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Cook v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

April 10, 2017

CAMERON COOK
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs February 23, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Knox County No. 105768 Bob R. McGee, Judge.

         The petitioner, Cameron Cook, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his 2012 Knox County Criminal Court jury convictions of attempted first degree murder and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, for which he received a sentence of 30 years. In this appeal, the petitioner contends only that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3; Judgment of the Criminal Court Affirmed.

          Leslie M. Jeffers, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Cameron Cook.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; Charme P. Allen, District Attorney General; and TaKisha Fitzgerald, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          James Curwood Witt, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          JAMES CURWOOD WITT, JR., JUDGE

         Originally charged with attempted first degree murder, theft, driving with a suspended license, possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana, two counts of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and two counts of evading arrest, a Knox County Criminal Court jury convicted the petitioner of two counts of evading arrest and one count each of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, driving with a suspended license, possession of cocaine, and possession of marijuana; the jury acquitted the petitioner of theft and was unable to reach a verdict on the charges of attempted first degree murder and the second count of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and the trial court declared a mistrial as to those two charges. Nearly three months later, the petitioner was tried by another Knox County Criminal Court jury, which convicted him of attempted first degree murder and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and the trial court imposed a 30-year sentence. This court affirmed the convictions on direct appeal. See State v. Cameron Cook, No. E2012-02617-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn. Crim. App., Knoxville, Feb. 21, 2014), perm. app. denied (Tenn. June 23, 2014).

         In Cameron Cook, this court stated the facts of the case as follows:

On February 26, 2011, Officer Andrew Olson of the Knoxville Police Department [("KPD")] was on patrol when he received a call from another officer that the [petitioner] was driving a stolen green Volkswagen. Officer Olson was aware that the [petitioner] had an outstanding warrant at the time. Officer Olson observed a green Volkswagen driving in the opposite direction on Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue and began following the car in an attempt to verify whether it was the stolen vehicle. He lost sight of the car for about a minute and then caught up with it at a red light. As Officer Olson positioned his car behind the Volkswagen at the red light, the driver, later determined to be the [petitioner], ran the red light. Officer Olson activated his blue lights, and a pursuit ensued. Officer Olson reported the pursuit to dispatch and requested assistance from additional officers.
During the pursuit, Officer Olson observed the [petitioner] make several movements toward the passenger side of the car "not typical with operating a vehicle." The [petitioner] pulled his hood of his sweatshirt up on his head, turned down several streets, and then turned west onto Washington Pike. The [petitioner] abruptly stopped the car and got out with a shotgun. Officer Olson exited his car and the [petitioner] shot him in the leg. He crawled to the back of his car and observed the [petitioner] flee on foot into a nearby neighborhood. At that time, other officers arrived on the scene and rendered aid to Officer Olson.
George Donahue testified that on the day of the offense he was traveling east on Washington Pike when he saw a green Volkswagen being pursued by a police car. He said, "[T]hey pulled out in traffic[] [a]nd the [petitioner] jumped out of the car, went toward the rear. And I heard [a] sound like two gunshots . . . [T]hen [the petitioner] turned r[a]n back toward me carrying the shotgun in his right hand." After the [petitioner] fled the scene, Mr. Donahue got out of his car to check on the police officer and saw that the officer was "bleeding pretty bad" from a wound to his right leg.
Lisa Lane testified that her family owns a store on the corner of Washington Pike and Alice Bell Road, very close to where the offense occurred. She stated that on the morning of the offense, she drove to her family's store with her young son to pick up a few items. As she was about to leave the parking lot, she heard a police siren and saw a police car following a green car. She thought it was a routine traffic stop and looked down to get her keys. She then heard a gunshot and looked up. She saw a man, whom she identified in court as the [petitioner], standing diagonally to the police car and observed him fire a second shot in the direction of the police car. She recalled that the gun was pointed "directly to [] the front door . . . directly to the policeman." She explained that it really scared her because "it was a really big rifle and I knew being that close, it was just too dangerous that - that the policeman had to be shot or killed, hurt." After the [petitioner] shot the police officer, he ran in the opposite direction, towards Ms. Lane and her son. She quickly pulled out of the parking lot and drove away, keeping an eye on the ...

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