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Hollins v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

July 12, 2017


          Assigned on Briefs at Knoxville May 17, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 09-05640 Lee V. Coffee, Judge

         A Shelby County jury convicted the Petitioner, Demetrius Hollins, of attempted second degree murder and especially aggravated robbery, and the trial court sentenced him to an effective sentence of sixty years of incarceration. This Court affirmed the Petitioner's convictions and sentence on appeal. State v. Demetrius Hollins, No. W2012-02001-CCA-R3-CD, 2013 WL 6199463, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Jackson, Nov. 25, 2013), perm. app. denied (Tenn. May 15, 2014). The Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief alleging that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel based upon his trial counsel's failure to subpoena several alibi witnesses. After a hearing, the post-conviction court denied the Petitioner relief, and we affirm the post-conviction court's judgment.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal Court Affirmed

          Monica A. Timmerman, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Demetrius Hollins.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Robert W. Wilson, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Stacy M. McEndree, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and John Everett Williams, J., joined.



         I. Facts

         This case arises from a 2008 robbery and shooting in a McDonald's parking lot. For these offenses, a Shelby County grand jury indicted the Petitioner for attempted first degree murder and especially aggravated robbery. A Shelby County jury convicted the Petitioner of the lesser-included offense attempted second degree murder and especially aggravated robbery. The Petitioner appealed his convictions to this Court, and we summarized the facts presented at trial as follows:

