Session: May 2, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 03-06997 W.
Mark Ward, Judge
Henry Lee Jones, was convicted of two counts of premeditated
first degree murder and two counts of felony murder for his
role in the 2003 murders of two Shelby County citizens. The
jury sentenced Defendant to death for each murder. Defendant
now appeals from these convictions and sentences. Defendant
argues that the trial court erred by allowing Defendant to
represent himself and committed other errors with regard to
the provision of elbow counsel; the trial court erred by
declaring a witness unavailable and allowing testimony from
that witness regarding a prior bad act; the trial court erred
by admitting photographs of the victims' bodies and
wounds; the State utilized improper closing argument; the
evidence was insufficient to support the convictions; the
trial court erred in denying Defendant a mitigation expert or
investigator in preparation for sentencing; and the death
sentence is arbitrary and disproportionate. After a thorough
review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm
Defendant's convictions and sentences of death.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Criminal
E. Thomas (on appeal) and James M. Gulley (elbow counsel at
trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Henry Lee
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie
R. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Amy Weirich, District
Attorney General; Tom Henderson and Jennifer Nichols,
Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State
Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Alan E. Glenn and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., JJ., joined.
TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE
was previously tried and convicted of two counts of
premeditated first degree murder and two counts of felony
murder and subsequently sentenced to death by a Shelby County
Jury for the deaths of Clarence and Lillian James. The
convictions and sentences were affirmed by this Court on
direct appeal. State v. Henry Lee Jones, No.
W2009-01655-CCA-R3-DD, 2013 WL 1697611, at *1 (Tenn. Crim.
App. Apr. 18, 2013). However, the Tennessee Supreme Court
ordered that the convictions and sentences be set aside and
the matter remanded to the Criminal Court of Shelby County
for a new trial because the court determined that admission
of evidence that Defendant committed an out-of-state murder
was reversible error. State v. Jones, 450 S.W.3d 866
remand, pursuant to Rule 13 of the Tennessee Supreme Court
Rules, Defendant was appointed two attorneys. Shortly after
appointment of counsel, Defendant became dissatisfied with
his attorneys and filed a "Pro Se Motion to
Withdraw/Waive Court Appointed Attorneys." After a court
appearance on this motion, which included questioning of
Defendant, the trial court entered an order granting
Defendant the relief he sought and releasing the attorneys
appointed to represent him. At every subsequent court
appearance, the trial court repeatedly informed Defendant of
his right to representation and asked Defendant to accept
court-appointed counsel. Defendant persistently declined
representation. As the matter proceeded to trial, Defendant
repeatedly complained about discovery issues, so the trial
court quite astutely arranged for a meeting in the courtroom
to allow Defendant to see and review every item of
discoverable material from the State. The meeting was set for
April 2, 2015, but Defendant refused to participate and
instead filed a pro se motion to waive his appearance on
April 2, 2015. After appearing in the trial court, Defendant
refused to look at the discovery material provided and was
once again admonished by the trial court to accept counsel.
Defendant continued to refuse counsel and refused to view the
discovery items available to him. The case proceeded to trial
where Defendant represented himself and had access to elbow
counsel for assistance.
Coleman was the daughter of the sixty-eight-year-old victim,
Lillian James. In 2003, Mrs. James typically rode the bus to
work at Methodist University Hospital. Ms. Coleman and her
brother often picked Mrs. James up from work and drove her to
the home in Bartlett that she shared with her
eighty-one-year-old husband, the second victim, Clarence
night of August 22, 2003, Ms. Coleman arrived at her
mother's place of work to drive her home but was informed
that Mrs. James did not come in to work that day. When Ms.
Coleman attempted to contact her mother and was unable to
reach her, she drove to her mother's home to check on her
and Mr. James. When she arrived, the front door was partially
open, and there were linens, papers, and other items strewn
about the house, which was ordinarily neatly maintained. Ms.
Coleman called out for her mother and received no response,
so she dialed 911 and waited outside until police arrived.
