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State v. Bargery

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

October 6, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
JOSHUA HUNTER BARGERY

          Session May 2, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Lake County No. 11-CR-9586 R. Lee Moore, Jr., Judge

         Joshua Hunter Bargery ("the Defendant") appeals his Lake County Circuit Court convictions for two counts of first degree felony murder and two counts of especially aggravated robbery, for which he received a total effective sentence of two consecutive life sentences. On appeal, the Defendant contends that: (1) his rights under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, section 7 of the Tennessee Constitution were violated by the trial court's denial of his motions to suppress evidence obtained during the search of the Defendant and his automobile; (2) the trial court erroneously excluded as hearsay the Defendant's testimony regarding statements made by Mr. Hill, Mr. Hernandez, and "the three Mexicans"; (3) the trial court erred in excluding relevant and material testimony from the Defendant's crime scene expert; (4) the Defendant is entitled to a new trial based on prosecutorial misconduct; (5) the trial court erred in denying the Defendant's motion to dismiss the indictment based on law enforcement's intentional destruction of exculpatory evidence; (6) the Defendant's due process rights were violated by the State's failure to disclose Mr. Hernandez's complete criminal record and the State's agreement not to treat him as a "suspect"; (7) the trial court erred by admitting a copy of a letter written by the Defendant, which was not produced by the State during discovery; (8) the trial court erred in its instructions to the jury; (9) the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions; (10) the trial court erred when it imposed consecutive sentences; (11) the trial court erred in denying the Defendant's motion for recusal; (12) the Defendant is entitled to a new trial based on violations of the trial court's order of sequestration; and (13) cumulative error deprived the Defendant of due process and a fair trial. Following a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we reverse the judgments of the trial court and remand for a new trial.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Circuit Court Reversed and Remanded for a New Trial

          J. Houston Gordon (on appeal and at trial); Lyle Reid (on appeal and at trial); Amber Griffin Shaw (on appeal and at trial); Charles Brasfield (at trial); and Samuel L. Ivy (at trial), Covington, Tennessee; and Curtis F. Hopper (at trial), Savannah, Tennessee for the appellant, Joshua Hunter Bargery.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; James E. Gaylord, Senior Counsel; C. Phillip Bivens, District Attorney General; and Lance E. Webb, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert L. Holloway, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Alan E. Glenn and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          ROBERT L. HOLLOWAY, JR., JUDGE.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         In July 2011, the Lake County Grand Jury indicted the Defendant on two counts each of first degree premeditated murder, first degree felony murder in the perpetration of a robbery or theft, and especially aggravated robbery, all in connection with the killing of Clarence and Sue Shell ("Mr. and Mrs. Shell" or "the victims"). The State subsequently filed a Notice of Intention to Seek the Death Penalty and of Aggravating Circumstances.

         State's Case-in-Chief

         At a trial conducted April 20, 2015, to May 9, 2015, Ashleigh Shell, the victims' granddaughter, testified that she last saw the victims at their home on Owl Hoot Road on the evening of March 3, 2011. She was there with her boyfriend for an hour, and they left at 9:18 p.m. At the time they left, the victims were still in their "day clothes" and were not dressed for bed.

         Will Shell, the victims' grandson, testified that he went to the victims' residence the following morning-March 4, 2011. When he arrived, he found that the blinds were drawn, both the front and back doors were locked, and there was blood on the front door. He looked into a window and saw Mr. Shell lying on the floor. When his father, Paul Shell, arrived at the residence, Will[1] kicked in the front door. He went about three steps inside the front door but then exited the house and waited for police to arrive. Will testified that the victims usually went to bed around 9:30 or 10:00 p.m. He stated that Mr. Shell was seventy years old at the time of his death and had open heart surgery several years before the murder. He agreed, however, that Mr. Shell had been a strong man for his age.

         Paul Shell, the victims' son, testified that family members had asked the victims to move into the residence on Owl Hoot Road in October 2010 to "watch over the place, " after Paul's aunt, who had been living in the residence, went to live in a nursing home. Paul stated that the victims' residence was located on the same tract of land as the house where the Defendant's great-grandmother, Carlene Smith, used to live. He explained that Mrs. Smith had been married to Paul's great-uncle, before he passed away in September 2010.

         Paul testified that the victims normally went to bed around 10:00 or 10:30 p.m. He went to the victims' residence on the morning of March 4, 2011, after learning that Will was at the residence and could not get inside. After trying unsuccessfully to pry open the back door, Will kicked in the front door. When they walked inside the residence, Paul saw Mr. Shell lying on the floor in the living room in front of a chair. He then walked into the kitchen where he found Mrs. Shell. He exited the house and called 911.

