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State v. Jenkins

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

April 21, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
DAVID G. JENKINS

          Session October 18, 2016

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Franklin County No. 2013-CR-93 Thomas W. Graham, Judge

         The Defendant, David G. Jenkins, appeals his conviction of first degree premeditated murder for which he received a sentence of life imprisonment. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction; (2) the trial court erred in admitting post-mortem photographs of the victim; (3) the trial court improperly commented on the evidence in front of the jury; (4) the trial court erred in limiting defense counsel's cross-examination of a witness; (5) the trial court erred in its rulings on various hearsay evidence; (6) the trial court erred in denying the Defendant's request to give his own closing argument to the jury; and (7) reversal is warranted due to the cumulative effect of the errors. Upon reviewing the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

          Paul D. Cross (at trial and on appeal) and Howell G. Clements (at trial), Monteagle, Tennessee, for the appellant, David G. Jenkins.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; Mike Taylor, District Attorney General; and Steve Blount and Courtney Lynch, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          John Everett Williams, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Norma McGee Ogle and Robert W. Wedemeyer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          JOHN EVERETT WILLIAMS, JUDGE.

         The evidence presented at trial established that the victim, Corey Matthews, was a member of the Aryan Nation and was serving as a confidential informant for law enforcement. After other members of the Aryan Nation learned of the victim's actions, the Defendant and his co-defendants, Todd Dalton, John Corey Lanier, and Coty Holmes drove the victim to a remote location where they beat the victim. Mr. Lanier used a knife to cut an "X" over the victim's Aryan Nation tattoo on his abdomen. The Defendant then struck the victim on the head and face multiple times with a ball-pein hammer, resulting in the victim's death.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The State's Proof

         Mrs. Amanda Matthews, the victim's wife, testified that at the time of the victim's death on Saturday, March 23, 2013, they and their two-year-old daughter were living in Cowan, Tennessee. The victim's truck needed repairs, so they were renting a red Chevrolet Impala. On March 23, the victim left in the Impala between noon and 2:30 p.m. and told Mrs. Matthews that he would not be gone long.

         The victim returned home between 7:00 and 7:30 p.m. with Mr. Dalton. Mrs. Matthews looked outside and saw the Impala and Mr. Dalton's white Chevrolet Z71 truck. She also saw the Defendant, Mr. Lanier, and Mr. Holmes standing around the truck. Mrs. Matthews knew Mr. Dalton, Mr. Lanier, and Mr. Holmes but had never met the Defendant. Mrs. Matthews said that the victim and Mr. Dalton were members of the Aryan Nation and that Mr. Holmes and Mr. Lanier were associated with the gang.

         The victim retrieved a black portfolio from a desk and gave it to Mr. Dalton. Mrs. Matthews stated that the portfolio contained tattoo stencils, Aryan Nation symbols, and information regarding the Aryan Nation's rules, its members, the ranks of the members, and their telephone numbers. The victim, the Defendant, and the three co-defendants left in Mr. Dalton's truck.

         When the victim did not return that night, Mrs. Matthews began calling the victim and sending him text messages, but he did not respond. Her calls went to the victim's voicemail. When the victim did not return the next morning, Mrs. Matthews called Mr. Dalton and then the police. Mrs. Matthews filed a missing persons report and learned of the victim's death later that afternoon.

         On cross-examination, Mrs. Matthews testified that the victim was comfortable with Mr. Dalton and voluntarily entered Mr. Dalton's truck. Mrs. Matthews never heard the victim being threatened.

         Mr. Coty Holmes, one of the co-defendants, testified that in exchange for his truthful testimony, he reached an agreement with the State in which he would plead guilty to aggravated assault, robbery, and kidnapping. Under the agreement, he would receive an effective sentence of fifteen years, with three years to be served in confinement and the remainder to be served on probation. He denied that his agreement with the State influenced his testimony at trial. He said he received the offer from the State several months after he was jailed on the charges.

         Mr. Holmes testified that he met Mr. Dalton and Mr. Lanier while incarcerated at the Coffee County Jail on prior offenses. Mr. Holmes said Mr. Dalton was a member of the Aryan Nation and drove a white Z71 GMC pickup truck. Mr. Holmes met the Defendant on a few occasions at Mr. Dalton's home and said that it appeared the Defendant and Mr. Dalton knew each other well. The Defendant did not indicate to Mr. Holmes whether he was affiliated with an Aryan organization.