Phillip Devers of the Bartlett Police Department was the
first officer to respond to the scene. Ms. Coleman met him in
the driveway. She was "distraught, " and informed
Officer Devers that both her mother and Mr. James should be
in the house. Officer Devers entered through the front door,
initially thinking that "this was probably the neatest[,
] cleanest house [he] had ever been in." When he looked
to his left, he could see down the hallway where he observed
parts of the residence in disarray. Specifically, he saw an
open linen closet with the linens spilling out of the closet
onto the floor. In one bedroom, the mattress was
"cattycornered on the box springs of the bed", and
there was an open chest of drawers with articles removed and
hanging from the drawers. Further down the hall, he entered
the master bedroom where he saw two bare feet, "soles
up, like somebody was lying face down in the floor."
Mrs. James was lying face down in a very large pool of blood.
Her throat was cut and "it was apparent that she was
gone." Her head was almost completely severed from her
body. At this point Officer Devers drew his weapon, retraced
his steps, exited the residence through the front door and
got on the radio and asked for assistance.
backup arrived, Officer Robert Allen and Officer Devers
entered the house in order to "clear" the
residence. Ms. Coleman informed officers that both Mrs. James
and her step-father, Clarence James, should be in the house.
The officers entered the dining area and observed a lamp on
the table with part of the electrical cord cut off. When the
officers went through the kitchen, Officer Devers saw some
knives lying in the sink. Officer Devers tried to open the
door to the utility room. The door only opened about a foot
and a half before stopping. When he "peeked" his
head around the partially opened door he saw Mr. James lying
face down "with his arms bound behind his back in a pool
of blood with his throat cut." Again, it was
"apparent that [Mr. James] was dead." Officer
Devers and several other officers "cleared" the
upstairs of the residence and then assisted in securing the
Karen Chancellor, a forensic pathologist and Chief Medical
Examiner for Shelby County, Tennessee, testified as an expert
at trial. Dr. Chancellor did not perform the
autopsies on the victims, instead basing her testimony upon
autopsies performed by other doctors. Autopsy photographs
were entered into evidence over the objection of Defendant.
to the autopsy report, Mrs. James was 5'6" tall and
weighed 184 pounds. She suffered from two large cut wounds on
both the right and left sides of her neck caused by a knife
or sharp object. Internally, the cut wounds injured both the
left and right jugular vein and the carotid artery and the
knife continued to make cut marks on the spine. There were
additional superficial cuts on the neck. Cuts to the major
blood vessels of the neck would have caused bleeding outside
the body. In addition, Mrs. James had contusions on the
right, front side of the neck and both shoulders as well as
cuts on both forearms and petechial hemorrhages around both
eyes. The noted bruises and petechial hemorrhaging around the
eyes were consistent with rope strangulation. Dr. Chancellor
opined that Mrs. James died from a combination of sharp force
injuries of the neck which resulted in massive hemorrhage or
bleeding and asphyxiation, also called strangulation. Mrs.
James also had an impression in the skin on her finger that
was consistent with wearing a ring on that finger. According
to Ms. Coleman, Mrs. James owned jewelry that she wore daily
and jewelry that she wore to church. Mrs. James always wore a
diamond pendant necklace, a diamond cluster ring, another
diamond ring, a gold bracelet and a watch.
James, on the other hand, was 81 years old, 5'9"
tall and weighed 137 pounds. Mr. James had a large cut wound
on the neck, petechial hemorrhaging in both eyes, bruising on
the left shoulder and both forearms and a superficial cut
wound on the forearm. Internally, the hyoid bone in the neck
was fractured and there was a stab wound in the neck in
addition to the incised cutting wounds from the knife. The
stab wound punctured the larynx which would have led to
asphyxiation due to blood loss from the stab wound. Mr. James
had multiple rib fractures including six ribs on the right
side and five ribs on the left side. In addition to the rib
fractures, Mr. James had multiple fractured vertebrae. The
combination of the fractured hyoid bone, fractured ribs and
fractured vertebrae indicated massive compressive force
applied to Mr. James's body. Utilizing photographs, Dr.
Chancellor was able to explain the differentiation between
the stab wound and the wound in the neck. Additionally,
photographs of the broken ribs were used to demonstrate the
compressive force consistent with either mechanical force,
such as being struck with a piece of equipment, or physical
force, consistent with stomping the victim, that would have
resulted in the broken ribs. Dr. Chancellor opined that Mr.
