CHRISTOPHER D. HODGE
STATE OF TENNESSEE
Assigned on Briefs September 7, 2016
from the Circuit Court for Lauderdale County No. 7359 Joe H.
Walker, III, Judge
Petitioner, Christopher D. Hodge, appeals the Lauderdale
County Circuit Court's summary dismissal of his petition
requesting DNA analysis of evidence pursuant to the
Post-Conviction DNA Analysis Act of 2001. Based upon the
record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of
the post-conviction court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Christopher D. Hodge, Pro se, Clifton, Tennessee.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; David
H. Findley, Senior Counsel; D. Michael Dunavant, District
Attorney General; and Julie K. Pillow, Assistant District
Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
McGee Ogle, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
Robert W. Wedemeyer and D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., JJ., joined.
MCGEE OGLE, JUDGE
2002, the Petitioner and Ricky Ardd were prisoners at West
Tennessee State Penitentiary. See State v. Christopher
David Hodge, No. W2003-01513-CCA-R3-CD, 2004 WL 2290495,
at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. at Jackson, Oct. 11, 2004), perm.
to appeal denied, (Tenn. Feb. 28, 2005). On May 27, Ardd
was transferred to cell 24 in Unit 2 with the Petitioner as
his cellmate, and they were the only two men in the cell.
Id. at *2. A correctional officer checked on their
cell about 5:45 p.m. and did not see a problem. Id.
However, when she returned about 6:00 p.m., the Petitioner
called out to her that Ardd was unconscious. Id. A
prison nurse went to the cell and found that Ardd did not
have a pulse. Id at *2. The Petitioner was indicted
for second degree murder. Id. at *1.
trial, Dr. O.C. Smith, the Shelby County Medical Examiner,
testified as follows regarding the victim's autopsy:
[T]he victim was five feet, six inches tall and weighed 145
pounds. Dr. Smith concluded that the victim died of
strangulation. He stated that the victim's neck was
scraped and bruised by a ligature. The victim had bled into
the muscles of his neck, as well as into the eyeball covering
of both eyes. Dr. Smith also noted contusions and abrasions
on the back of the neck, contusions of the tongue, and four
superficial, non-fatal puncture wounds on the victim's
back. He stated that the injuries suffered by the victim,
specifically the bleeding into tissues, indicated that the
victim did not die an instantaneous death. He stated that the
victim did not die of manual strangulation but by the
application of a ligature which left marks on the
victim's neck. Dr. Smith was shown a long strip of torn
bed sheeting attached to a plastic fork that was later
introduced as an item seized from cell 24. Dr. Smith opined
that the victim's injuries were consistent with
strangulation by means of such an instrument. He said that he
could not determine the time of death from the autopsy
results. He explained that it takes approximately ninety
seconds of oxygen deprivation to cause unconsciousness and
four minutes of oxygen deprivation to cause death to the
On cross-examination, Dr. Smith admitted that he could not
say for certain that the ligature presented caused the
victim's death. He also agreed that a sleeper hold can
induce unconsciousness in approximately fifteen seconds. On
redirect examination, Dr. Smith stated that the victim would
be expected to again start breathing ...