Assigned on Briefs April 11, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Obion County No. CC-16-CR-2
Jeffrey W. Parham, Judge
petitioner, Jarrod Reese Spicer, appeals the denial of his
petition for post-conviction relief, arguing the trial court
erred in finding he received effective assistance of counsel.
More specifically, the petitioner claims counsel was
ineffective because he failed to fully assist the petitioner
until receiving full payment for his services, failed to
subpoena certain witnesses to testify at trial, failed to
obtain a medical expert to rebut the medical examiner's
opinion regarding the victim's cause of death, and failed
to obtain a mental evaluation. Following our review of the
record and submissions of the parties, we affirm the denial
of the petition.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
H. Goodman, Jr., Tiptonville, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Jarrod Reese Spicer.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy
Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Tommy A. Thomas, District
Attorney General; and James Cannon, Assistant District
Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
Ross Dyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
Alan E. Glenn and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.
ROSS DYER, JUDGE
and Procedural History
Trial Proceedings and Direct Appeal
to our opinion on direct appeal, the victim, John Thomas
Hood, died on March 3, 2008. State v. Jarrod Reese
Spicer, No. W2014-01817-CCA-R3-CD, 2015 WL 5173969, at
*1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Aug. 31, 2015), perm. app.
denied (Tenn. Jan 14, 2016). That evening, the
victim's neighbor stopped by to check on him and found
the victim hunched in his kitchen doorway. Id. The
victim appeared injured, and his body was "'ice
cold.'" Id. The victim's home had been
ransacked, and medications belonging to the petitioner's
mother, who lived with the victim, were missing. Id.
at *1-2. Additionally, "'old silver half-dollars and
dimes'" that also belonged to the petitioner's
mother were missing. Id. at *6.
neighbor called 911, and the victim was eventually pronounced
dead. Id. at *3. Dr. Marco Ross performed an autopsy
and "'found evidence of strangulation that consisted
of some abrasions or scrape marks on the front of the neck,
as well as a fracture of part of the thyroid
cartilages[.]'" Id. According to Dr. Ross,
"fractured thyroid cartilage is a 'serious bodily
injury' that is primarily associated with strangulations
and hangings and is caused by 'a fair amount of force in
order to break that cartilage.'" Id. Dr.
Ross also found heart disease, severe intestinal necrosis,
and abnormalities in the victim's kidneys and liver.
Id. Dr. Ross could not give a definitive cause of
the victim's death. Id. Intestinal necrosis
alone could have been the primary cause of death, but
strangulation also could have triggered enough stress on the
victim's heart and brain to cause his death. Id.
in March of 2008, the petitioner asked Breanna Weaver to meet
him at a motel in Haiti, Missouri. Id. at *5. Ms.
Weaver testified that she saw hydrocodone and two guns on a
table inside the motel room. Id. Ms. Weaver had sex
with the petitioner in exchange for crack cocaine, and the
two smoked the crack cocaine together. Id. The
petitioner then confessed to accidentally killing the victim.
Id. The petitioner told Ms. Weaver that he went to
the victim's house "'to see if he could get his
pills, and they got to fighting [be]cause he wouldn't
give them to him, so that's when he choked
incarcerated on an unrelated matter, the petitioner again
confessed to accidentally killing the victim. Id. at
*4. The petitioner told another inmate that he and the victim
got into an altercation, and the victim pulled out a .38
caliber handgun. Id. The petitioner knocked the
handgun from the victim's hand, and the dispute ended
with the petitioner's "'grabbing [the victim] by
the neck and sliding him down the refrigerator' so that
[the victim] 'was sitting like a frog or
something.'" Id. The petitioner also
admitted to the inmate that he took hydrocodone pills, a .45
caliber pistol, and the .38 caliber pistol from the
victim's home and threw the .38 caliber pistol into the
Mississippi River. Id.
least two occasions, the petitioner also informed Toby Hicks,
the petitioner's brother-in-law, that he accidentally
killed the victim. Id. at *6-7. He first confessed
about a month after the victim's death while at a
"'strip joint'" in Poplar Bluff, Missouri.
Id. at *6. The petitioner told Mr. Hicks that he
accidentally killed the victim because "'he was mad
about [the victim] getting all his mother's
possessions.'" Id. At the time the
petitioner made this confession to Mr. Hicks, he was under
the influence of methamphetamine, methadone, hydrocodone,
Xanax, valium, and alcohol. Id.
of 2013, the petitioner again told Mr. Hicks he killed the
victim. Id. Mr. Hicks was with the petitioner and
his brother, and they were "'real bad doped up on
meth.'" Id. According to Mr. Hicks, the
petitioner said that "'he wasn't going to see
[the victim] get any of [his] mom's stuff. [The
petitioner] said it belonged to [him]. [The petitioner] said
it was an accident but that he killed [the
victim].'" Id. At trial, Mr. Hicks
testified that the petitioner told him "'he hit [the
petitioner] one time but he thought he knocked him
the State rested, the petitioner called two witnesses to
testify. Id. at *7. JoNelle Spicer, who was married
to the petitioner at the time of the victim's death,
testified that on the afternoon of March 3, 2008, she and the
petitioner left their home in Haiti, Missouri and began
driving to Troy, Tennessee to visit the petitioner's
mother. Id. It began to rain heavily, so she and the
petitioner eventually returned home. Id. The
petitioner left the house for approximately twenty minutes
that evening and then left again around midnight.
Id. Ms. Spicer did not see the petitioner again
until 9:30 p.m. or 10:00 p.m. the following night.
Id. This testimony was ...