Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Lalone

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

May 25, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
NATHAN BERNARD LALONE

          Assigned on Briefs November 16, 2016

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Hamilton County No. 284472 Rebecca J. Stern, Judge[1]

         Defendant, Nathan Bernard Lalone, was convicted of one count of first degree murder and one count of attempted first degree murder. He raises the following issues on appeal: (1) the trial court erred in denying a motion to suppress his statement to police because he had invoked his right to remain silent; (2) the trial court erred in denying a motion for leave to file an interlocutory appeal of the suppression issue; (3) the trial court erred in denying a motion for judgment of acquittal and motion for new trial because the accomplice testimony was not sufficiently corroborated; (4) the trial court erred in allowing the State to play a videotaped interview of a witness as a prior inconsistent statement; and (5) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions. Upon our review of the record and applicable authorities, we conclude that the trial court erred in denying Defendant's motion to suppress and that the error was not harmless. Furthermore, we conclude that the trial court committed plain error in admitting a witness's recorded statement into evidence without following the Rules of Evidence with regard to prior inconsistent statements. For these two reasons, we reverse Defendant's convictions and remand the case for a new trial.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Criminal Court Reversed and Case Remanded

          Amanda B. Dunn (on appeal); Kevin L. Loper and Jeffrey S. Schaarschmidt (at trial), Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Nathan Bernard Lalone.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Katherine C. Redding, Assistant Attorney General; Neal Pinkston, District Attorney General; and Brian Finlay and Kristin Spires, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE

         Factual and Procedural History

         On the night of November 16, 2011, Christian Sosa and his girlfriend, Meghan Bennett, were shot at the tennis courts in Apison, Tennessee, a suburb of Chattanooga. Mr. Sosa died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds. In July of 2012, Defendant was indicted for one count of first degree murder and one count of attempted first degree murder.

         I. Motion to Suppress Hearing

         On May 5, 2014, Defendant filed a motion to suppress a statement he gave to police on November 17, 2011, on the ground that his statement was obtained after he invoked his right to remain silent.[2] At the hearing, no witnesses were called to testify on the suppression matter. The video-recorded interrogation of Defendant was played for the trial court and was entered as an exhibit to the hearing. Defendant did not contest whether he was subject to a custodial interrogation and conceded that he was advised of his rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), and that he initially waived those rights. The parties agreed that anything Defendant said prior to being advised of his rights would be excluded. However, Defendant argued that he later invoked his right to remain silent and that any statements he made thereafter should also be suppressed.

         In the video, a detective[3] entered the interrogation room, told Defendant that "the case is put together, " and encouraged Defendant to admit that he "messed up." Defendant initially believed that he was being questioned about drugs and was confused about the detective's reference to a gun. After being read and signing his Miranda rights, Defendant denied any involvement in anything that happened to Mr. Sosa. Defendant stated that Tyler Conrad had a problem with Mr. Sosa over stolen guns and drugs. Defendant admitted also having a "beef" with Mr. Sosa over a gun that had been stolen a couple of months prior. Defendant stated that Mr. Conrad and Defendant's roommate, Blake Adams, had recently been talking about "getting" Mr. Sosa and "were really getting hot about that stuff." Defendant denied owning a gun and stated that Mr. Conrad had a "40 Glock." Defendant stated that he was with other people during the past couple of days who could verify his whereabouts. Defendant stated, "That's really all I can tell you about that, " and that he felt "like a f---ing snitch" for talking about it.

         The detective asked Defendant, "Do you really think you're fooling anybody?" Defendant told the detective to talk to the people he had been with over the past three days "since I didn't do anything." The detective responded, "Yeah, you did." Defendant continued to deny doing anything, and the detective asked "Do you think you're here by accident?" Defendant stated that "obviously something went down" and that Mr. Conrad and Mr. Adams were "trying to put it on me because they're best friends." Defendant explained that they probably decided to put the blame on Defendant because they knew he also had problems with Mr. Sosa, that he had "a rap sheet, " and that he was aggressive. Defendant said that if Mr. Conrad and Mr. Adams were saying he did it, "there is nothing else I can do" except get witnesses to prove he did not do it.