James's death resulted from a combination of sharp force
injuries to the neck, multiple blunt force rib fractures to
the chest and a compressive injury to the neck resulting in
Thompson drove by the residence of the victims sometime
between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m. on the morning of August 22, 2003.
She claimed to have seen Mr. James in his garage with two
African American males. Christopher Stallion, an employee
with the City of Bartlett, passed by the victims'
residence at approximately 12:40 p.m. on August 22, 2003, and
also saw Mr. James outside with two African American men.
Franklin Turberville lived at the same apartment complex as
Defendant at the corner of Sycamore View and Bartlett Blvd.
After passing by the crime scene and seeing reports of the
crime which included photographs of Defendant, he contacted
the police. Mr. Turberville informed police he saw Defendant
at the apartment complex where he lived on the Friday of the
weekend that the murders occurred. Mr. Turberville's wife
saw Defendant walking down the street the same day.
visited his niece, Diane Armstrong, at her home near Bartlett
around that same time period. Mrs. Armstrong worked as the
assistant manager of a Burger King in Arlington, Tennessee.
Her husband, Wesley Joseph Armstrong, was the general manager
of the restaurant. Defendant informed Mrs. Armstrong that he
went to the Burger King looking for her husband, but Mr.
Armstrong was out running an errand. Defendant told her if
anybody "pull a gun on you and make you get in the car,
you're dead already before you get in there." She
found this statement strange and called her husband to tell
him Defendant would be coming to his Burger King. Mrs.
Armstrong called the Burger King and was informed that her
husband was not at work; however, she told Defendant that Mr.
Armstrong wanted Defendant to return to Burger King. Mrs.
Armstrong walked Defendant to his car and saw a young African
American man in the car, later identified at Tevarus Young.
drove to Burger King where Mr. Armstrong, who had returned to
the Burger King, came outside to meet him. Defendant was
driving a white Dodge Aries. There was a man in the vehicle,
whom Mr. Armstrong did not know but described as a skinny
African American with braids in his hair. Mr. Armstrong gave
food to Defendant and Mr. Young and did not see them again.
Mr. Armstrong was initially questioned by the police as a
possible suspect in this crime, but after giving a statement,
he was no longer investigated.
Kevin Thompson worked the crime scene at the James residence
and assisted in taking pictures and videos of the crime
scene. Detective Thompson was also a financial crimes
investigator, and in addition to collecting photographic and
video evidence, he conducted a search of the victims'
residence for financial documents. He discovered documents
pertaining to credit cards, including a First Tennessee debit
card in the name of Lillian V. Wilson (the maiden name of
Mrs. James). Detective Thompson determined the debit card was
used on August 22 at a Citgo gas station on Sycamore
in Memphis, Tennessee; on August 22 in Batesville and
Madison, Mississippi; on August 23 in Gulfport, Mississippi;
and August 24 in Melbourne, Florida. Detective Thompson
travelled to Batesville, Mississippi, to visit a used car
dealership where Defendant purchased a white Lincoln Town Car
with the victim's debit card.
Neyman, a former detective with the Bartlett Police
Department, obtained video from the gas stations where Mrs.
James's debit card was used. Detective Neyman reviewed
the video from the gas station on Sycamore View near the
scene of the murders and was able to make out the silhouette
of a "very slender" African American male with a
"high afro." The video from the Shell Station in
Batesville, Mississippi, showed a Dodge Aries in the area of
the gas pumps between 7:45 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on August 22.
The driver of the car from the Batesville video was not
identified. However, the video from the gas station in
Madison, Mississippi, showed an African American man wearing
a light-colored baseball cap, a yellow shirt, and shorts
exiting a white Lincoln Town Car at approximately 11:00 p.m.
Detective Neyman observed that as the driver of the Lincoln
was leaving, a Dodge Aries immediately pulled out behind the
Lincoln on the roadway.
