Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs January 10, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Lincoln County No. 2013-CR-57
Forest A. Durard, Jr., Judge
Lee Burrell ("the Petitioner") pled guilty to six
counts of first degree murder and was sentenced to four
concurrent and two consecutive life sentences under the terms
of a plea agreement. The Petitioner filed a petition for
post-conviction relief, which the post-conviction court
denied after a hearing. The Petitioner now appeals the denial
of his petition for post-conviction relief, contending: (1)
that the post-conviction court erred in denying his request
for a psychological examination at the post-conviction
hearing; (2) that his guilty plea was unknowing and
involuntary; and (3) that trial counsel rendered ineffective
assistance of counsel. After a thorough review of the record
and applicable case law, we affirm the post-conviction
court's denial of relief.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Melissa L. Thomas (post-conviction hearing), Fayetteville,
Tennessee, and Elizabeth Russell (on appeal), Franklin,
Tennessee for the appellant, Henry Lee Burrell.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia
S. Lee, Senior Counsel; Robert J. Carter, District Attorney
General; Ann L. Filer, Deputy District Attorney General; and
Michael D. Randles, Assistant District Attorney General, for
the appellee, State of Tennessee.
L. Holloway, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and Robert W. Wedemeyer, J.,
L. HOLLOWAY, JR., JUDGE
Factual and Procedural Background
Plea Submission Hearing
January 22, 2014, the Petitioner entered a guilty plea to six
counts of first degree premeditated murder. Under the terms
of the plea agreement, the Petitioner received six life
sentences; two life sentences were to be served consecutively
to each other and the remaining four life sentences were to
run concurrently. The State offered the following recitation
of facts in support of the Petitioner's guilty plea:
The [Petitioner] in this case . . . met an individual named
Warren Vincent Crutcher while both of these men were
incarcerated prior to 2012.
In 2012, Warren Crutcher was engaged in the sale of illegal
drugs, and [the Petitioner] became a member of Mr.
Crutcher's crew. In the fall of 2012, another individual
named [co-defendant] Zakkawanda Moss had been released on
parole. And [the Petitioner] brought [co-defendant] Moss into
the drug operation as well.
Warren Crutcher had expressed a desire or an interest in
relocating his operation to Atlanta, Georgia, or to ceasing
his operation and ending his involvement in the drug
business. But the move to Atlanta . . . would have left the
[Petitioner] and [co-defendant] Moss without their current
livelihood of selling drugs.
In addition Mr. Crutcher was thought to have been using drugs
himself by the [Petitioner], to the point that [the
Petitioner] considered Warren Crutcher to be unreliable in
The [Petitioner] and [co-defendant] Moss decided that they
would murder Warren Crutcher. And [they] decided that they
would steal his money and his drugs, which [the Petitioner]
and [co-defendant] Moss knew were customarily hidden at the
Lincoln County home where Warren Crutcher resided, at the
time[, ] [with] two of his female companions and those
females' children as well as his.
On October the 21st, and into October 22nd, the [Petitioner]
lured Warren Crutcher to meet [the Petitioner] and
[co-defendant] Moss at one of those residences here in
Lincoln County, Tennessee.
Unbeknownst to [the Petitioner], Warren Crutcher had a friend
with him, a relatively new girlfriend named Amber McCaulley.
Ms. McCaulley was executed, and her body was dragged from the
vehicle inside the garage of the Huntsville Highway house
here in Lincoln County, Tennessee, and ultimately placed or
thrown into a makeshift laundry room inside the garage of the
Huntsville Highway house. . . .
Thereafter, the [Petitioner's] crime spree moved inside
the Huntsville Highway house. This house was then occupied by
a pregnant female named Chabreya Campbell as well as her two
young sons; including 16-month-old [R.R.],  who was
ultimately stomped to death by [the Petitioner] and
[co-defendant] Moss. And the State's theory is that this
was to coerce information from Chabreya Campbell.
Chabreya Campbell was ultimately beaten, tied up, and placed
in a bathtub partially filled with water, where Chabreya
Campbell was ultimately strangled by means of ligatures
around her neck, where she died.
Chabreya's unborn daughter at the time was an
eight-month-old fetus, [who] died along with her mother. That
baby has since been named and buried. Her name was [ N.C.
Thereafter, the [Petitioner] and [co-defendant] Moss moved
their killing spree to the home of another individual, a
female named Jessica Brown. . . . Inside Ms. Brown's
house, Jessica lived with her two-month-old son.
The two men entered the house and beat and subdued Ms. Brown,
tying her up and putting her in the bathtub, again, partially
filled with water.
There, Jessica Brown was tortured with ligatures around her
throat, pulled tight, pulled repeatedly, ultimately the cords
and strings cut multiple times into the flesh of Jessica
Brown, and ultimately killed her.
The . . . Huntsville Highway house and . . . [Ms. Brown's
house] were ransacked by the two men, including the
[Petitioner], and ultimately looted by the two men.
Warren Crutcher was then executed. He was shot from behind,
while he was seated in a white rental car, a Hyundai Elantra.
Warren Crutcher bled copiously as his body was taken from the
murder location in Tennessee, to a secluded wooded spot
located just across the Alabama state line, and dumped,
before being covered with branches and leaves on the
dumpsite. And this was located just off of BH Reeves Road,
several hundred yards south of the state line and ultimately
in Madison County, Alabama.
[Co-defendant] Moss and [the Petitioner] drove . . . Warren
Crutcher's vehicle to Huntsville, Alabama. The vehicle
was dropped off at an apartment complex on Sparkman Drive in
Huntsville, where [the Petitioner's] girlfriend was
summoned to pick [the Petitioner] and [co-defendant] Moss up.
When [the Petitioner] and [co-defendant] Moss got into the
girlfriend's vehicle, they had blood on them, [and] they
had the odor of blood on them as well.
[The Petitioner] was wearing gloves. [Co-defendant] Moss was
carrying weapons. And these weapons were taken from the
deceased Warren Crutcher.
The men then tried to get more money by using the deceased
Warren Crutcher's debit card at a location on Sparkman
Drive, the Wal-Mart shopping center.
In addition, these individuals stopped again at a Wavaho Gas
Station on Winchester Road in North Madison County, in an
effort to use the deceased Warren Crutcher's debit card,
to again get more profit or more gain ...