         The detective said that he was there to "hear [Defendant's] side of [the story], " and Defendant responded, "I just told you my side. It's not even my side, it's just a story . . . that's the best of my knowledge that I can tell you of any knowledge that I can have at all of anything that would have to do with anything like that." After reiterating that Mr. Conrad had a gun, had a problem with Mr. Sosa, and had been "talking about doing stuff" in the past couple of days, Defendant stated that he was "telling you everything I know to the best of my knowledge. So I don't know what else you want me to tell you, but you keep trying to talk to me like I'm a fool, like I'm just trying to play you, like I'm trying to play games." The detective responded, "Yeah, I am." Defendant said, "OK then, well, then I ain't got nothing else to say 'cause I done told you whatever I know." The detective responded, "Take you a rest, I'll be back in a little while, " and left the room. Just over nine minutes later, a second detective[4] entered the interrogation room and, without giving new Miranda warnings, resumed questioning Defendant by asking him to "establish where you were yesterday."[5]

         After the video was played, the trial court stated that it did not "hear him say I don't want to talk about it" and that it may have "missed that." The last minute or so of Defendant's conversation with the first detective was played again. As defense counsel was presenting his argument, the trial court stated that it did not interpret Defendant's statement "I ain't got nothing else to say" as an invocation of the right to remain silent. Instead, the trial court interpreted the statement to mean "[t]here's nothing more I can tell you about it" or "that's my story and I'm sticking to it." Defense counsel and the trial court disagreed about what the first detective was thinking when he said "take a rest" and left the room.[6] The trial court stated that it was concerned about the first detective leaving "then another officer tag-team comes in, " but that it did not "hear a clear invocation of [Defendant's] rights." The trial court agreed to take the matter under advisement and read the case law submitted by the parties but stated that "the way I'm reading it right now" was that Defendant did not invoke his right to remain silent.

         According to a minute entry, the trial court denied the motion to suppress on May, 19, 2014; there is no written order in the record detailing the trial court's findings of fact and conclusions of law. Defendant filed a second motion to suppress his statement arguing that Defendant did not acknowledge that he was waiving his rights when he signed the rights waiver form. On June 2, 2014, the trial court overruled the second motion to suppress as well as Defendant's request for an interlocutory appeal of the first motion to suppress.[7] The case proceeded to trial on June 3, 2014.

         II. Trial

         Around 10:00 p.m. on November 16, 2011, Meghan Bennett and her boyfriend, Christian Sosa, drove to the tennis courts in Apison to meet Tyler Conrad. Ms. Bennett backed her car into a parking space. The next thing she knew, Mr. Sosa was telling her to leave and "bullets start[ed] flying in [her] car." Ms. Bennett ducked and was eventually able to drive out of the parking lot towards her parents' house.

         At 10:26 p.m., Hamilton County 911 received a report that nine gunshots had been fired at the county park and that a small dark-colored Honda fled the parking lot with its lights off. At 10:30 p.m., William Bennett, Ms. Bennett's father, called 911 to report that his daughter and her boyfriend had been shot. Mr. Bennett reported that his daughter had been shot in the arm and that her boyfriend had sustained several gunshot wounds and was deceased. Ms. Bennett can be heard in the background identifying the shooter as Mr. Conrad because he was the person who had arranged the meeting at the tennis courts.

         When Ms. Bennett testified at trial, she described the shooter as a "bigger person" dressed in black and wearing a black mask; she expressed disbelief that it was Defendant. Ms. Bennett was asked to identify individuals in still photographs taken from a Walmart security video. She identified Mr. Conrad as well as Blake Adams in two photographs. Mr. Adams is shown wearing a white shirt and khaki shorts, and Mr. Conrad is shown wearing a black t-shirt and dark-colored jeans. In one photograph, Mr. Conrad, Mr. Adams, and a third person later identified as Sabrina Lovett are seen entering the store at 10:35 p.m. In the other photograph, the group is seen leaving the store at 10:50 p.m. In a third photograph, a car appears to be arriving in the parking lot around 10:48 p.m. Ms. Bennett identified the car as belonging to Defendant. Ms. Bennett also identified Defendant in two photographs showing him inside the store around 10:52 p.m. Defendant is shown wearing all black and talking on a cell phone.

         On cross-examination, Ms. Bennett testified that Defendant and Mr. Sosa had a prior disagreement that seemed to have been resolved. She had known Defendant for about six or seven months and considered him one of her good friends. She had known Mr. Conrad and Mr. Adams since high school and knew that they used "[w]hatever [drugs] they could get their hands on." She stated that Mr. Sosa and Mr. Adams had a previous physical altercation and that Mr. Adams had anger problems. She agreed that Defendant was a "bigger guy" known as "Big Nate" while Mr. Conrad was of average build. Ms. Bennett agreed that during the 911 call and later while she was talking to the police, she identified Mr. Conrad as the shooter because he was the one they were going to meet. She never mentioned Defendant as a suspect because she did not believe that he could "have done that to [her]."

