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State v. Lee

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

April 13, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
MORIARCO MONTRELL LEE

          Assigned on Briefs February 7, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Madison County No. 14-522 Kyle Atkins, Judge

         The Defendant, Moriarco Montrell Lee, and his co-defendant, Dequevion Lamar Lee, were indicted by a Madison County Grand Jury for attempted first degree murder and aggravated assault. Following a jury trial, the Defendant was convicted as charged, and the trial court merged the aggravated assault conviction into the attempted first degree murder conviction and sentenced the Defendant to twenty-two years to be served in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court but remand for entry of a judgment form as to count two reflecting that the Defendant's aggravated assault conviction was merged with count one.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Circuit Court Affirmed and Remanded for Entry of Corrected Judgment

          Susan D. Korsnes, Jackson, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Moriarco Montrell Lee.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Courtney N. Orr, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Benjamin C. Mayo, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Camille R. McMullen, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          CAMILLE R. McMULLEN, JUDGE

         This case concerns the shooting of the victim, Marketus Hendrix, on December 10, 2013. The Defendant and his co-defendant, Dequevion, [1] were subsequently arrested and charged with attempted first degree murder and aggravated assault. Following a jury trial, the Defendant was convicted as charged. As relevant to the issues raised by the Defendant in this appeal, the facts presented at the May 19, 2015 trial were as follows:

         Marketus Hendrix testified that, on December 10, 2013, around 3:00 p.m., he drove to a barber shop on Lane Avenue in Jackson, Tennessee. As he exited his car, a person Hendrix knew only as "Yogi" said "B****, you're about to die, " and two people began shooting at him. Hendrix recalled that the shooters were not wearing masks and that he immediately recognized them as "Yogi" and "D-Rich." Hendrix stated that "Yogi" was standing "[n]ot too far from where [Hendrix] parked, " near the stairs of the barber shop. The second shooter, "D-Rich, " was standing behind the barber shop to the left, in front of where Hendrix parked. Hendrix was shot in the chest, abdomen, arm, and leg a total of fourteen times.

         Hendrix confirmed that he had marijuana in his possession when he was shot, which he turned over to police. When officers arrived, Hendrix could not speak, but he answered their questions by nodding, and he confirmed that he knew the shooters. Hendrix was in the hospital for twenty-one days following the shooting and, on December 17, 2013, he was interviewed in the Intensive Care Unit by Investigator Al Colon. Hendrix testified that he could speak a little and was able to tell Investigator Colon the names "D-Rich" and "Yogi" and look at photo lineups. Hendrix identified the Defendant as "Yogi" and Dequevion, the Defendant's brother, as "D-Rich." Hendrix recalled seeing a white car at the scene, but he denied seeing the Defendant in the car.

         On cross-examination, Hendrix testified that he did not remember the written statement he gave at the hospital during Investigator Colon's interview. In the statement, Hendrix told officers that a person known as "Baldy" was driving the white car. Hendrix acknowledged that he knew "Baldy" and that he had a sexual relationship with "Baldy's" girlfriend, Megan, while "Baldy" was in jail. Hendrix denied that he sold marijuana and stated that the marijuana he had was for personal use. Hendrix acknowledged that the Defendant was his cousin, but stated that he had only learned about the relation after the shooting. Hendrix testified that he had no idea why the Defendant would shoot him and denied that there had been any problems between them in the past. Hendrix also testified that he had been at the barber shop earlier that day and had seen "Baldy" there.

         Jackson Police Department ("JPD") Officer James Jay Carter responded to a call reporting shots fired on December 10, 2013. Officer Carter testified that dispatch advised "that they had seen several subjects getting into a white-colored vehicle and leaving eastbound on . . . Lane Avenue." When he arrived on the scene, Officer Carter saw Hendrix laying on the ground beside a vehicle with multiple gunshot wounds to his chest. Officer Carter testified that Hendrix could not speak but that he responded by nodding. By asking him yes or no questions, Officer Carter determined that Hendrix knew the shooters, that there were four people involved, and that they left in a white four-door Honda. On cross-examination, Officer Carter testified that Hendrix alerted him to four small individually-wrapped bags of marijuana in his pocket. Officer Carter acknowledged that the way the marijuana was packaged could indicate that Hendrix was selling.

         JPD Investigator Marvin Jerome Rodish, Jr. testified that he processed the crime scene on the day of the shooting. Investigator Rodish collected ten shell casings and two bullets. Investigator Rodish acknowledged that there was no ...


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