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Haydel v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

April 10, 2017


          Session March 7, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 12-00988 Lee V. Coffee, Judge.

         Alexander Haydel ("the Petitioner") pled guilty to two counts of first degree murder and received two consecutive sentences of life without the possibility of parole. The Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief; the post-conviction court denied the petition, and the Petitioner appealed. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that lead trial counsel's performance was deficient because "he misled the [Petitioner] in the events leading up to the [Petitioner's] entering a guilty plea." The Petitioner asserts that he was prejudiced by lead trial counsel's deficient performance because absent that advice he would have proceeded to trial. Additionally, the Petitioner argues that his guilty pleas were entered unknowingly and involuntarily due to lead trial counsel's deficient performance. After a thorough review of the record and applicable case law, we affirm.

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

          James Jones, Jr., Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Alexander Haydel.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Jennifer Nichols and Karen Cook, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert L. Holloway, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and James Curwood Witt, Jr., J., joined.



         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         On February 28, 2012, the Petitioner was indicted by the Shelby County Grand Jury for two counts of first degree premeditated murder and one count of aggravated assault. The State filed a death penalty notice on April 18, 2012.

         Guilty Plea Submission Hearing

         On January 14, 2014, the Petitioner pled guilty to two counts of first degree murder. As a part of the plea agreement, the State withdrew its death penalty notice, the charge of aggravated assault was dismissed, and the Petitioner received two consecutive sentences of life without parole. During the guilty plea submission hearing, the State offered the following recitation of facts in support of the Petitioner's pleas:

Had this matter gone to trial, the [S]tate's proof would have been that on July the 3rd, 2011, [the Petitioner]; his wife, Bobby Warren Haydel; her ex-husband, Arthur Warren; and other family and friends traveled to Memphis from Cleveland, Mississippi, to celebrate the 4th of July.
When they got here, about 1:30 in the afternoon, they checked into the Double Tree Hotel located at 185 Union Avenue. After they checked in, the majority of the group went to Beale Street for the afternoon. Included in that group [were] [the Petitioner] and his wife, Bobby Warren Haydel. Some of the group went back to the hotel. [The Petitioner and Mrs. Haydel], and perhaps others, stayed there on Beale Street. [The Petitioner and Mrs. Haydel] got into an altercation at some point late in the afternoon. According to both the [Petitioner] and his wife, they had this altercation, and [the Petitioner] either pushed or hit her and then bit her lower lip.
After that happened, the two of them went back to the hotel. When they got there, she went to their room, and [the Petitioner] went to the valet at the Double Tree; asked the valet to take him to the parking deck; and once he got to the parking deck, he was escorted to a Chevy Impala where he retrieved a thirty-eight caliber pistol. He was also taken to a Mercury Mariner where he got another thirty-eight. Both of those vehicles were vehicles driven by [the Petitioner] or his party to get here.
[The Petitioner] put both guns in his pocket and returned to the Double Tree. [The Petitioner] got on the elevator and rode up to the third floor. [The Petitioner] got off on the third floor because, according to him and his statement, he thought some people in the elevator had seen his guns. When [the Petitioner] got off at the third floor, he transferred to the stairwell and climbed the stairs to the ninth floor.
Now, some of the members of his travel party had their room on the night before including Arthur Warren and others. When [the Petitioner] got off on the ninth floor at the stairwell, he encountered Mr. Warren as well as several other people who were traveling with them. Arthur Warren . . . was the ex-husband of [the Petitioner]'s current wife; and he said something to [the Petitioner] right there in front of the elevator doors about, "Why did you hit Bobby?"
Somewhere between getting off on the third floor and climbing the steps to the ninth floor, [the Petitioner] had obtained a fire extinguisher. Well, [the Petitioner] hit Mr. Arthur Warren with the fire extinguisher in front of several witnesses and then pulled out one of the thirty-eights and shot him three times. [The Petitioner] shot him in the neck, the face, and the shoulder. Then [the Petitioner] ran back to the stairs; and . . . according to [the Petitioner], at that point, he began using some of his military training to try to reach higher ground[.] [He] figured out he couldn't get up the stairwell and started coming back down.
Because it was July the 4th weekend, there was a lot going on in the Beale Street/AutoZone Park area. People heard the gunfire and went running out of the hotel. There were a lot of police officers there at Autozone Park working the Redbirds game as well as extra officers there just working Beale Street. So, officers responded almost immediately to ...

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