Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs October 19, 2016
from the Criminal Court for Wilson County No. 2009-CR-416
Brody Kane, Judge
Petitioner, Felton Jackson, filed a petition in the Wilson
County Criminal Court, seeking post-conviction relief from
his conviction of especially aggravated robbery. The
Petitioner alleged that his trial counsel was ineffective by
failing to call alibi witnesses, coercing the Petitioner not
to testify, and failing to investigate or present proof
regarding the Petitioner's "social, medical and
mental health." The post-conviction court denied relief,
and the Petitioner appealed. Upon review, we affirm the
judgment of the post-conviction court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
G. Wagner, Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Felton
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie
E. Price, Senior Counsel; Tom P. Thompson, Jr., District
Attorney General; and Howard L. Chambers, Assistant District
Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.
McGee Ogle, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
John Everett Williams and Robert W. Wedemeyer, JJ., joined.
MCGEE OGLE, JUDGE
direct appeal, this court summarized the facts adduced at
trial as follows:
Officer [Joshua] Lewis testified that he was an officer with
the City of Lebanon Police Department. He and a fellow
officer were dispatched to the Plaza Motel on December 23,
2008, at approximately 4:45 a.m., to respond to a 9-1-1 call.
When they arrived, they were unable to enter the victim's
room, so they obtained a master key from hotel personnel.
Upon entering the room, Officer Lewis observed that the room
"was in shambles." Personal belongings were strewn
about the room, and the mattress had been removed from the
bed and was lying in front of the doorway. He and Officer
Stone began to "clear" the room to ensure that the
room was safe before allowing emergency personnel to enter
the room, during which time Officer Lewis saw the victim
lying on the box springs of the bed. He testified that there
was "blood everywhere, " including the floor, the
mattress, the box springs, the ceiling, and the walls. After
notifying medical personnel that the room was "clear,
" Officer Lewis approached the victim and asked him what
had happened. The victim stated that "he was laying
[sic] in bed . . . [and] . . . awaken[ed] to a big black guy
beating him with a pipe." Officer Lewis assisted
emergency personnel in loading the victim into the ambulance
and secured the room.
On cross-examination, Officer Lewis confirmed that the
victim's hotel room door was locked when they arrived and
that he did not observe any signs of forced entry. He stated
that the victim was conscious but lying on the box springs of
the bed, covered in blood.
. . . .
. . . Officer Lewis, . . . clarified that the victim actually
made two statements to him. One statement occurred in the
hotel room during the initial contact. After Officer Lewis
had secured the room and the victim was in the ambulance,
Officer Lewis approached the victim and inquired as to the
identity of the assailant. During that statement, the victim
indicated that the black male "lived down the way."
Officer Lewis recognized the seriousness of the victim's
injuries and attempted to gather additional information,
including perhaps a dying declaration, before the victim was
transported. . . .
. . . .
The next witness was John Wayne Engle, who lived in close
proximity to the Plaza Motel. On the morning of December 23,
2008, he was walking his dog between 6:00 and 6:30 a.m. when
he discovered checkbooks lying on the ground between his
residence and the residence next door to him. He noticed
several police officers in the vicinity and turned the
checkbooks in to an officer.
Officer Matthew Dedman, an officer with the City of Lebanon
Police Department, testified that he was working on December
23, 2008. His responsibility that day was to secure the crime
scene van. When he was on duty, someone approached him and
handed him some checkbooks. He turned the checkbooks over to
The State next called Shirley Bogle, who resided in the Plaza
Trailer Park, which was located directly behind the Plaza
Motel. She testified that she placed a 9-1-1 call around 4:30
a.m. on December 23, 2008. The call was precipitated by [the
Petitioner's] arguing with a pregnant female. Ms. Bogle
asked [the Petitioner] and the female to move because they
were standing very close to her dog, who was chained, and she
feared that the dog might bite one of them. She observed [the
Petitioner] holding what appeared to be an umbrella and
something "hanging[, ] like a purse or something. . .
." Ms. Bogle indicated that she called 9-1-1 because
[the Petitioner] and the female were in a "fight or a
fuss, " and because the female was pregnant, Ms. Bogle
was concerned that [the Petitioner] might harm her. In her
call, she asked the police to patrol the area; she did not
ask them to investigate or take any other action. She
identified [the Petitioner] in court.
On cross-examination, Ms. Bogle stated she was positive that
the female was pregnant because she had seen her previously
but did not know her personally. She acknowledged that what
she thought was an umbrella could have been a flashlight. She
confirmed that [the Petitioner] lived in the same community,
and she pointed out his residence on a map.
The State's next witness was Tabitha Donnelly. She
pleaded guilty to criminal charges arising from this incident
and received a sentence of fifteen years, to be served at
100% release eligibility. On the day in question, she had
borrowed the victim's Jeep. Around 4:00 a.m., she was
visiting an acquaintance and "was getting high"
when [the Petitioner] knocked on the back door. The owner of
the home instructed Ms. Donnelly to open the door for him.
Once inside, [the Petitioner] asked Ms. Donnelly what she was
about to do, and she told him that she was going to return
the victim's Jeep. [The Petitioner] asked Ms. Donnelly if
the victim usually had money in his possession, and she
responded affirmatively. She asked [the Petitioner],
"Why, do you want to rob him? Don't hurt him, just
scare him." [The Petitioner] responded, "S**t,
it's Christmastime. I ain't got no more dope. My
pockets is [sic] empty. I'm down with whatever."
Ms. Donnelly and [the Petitioner] then left, and she drove
[the Petitioner] to the Plaza Motel at the entrance of the
parking lot. She continued through the parking lot and parked
outside of the victim's room. She entered the
victim's room and sat down in a chair. The victim asked
Ms. Donnelly if she had locked the Jeep. She answered that
she had not, and she walked outside to do so. At that point,
[the Petitioner] walked into the room. [The Petitioner]
approached the victim, who was in bed, and asked for all of
his money. Ms. Donnelly opined that the victim was aware of
[the Petitioner's] intentions and leaned back so that he
could kick [the Petitioner], but [the Petitioner] produced a
steering wheel lock and struck the victim.
Ms. Donnelly stated that she stood in the doorway in shock,
saying, "Please quit hitting him." [The Petitioner]
did not stop the attack. As the victim and [the Petitioner]
fought, [the Petitioner] pulled the victim's foot and
dragged the victim and the mattress upon which he was lying
onto the floor. [The Petitioner] ordered Ms. Donnelly to take
the victim's money, so she stepped across the mattress
and box springs to look for his wallet, which she assumed was
under the bed. When she found nothing there, Ms. Donnelly
fled from the room followed by [the Petitioner]. She noted
that when [the Petitioner] left, he had taken the
victim's wallet, some checkbooks, a bowl of coins, and
the weapon he used in the attack. They ran into the Plaza
Trailer Park. They stopped in front of a trailer where a pit
bull was chained outside. They began to argue, and the owner
of the trailer, a female, came outside and asked them to ...