Smith, part-owner of a used car dealership in Batesville,
Mississippi, testified that just prior to closing on Friday
August 22, 2003, two men entered the business wanting to
purchase a car. He described one man as African American with
a tear drop tattoo on his face below his eye. This man
identified himself as Henry Lee Jones. Another man
accompanied Defendant, but Mr. Smith did not have any contact
with him. Defendant first spoke to Mr. Smith's father
about buying a car. Mr. Smith's father made the deal with
Defendant to purchase a white 1993 Lincoln Town Car for
$3200. Mr. Smith completed the paperwork. Prior to paying for
the car in cash, Defendant excused himself and went to the
restroom where Mr. Smith could hear him counting money out
loud to himself. The bill of sale contained the signatures of
both Mr. Smith and Defendant. In addition, Defendant signed a
buyer's guide and a privacy disclosure. Mr. Smith
obtained a copy of Defendant's driver's license as
part of the sale. Defendant returned to the lot a few days
later to correct a problem with the title. At that time, Mr.
Smith was not present, but someone else at the business
assisted Defendant with the title. Defendant told the person
that he had driven back from Florida to fix the title.
Carlos Joseph Reyes of the Brevard County Sheriff's
Department in Melbourne, Florida, initiated a traffic stop on
Monday, August 25, 2003. As Detective Reyes was driving
southbound on Interstate 95, he noticed a white Dodge Aries
in his rear view mirror that was driving "very erratic,
" approaching at a high rate of speed, and cutting off
other vehicles. The car eventually pulled behind the
detective's vehicle and began tailgating him. Detective
Reyes was in an unmarked car, so he decided to warn the
driver by flashing his blue lights. After driving a few more
miles, the driver began exhibiting the same behavior, so
Detective Reyes slowed down, got behind the vehicle, and
conducted a traffic stop of a white Dodge.
Reyes informed the driver of the reason for the stop and
asked the driver for his driver's license and other
documents. The driver told the officer that he was following
his step-father, who was driving a white Lincoln Town Car.
Detective Reyes recalled seeing the Lincoln Town Car pass him
earlier as he "was merging onto [I]nterstate 95."
The driver did not have a driver's license but provided
Detective Reyes a name and date of birth. Upon searching for
the name provided, Detective Reyes did not receive any useful
information. Shortly thereafter, the Lincoln Town Car pulled
up behind Detective Reyes's car. Detective Reyes
identified Defendant as the driver of the Lincoln. Defendant
started to get out of his vehicle, but Detective Reyes
instructed Defendant to remain in the vehicle. Defendant told
Detective Reyes that he owned the Dodge. Defendant claimed he
met the driver through a friend and that he paid the driver
to drive the car to Ft. Lauderdale for him. Defendant showed
Detective Reyes his driver's license and documentation
verifying that he had just purchased the Lincoln. By that
point, backup had arrived on the scene. Detective Reyes asked
the other officer to run Defendant's name through the
computer database. Detective Reyes testified Defendant did
not have any outstanding warrants and that his license was
Detective Reyes asked the driver of the Dodge to divulge his
real name, he stated his name was Tevarus Young. The
detective discovered Mr. Young had an outstanding warrant
from Broward County and arrested him. Detective Reyes told
Defendant that he would not have the Dodge towed but that
Defendant needed to leave while the officers completed the
paperwork. Detective Reyes instructed Defendant to return for
the vehicle in twenty minutes. Defendant did not return for
Johnny Lawson of the Melbourne, Florida police department
received a be on the lookout ("BOLO") from
Bartlett, Tennessee, after a debit card belonging to Mrs.
James was used just outside of Melbourne, Florida, at a gas
station. The BOLO also referenced a white Lincoln Town Car.
Detective Lawson was able to secure a photograph from the gas
station where the debit card was used in which a Lincoln Town
Car was identified. Later, while working a case in Ft.
Lauderdale, Florida, Detective Lawson observed a white
Lincoln in a parking lot of Dependable Temps. He took
pictures of the vehicle and ran the plates through the
Florida system. The vanity plates were registered to
Defendant. Detective Lawson also received information that
the Lincoln Town Car was involved in the traffic stop
conducted by Detective Reyes on August 25. With this
information, Detective Lawson contacted the Bartlett Police
Department to advise them of his findings with regard to both
Defendant and Mr. Young, including the fact that Mr. Young
was currently incarcerated in Florida.
the Lincoln Town Car and the Dodge were soon located in
Florida. Defendant was arrested in Florida. Detective Joseph
Massey of the Bartlett Police Department executed a search
warrant on the Lincoln Town Car and the Dodge Aries. The
Lincoln was registered to Defendant and the Dodge Aries was
registered to Defendant and Sherry Robinson. As a result of
these searches, a ring identified as belonging to Mrs. James
was found in the back seat of the Lincoln. Additionally, Mr.
