Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Session April 26, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Knox County No. 107533 Steven W.
Petitioner, Shawn Bough, appeals from the Knox County
Criminal Court's denial of his petition for a writ of
error coram nobis regarding his convictions for felony murder
and especially aggravated robbery, for which he is serving an
effective life sentence. The coram nobis court dismissed the
petition after a hearing because it determined the newly
discovered evidence was not credible and would not have led
to a different result at the trial. On appeal, the Petitioner
contends that the court erred by dismissing the petition. We
affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
Douglas A. Trant, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Courtney N. Orr, Assistant Attorney General; Charme Allen,
District Attorney General; and Ta Kisha Fitzgerald, Assistant
District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of
H. Montgomery, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court,
in which D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., and Robert L. Holloway, Jr.,
H. MONTGOMERY, JR., JUDGE
case relates to the 1998 shooting death and robbery of Billy
Oldham, a hotel desk clerk. The Tennessee Supreme Court
summarized the facts of the case in the appeal of the
On December 19, 1998, two sisters, Deanna and Edie Jones,
vacated their student housing at Knoxville College for winter
break. They planned to stay the night in Knoxville before
catching their flight home to New Jersey the following
morning. They went to the Expo Inn in Knoxville where Edie
Jones rented room 207 for the night. While checking into the
hotel, Deanna Jones saw the defendant, Shawn Bough, and
co-defendant, Craig Shears, in the parking lot. She invited
them to come up to their room later on that evening. Deanna
and Edie Jones knew both the defendant and Craig Shears
because the two men were also students at Knoxville College.
Montes Best was working at the desk when two African-American
men who claimed to be looking for a friend in room 207
approached the locked front doors late at night. Deanna and
Edie Jones remembered the defendant, co-defendant and another
male student stopping by room 207 for a few minutes before
midnight. The defendant and Craig Shears stopped by again
after midnight, asking to use the telephone. The defendant
used the telephone to call several airlines, attempting to
secure a flight from Tennessee through Chicago to California,
his home state. Deanna Jones noticed a gun underneath the
corner of the bed where the defendant was sitting. She told
the defendant not to forget his gun; he thanked her and put
the gun in his sock. At that time, the defendant and Craig
Shears left the room.
Sometime after midnight, the defendant and Craig Shears
returned to room 207 for the third time, again to use the
telephone. Deanna Jones heard the defendant ask the person on
the other end of the phone about getting a ride. The two men
left the room after the phone call. The defendant and Craig
Shears came back to room 207 for a fourth and final time to
tell Deanna and Edie Jones that they were leaving. At trial,
Deanna Jones testified that it was "still dark"
when the two men left the hotel room for the last time.
However, the statement she gave to the police on the day of
the incident indicates that the two left the hotel room
around 9:00 a.m. on December 20, 1998. Around 10:00 a.m.,
Deanna and Edie heard something downstairs in the lobby area
that sounded like three or four gunshots.
Dante Smith picked up the defendant and Craig Shears at the
Expo Inn shortly after 10:00 a.m. on December 20, 1998, after
being called repeatedly by the defendant. He drove to the
hotel where he saw the defendant and Craig Shears running out
of the lobby. The defendant was carrying a plastic tub which
contained envelopes. Dante Smith testified that:
He [the defendant] was just talking a lot. He kept on saying
something about he thinks he killed-or he thinks he shot
somebody inside. He wasn't sure, but-he said he shot him,
but he wasn't sure if he killed him or not.
Mr. Smith drove the two men towards Knoxville College where
he stopped the car and asked them to get out because he
"had never done anything like this." Mr. Smith then
drove back to his apartment.
The defendant and Craig Shears later showed up at Mr.
Smith's apartment and started counting money from the
plastic container they carried from the hotel. The defendant
asked Mr. Smith if he would "hide the gun for him."
Mr. Smith refused, asking the defendant if he was
"crazy." The defendant also asked Mr. Smith to give
the two a ride to the bus stop or airport. Again, Mr. Smith
Just after 10:00 a.m. on December 20, 1998, officers of the
Knoxville Police Department were dispatched to the Expo Inn
in response to a 9-1-1 call from the hotel's clerk that
there had been a robbery and shooting. According to the
victim, Billy Oldham, two tall, thin black males from room
207 demanded money and shot him. According to the Knox County
Medical Examiner, the victim died as a result of
complications from multiple gun shot wounds.
Investigator A.J. Loeffler arrived at the Expo Inn around
10:15 a.m. Almost immediately, he got into the ambulance with
the victim. The victim was "gasping for air" and
kept saying "I am losing it. I am going out. I am losing
it." The victim stated that he "was working the
desk, and two guys came in from room 207, asked me for my
money, and then shot me." The victim described the
perpetrators as "two black males, tall, slender"
with "a little bit of facial hair."
After interviewing the victim, Officer Loeffler went back to
the Expo Inn. He noted that the telephone lines in the lobby
were cut as well as those in the adjacent offices of rooms
105 and 106. The crime scene specialist, Joe Cox, found three
.22 caliber long rifle cartridge cases behind the front desk
and two cartridge cases located elsewhere in the lobby area.
The detail tape on the cash ...