Assigned on Briefs: November 1, 2016
from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 15-01981 John
Wheeler Campbell, Judge
convicted the Defendant, Yusuf Rahman, of one count of
attempted second degree murder, two counts of aggravated
assault, and one count of domestic assault. The trial court
sentenced the Defendant to thirty years for attempted second
degree murder, fifteen years for each aggravated assault
conviction, and eleven months and twenty-nine days for
domestic assault. The trial court ran the sentences
concurrently and merged the aggravated assault convictions.
The Defendant asserts that the evidence is insufficient to
support the attempted second degree murder conviction and
that the trial court should have instructed the jury on
self-defense. After a thorough review of the record, we
affirm the judgments of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Criminal
Stephen C. Bush, District Public Defender; Tony N. Brayton,
Assistant District Public Defender (on appeal); and John
Zastrow and Patrick Newport, Assistant District Public
Defenders (at trial), for the appellant, Yusuf Rahman.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P.
Weirich, District Attorney General; and Josh Corman and
Meghan Fowler, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the
appellee, State of Tennessee.
Everett Williams, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Camille R. McMullen and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.
EVERETT WILLIAMS, JUDGE
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Shelby County Grand Jury indicted the Defendant for one count
of attempted first degree murder, two counts of aggravated
assault, one count of aggravated burglary, and one count of
domestic assault. The Defendant was accused of the attempted
murder of a man and the domestic assault of a woman,
following a dispute involving alcohol between the Defendant
and the victim of the attempted murder.
Marvin Jackson, the victim to the attempted second degree
murder and aggravated assaults, testified that he had known
Ms. Felisa Grant, the Defendant's girlfriend and the
domestic assault victim, for approximately eleven or twelve
years. He described their relationship as a friendship. He
explained that he has gout, which makes it difficult for him
to walk, and that Ms. Grant assisted him by cleaning his
apartment and doing his laundry for him.
November 22, 2014, Ms. Grant and the Defendant went to Mr.
Jackson's apartment to visit. After their arrival, the
Defendant went to the liquor store to purchase liquor for Mr.
Jackson. When the Defendant returned from the liquor store,
he grabbed a knife in the kitchen and stabbed Mr.
Jackson's table. Mr. Jackson testified that he asked the
Defendant why he stabbed the table, and the Defendant did not
respond. Mr. Jackson said the Defendant went to where Ms.
Grant was sitting in the apartment and "slapped her up
side the head a couple of times." Mr. Jackson testified
that after the Defendant struck Ms. Grant, he told the
Defendant to leave, the Defendant refused to do so, and then
Mr. Jackson left the apartment because he felt that
"something was fixing to happen" and that his
"life was in danger." When Mr. Jackson left the
apartment, the Defendant followed Mr. Jackson with the knife
he used to stab the table. The Defendant then approached Mr.
Jackson from behind, and Mr. Jackson turned around to face
the Defendant. Mr. Jackson stated, "He come around with
the knife. … I caught the knife. I broke the
knife." He described the knife as being about eight
inches before it broke and about four to five inches after it
broke. After Mr. Jackson broke the knife, the Defendant began
stabbing Mr. Jackson with the knife, five times in total to
the stomach and back. Mr. Jackson testified that the stabbing
left him weak, bleeding, and feeling like he was dying. After
the offenses, Mr. Jackson identified the Defendant as the
assailant in a photographic lineup conducted by the police.
cross-examination, Mr. Jackson testified that he did not have
any problem with the Defendant before the attack and that the
Defendant "had no reason to assault [him]." Mr.
Jackson admitted that on the day of the attack, he drank a
pint of liquor, but he maintained that he was not
intoxicated. Mr. Jackson acknowledged that he had told a
treating nurse that he had only consumed beer that day. He
denied being too intoxicated to remember the details of the
attack and instigating the fight with the Defendant.
re-direct examination, Mr. Jackson testified that during the
attack, the door knob to his apartment door was damaged. He
stated the door knob looked like the Defendant "took
both feet and kicked the door knob and broke the door
knob." He testified that he saw the Defendant kick his
William Smith of the Memphis Police Department was one of the
responding officers to the 911 call concerning Mr. Jackson.
He described the scene upon arrival as "pretty
gruesome." He noted that Mr. Jackson was lying on the
ground "with multiple stab wounds and surrounded by
blood." He testified that the suspect was not on the
scene when he arrived but that he was able to determine the
identity of the perpetrator. Officer Smith said Ms. Grant was
able to recall what had occurred and who was responsible. He
collected information from Ms. Grant and reported details
about the suspect to the police department for broadcast. He
stated that he did not believe Ms. Grant was intoxicated
while they spoke with each other, although he did detect
alcohol on her breath. Officer Smith testified that he found
a broken knife handle on the scene several feet away from Mr.
Jackson. He also testified that Mr. Jackson's door was
"split" and "broken up" and that the lock
to Mr. Jackson's door "had been knocked off"
and was on the ground. On cross-examination, Officer Smith
stated that Ms. Grant was somewhat "hysterical" and
Allen Courtney, with the Memphis Fire Department, was a
responding paramedic to the crime scene. The trial court
accepted Mr. Courtney as an expert in defensive wound
identification. He testified that after he made his
assessment of Mr. Jackson, he determined that Mr. Jackson
needed to be taken into surgery. He observed that Mr. Jackson
had multiple stab wounds to his shoulder blade area, upper
back. They ranged 1 inch to 2 inches … in length. He
also had three in his abdomen. He also had what …
I've been taught to look for and stuff especially in stab
wounds is defensive wounds to his hands when you get stabbed
or when you're being attacked or however you want to look
at it. You're always going to try to defend yourself. So
you're going to grab whatever someone has. He had cuts to
Mr. Courtney testified that upon their arrival to the
hospital, the hospital staff immediately brought Mr. Jackson
in for surgery.
cross-examination, Mr. Courtney testified that there was
blood around Mr. Jackson and "further down the
hallway." He did not know whether the blood belonged to
Mr. Jackson. He stated that he did not see the suspect at the
scene and did not know ...