         Approximately two weeks prior to the victim's death, Mr. Holmes attended a meeting of the Aryan Nation and began "prospecting, " the process by which a person becomes a member of the Aryan Nation. Mr. Dalton sponsored Mr. Holmes, which Mr. Holmes said meant that if Mr. Dalton "calls and needs … me [to] come do something, I go." Mr. Holmes said he did not have a "patch, " or a "tattoo letting everyone know that you're affiliated" with the Aryan Nation.

         Mr. Holmes testified that on March 23, 2013, at approximately 10:00 a.m., Mr. Dalton called him and asked that Mr. Holmes come to his shop. Mr. Holmes learned that the victim was to be kicked out of the Aryan Nation because the victim had been serving as an informant for law enforcement. Mr. Holmes said he understood that the victim would receive a "beat-out" and that the victim's "patch" or tattoo would be "covered." Mr. Holmes explained that the victim's tattoo would either be cut or covered with another tattoo. Mr. Holmes said the Defendant was present during the conversation about what was to happen to the victim.

         The Defendant arrived at Mr. Dalton's shop at approximately 1:00 p.m., and the Defendant, Mr. Dalton, and Mr. Holmes drank beer and moonshine. Mr. Dalton had several vehicles in his shop that he was repairing, including the Defendant's vehicle. Mr. Dalton, Mr. Holmes, and the Defendant left the shop around 3:00 or 3:30 p.m. in Mr. Dalton's truck. Mr. Holmes said that before they left, the Defendant retrieved a ball-pein hammer from the back of his truck. The Defendant sat in the front seat, and Mr. Holmes sat in the back seat behind Mr. Dalton. They went to Mr. Lanier's home located approximately five miles away, and Mr. Lanier got into the backseat of Mr. Dalton's truck with Mr. Holmes. They then went to the Hilltop Market, a convenience store, and purchased beer.

         The four men went to Tractor Supply in Winchester, Tennessee, to meet the victim. They waited thirty to forty-five minutes for the victim to arrive. Upon arriving, the victim got into the backseat of Mr. Dalton's truck with Mr. Lanier and Mr. Holmes. They drove to the home of a friend of the victim, where Mr. Dalton purchased tires for his truck. They remained at the home for thirty to forty-five minutes. They went to a convenience store to purchase beer and cigarettes and then returned to Tractor Supply where the victim's car was parked.

         Mr. Holmes testified that the victim and Mr. Lanier got into the victim's car and that Mr. Lanier drove the victim's car because the victim did not have a driver's license. They went to the victim's home where Mr. Dalton planned to retrieve an item from the victim. Upon arriving at the victim's home, the victim and Mr. Dalton entered the home and remained for approximately ten to fifteen minutes. All five of the men then got into Mr. Dalton's truck. Mr. Holmes turned off his cellular phone, and Mr. Dalton placed it in the glove compartment of his truck. Mr. Holmes believed everyone turned off their cellular phones and put them away.

         Mr. Dalton drove to a cemetery located approximately ten to fifteen minutes from the victim's home. Mr. Holmes stated that he had been drinking alcohol all day and that while he was not "completely drunk, " he "had a good buzz." He did not recall anything about the road leading to the cemetery. Upon arriving, everyone got out of the truck and stood at the back of the truck while drinking beer.

         Mr. Holmes testified that the victim was pushed into him and that they "tangled up, threw a couple of punches, [and] went to the ground." Mr. Holmes said that he punched the victim "a couple of times" and that while the victim was lying on the ground, the other four men hit and kicked the victim "a couple of times." Someone then pulled up the victim's shirt, and Mr. Lanier used Mr. Holmes's pocketknife to cut the victim's tattoo. Mr. Holmes said that at that point, the victim was "[j]ust beat up a little bit."

         Mr. Holmes testified that the Defendant retrieved a ball-pein hammer from the back of Mr. Dalton's truck and began hitting the victim in the head with it. Mr. Holmes said he, Mr. Lanier, and Mr. Dalton yelled at the Defendant to stop. Mr. Holmes stated that the Defendant hit the victim five or six times, stopped, and then resumed hitting the victim five or six more times. Mr. Holmes also stated that the victim was making a "snoring, half choking" noise. Mr. Holmes said that once he, Mr. Lanier, Mr. Dalton, and the Defendant got back into the truck, the Defendant acted excited and told Mr. Holmes and Mr. Lanier that they "had earned [their] bones."

