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State v. Beal

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

June 29, 2017


          Assigned on Briefs April 11, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 11-07745 Chris Craft, Judge

         Defendant, Fred Beal, was convicted by a jury of first degree premeditated murder, felony murder, attempted first degree murder, two counts of attempted especially aggravated robbery, and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. He appeals, arguing that the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions. As part of our review of the record, we note that there is no judgment form for Count 1 in the record. On remand, the trial court should enter a judgment form for Count 1, first degree felony murder. In all other respects, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

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

          Laurie W. Hall (at trial and on appeal) and Juni Ganguli (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Fred Beal.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Neal Oldham and Colin Campbell, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Alan E. Glenn and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.



         Factual and Procedural Background

         Amelia Campbell, also known as "Mimi, " and Travis Metcalf were shot while hanging out on a Memphis street in July of 2011. Ms. Campbell, the victim, was killed by a gunshot wound to the head. Mr. Metcalf was wounded by a gunshot to the back. Defendant, Brandon Holmes, and Cremario Smith were named in a multi-count indictment by the Shelby County Grand Jury. Defendant and Mr. Holmes, both juveniles[1] at the time of the incident, were charged with first degree murder, felony murder, two counts of attempted especially aggravated robbery, attempted first degree murder, and employing a firearm during the commission of a felony. Mr. Smith was indicted for facilitation of first degree murder and facilitation of attempted first degree murder. At the time of trial, Mr. Holmes was prepared to enter a guilty plea to second degree murder in exchange for a sentence of twenty-seven years. Mr. Smith had not entered into a plea agreement at the time of his testimony at trial.

         Estella Beal[2] lived in the area near where the incident took place. That evening, she went to a friend's home on Shasta Street to charge her phone because she did not have electricity. When she left the friend's house, she stopped to talk to the victim, the victim's four-year-old child, and the victim's cousin, Jerrica Reed. The women were "[s]itting right there on the curb" next to a "vacant lot" where there was a "barrel and table to play [d]omino[e]s." Ms. Beal stood and talked to the women for just a short time when she "noticed someone go across the field behind" them. There were two men running, one of whom was tall and slim and the other was short, and both were wearing a "scarf or something tied across their face[s]." Ms. Beal asked the women if they knew who was running behind them. Before they could answer, someone was telling everyone to "get down." Ms. Beal "bent down over the child" and then "heard shots." She estimated that there were four but no more than five shots fired. Ms. Beal was unable to clearly see the shooters but told police on the night of the incident that the taller man fired the first shot. When the shots subsided, Ms. Beal noticed that the victim had fallen "backwards in the chair." Travis Metcalf, who was "getting ready to cross the street as the shooting started, " was also hit by a bullet.

         Angela Clark, the neighbor of the victim, was also standing on the street talking to victim on the night of the shooting. She recalled that their conversation was about the "kids going back to school and buying uniforms and where was the cheapest place[] to go" when "two guys came from off . . . Dexter Street." One of them had a "T-shirt on their head and the other one had a bandana or something on their head." Because it was hot outside, Ms. Clark "instantly thought that something was wrong" when she noticed the way the men were dressed. She summoned her two-year old, who was playing nearby, when suddenly one of the men "pulled up a pistol" and told everyone to "get down." Ms. Clark only saw one of the men shooting. She described him as "tall and brown skin" while the other man was "short and dark." She did not know who the men were at the time.

         Ms. Clark, a certified medical assistant, helped Mr. Metcalf, who had been shot in the buttocks area. She instructed him to stay still and called an ambulance. Ms. Clark checked on the victim, who had been shot in the head. The victim still had a pulse at the time, but her heart stopped beating about twenty seconds later. According to expert testimony, the victim died from a single gunshot wound to the head from a bullet with markings consistent with a .38 caliber. The bullet that killed the victim could not have been fired with a .22 caliber.

         Jerrica Reed, the victim's cousin, immediately thought it was a "robbery" and described the scene as follows:

Well while we was sitting there two guys came from the cut, well from a pathway across the street, and they was walking behind us as if they was going to go through another cut that was behind us, but they didn't. They came behind us. You know, I slightly turned to them and was like what are you guys doing and they said get down, get down. They started shooting.

         Ms. Reed described the shooters as two black males, noting that one was tall and one was shorter. She was unable to see their faces because they had "shirts or bandanas or something on their faces." The men were about ten to twelve feet away when they told her to get down. She saw "one gun" and heard "more than four" shots and thought that both of the men were shooting. Ms. Reed saw the victim get shot in the head and Mr. Metcalf lying in the street. Ms. Reed and Ms. Beal both called 911. The men ran away without taking anything from anyone. Officer Lemarcus Webb responded to the ...

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