         Detectives from the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office recovered a total of eleven spent .40 caliber shell casings from in and around the parking lot of the tennis courts. Photographs of Ms. Bennett's red Honda were entered into evidence showing approximately eleven bullet holes in the front passenger side door and window. Two projectiles were also found in the vehicle. Defendant's two cars were searched for glass fragments to compare to the Honda's broken window, but none were found.

         While searching the area around the tennis courts for a gun, Captain Lynn Triplett and another officer found clothes near a fence line along a gravel road approximately three to four hundred feet away. Among the clothes was a pair of pants with Defendant's driver's license in the pocket. On cross-examination, Captain Triplett agreed that the license looked weathered. Captain Triplett could not remember the exact date of the search or whether they were searching the location at the suggestion of Mr. Conrad.

         Agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation ("TBI") examined clothing belonging to Defendant for the presence of blood, gunshot residue, and glass fragments, but nothing was found. Swabs from Defendant's vehicles also tested negative for gunshot residue. Clothing belonging to Mr. Conrad[8] and Mr. Adams were also tested for the presence of blood, but an officer from the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office told the TBI agents not to test them for gunshot residue or glass fragments. The medical examiner testified that Mr. Sosa sustained approximately ten gunshot wounds to the arms and torso, but none to his head. The medical examiner also confirmed that, prior to trial, Mr. Conrad died as the result of an accidental overdose of fentanyl, a strong pain killer.

         Detective James Gienapp testified that he was involved in the interrogation of Defendant the day after the shooting. Detective Gienapp explained that another detective "attempted to interview" Defendant but that it "didn't really go anywhere." Detective Gienapp was asked to continue the interrogation because he was closer in age to Defendant. The recording of Defendant's statement was played for the jury and entered into evidence.[9] In the statement, Defendant stated that he believed Mr. Conrad was responsible because Mr. Conrad had been talking about "doing in Chris, " though Defendant thought he was joking. Defendant initially denied seeing Mr. Adams and Mr. Conrad that evening but then admitted that he saw them at Walmart and rode with them back to the apartment, leaving his car in the parking lot. Defendant denied having a phone when he went to Walmart. Defendant admitted that he had a "beef" with Mr. Sosa because Mr. Sosa had taken Defendant's gun and lied about it, but Defendant said that they eventually "shook and made up." Defendant denied shooting Mr. Sosa. After being urged to tell the truth, Defendant admitted that he and Mr. Conrad talked about being angry at Mr. Sosa and that Defendant wanted to "beat his ass." Defendant said that Mr. Conrad called to set up the meeting with Mr. Sosa and that Defendant tried to talk Mr. Conrad out of killing him. Defendant said that Mr. Conrad shot Mr. Sosa, firing "his whole clip at the car." When Defendant saw Mr. Conrad again, Mr. Conrad said that "it was done, man, " but that he was not sure if he killed Ms. Bennett because he heard "the car take off" as he fled the scene. Defendant said that Mr. Conrad told him that Ms. Bennett was crying for her life and that she used Mr. Sosa's body as a shield. Defendant denied being present when Mr. Conrad shot Mr. Sosa. When they later met at Walmart, Defendant said that Mr. Conrad was acting like nothing happened and did not have a gun on him. Defendant eventually admitted that he was present during the planning of the shooting. Defendant admitted that he did not like Mr. Sosa and wanted to beat him up but insisted that he did not want to kill Mr. Sosa over a stolen gun.

         In preparation for trial, Detective Gienapp was asked to drive between the tennis courts in Apison and the Walmart on Gunbarrel Road in May of 2014. Detective Gienapp drove between the locations a total of four times on a Saturday night between 10:00 and 11:15 p.m., observing all traffic signals and not passing other drivers. Detective Gienapp was able to drive from Walmart to the tennis courts at speeds of less than 50 miles per hour in 19 minutes and 40 seconds. He then drove back to Walmart at speeds over 50 miles per hour in 14 minutes and 30 seconds. He then completed a second round trip at speeds over 50 miles per hour, going from Walmart to the tennis courts in 15 minutes and 40 seconds and back in 12 minutes and 26 seconds. On cross-examination, Detective Gienapp admitted that he encountered some light traffic during his test and that he did not know if the traffic was heavier on a Saturday night than on a Wednesday night. Detective Gienapp stated that he took the same route suggested by his GPS each time and admitted that he did not know of any short cuts. Detective Gienapp also admitted that he drove at speeds only 5 to 10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit.