Young was in possession of rings that belonged to Mrs. James
at the time of his arrest.
response to the information received from Detective Lawson,
Detective Massey travelled to Florida and accompanied
Detective Lawson to the Broward County Jail to interview Mr.
Young. The officers conducted three interviews.
During the first interview, Detective Lawson did not think
that Mr. Young was telling the "truth." When
confronted, Mr. Young's "demeanor changed
drastically, " he became "extremely upset" and
"violently sick" but gave information in regards to
the Bartlett murders. The second interview took place the
next night. Mr. Young "was not real happy" to be
participating but gave "more information" before
again turning "violently ill, crying
uncontrollably." Despite his reaction, Mr. Young
continued to provide information about the deaths of Mr. and
trial court determined that Mr. Young was unavailable to
appear as a witness for trial. A transcript of his testimony
from Defendant's first trial was read to the jury. Mr.
Young first met Defendant when Mr. Young was homeless and
sleeping in a park in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Defendant
introduced himself as "Bam Bam" and offered to pay
Mr. Young for oral sex. Mr. Young agreed, got into the car,
and went with Defendant on a series of errands culminating in
driving "to some warehouses where [Mr. Young] performed
oral sex on him." Afterward, Defendant continued to
drive and provide for Mr. Young over the course of several
days. They visited two acquaintances of Defendant in Daytona,
Florida, called "Toosie" and "Tawana."
Defendant left with Toosie, and Mr. Young spent the night
with Tawana. Although Mr. Young claimed that he wanted to
stay in Daytona, Defendant convinced him to leave for the
stated purpose of visiting some of Defendant's relatives.
Although he did not know where they were going, Mr. Young
recalled that Defendant drove for "[m]aybe a day, a day
and a half." Mr. Young fell asleep during the latter
part of the trip, and when he awoke he was alone in the car,
which was parked in front of a Burger King restaurant in
Bartlett, Tennessee. Mr. Young went inside the Burger King
and saw Defendant having a conversation with an employee. A
different employee brought them some food, and after their
meal, Defendant drove to a nearby apartment complex and
parked his vehicle.
Young and Defendant got out of the car and encountered an
elderly African American man, later identified as Mr.
Clarence James, who was sitting in his garage. Defendant
said, "Hey, Pops, how are you doing?" Mr. James
then informed Defendant that he had just been released from
the hospital and was waiting for a man to come and mow his
lawn. Mr. Young offered to mow the lawn for Mr. James, but
Mr. James asked only that he move the lawnmower from the
front yard to the back yard.
Young moved the mower to the back yard, looked at a few
statues and a bird bath, and drank some water from a faucet
in the backyard. When he returned to the front yard, the
garage door was closed, and no one was outside. He knocked on
the front door, but no one came to the door. The door was
unlocked, so Mr. Young entered the house. As Mr. Young walked
inside, he saw Defendant walk around the corner with rags and
a rope in his hands. Mr. Young saw blood on the items. Mr.
Young followed Defendant to the second room where he saw an
"old lady, " later identified as Mrs. James.
Defendant threw Mrs. James on the floor and said, "old
lady, old lady, you know what time it is?" Mr. Young
watched Defendant tie Mrs. James's hands behind her back
with a rope and demand her purse. Mrs. James told Defendant
that her purse was in the other room. Defendant told Mr.
Young to sit down, and he sat in a chair next to the door.
While Defendant was gone from the room, Mrs. James asked Mr.
Young if they were going to kill her. Mr. Young told her that
Defendant had said they were relatives, and Mrs. James denied
returned to the room with a purse and told Mr. Young to stand
up. When Mr. Young complied, Defendant emptied the contents
of the purse in the chair. Mrs. James told Defendant that her
son was supposed to be coming over, and Defendant replied
that if he did, he would "get the same thing you're
going to get." Defendant then picked Mrs. James up and
pushed Mr. Young out of the way and into another room.