         Mr. Holmes testified that he was shocked and did not "exactly know what to think or how to feel about it." They returned to Manchester, Tennessee, where the Defendant purchased beer at Tops, a convenience store. Mr. Holmes stated that the Defendant was "acting like nothing happened." The Defendant had blood on his arms and stated that "the lady in the store looked at him like he was crazy because he had blood on his arms."

         Mr. Holmes said they went to Fire Lake in Coffee County where they threw a pocketknife and the victim's cellular phone into the water. Mr. Holmes stated that because they knew that they would be questioned about the victim's disappearance, they agreed to state that they last saw the victim after dropping him off at the Bullpen Market in Cowan. Mr. Holmes did not know what happened to the Defendant's hammer. They remained at Fire Lake for thirty to forty-five minutes. At some point, Mr. Holmes retrieved his cellular phone, and they returned to Mr. Lanier's house. Mr. Holmes and Mr. Dalton then returned to Mr. Dalton's house.

         Mr. Holmes stated that Mr. Dalton owned a trailer on Mr. Dalton's property where a man named "Shorty" lived. Mr. Holmes and Mr. Dalton went to the trailer, and Mr. Dalton told "Shorty" what occurred.

         Mr. Holmes testified that he was first contacted by the police early Monday morning following the victim's death on Saturday. He told the officers essentially the same story that he and the other men decided to tell while at Fire Lake. Approximately one week later, officers came to Mr. Holmes's home and transported him to the jail where he gave a detailed statement about what occurred. After speaking to the police, Mr. Holmes was released and fled to Florida. He explained, "I just didn't want to be arrested and go to jail at that exact time."

         On cross-examination, Mr. Holmes testified that he was initially charged with first degree murder relating to the victim's death and that the State offered an agreement whereby he would plead guilty to kidnapping, robbery, and aggravated assault. Mr. Holmes had two prior convictions for theft of property valued more than $1, 000 and a prior burglary conviction. After Mr. Holmes fled, he remained in Florida for one month.

         Mr. Holmes acknowledged sending a text message to Felicia Phillips, with whom he was romantically involved, at 11:01 a.m. on March 23, 2013, stating that he had to go to the home of Mr. Dalton or "Iron Wings" because they had something they had to do. Mr. Holmes explained that while he knew that Mr. Dalton wanted Mr. Holmes to accompany him, Mr. Holmes did not know exactly what Mr. Dalton needed him to do. Mr. Holmes agreed that he told police officers that he first learned that the victim would be beaten during the drive from Tractor Supply to the victim's home, and Mr. Holmes acknowledged that this statement was untruthful. Mr. Holmes said Mr. Dalton assisted him financially and paid him to complete tasks around Mr. Dalton's shop.

         Mr. Holmes acknowledged that he was untruthful in his initial statement to police officers. He did not mention to the police officers that he and Mr. Dalton went to "Shorty's" home. Mr. Holmes acknowledged that he did not tell the officers "exactly everything that happened." He told the officers that the victim was unconscious when the Defendant hit the victim with a hammer and that he and the other men yelled at the Defendant to stop. Mr. Holmes said his hand was sore after the victim was beaten. He told the officers that his hand was sore from tying steel and working on a car. He also told the police officers that Mr. Dalton told Mr. Lanier what to do and that Mr. Holmes followed suit.

         Mr. Holmes stated that he told the police officers that the Aryan Nation would ensure that he would not survive prison. Mr. Holmes explained that at the time, Mr. Lanier was an "enforcer" for the Aryan Nation and that the members were upset because Mr. Holmes, a nonmember, was present when the victim was killed.

         Mr. John Cory Lanier testified that he was incarcerated on charges of first degree premeditated murder and felony murder for the victim's death. He said he reached an agreement with the State in which he would receive a fifteen-year sentence of which he would serve three years in confinement in exchange for his testimony at the Defendant's trial.

