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State v. Steed

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

May 5, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
REGINOLD C. STEED

          Assigned on Briefs April 19, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2015-B-1337 J. Randall Wyatt, Jr., Judge

         A Davidson County jury convicted the Defendant, Reginold C. Steed, of attempted voluntary manslaughter, especially aggravated robbery, and aggravated assault. The trial court merged the aggravated assault conviction into the especially aggravated robbery conviction and imposed an effective sentence of twenty-seven years. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the jury returned inconsistent verdicts; (2) the trial court erred in declining to merge the attempted voluntary manslaughter conviction into the especially aggravated robbery conviction; and (3) his sentences are excessive. Upon reviewing the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

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

          Chad Davidson, Nashville, Tennessee (on appeal and at sentencing hearing); Dawn Deaner, District Public Defender; and Martesha Johnson and Kevin Griffith, Assistant District Public Defenders (at trial), for the appellant, Reginold C. Steed.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; Glenn Funk, District Attorney General; and Jude Santana, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          John Everett Williams, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and Camille R. McMullen, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          JOHN EVERETT WILLIAMS, JUDGE

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The evidence presented at trial established that on February 18, 2015, the Defendant shot the victim, Labrian Lyons, multiple times while the victim was inside his car parked outside of Firehouse Subs located near Charlotte Avenue in Nashville, Tennessee. The victim ran out of the car and to a nearby Publix grocery store where someone called the police. The Defendant fled in the victim's car, which was later recovered in Jackson, Tennessee. The victim sustained a gunshot wound to his right wrist and two gunshot wounds to his right leg. The Defendant was arrested and charged with attempted first degree murder, especially aggravated robbery, carjacking, aggravated assault, and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony.

         The victim testified that he met the Defendant through Mr. Joshua Sain, with whom the victim played basketball. On five of six occasions prior to the shooting, the victim and the Defendant "hung out" and smoked marijuana at an apartment complex or other areas near Tennessee State University where the Defendant was a student. Upon learning that the Defendant was experiencing financial difficulties, the victim loaned money to the Defendant on two different occasions for a total of $500.

         On February 18, 2015, the Defendant called the victim and stated that he had received a refund check from school and could repay the loan. They agreed to meet at a Firehouse Subs located near Charlotte Avenue. The victim arrived at the restaurant in his 2014 Acura TL at approximately noon or 1:00 p.m. and parked in front of the restaurant. Although it was cold and had snowed, the Defendant was sitting on the patio outside. As the victim approached the restaurant, he asked the Defendant, "What's up Reggie?" The Defendant replied that he was waiting on someone. The victim entered the restaurant where he purchased sweet tea and a cookie and returned outside. The Defendant said, "Man, I ain't waiting on them, let's just go to the car."

         The victim and the Defendant went to the victim's car, where the victim sat in the driver's seat and the Defendant sat in the front passenger's seat. As the victim was setting down his drink and his cookie, he turned to see the Defendant pointing a gun at him. The Defendant said, "Man, you know what time it is. This [is] how this [is] going to go…. Take your pants off." The victim offered the Defendant money, his shoes, and his car, but the Defendant took no action to retrieve the items.

         The victim testified that he did not know what the Defendant wanted and that he feared for his life. As a result, the victim attempted to take the gun away from the Defendant. During the struggle, the victim opened the passenger side door, pushed the Defendant outside of the car and onto the concrete, and got on top of the Defendant to prevent the Defendant from shooting him. At one point, two men attempted to help the victim but fled upon seeing the gun. The victim was unable to take the gun away from the Defendant. The victim denied possessing a weapon or threatening the Defendant.

          The victim was able to get up off the ground and retreat to his car. As he attempted to start the car, the Defendant got off the ground and shot into the car three or four times. The victim got out of the car and ran to Publix located behind Firehouse Subs. The victim heard four additional gunshots behind him as he was running. As he approached Publix, a woman saw him bleeding and called the police.

         The victim sustained a gunshot wound to his right wrist and two gunshot wounds to his right leg. He was transported by ambulance to a hospital where he was treated for a shattered wrist and two gunshot wounds to his leg. The victim underwent three surgeries to repair his wrist and remained in the hospital for two weeks. The victim underwent physical therapy for his wrist injury for three or four months. As a result of the injury, he could not move his wrist or pick up any items for a time period. The victim stated that his wrist, fingers, and hand were not as strong as they were prior to the injury. He also had scars on his wrist and leg and showed the scars to the jury.

         The victim testified that he left his cellular phone in his car while fleeing to Publix. He later learned that his car was no longer where he had parked it. The victim subsequently recovered the car at a police impound in Jackson, Tennessee. He stated that the Defendant was from Jackson. When the victim retrieved the car, he noted that the windshield had been shot and that there were bullet holes in the middle console. All of the valuable items in the car, including the victim's cellular phone, were missing.

         The victim testified that when he initially spoke to officers, he identified the shooter as "Reg" but stated that he did not know "Reg's" full name. The victim did not know the Defendant's telephone number but had it stored in his cellular phone. As a result, he was not able to provide the officers with the Defendant's telephone number. The victim called Mr. Sain to obtain the Defendant's full name and later provided officers with the Defendant's full name.

         The victim acknowledged that he had a prior conviction for simple possession of marijuana and was on probation for the offense at the time of the shooting. During that time period, he was required to report to his probation officer as a condition of his probation and was not doing so. The victim also had been arrested for another charge that was still pending at the time of the trial.

         On cross-examination, the victim testified that he first met the Defendant in August 2014 and that by November 2014, he felt comfortable enough with the Defendant to loan him money. The victim said that while they did not discuss a date for repayment, the Defendant was supposed to repay him once the Defendant received his refund check from school. The victim denied that his relationship with the Defendant or their meeting prior to the shooting revolved around drugs.

         The victim acknowledged on cross-examination that contrary to his testimony on direct examination, he did not tell any of the officers that he knew the shooter as "Reg" or "Reginald." The victim explained that he wanted to obtain the Defendant's full name before providing the information to the officers. He did not tell the officers that he had "hung out" with the Defendant on four or five occasions and did not provide the officers with the name of the apartment complex where he and the Defendant "hung out." The victim provided officers with the Defendant's full name the day after the shooting.

         The victim acknowledged that in March 2011, he was arrested for possession with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver over one-half ounce of marijuana. He posted bond following his arrest but never returned to court to face the charge. In 2012, a warrant was issued for violation of his probation for a prior conviction for simple possession of marijuana. He also was charged with a felony due to his failure to appear in court. The warrants were outstanding at the time of the shooting and were still pending at the time of trial.

         Reverend Alfred Attaway, Jr., Ms. Alexis Fleming, and Mr. Richard Buchanan were inside Firehouse Subs when the shooting occurred. While entering the restaurant, Ms. Fleming and Mr. Buchanan saw a man sitting alone outside on ...


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