         Mr. Adams testified for the State at trial. He stated that Mr. Conrad, who had passed away prior to trial, was his best friend and that they were nearly inseparable. Mr. Adams was also friends with both of the victims as well as Ms. Lovett, who lived in his apartment complex. Mr. Adams also socialized with Defendant, though they were not as close as Mr. Adams and Mr. Conrad. Mr. Adams admitted that both he and Mr. Conrad used drugs. Mr. Adams had recently picked Mr. Conrad up from a rehabilitation center in Alabama because Mr. Conrad "was doing so many drugs down there" that were worse than the drugs available at Mr. Adams's residence.

         Mr. Adams admitted that he could not remember most of the events of November 16, 2011, because of his overuse of a prescription anti-anxiety medication on the date in question. Mr. Adams stated several times during his testimony that his memory was "blurry" and that he "might be mistaken" about what he remembered happening. Mr. Adams could remember going to Walmart and checking out, though he was confused about what he had purchased. Mr. Adams was "pretty sure" that he went to Walmart with Ms. Lovett and Mr. Conrad, that they drove together in his gold Honda Accord, and that it was dark outside when they arrived. Defendant was not with them at that time. Mr. Adams recalled speaking to Defendant on the phone and remembered "only one thing he said out of the whole conversation, " which was "I hit him in the dome." Mr. Adams explained that "dome" means head and that he "guess[ed]" that Defendant was referring to Mr. Sosa, though he did not know that at the time. When asked directly, Mr. Adams denied that either he or Mr. Conrad killed Mr. Sosa and shot Ms. Bennett. Mr. Adams stated that he and Mr. Conrad were together the entire night.

         On cross-examination, Mr. Adams recalled being taken into custody around 3:00 a.m. on November 17, 2011, and being questioned by the police for a long period of time, though he could not remember many specific details about the questioning. Defense counsel read portions of the transcript of Mr. Adams's statement in an attempt to refresh his recollection. The transcript indicated that one of the first things Mr. Adams told the detective interviewing him was that he was at Walmart the night of the shooting and that he had a receipt to corroborate his alibi. Mr. Adams did not recall telling the detective that Ms. Lovett also had a receipt from Walmart but explained that he was probably being sarcastic when he said that. Mr. Adams testified that he was nowhere near the tennis courts that day and that he "was always in sight of something." Mr. Adams did not recall telling the officer that he went to the tennis courts after being told by a friend that something was happening over there. Mr. Adams explained that he was scared during the interrogation, that it was "an extreme terrible adrenaline rush, " and that he was "just blabbering on." Mr. Adams indicated that he was afraid of Defendant.

         Mr. Adams did not recall naming as possible suspects two African-American individuals known as "Shin" and "L.A." Mr. Adams stated that he could not remember statements made during the early portion of his interrogation and suggested that he did not "come down enough to remember" what he said until "about page 100 and something" of the transcript. Mr. Adams recalled that the police collected his clothing and that he asked the officers whether his clothing had any blood spatter on them. Mr. Adams explained that he was attempting to prove his innocence based on what he had seen on television. Mr. Adams agreed that, at one point, he suggested that Mr. Conrad was responsible but explained that he did not want to say Defendant's name because he was scared of him. Mr. Adams agreed that Mr. Sosa was his friend but admitted that, in his statement, he called Mr. Sosa "retarded" and "slow." Mr. Adams initially told the detective that he had not seen Mr. Sosa for a few months, but then stated that they had had a falling out about two weeks prior. Mr. Adams denied that the falling out was over Mr. Sosa's stealing Mr. Conrad's gun. Mr. Adams recalled that after nearly eleven hours of questioning, he accompanied the police to the tennis courts and looked in a wooded area for a gun.

         Due to Mr. Adams's poor memory and the confusing nature of his prior statements read out of context, both parties and the trial court agreed to play for the jury two excerpts from Mr. Adam's video-recorded statement and to make the entire recording an exhibit. The recording consists of three disks covering a nearly twelve-hour span of time and containing multiple conversations between Mr. Adams and the detective. It is not clear to this Court which portions of the statement were played for the jury because the times indicated in the transcript do not seem to correspond to the timestamps on the video for any portion of the statement that would have much significance to either party.