         Mr. Lanier said he met Mr. Dalton and Mr. Holmes while they were incarcerated on prior offenses. Mr. Lanier attended an Aryan Nation meeting a few weeks prior to the victim's death. The Defendant told Mr. Lanier that he was associated with the Aryan Brotherhood. Mr. Lanier had met the victim on two prior occasions and knew that he was a member of the Aryan Nation. Mr. Lanier said he was told of the plan to remove the victim from the Aryan Nation shortly before the victim was beaten. Mr. Lanier maintained that at the time, he did not know why the victim was being removed from the gang. Mr. Lanier had been to the homes of Mr. Dalton and "Shorty" in the days leading up to the victim's death.

         Mr. Lanier testified that as he was returning from work in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on the day of the victim's death, Mr. Holmes called him and asked what he had planned for the evening. Mr. Lanier told Mr. Holmes that he would probably stay home. Mr. Holmes, Mr. Dalton, and the Defendant were waiting for Mr. Lanier in Mr. Dalton's truck when Mr. Lanier returned home. Mr. Lanier said Mr. Holmes, Mr. Dalton, and the Defendant had been drinking alcohol. They were going to Winchester to purchase tires and asked Mr. Lanier to go with them because Mr. Lanier was the only one who had a valid driver's license. Mr. Lanier agreed to go and sat in the backseat of Mr. Dalton's truck. The Defendant sat in the front passenger seat. They went to Tractor Supply in Winchester to meet the victim who was supposed to accompany them to the home of the person from whom Mr. Dalton had planned to purchase tires. Mr. Lanier believed that on the way to Tractor Supply, they stopped at a convenience store and purchased a twelve pack of beer. Upon arriving at Tractor Supply, the victim got into Mr. Dalton's truck, and they went to a house in Estill Springs to purchase tires. They remained at the house for at least one hour. They then returned to Tractor Supply to retrieve the victim's vehicle. Mr. Lanier was not sure whether they purchased beer along the way and said they stopped two or three times that night to purchase beer.

         Mr. Lanier testified that upon returning to Tractor Supply, they decided to go to the victim's home. The victim asked Mr. Lanier to drive his car back to his home because he had a blinker light or taillight out and did not have a valid driver's license. Mr. Lanier said the men stated that they "were going to hang out for a little bit and talk about some stuff." Mr. Dalton, Mr. Holmes, and the Defendant followed Mr. Lanier and the victim to the victim's home. Upon arriving, Mr. Lanier gave the victim the keys to his vehicle. The victim and Mr. Dalton entered the victim's home, and Mr. Lanier got into Mr. Dalton's truck with the Defendant and Mr. Holmes. At some point, Mr. Lanier turned off his cellular phone and put it in the glovebox of Mr. Dalton's truck.

         Mr. Lanier stated that the men initially planned to go to a rock quarry upon leaving the victim's home. The victim said that they would not be able to access the rock quarry because it was blocked off but that they could go to his family's cemetery located about a quarter of a mile from his home to talk.

         Mr. Lanier testified that upon arriving at the cemetery, the victim got into the front seat with Mr. Dalton to roll a marijuana cigarette while everyone else got out of the truck. When Mr. Dalton and the victim got out of the truck, Mr. Dalton told the victim, "You [have] been talking to the police. You know what that means." Mr. Lanier said the victim began "back peddling" and yelling at Mr. Dalton, while the Defendant and Mr. Holmes went after the victim. Mr. Dalton pushed Mr. Lanier from behind and told him to "get" the victim, so Mr. Lanier tackled the victim. Mr. Lanier said he hit the victim twice. When the other men began kicking the victim, Mr. Lanier got up, and Mr. Dalton instructed him to retrieve a utility blade from the console of the truck. When Mr. Lanier returned with the blade, Mr. Dalton instructed him to "X" out the victim's tattoo. The utility blade was knocked out of Mr. Lanier's hand, and he was unable to find it because it was dark outside. Mr. Holmes gave Mr. Lanier a pocketknife, which Mr. Lanier used to "X" across the victim's chest three times. The men then began kicking the victim in the head and stomping him.