At trial, Truman Greer testified that, on August 29, 2008, he stopped at a McDonald's restaurant on the way home from work with his co-workers, Calvin Walker and "Little Joe." Mr. Greer parked in the McDonald's parking lot, and his co-workers walked toward the restaurant. Mr. Greer remained in his car, and he decided to count the money he had received earlier from cashing his paycheck. While he was counting his money, he noticed a black man wearing a blue bandana to the left of his periphery; the bandana was covering the man's nose and mouth. Mr. Greer "just froze" when he saw the man, out of concern that the man would notice the cash he was holding. The man approached the car parked directly to the left of Mr. Greer's vehicle. Mr. Greer heard the man say something to the effect of, "Give me your money, sucker, " followed by the "bang" of a gunshot, at which point Mr. Greer saw the victim slump over in the driver's seat of his vehicle. The gunman reached inside the victim's vehicle and took something from the victim's person. Mr. Greer watched the shooter run across the street and out of his line of vision. Mr. Greer ran inside the McDonald's to get assistance for the victim.
On cross-examination, Mr. Greer acknowledged that, in the statement he gave to the police on the evening of August 29, 2008, he described the gunman as either five feet, four inches or five feet, five inches tall and estimated his age to be between 19 and 20. Mr. Greer explained, however, that he was merely guessing, due to his very brief observation of the gunman.
Calvin Walker testified that, when Mr. Greer parked his vehicle in the McDonald's parking lot, he and Joseph Brown, or "Little Joe, " got out of the car, and as they began walking toward the restaurant, a white Lincoln Town Car with three men inside nearly ran over them. The two gentlemen continued toward the restaurant. Mr. Walker opened the door for Mr. Brown, and before Mr. Walker could step inside, he heard a gunshot. Mr. Walker later gave a description of the three men to law enforcement officers, describing two of the men as having "braids and tweeds in their head" and stating that the other man was bald. Mr. Walker testified that one of the men "was young" but the other two men appeared to be in their mid-30s. Mr. Walker also recalled that the Lincoln had a "[b]lue or red rag top on it." After he heard the gunshot, Mr. Walker saw a man running away from the McDonald's. The man he saw fleeing from the scene had "little tweeds or braids in his head" and was wearing a white t-shirt and blue shorts. Mr. Walker did not notice a bandana. Mr. Walker told Mr. Brown to get help for the victim, and Mr. Walker took off his shirt and wrapped it around the head of the victim in an attempt to stop the bleeding from the gunshot wound.
Mr. Walker testified that the victim was "hysterical." Mr. Walker asked the victim if he knew the man who had shot him, and the victim told Mr. Walker that "he knew who had did it to him" although he did not give Mr. Walker a name. Mr. Walker observed that the victim had been shot in the head, and he stated that "blood was everywhere." Emergency medical personnel arrived five to 10 minutes later. Mr. Walker testified that he told law enforcement officers at the scene that the victim knew who had shot him. Mr. Walker also informed law enforcement officers that he was only able to see the side of the gunman's face as he was fleeing from the scene. Mr. Walker was never shown a photographic lineup. At trial, Mr. Walker positively identified the [Petitioner] as the man he saw running from the crime scene on August 29.
On cross-examination, Mr. Walker denied telling law enforcement officers on the evening of August 29 that the victim did not know who shot him. When defense counsel provided Mr. Walker with a copy of his signed statement, Mr. Walker denied that the signature on the document was his. Mr. Walker also denied telling the [Petitioner's] private investigator that the victim did not know who had shot him.
Joseph Brown testified that he accompanied Mr. Greer and Mr. Walker to a McDonald's restaurant on August 29 at the end of the work day. Mr. Brown went inside the restaurant to place his order, and while he was in inside, he heard a gunshot. Mr. Brown waited inside the restaurant for "a minute" before walking outside. When he walked outside, he saw the victim "slumped over in the car" with "a whole lot of folks trying to help him." Mr. Brown never spoke with anyone about the crime because he "didn't see nothing."
The victim, Willie Edwards, testified that he stopped at the McDonald's restaurant on August 29 before reporting for his shift at a Krystal restaurant. After ordering his food inside the restaurant, he returned to his vehicle in the parking lot. He opened his car door, placed his bag of food on the passenger seat, and sat down in the driver's seat, but before he was able to close the driver's door, a man approached him and demanded that Mr. Edwards "give [him] something." When making this demand, the gunman lifted the hem of his shirt to reveal a small, black revolver. Mr. Edwards took the gunman's demand to mean that he wanted money, and Mr. Edwards replied that he had nothing to give the man. Mr. Edwards admitted at trial that he actually had $350 in cash in the right front pocket of his shorts. After indicating to the gunman that he had no cash, Mr. Edwards next remembered waking up on the passenger side of his vehicle, holding the left side of his head behind his ear. He was covered in blood and was in pain. Mr. Edwards recalled a man at his side, instructing him to stay still and applying pressure to his head wound. Mr. Edwards testified that he had never seen that man before and that he had not seen him since the shooting until he arrived at court to testify. Mr. Edwards did not recall speaking to any law enforcement officers at the scene of the shooting.
Mr. Edwards described the gunman as a dark-skinned male with short braids in his hair. Mr. Edwards did not recall anything covering the gunman's face. He testified that he had seen the gunman before because the gunman "used to stay in the same apartments that [Mr. Edwards'] sister used to stay in" and where Mr. Edwards formerly resided when he was a teenager. Mr. Edwards stated that he had seen the gunman around the Tulane apartment complex nearly every day "[f]or about six months to a year." Mr. Edwards stated that the gunman's apartment was "one door down" from Mr. Edwards' sister's apartment. At the time of the shooting, Mr. Edwards had not seen the gunman in five to six years.
Mr. Edwards testified that he recalled arriving at the hospital in the ambulance but that he remembered nothing after that point until he awoke in the hospital with staples on the left side of his head and a large scar behind his ear. He stated that he has lost all hearing in his left ear. Mr. Edwards testified that a law enforcement officer spoke with him after he awoke from surgery on August 30, and Mr. Edwards informed the officer that he knew who had shot him, identifying the gunman by his nickname, "Main." Mr. Edwards provided the officer with identifying information about the gunman, including the name of the gunman's girlfriend and the address of the apartment where the gunman formerly resided. Mr. Edwards testified that, after providing the officer with this information, the officer returned later that same day with a photographic lineup, from which Mr. Edwards immediately identified the [Petitioner] as the man who shot him. Mr. Edwards stated that he did not realize the defendant had stolen his $350 until he was released from the hospital.
On cross-examination, Mr. Edwards acknowledged that, when he was residing at the Tulane apartments, he did not know the [Petitioner] but that rather he was someone Mr. Edwards would see in passing. He agreed that he had no disagreements or altercations with the [Petitioner] while living at the Tulane apartments. Mr. Edwards testified that he did not recall anything he might have said to Mr. Walker at the scene of the shooting before emergency ...

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