Defendant threw Mrs. James on the floor and put a rope around
her neck. Defendant put his foot on the back of her neck and
strangled her. Defendant then took out a knife from his side
and cut Mrs. James multiple times. When Mr. Young asked
Defendant why he had killed Mrs. James, Defendant said she
had seen his face.
killing Mrs. James, Defendant left the room. Mr. Young heard
cabinets "slamming." Defendant returned with a
brown plastic bag and instructed Mr. Young to hold the bag.
Defendant put the rope and rags inside the bag and instructed
Mr. Young to follow him. They went into the laundry room
where Mr. James was dead and lying in a puddle of blood. Mr.
James was also bound. Defendant removed the rope and put it
in the bag. They then went into the bathroom where they ran
water inside the bag. Defendant snatched the bag out of Mr.
Young's hands and went into another room where he put a
billfold and other items inside the bag. Defendant went room
by room taking items, including a coin in the room where Mrs.
James was lying and the rings that the woman was wearing.
and Mr. Young left the house and returned to the vehicle.
Defendant drove to a gas station and used a credit card from
the billfold that he took from the house to pay for gas at
the pump. After they left the gas station, Defendant threw
cards and papers from the billfold out of the window. He also
gave Mr. Young $1500 in cash, and the rings that Mrs. James
had been wearing. Defendant drove to a mall where they both
purchased shoes at Foot Locker and clothes from JC Penney.
Defendant purchased a yellow Tommy Hilfiger long-sleeve
shirt. They paid for their items with cash. Mr. Young used
the money Defendant gave him to purchase his clothing. After
leaving JC Penney, Defendant instructed Mr. Young to change
his clothes and throw his old clothing out the window.
placed the hook bladed knife that he had used to kill the
victims on the console of the car between the two of them.
Defendant told Mr. Young that he had the knife for a long
time and instructed Mr. Young to touch it. Mr. Young said
that after he touched the knife, Defendant told him to swear
that he would not tell anyone about what happened. Defendant
warned Mr. Young, "if you ever tell somebody what
happened I'm going to kill you and cut your dick
Defendant was driving, he passed a car dealership and turned
the car around. Defendant purchased a Lincoln Town Car at the
dealership. He gave the keys to the Dodge Aries to Mr. Young
and instructed Mr. Young to follow him. They drove to a
grocery store where Defendant purchased screws for the
license tag. Defendant got a tag out of the trunk of the
Dodge and put it on the Lincoln.
Young followed Defendant for several hours. During that time
they stopped for gas two or three times. Each time, Defendant
paid for the gas using a credit card at the pump. They
stopped at a rest stop where they purchased food and drinks.
Mr. Young locked the doors of the Dodge and got into the
Lincoln. Mr. Young maintained that as he was about to fall
asleep, Defendant forced himself on him and raped him. They
next stopped to see Toosie and Tawana. Mr. Young was doing
drugs, and Defendant and Toosie left. After Defendant
returned, he and Mr. Young left and drove south.
Young was stopped by an officer in Florida for speeding. He
explained he had found the courage to attempt to flee from
Defendant. Mr. Young flashed his lights at other vehicles and
swerved in the lanes. The driver of one of the cars that he
flashed his lights at was a police officer, who then pulled
him over. Mr. Young told the officer that he had neither a
license nor registration and gave the officer a false name
and social security number. Defendant then pulled up behind
the officer and talked to him. Mr. Young was arrested on an
outstanding warrant. Mr. Young admitted he was in possession
of Mrs. James's rings when he was arrested.
Young admitted he lied to the police when they first
questioned him because he was scared. He was incarcerated and
charged with two counts of facilitation of first degree
murder at the time of trial but denied that he received any
threats or promises in exchange for his testimony.
receiving information that Defendant had been arrested in
Florida, Detective Lawson took a statement from Defendant in
which he denied any involvement in the crimes. Defendant
informed Detective Lawson that he drove from Ft. Lauderdale,
Florida, to Batesville, Mississippi, where he purchased the
Lincoln Town Car. Defendant left the car at the dealership
until he and Mr. Young came back later and picked up the
Lincoln. Defendant stated he did not go to Bartlett but
returned to Florida where he stopped at a
"girlfriend's" in Daytona. Defendant left Mr.
