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Bough v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

July 17, 2017


          Session April 26, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Knox County No. 107533 Steven W. Sword, Judge

         The 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.

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

          Douglas A. Trant, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Shawn Bough.

          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 Tennessee.

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



         This 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 Petitioner's convictions:

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 refused.
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 ...

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