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Williams v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

August 7, 2017

CHRISTOPHER A. WILLIAMS
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs: June 6, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 96-07434 Paula Skahan, Judge

         After three trials, the Petitioner was convicted of attempted aggravated robbery and felony first degree murder, and the trial court sentenced him to life in prison. The Petitioner appealed his convictions, filed a petition for post-conviction relief, and filed multiple petitions for writs of habeas corpus relief. No relief was granted. In 2015, the Petitioner filed a petition for a writ of error coram nobis, alleging an anonymous informant's statement was newly discovered evidence. The Petitioner conceded that his petition was untimely but asked the coram nobis court to toll the statute of limitations because, he asserted, the State withheld the statement. The coram nobis court declined to toll the statute of limitations, and it dismissed the petition as time-barred. We affirm the coram nobis court's judgment.

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

          Christopher A. Williams, Henning, Tennessee, Pro Se.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Katherine C. Redding, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Pamela Stark, 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 Norma McGee Ogle, J., joined.

          OPINION

          ROBERT W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE.

         I. Facts

         This case arises from the victim's murder on August 19, 1995. In relation to this murder, the Petitioner, who was fourteen years old at the time, was indicted for first degree murder, felony murder, and attempted aggravated robbery. State v. Christopher A. Williams, No 02C01-9711-CR-00427, 1998 WL 424558, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Jackson, July 28, 1998), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Feb. 16, 1999). The State tried the Petitioner as an adult, and his first trial resulted in a mistrial. Id. After the second trial, the jury could not reach a verdict on either of the murder charges but convicted the Petitioner of attempted aggravated robbery. Id. The Petitioner appealed the sufficiency of the evidence, and this court affirmed his conviction. Id.

         The State tried the Petitioner a third time on the murder charges. State v. Christopher A. Williams, No. 01C01-9711-CR-00440, 1998 WL 855455, at *2 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Jackson, Dec. 10, 1998), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Apr. 26, 1999). Briefly, and according to the Petitioner's statement, this crime occurred when:

[The Petitioner] and a man called "Black" were walking together when they saw a man walking toward them. "Black" said to the [Petitioner], "let's rob that man" and handed the [Petitioner] a pistol. The [Petitioner] called the man over to him and when the man approached, he
put the pistol up and pointed at this man's upper body. [The victim] pushed the pistol in my hand down toward his legs, then I pulled the trigger and he was shot in the leg. Then [the victim] started running towards the church. I blasted the gun three (3) more times. Then the [victim] was still running and I ran out of bullets and the [victim] kept running to the side of the church and the [victim] fell face down in the grass on the side of the church. I saw him on the ground crawling[.]
Later that night Michael Byrd found the victim and called 911. The victim, Jerry McNeal, was dead upon the arrival of emergency personnel. Dr. Wendy Gunther performed the autopsy on the victim and testified that he had suffered three gunshot wounds: one to his lower left leg and two to his back. She testified that ...

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