         From our review of the video, we note that while being advised of his rights, Mr. Adams denied being under the influence of drugs, but later told the detective that he had difficulty remembering things because he took Klonopin daily. Much of this first statement corresponds with questions asked of Mr. Adams on cross-examination. Mr. Adams told the detective that he wanted to get to the details of this "crazy story, " which he could corroborate because he had receipts and was on camera "at the time of the person's death." After Mr. Adams tried to give a timeline of his day, he eventually admitted to the detective that he went by the tennis courts after being told by a friend that "something crazy" had happened there. Mr. Adams stated that while he was at the scene "rubbernecking, " another friend heard from someone that Mr. Sosa had two guns in the car when he was shot. Mr. Adams denied that Mr. Conrad said anything about meeting Mr. Sosa and denied knowing why Mr. Sosa was at the tennis courts.

         Mr. Adams did not mention Defendant, whom he referred to as "Nate Gomez, " until his second conversation with the detective almost an hour later. Mr. Adams told the detective that Defendant left the apartment around 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. to visit a girl named Tory. Mr. Adams denied that anyone at the apartment had a gun "as far as [he knew]." Mr. Adams initially denied meeting Defendant at Walmart, then stated that Defendant met them there ten to fifteen minutes after they had arrived. Mr. Adams told the detective that Defendant and Mr. Conrad were talking about beating up Mr. Sosa because he had stolen some marijuana and a gun. Mr. Adams said that Defendant might have told Mr. Conrad to call Mr. Sosa but then stated that Defendant pulled out a gun and made Mr. Conrad call Mr. Sosa.

         The recording on the third disk begins after a gap of almost six hours, seemingly mid-conversation. The detective accused Mr. Adams, Mr. Conrad, Ms. Lovett, and Defendant of planning the shooting. Mr. Adams admitted that he and Defendant "fantasized" about it, that Defendant said he was going to do it, and that Mr. Conrad called Mr. Sosa on Defendant's phone to set it up. Mr. Adams stated that when Defendant met the others at Walmart, he told them that he had wrapped the gun in a black shirt and thrown it into the woods. Even though Mr. Adams said that Defendant went to the tennis courts by himself, he described where Defendant's and Mr. Sosa's vehicles were positioned in the parking lot and said that Defendant fired twelve shots. At various points throughout the recording, while the detective is out of the room, Mr. Adams can be seen talking to Mr. Conrad through the wall of the interview room about their situation and what had been said to the police, though Mr. Conrad's responses are inaudible.

         Ms. Lovett also testified for the State. She stated that she was friends with Defendant and Mr. Adams, that she had just met Mr. Conrad, and that she did not know either Mr. Sosa or Ms. Bennett. Ms. Lovett admitted that she went to Walmart with Mr. Adams and Mr. Conrad and that they met Defendant there. She said that the four of them left the store in the same vehicle and that Defendant "said something about the dome, " though Ms. Lovett could not remember if he said "he hit him in the dome or somebody hit him in the dome or he wanted to go home." She described Defendant as acting normal that night.

         Ms. Lovett testified that on November 16, 2011, she was "hanging out" and smoking marijuana with Defendant, Mr. Adams, and Mr. Conrad. Mr. Adams was talking about an earlier confrontation with Mr. Sosa at a gas station and was "pretty pissed about it and started saying that he wanted something done and that he was going to get Christian somehow." Ms. Lovett tried to calm Mr. Adams down, but he remained upset and "fidgety." Both Mr. Conrad and Defendant were involved in the conversation. Defendant also seemed upset for "a little bit . . . then he stopped." Defendant then left, saying he was going to Tory's and that he would meet them later. Ms. Lovett then accompanied Mr. Adams and Mr. Conrad to Walmart.