         Mr. Lanier testified that they left the victim and got into the truck to leave. Mr. Dalton started the ignition, turned the truck off, and said, "F this. I'm not going to jail over this." Mr. Lanier said he and Mr. Holmes got out of the backseat of the truck and ran around to the front of the truck where Mr. Lanier saw Mr. Dalton and the Defendant standing over the victim. Mr. Lanier heard Mr. Dalton yell out and saw the Defendant hit the victim in the head with a ball-pein hammer. Mr. Lanier said the Defendant hit the victim with the hammer three or four times. Mr. Lanier yelled at the Defendant to stop, and the Defendant finally stopped hitting the victim. Mr. Dalton, the Defendant, Mr. Lanier, and Mr. Holmes then got into the truck and left. Mr. Lanier said that while driving away, Mr. Dalton was talking on his cellular phone, and the Defendant told Mr. Lanier and Mr. Holmes, "Don't look at me weird. This is just how I am."

         Mr. Lanier testified that the victim was conscious when Mr. Lanier cut him and was semi-conscious and making sounds before the Defendant struck him with the hammer. Mr. Lanier did not see from where the Defendant retrieved the hammer and said the Defendant did not have the hammer when they first got out of the truck at the cemetery.

         Mr. Lanier stated that they returned to Manchester where he believed that the Defendant purchased more beer at a convenience store. They then went to Fire Lake where they "washed up" and discussed what they would say happened to the victim. Mr. Lanier said they agreed that if someone asked, they would state that they last saw the victim when they dropped him off at the Bullpen Market in Cowen. Mr. Lanier did not see the Defendant with the ball-pein hammer at Fire Lake and did not know what happened to the hammer. Mr. Lanier said the pocketknife and the victim's cellular phone were thrown into the lake. Mr. Lanier's cellular phone was returned to him, and Mr. Dalton drove Mr. Lanier back home.

         Police officers first contacted Mr. Lanier around 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. on Monday morning following the victim's death on Saturday. Mr. Lanier told the officers that he last saw the victim when Mr. Lanier, Mr. Dalton, Mr. Holmes, and the Defendant dropped off the victim at the Bullpen Market in Cowan. Approximately one month later, while Mr. Lanier was jailed on the charges related to the victim's death, he gave a statement to the police which was consistent with his testimony at trial. At that time, Mr. Lanier did not tell the officers that he cut the victim's chest but provided this information to the officers approximately one week later. Mr. Lanier said he provided the information before he reached a deal with the State regarding his pending charges and maintained that his agreement with the State did not influence his testimony at trial.

         On cross-examination, Mr. Lanier acknowledged that he had a prior conviction for obtaining precursor drugs by false pretenses and two other drug-related convictions. He said that while he had an issue with drugs during most of his life, he was not using drugs during his association with the Aryan Nation.

         Mr. Lanier said he was a "regular member" of the Aryan Nation and was not an "enforcer." He left the gang following the victim's death. He said the Defendant was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood and not the Aryan Nation. A few days prior to the victim's death, Mr. Lanier attended a meeting at the home of "Shorty" and Tabatha Roulette Jones. Mr. Lanier attended one formal meeting of the Aryan Nation during which rankings were discussed. The victim said he was an "enforcer" with the gang, which Mr. Lanier believed meant that the victim ensured that people followed the rules. Mr. Lanier said a member who violated the rules of the Aryan Nation could have his tattoo removed.

         Mr. Lanier acknowledged that his initial statement to the police was not true. He also acknowledged that approximately one month later, he lied to the police when he told them that Mr. Holmes cut the victim's chest. Mr. Lanier stated that the Defendant had blood and brain matter on him when he purchased beer at the convenience store following the victim's death. Mr. Lanier saw a statement from Mark Luttrell in his discovery received from the State in which Mr. Luttrell admitted to ordering Mr. Dalton to remove the victim's tattoo or "patch."

         On redirect examination, Mr. Lanier testified that when he was a member of the Aryan Nation, he believed that "blood out, " during which a member was removed from the gang, meant that the member was beaten and not that the member was killed. Mr. Lanier did not recall the Defendant saying anything about the blood and brain matter on him upon returning from purchasing beer following the victim's death.

         Ms. Tabatha Jones testified that in March 2013, she and Christopher "Shorty" Bryan were renting a trailer from Mr. Dalton located next to Mr. Dalton's home. Ms. Jones said Mr. Bryan, Mr. Dalton, and the victim were members of the Aryan Nation. Mr. Lanier was a new member, and Mr. Holmes was a "prospect." Ms. Jones had attended a meeting of the Aryan Nation, and members gathered at her residence at times.