Young and the Dodge Aries at the girlfriend's while he
went to Orlando. Defendant claimed that he kept the keys to
the Dodge while he went to Orlando. Defendant's statement
referenced the traffic stop and arrest of Mr. Young.
Detective Lawson identified Defendant as the man he
interviewed in Florida.
counsel for Defendant presented the testimony of Florence
Jones, the sister of Mrs. James. Ms. Jones testified that
sometime after eleven o'clock in the morning on Friday,
August 22, 2003, she spoke with Mrs. James on the telephone.
Defendant elected not to testify.
jury convicted Defendant of two counts of first degree murder
and two counts of first degree murder in the perpetration of
sentencing, Defendant maintained his desire to proceed pro
se. Specifically, Defendant stated that he did not want to
participate in the sentencing phase of the trial at all and
wanted to waive the opportunity to put on mitigating
evidence. After extensive examination of Defendant, the trial
court continued to allow Defendant to represent himself for
purposes of sentencing and Defendant again reiterated that he
was waiving the presentation of any mitigating evidence.
State introduced certified copies of five prior violent
felony convictions from the state of Florida. These
convictions included two counts of battery on a law
enforcement officer, one count of aggravated burglary, one
count of robbery, and one count of kidnapping. The State
presented the testimony of Russell Bausch, an assistant
state's attorney for Brevard County, Florida. Mr. Bausch
prosecuted Defendant for the August 26, 2003 murder of Carlos
Perez. The State presented the testimony of Detectives Johnny
Lawson and Scott Dwyer who both participated in the
investigation of the Carlos Perez murder in Florida. The
State presented testimony from family members of Mr. and Mrs.
James regarding the impact of their deaths on the family. At
the conclusion of the State's proof, Defendant was asked
"will there be any defense proof?" Defendant
responded, "No, sir, the defense will be waiving."
deliberation, the jury unanimously found five statutory
aggravating circumstances for the murder of Mrs. James: (1)
Defendant was previously convicted of one or more felonies
other than the present charge that involved the use of
violence to the person; (2) the murder was especially
heinous, atrocious, or cruel and that it involved torture or
serious physical abuse beyond that necessary to produce
death; (3) the murder was knowingly committed, solicited,
directed, or aided by Defendant while he had a substantial
role in committing robbery; (4) the murder was committed for
the purpose of avoiding, interfering with, or preventing a
lawful arrest or prosecution of Defendant or another; (5)
Defendant committed mass murder, defined as the murder of
three or more persons whether committed in a single criminal
episode or at different times within a forty-eight month
period. See T.C.A. § 39-13-204(i)(2), (5), (6),
(7), (12). The jury unanimously found the same five statutory
aggravating circumstances for the murder of Mr. James with
the additional statutory aggravating factor that the victim
was 70 years of age or older. See id. at (i)(14).
The jury set Defendant's sentence as death.
raises the following issues on appeal: (1) the trial
court erred by allowing Defendant to represent himself; (2)
the trial court erred in denying Defendant's motion for
mistrial after the trial court allowed elbow counsel to take
over the defense; (3) the trial court erred by failing to
appoint a second attorney to assist elbow counsel after
Defendant requested that he be represented by counsel; (4)
the trial court erred by finding Mr. Young was
"unavailable" under the Tennessee Rules of Evidence
and then further compounded the error by instructing the jury
that Defendant could have had a continuance for the State to
locate Mr. Young; (5) the trial court erred in allowing
testimony regarding the alleged rape of Mr. Young by
Defendant; (6) the trial court erred by admitting photographs
of the victims' bodies and wounds in violation of
Tennessee Rule of Evidence 403; (7) the trial court erred by
overruling elbow counsel's objection to the prosecutor
confronting Defendant in closing argument; (8) the evidence
was insufficient to support the convictions; (9) the trial
court erred in denying Defendant a mitigation expert or
investigator in preparation for sentencing; and (10) the
death sentence is arbitrary and disproportionate.
Right to Counsel and the Right ...