Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Assigned on Briefs January 21, 2016
Appeal from the Criminal Court for Knox County No. 98504 Bob
R. McGee, Judge
Petitioner, Joe Turner, filed a petition in the Knox County
Criminal Court seeking post-conviction relief from his
convictions of two counts of aggravated rape, one count of
especially aggravated kidnapping, one count of aggravated
assault, and the accompanying effective sentence of one
hundred years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. The
Petitioner alleged that his appellate counsel was ineffective
by failing to appeal the trial court's refusal to admit
potentially exculpatory DNA evidence. After a hearing, the
post-conviction court denied relief. Upon review, we affirm
the judgment of the post-conviction court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
L. Gulley, Jr., Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Joe
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Clark
B. Thornton, Senior Counsel; Charme Allen, District Attorney
General; and Philip H. Morton, 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 Camille R. McMullen, JJ., joined.
MCGEE OGLE, JUDGE
direct appeal, this court summarized the proof adduced at
trial as follows:
[T]he victim, A.T., testified that at the time of the
offenses she was addicted to drugs and alcohol but that she
had been "sober" for more than a year. The victim
said that she met the [Petitioner] on Keith Avenue one to one
and one-half months prior to the instant offenses. She and
the [Petitioner] started a relationship, and they
occasionally used crack cocaine and alcohol.
In August 2006, the victim was hired to clean rooms at the
Best Value Inn in exchange for room and board. The
[Petitioner] stayed with her. He promised to look for
employment; however, after job searching, he often came back
to the room drunk or with crack cocaine.
The victim testified that at times the [Petitioner] was
violent. He took her belongings and threatened to burn them.
He would also "strip [her]" so that she was unable
to leave. He frequently grabbed her arms and physically
restrained her. She said she did not want to be with the
[Petitioner], but she was afraid of him.
The victim worked at the motel for one week before her job
was terminated on August 16, 2006. The night before she lost
her job, the [Petitioner] kept the victim awake until 3:00
a.m. "ranting and raving, " making it difficult for
her to work the next day. The victim said that on August 16,
the [Petitioner] left to look for a job, and she began
cleaning rooms. Her boss called her downstairs and told her
he had to "let her go." The victim asked to be
given a reason for her dismissal, and her boss responded that
the [Petitioner] had been harassing the guests. The victim
asked if she could continue to stay and work at the motel if
she evicted the [Petitioner], but her boss told her that they
both needed to leave. The victim left the [Petitioner's]
belongings at the motel because she was unable to carry them.
She told the motel clerk that the [Petitioner] would return
later for his belongings.
At 5:00 or 5:30 p.m., after arranging to stay with a woman
who lived on Keith Avenue, the victim went to a nearby
convenience store. While she was there, the [Petitioner]
confronted her. He was angry and cursing because she had left
his belongings at the motel. She told him that the
relationship was not working and that his behavior had cost
her a job and a place to stay. The victim left the store and
went to the house where she was staying.
At 10:00 or 11:00 p.m., the victim returned to the store and
bought a quart of beer. When she walked out of the store, the
[Petitioner] grabbed the "neck area" of her shirt
with one hand. In his other hand, he had an open Buck knife.
The [Petitioner] repeatedly called the victim a
"bitch." He held the knife to her throat,
threatened to kill her, and dragged her to a dirt pile behind
the store. The [Petitioner] told her that "no one else
was going to have [her]" and threatened to "rape
[her] dead body." Hoping to get the [Petitioner] to
stop, the victim told him that God was watching them. The
[Petitioner] responded by hitting both sides of her head and
pushing her onto the dirt pile. The victim said the
[Petitioner] was angrier than she had ever seen him.
The [Petitioner] ordered the victim to remove her clothes,
and she reluctantly complied. She pled with the [Petitioner]
to let her go. He used profanity, strangled her, and kept the
knife near her face and neck. The victim briefly lost
consciousness while the [Petitioner] strangled her. After the
victim's clothes were removed, the [Petitioner]
penetrated her vagina with his penis then ejaculated on her
face. The [Petitioner] laughed, kicked dirt on her, and
ordered her to get dressed.
The [Petitioner] then forced the victim to go to an abandoned
house which was dark and smelled of urine. The [Petitioner]
pushed the knife into her neck and ordered the victim to lie
on a blue couch that was in the house. When she complied, he
penetrated her again.
Afterward, the [Petitioner] appeared to be asleep. When the
victim saw that it was getting light outside, she squirmed
out from under the [Petitioner] and stood. She told him she
would not tell police about the rapes if he allowed her to
leave. The [Petitioner] allowed her to leave, but he followed
her out of the house. She found a telephone and called 911.
The victim said she was disoriented, confused, weak, and had
trouble breathing because of the strangulation.
An ambulance arrived and transported the victim to Baptist
Hospital where she was examined. Later, she went to an
out-of-county domestic violence shelter because she was
afraid of the [Petitioner]. The victim stated that the ordeal
lasted from 10:30 p.m. on August 16, 2006, until 7:30 a.m. on
August 17, 2006.
The victim said that the [Petitioner] always carried a knife
and that he liked to "flip" knives at odd times,
such as when he watched television. Because of the
strangulation, she had trouble swallowing for a month. She
said that she had bruises and scrapes and that she healed
slowly. She also stated that "mentally those scars are a
lot deeper." She acknowledged that she had previously
had consensual sex with the [Petitioner] but maintained that
she did not consent on the night of the offenses.
Ginger Evans testified that on August 17, 2006, she was
called to Baptist Hospital Emergency Department to perform a
sexual assault forensic examination on the victim. When Evans
first saw the victim, she was curled in a "fetal
position" on an examination table. She was crying and
was clearly upset. The victim told Evans that she was scared,
and she asked Evans to find her a safe place to stay.
The victim told Evans that she had been sexually assaulted
and strangled by the [Petitioner]. Evans said that the victim
complained of pain and that she had marks and scratches on
her body. Evans stated that the victim had broken blood
vessels in her eyes and significant bruises on her neck,
ears, and chin[, ] which were consistent with strangling.
Evans found dirt in various places on the victim's body,
including her genital area, which could have been consistent
with the victim being thrown on a pile of dirt. Additionally,
Evans collected swabs from the victim's face and genital
area. When she examined the victim's genital area, she
saw redness and excoriation, which she described as a tearing
away of the top layers of skin where the victim's legs
connected with her pubic bone.
Kimberly Bryant, a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation [(TBI)]
forensic scientist, testified that the swab from the
victim's face revealed the presence of limited
spermatazoa. She said that the ...