         Ms. Jones stated that on Friday, March 22, 2013, Mr. Dalton came to her home and began calling other members of the Aryan Nation to come over, including Mr. Lanier. When the members arrived, Mr. Bryan produced his tattoo kit and said they were planning to cover up the victim's Aryan Nation tattoo or "patch." Mr. Dalton said the victim was "narcing." Ms. Jones said it appeared that Mr. Bryan was going to cover the victim's Aryan Nation tattoo with another tattoo. She stated that when a member's tattoo is "taken, " there is also a "beat down" or a physical fight. She also stated that in her experience, the member is not killed during the "beat down."

         Ms. Jones testified that on March 23 between 9:00 and 11:00 p.m., she was sleeping when Mr. Dalton came to her home. She stated that Mr. Dalton appeared to have been drinking alcohol and was talking "[b]ig" as if he was "[e]mpowered by something." Ms. Jones testified that as she was lying in bed, she overheard Mr. Dalton tell Mr. Bryan that Mr. Dalton, Mr. Lanier, Mr. Holmes, and the Defendant kicked and beat the victim for about twenty minutes while in a cemetery. Mr. Dalton stated that as they were getting ready to leave, the Defendant jumped out of the truck and grabbed a ball-pein hammer. Mr. Dalton said he instructed the Defendant to kill the victim. Mr. Dalton stated that the victim had two cellular phones, which they "snapped" in half and threw into the river.

         Ms. Jones testified that after Mr. Dalton left, Mr. Bryan sat down on the side of the bed and began crying. She explained that she and Mr. Bryan did not contact the police because they hoped that it was not true and that they were scared. Ms. Jones learned of the victim's death the following day and contacted the Franklin County Sheriff's Office. Ms. Jones stated that Mr. Bryan later died at the age of thirty-two after an "ex-Aryan Nation gave him a pill."

         Ms. Jones testified that she had seen the Defendant a few times with Mr. Dalton at her home and at Mr. Dalton's garage. She said the Defendant and Mr. Dalton appeared to be "best friends." She had heard that the Defendant was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood. She stated that while the Aryan Brotherhood and the Aryan Nation shared the same ideas, the Aryan Brotherhood was more violent and believed "blood in, blood out."

         On cross-examination, Ms. Jones testified that the Defendant did not attend the meeting at her home the day before the victim was killed. The Defendant was not with Mr. Dalton when Mr. Dalton came to Ms. Jones's home following the murder. Rather, Mr. Lanier was with Mr. Dalton, and Ms. Jones saw blood on Mr. Lanier's sleeves and shirt around his stomach. Ms. Jones never saw the Defendant at an Aryan Nation meeting. She did not believe that a member of the Aryan Brotherhood was supposed to attend a "beat out" of an Aryan Nation member.

         Investigator Brad Weaver with the Cowan Police Department testified that during the months prior to the victim's death, the victim provided him with information related to theft and drug cases that he was investigating. As a result of the victim's death, Investigator Weaver was unable to "make any cases" using the information that the victim provided.

         Investigator George Dyer with the Franklin County Sheriff's Office testified that the victim was a confidential informant for him from the fall of 2012 until December 2012 or early 2013. As a result of the information that the victim provided, Investigator Dyer prosecuted crimes involving guns, theft, methamphetamine manufacturing, and marijuana cultivation. The victim was compensated as a result of his assistance. Investigator Dyer said he stopped using the victim as a confidential informant because the victim became careless about whom he told of his assisting Investigator Dyer and about assisting other officers. Investigator Dyer told the victim that the victim's actions were dangerous and could result in the victim's death.

         Mr. Shelby Stewart, who once worked with the victim, testified that on March 23, 2013, the victim called him about parts to an automobile that Mr. Stewart was selling. The victim informed Mr. Stewart that he knew someone who was interested in purchasing the parts. Between 4:15 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. that evening, the victim came to Mr. Stewart's home located between Winchester and Tullahoma, Tennessee, in a white GMC pickup truck with four other men. There were two older men and two younger men. One of the older men was the driver of the truck and purchased the parts from Mr. Stewart. The other older man was wearing a pair of tan Carhartt pants and an orange or reddish orange shirt.

         Mr. Stewart said that the victim and the other men remained at his house for approximately one hour and that the victim was not acting in any unusual way. The other four men were laughing amongst themselves and "cutting up." Mr. Stewart said the men had been drinking alcohol and threw away an empty box of beer at Mr. Stewart's shop.

