Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs May 10, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 84-W-201 Seth
Defendant, Elgain Ricky Wilson, pleaded guilty to first
degree felony murder, armed robbery, and two counts of
assault with the intent to commit armed robbery in 1984 and
received an effective sentence of life imprisonment plus
fifty years. Almost thirty-two years later, the Defendant
filed a motion pursuant to Tennessee Criminal Procedure Rule
36.1 requesting that the trial court correct an illegal
sentence because although the indictment alleged the murder
victim was killed when the victim was being robbed, the
evidence showed the murder victim was killed during the
robbery of another person. As a result, the Defendant argued
that his guilty plea was unknowing and involuntary and that
he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. The trial
court summarily dismissed the motion after determining that
the Defendant's motion failed to state a colorable claim
for relief because the motion was not based upon the
imposition of an illegal sentence but rather upon
insufficient evidence and the ineffective assistance of
counsel. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
Ricky Wilson, Tiptonville, Tennessee, Pro Se.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Alexander C. Vey, Assistant Attorney General; and Glenn Funk,
District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of
H. Montgomery, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court,
in which Norma McGee Ogle and Alan E. Glenn, JJ., joined.
H. MONTGOMERY, JR., JUDGE.
January 1984, the Defendant was indicted, in relevant part,
for the first degree felony murder of Edward Meirs, which was
alleged to have occurred when Mr. Meirs was robbed, the armed
robbery of Margaret Meirs, the assault of Joseph White with
the intent to commit armed robbery, and the assault of Anne
White with the intent to commit armed robbery. In July 1984,
the Defendant pleaded guilty to the charged offenses, and the
trial court ordered partial consecutive sentences, resulting
in a sentence of life imprisonment plus fifty years. He
appealed the trial court's imposition of consecutive
sentences, and this court affirmed the judgments of the trial
court. See State v. Elgain Ricky Wilson, 710 S.W.2d
539 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1986).
1, 2016, the Defendant filed a motion to correct an illegal
sentence and/or illegal conviction pursuant to Tennessee
Criminal Procedure Rule 36.1. In the motion, the Defendant
contended his sentences and convictions were a "nullity
and illegal" because his guilty plea to felony murder
was based upon "insufficient evidence [because] Mr.
Edward Meirs was never killed in the perpetration of a
robbery as charged in the indictment." The Defendant
argued the evidence showed that Margaret Meirs was the
robbery victim and that Joseph and Anne White were victims of
assaults with the intent to commit robberies. The Defendant
noted that the indictment count alleging first degree felony
murder stated that Mr. Meirs was killed during the commission
of the robbery of Mr. Meirs. The Defendant asserted that
because Mr. Meirs was killed during the robbery of Mrs.
Meirs, insufficient evidence supported his guilty plea and
conviction for felony murder, that his guilty plea was
unknowing and involuntary, and that his sentences were
illegal. The Defendant also asserted that trial counsel
coerced and threatened the Defendant that he could receive
the death penalty if the case went to trial and that
therefore, his guilty plea was involuntary and that he
received the ineffective assistance of counsel.
October 10, 2016, the trial court summarily dismissed the
Defendant's motion. In its written order, the court found
that the Defendant's allegations were related to
sufficiency of the evidence and ineffective assistance of
counsel and that the allegations, even if true, did not merit
relief pursuant to Rule 36.1. This appeal followed.
Defendant contends that the trial court erred by summarily
dismissing his motion. He argues that his motion states a
colorable claim for relief on the same grounds stated in his
motion. T he State responds that the trial court properly
dismissed the motion. W e agree with the State.
Criminal Procedure Rule 36.1 states, in relevant part, that
(a) Either the defendant or the state may, at any time, seek
the correction of an illegal sentence by filing a motion to
correct an illegal sentence in the trial court in which the
judgment of conviction was entered. For purposes of this
rule, an illegal sentence is one that is not authorized by