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State v. Henderson

Supreme Court of Tennessee, Jackson

October 5, 2017


          Session Date: April 5, 2017

         Appeal by Permission from the Court of Criminal Appeals Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 12-05649 Paula Skahan, Judge

         We granted the application for permission to appeal of the Defendant, Antonio Henderson, in this case to determine whether the evidence is sufficient to support his conviction for especially aggravated robbery. The Defendant contends that the serious bodily injury to the victim occurred after the robbery was complete and that, as a result, he could have committed only an aggravated robbery. We hold that, under the facts and circumstances of this case, the victim's serious bodily injury was inflicted before the Defendant had completed robbing the victim with a deadly weapon. Accordingly, the evidence supports the Defendant's conviction of especially aggravated robbery. Therefore, albeit for different reasons, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 11 Appeal by Permission; Judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals Affirmed; Case Remanded to the Trial Court

          Stephen C. Bush, Shelby County Public Defender; Barry W. Kuhn, Assistant Shelby County Public Defender (on appeal); and Jennifer Case, Assistant Shelby County Public Defender (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Antonio Henderson.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Andrée S. Blumstein, Solicitor General; Caitlin Smith, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Pamela Stark and Austin Scofield, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellant, the State of Tennessee.

          Jeffrey S. Bivins, C.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Cornelia A. Clark, Sharon G. Lee, Holly Kirby, and Roger A. Page, JJ., joined.



         Factual and Procedural Background

         The Defendant and his co-defendant, Marvin Dickerson, were jointly indicted for one count of especially aggravated robbery and one count of attempt to commit second degree murder as to victim Shabaka Reed; one count of attempt to commit aggravated robbery as to victim Nathan Cannon; one count of attempt to commit aggravated robbery and one count of aggravated assault as to victim Tiffany Fleming; and one count of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, all arising from a criminal episode occurring in June 2012. Both defendants were tried together before a jury, and the State adduced the following evidence.

         On the night of June 23-24, 2012, Mr. Reed and his girlfriend, Ms. Fleming, were visiting Mr. Reed's uncle, Nathan Cannon. Mr. Cannon lived in the caretaker's house at a cemetery. After playing dominoes for a time, Mr. Reed and Ms. Fleming left in Mr. Reed's car to go to the store, where they bought some beer. They drove back to the cemetery and parked in the back of the parking lot so they could have some privacy.

         A short time later, Mr. Reed saw Mr. Cannon run to the back of the car while being chased by two men. Someone opened the back passenger side door, and Mr. Cannon got in the back seat. Mr. Reed saw two men and a "long" gun when the car's door was opened, but Mr. Reed did not see the two men's faces. Mr. Reed heard the two men asking Mr. Cannon, "Where's the money?" and "Where's the dope?"

         The two men ordered Mr. Reed out of the car and told him repeatedly not to look at them. After Mr. Reed got out of his car, the two men told him to give them his cell phone, his keys, and his wallet. Mr. Reed complied. According to Mr. Reed, the two men then were "talking amongst each other, and then they decided that they [were] going to put [Mr. Reed] in the trunk." Mr. Reed testified, "At that point, I stood there for a couple of minutes, and I said, in my mind, I'm not going in no trunk of no car." Mr. Reed later clarified that he did not know precisely how much time actually passed. However, he decided that he was going to take the gun after his assailants said that they were going to put him in the trunk of his car.

         Having decided to no longer cooperate, Mr. Reed grabbed the gun being held by one of his assailants. A struggle ensued, during which Mr. Reed was shot four times by the man with whom he was fighting. The shooter then got up and ran away. Mr. Reed had surgery and was hospitalized for two weeks after being shot. Additionally, he wore a colostomy bag for five months as a result of his injuries.

         During the struggle, Ms. Fleming was able to escape the scene, and she took refuge in some nearby woods. As she was hiding, she heard several gunshots. She returned to the scene after the police arrived.

          The police recovered four spent nine millimeter shell casings at the scene. A latent print recovered from Mr. Reed's car was identified as that of co-defendant Mr. Dickerson.

         Kimberly Spight testified that she loaned her car to her neighbor Angela Boles, who drove the Defendant and Mr. Dickerson to an area near the crime scene. Ms. Spight rode with them. Ms. Spight explained that the two men got out, and she and Ms. Boles waited in the car. A short time later, Ms. Spight heard gunshots. The Defendant and Mr. Dickerson returned to the car, and Ms. Spight noticed that Mr. Dickerson's finger "was bleeding and it was hanging off . . . by a piece of meat." She heard the Defendant say, "I made a mistake and shot my [cohort]."

         Ms. Boles drove them to an apartment complex, and the Defendant got out of the car. At that point, Ms. Spight saw a gun. Ms. Boles then drove herself, Ms. Spight, and Mr. Dickerson to the hospital. After Mr. Dickerson was in the hospital, Ms. Spight began driving because Ms. Boles was "shook up." As Ms. Spight was driving, Ms. Boles threw a ...

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