         Ms. Lovett testified that while the foursome were "hanging out" earlier in the evening, Mr. Adams kept bringing up something Mr. Sosa had done that "just wasn't right, " but Ms. Lovett did not know what Mr. Sosa had done or to whom. Mr. Adams said that Mr. Sosa would "get paid back for it." Defendant seemed calm, "like he was listening." Mr. Adams talked about "getting rid of" Mr. Sosa while Defendant talked about fighting him. Ms. Lovett did not recall Defendant saying that Mr. Sosa should get what he deserved. After Mr. Adams spoke to Mr. Conrad in a back room, Mr. Conrad called Mr. Sosa. Ms. Lovett thought the conversation seemed "agitated" but did not know if they were arguing or talking. Ms. Lovett explained that Mr. Adams and Mr. Conrad talked about the Apison tennis courts and that Mr. Conrad told Mr. Sosa to meet him there. Ms. Lovett knew the others were talking about hurting Mr. Sosa before Mr. Conrad made the phone call and was afraid they were going to do something. When Mr. Adams said that Mr. Sosa's girlfriend would be with him, Defendant said that was not good; Mr. Adams called Ms. Bennett "the B word." When Defendant left, he did not say he was going to the tennis courts but said that if he saw Mr. Sosa, "they would get into it." Ms. Lovett explained that the plan was for her, Mr. Adams, and Mr. Conrad to go to Walmart to buy something so that "everybody would be seen." She stated that she was with Mr. Adams and Mr. Conrad all evening except for a brief period while at Walmart. She denied that they went to the tennis courts.

         At the request of the State, Ms. Lovett's video-recorded statement to police was played for the jury.[10] In the video, the detective talking to Ms. Lovett indicated that he did not believe that she told the truth when they spoke earlier and that they were speaking again at Ms. Lovett's request. Ms. Lovett told the detective that she, Mr. Adams, Mr. Conrad, and Defendant were smoking marijuana in Mr. Adams's apartment. After Mr. Adams went to the gas station, he talked about an argument he had with Mr. Sosa and said that he wanted to "hit that bitch." Mr. Adams and Defendant were both upset because Mr. Sosa had either robbed them or disrespected someone. Ms. Lovett said that Defendant placed a gun on the table and, with Mr. Adams's encouragement, said he was going to do it. Mr. Adams stated that he wished that he "could get him back, " and Defendant stated that Mr. Sosa needed to "get what he deserves." Ms. Lovett explained that Defendant would periodically calm down until Mr. Adams brought the subject back up and made him angry again.

         Ms. Lovett admitted to the detective that after unsuccessfully trying to calm the other two down, she and Mr. Conrad helped them plan the shooting. She said that Mr. Conrad initially mentioned the tennis courts in Apison. Mr. Adams asked Mr. Conrad to call Mr. Sosa on Defendant's phone so that Mr. Sosa would not know that Mr. Adams was involved. When Mr. Sosa mentioned that Ms. Bennett would be with him, Defendant "backed off" because he did not want to do it "with a girl there." Mr. Adams then suggested that Ms. Bennett probably helped Mr. Sosa and that she would tell people that they were going to the tennis courts. Eventually, Defendant said that he was going to go through with it but did not say what he was going to do about Ms. Bennett. Mr. Conrad stated, "You know, if you kill Chris, you're going to have to get Meghan, too, " and Defendant agreed that "she knows who I am." Ms. Lovett said that they originally did not know who was going to do it but that eventually Defendant "snapped" and said he was going to do it. Ms. Lovett explained that the plan was for her, Mr. Adams, and Mr. Conrad to go to Walmart and get a receipt and that Defendant would than meet them after it happened.

         Ms. Lovett explained to the detective that Mr. Adams was concerned that they needed more time to plan, that she answered his questions about "CSI stuff, " and that Defendant agreed to do it the following day. However, when Mr. Sosa called back, Mr. Adams became upset again, and Defendant agreed that it was "time to do this shit." Defendant left in his Cadillac, and the others went to Walmart in Mr. Adams's vehicle. Mr. Conrad was in touch by phone with both Mr. Sosa and Defendant. When Mr. Sosa was running late, Defendant said that he was going to leave until Mr. Conrad told him that Mr. Sosa was on the way. When Defendant met them outside the Walmart, he said, "I did it." In response to Mr. Adams's questions, Defendant said that he shot Mr. Sosa "in the dome" and that he was "pretty sure" that he also got Ms. Bennett. Ms. Lovett said she was not sure if Defendant was telling the truth until she saw the news the following morning and encountered police at Mr. Adams's apartment. Ms. Lovett denied hearing anyone say what had happened to the gun. Ms. Lovett admitted that she originally told the police that Defendant was in the car in the parking lot while the others were in Walmart.

         On cross-examination, Ms. Lovett agreed that she made the following statement to Mr. Adams in ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.