         In March 2013, Ms. Tina Stephens lived on Slagtown Road, a gravel road in Cowan, Tennessee, near Jackson Cemetery. Ms. Stephens testified that her father was buried in the cemetery and that she mowed the cemetery and watched over it to prevent vandalism. Ms. Stephens said that on March 23, 2013, at approximately 7:30 p.m., she was traveling down the gravel road when she saw lights at the cemetery and a white truck exiting the cemetery as she passed by. She did not see who was inside the truck.

         Officer Mike Holmes with the Cowan Police Department testified that on March 24, 2013, the dispatcher called him to take a missing person's report from Mrs. Matthews regarding the victim. Mrs. Matthews told Officer Holmes that Mr. Dalton had picked up the victim, and she gave him Mr. Dalton's cellular phone number. Officer Holmes called Mr. Dalton and spoke to him and prepared a report.

         Officer Holmes testified that after preparing the report, he began driving around and ended up at Jackson Cemetery, a secluded area near the victim's home where people would go to think or fight. Officer Holmes found the victim's body in a cut cornfield approximately thirty yards from the gravel road that separated the cemetery and the cornfield. The victim was wet because it had been raining. His shirt was pulled up, and

         Officer Holmes saw a tattoo on the victim's abdomen that had been crossed out with a knife or razor blade. The victim's eyes were black and swollen shut, and he had a large laceration and a round dent in his head. Officer Holmes was unable to identify the victim due to the condition of his face but said the victim's clothing matched the description of the clothing that Mrs. Matthews said the victim was wearing when she last saw him.

         Investigator Brian Brewer with the Franklin County Sherriff's Office testified that he was called to the scene where he saw the victim's body lying in a wet cornfield that had been cut. He said it was a very wet and windy day. He observed several wounds to the victim's head and said that the tattoo on the victim's chest had been crossed out with a sharp object. Investigator Brewer saw three blood stains close to the victim's body and a Keystone Light beer can three or four feet away from the victim's head.

         Investigator Brewer stated that the investigation led officers to develop the Defendant, Mr. Dalton, Mr. Lanier, and Mr. Holmes as those who were with the victim on Saturday, March 23, 2013, prior to his death. Investigator Brewer spoke to Mr. Dalton two days later and gained access to his white GMC Z71 pickup truck. Investigator Brewer observed Keystone Light beer cans in the back of Mr. Dalton's truck that matched the beer can found at the scene. Upon opening the door of the truck, Investigator Brewer smelled a strong odor of bleach that appeared to have been coming from the floorboard. He said the odor was "so strong it would almost burn your nose." He observed bleach stains on the floorboard and decided to have the truck transported to the crime laboratory of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI). TBI Special Agent Chip Andy took a few swabs from the interior of the truck prior to its transportation to the crime laboratory.

         During the course of the investigation, officers obtained videotapes of the Defendant, Mr. Dalton, Mr. Holmes, and Mr. Lanier recorded by several convenience stores on March 23. At 4:06 p.m., the Defendant, Mr. Holmes, and Mr. Lanier entered the Hilltop Market in Manchester, purchased beer, and left in Mr. Dalton's truck. The Defendant was wearing an orange shirt, but officers were never able to locate the shirt. At 6:45 p.m., Mr. Dalton's truck drove up to the SAK-N-PAK Market in Estill Springs, and the Defendant, Mr. Dalton, Mr. Holmes, Mr. Lanier, and the victim exited the truck. Mr. Lanier purchased a twelve-pack of Keystone Light beer. Investigator Brewer said that while he received information that the Defendant and the co-defendants stopped at another convenience store to purchase beer after killing the victim, he was unable to place any of the men at a particular convenience store during that time period.

         Investigator Brewer also brought in divers to search the lake for the victim's property and a knife used to cut the victim. However, the divers were unable to locate the items.

         On cross-examination, Investigator Brewer said he attempted to familiarize himself with the Aryan Nation as a result of the case. He said he was told that Mark Luttrell was the state president and that Mr. Dalton was the vice president of the area. Investigator Brewer stated that while he interviewed Mr. Luttrell at the jail and at Mr. Luttrell's home, he had since been unable to locate Mr. Luttrell. Mr. Luttrell told Investigator Brewer that he ordered Mr. Dalton to complete the "beat down" of the victim. Mr. ...


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