendant, he did not learn about the deceased victim's
death until the following day.
from the Jackson Police Department responded to the 911 call
made following the apartment invasion and beating. Officer
Ricky Stewart was one of the first officers to arrive at the
crime scene, so he authored the police report. Officer
Stewart encountered the female victim when he arrived and
testified that he did not observe any blood, contusions, or
bumps on her head. Officer Stewart noted in his report that
the female victim denied medical treatment.
Darrell Listenbee, another patrol officer with the Jackson
Police Department, also responded to the emergency call. When
he arrived, the female victim was waiting outside of the
apartment. Officer Listenbee testified that upon entering the
residence, he found the deceased victim lying on the couch,
unresponsive, and bleeding from his head. Along with the
female victim and another officer, Officer Listenbee waited
on the emergency medical responders to arrive. Officer
Listenbee noted the living room and one other room were in
disarray. The female victim told him that she had been hit in
the head by one of the intruders and knocked unconscious.
Daniel Long was the first investigator to arrive. When he got
to the crime scene, Officer Stewart, Officer Listenbee, and a
few other patrol officers were already present, and the
emergency medical responders had just arrived. Officer
Stewart informed Investigator Long that the emergency medical
responders were inside working on the victim, who had been
assaulted, shot, or stabbed. The female victim was distressed
and reported to him that she had been smashed against a wall
and struck in the head with a pistol. The female victim was
not actively bleeding.
Chris Chestnut led the crime scene investigation. When he
arrived, he met with Investigator Long, who recounted the
details of the crime scene and told him the deceased victim
had been taken to the hospital. Sergeant Chestnut then went
inside the residence with the female victim and a crime scene
technician. The female victim claimed she had been struck in
the side of the head, but due to her hair, he could not see
whether she was bruised or bleeding. Inside the apartment,
there were large amounts of blood on the couch and floor and
blood spattered on the walls. As the female victim walked
through the residence with him, she pointed out the items
that had been disturbed.
apartment had two bedrooms and both had been ransacked. The
dresser drawers had been smashed and items were overturned.
The female victim's purse was upside down on the bed in
the master bedroom, and the contents of the purse had
spilled. The mattresses in both bedrooms had been moved so
that somebody could look under them. The female victim did
not report any missing items, but she testified at trial that
$90 had been stolen from her purse, along with a prescribed
bottle of Xanax. 
the female victim calmed down, Investigator Long took her to
the station and obtained a statement. The female victim
described the defendant as a tall, thin, black male with
dreadlocks and Mr. Booth as a shorter black male. The
investigators began canvassing the surrounding neighborhood
for information. Sergeant Chestnut also went to the hospital
and met with Rita McCoy, the assistant medical examiner, and
the victim's family. He and Ms. McCoy were careful to
preserve the body for autopsy but did visually inspect it.
There were no visible gunshot wounds or stab marks.
Investigator Long testified that there was a deep laceration
on the deceased victim's forehead caused by some sort of
blunt force. There was also some swelling to the deceased
victim's eyes and a lot of blood.
following day, Sergeant Chestnut and his officers continued
casing the neighborhood. They also received several Crime
Stoppers tips. One of the witnesses they spoke with in the
neighborhood reported seeing a suspicious white vehicle in