         Robin Surratt, the victims' daughter, testified that Mrs. Shell was sixty-eight years old and Mr. Shell was seventy years old at the time of their deaths. Both were retired. Mr. Shell had "heart issues" and had undergone bypass surgery, and Mrs. Shell retired just before her death because of her declining health. Ms. Surratt testified that Mrs. Shell had undergone one knee replacement surgery and was "a month away from having a second knee replacement, " and she used a walker to assist her mobility.

         Jason Allison testified that he was Chief Deputy at the Lake County Sheriff's Department in 2011. On the morning of March 4, he responded to the victims' residence with two other officers. When he arrived, Paul and Will Shell were in the driveway, "sobbing" and becoming "physically ill." Paul told him, "They're dead. They're both dead." When he entered the front door of the residence, Deputy Allison saw Mr. Shell's body, but he could not initially see Mrs. Shell. During a sweep of the residence, Deputy Allison noticed that the house had been "ransacked." Inside the victims' bedroom, he saw that "there was stuff just thrown on the bed, looked like jewelry and maybe drawers[.]" There was a wallet in the floor of the bedroom and another in the floor of the master bathroom. After securing the residence, Deputy Allison called the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) to the scene.

         Deputy Allison testified that, after the discovery of the victims' bodies, he received a phone call from Assistant Chief Kenny Lee with the Ridgely Police Department, who stated that he had received a tip that the Defendant was "selling some guns." Because he knew from the victims' family members that there were guns missing from the victims' residence, Deputy Allison instructed his deputies that if they saw the Defendant while out on patrol they should "ask him if he was selling any guns[.]"

         Later that evening, Deputy Allison responded to the residence of Dennis Chisholm after a deputy located the Defendant at the residence. The Defendant was standing in the driveway with deputies when he arrived. Deputy Allison read the Defendant his Miranda rights and asked the Defendant if he had been selling guns. When the Defendant indicated that he had not, Deputy Allison asked for consent to search the Defendant's vehicle. The Defendant responded, "Go ahead, it's fine. There's nothing in there." The Defendant also asked, "[I]s this about the murders on . . . Owl Hoot Road[?]" During the search of the vehicle, Deputy Allison found a knife that appeared to have blood on it in the area of the console, and another deputy discovered costume jewelry in the trunk. Deputy Allison knew that the victims had likely been stabbed and that costume jewelry had been taken from the scene. Deputy Allison arrested the Defendant and placed him in the back of a patrol car. The Defendant was later interviewed at the Lake County Jail by TBI agents. The following morning, the Defendant's mother came to the jail to visit him. However, when Deputy Allison informed the Defendant that his mother was there, the Defendant said that he did not want to see her. The Defendant said, "Just tell her I'm sorry for everything."

         On cross-examination, Deputy Allison testified that he was given the Defendant's cell phone after the Defendant's arrest but that, after leaving the Chisholm residence, he turned the phone over to Investigator Joseph Vernon of the Lake County Sheriff's Department. Deputy Allison acknowledged that he had known the Defendant since the Defendant was approximately nine years old and stated that he had not known the Defendant to be violent. The Defendant had no prior criminal record, but Deputy Allison had heard that the Defendant smoked marijuana and dealt drugs. Deputy Allison acknowledged that Shondell Hill was a known drug dealer in Lake County.

         Investigator Joseph Vernon testified that he responded to the victims' residence on the morning of March 4, with Deputy Allison. He and Deputy Allison cleared the home, where the victims were "obviously deceased." Investigator Vernon began taking photographs of the scene. In the kitchen, he saw blood on the floor and several shoeprints in the blood.

         Investigator Vernon stated that he did not go to the Chisholm residence but stayed at the crime scene until the TBI technicians finished processing the scene. He later took possession of the Defendant's cell phone from Deputy Allison. Investigator Vernon testified that, in his experience, drugs dealers often communicate through text messages but that they "usually delete [the text messages] after they follow through with the deal or make arrangements for the deal." Investigator Vernon testified that he allowed defense counsel access to the cell phone on two occasions at the TBI office in Jackson. The Defendant's cell phone was also sent to the TBI crime lab in Nashville for forensic testing, where the TBI conducted a "phone dump" and pulled "all the information off the phone." The information from the "phone dump" was later provided to the Defendant. Investigator Vernon recalled that, a few days after the Defendant's arrest, Mr. Chisholm contacted him about a laptop computer that Mr. Chisholm found in his son's bedroom. Investigator Vernon took possession of the laptop, which was identified as belonging to Mrs. Shell. Investigator Vernon also recovered a digital camera belonging to the victims, which the Defendant sold after the murders.

         On cross-examination, Investigator Vernon recalled that the television was on when he entered the victims' residence, but the screen was blue. He testified that a gun cabinet in the master bedroom had "a red liquid smeared" on the handle and that the cabinet was "ajar." He took photographs of several areas of blood. There were blood smears on the front door and storm door. Investigator Vernon stated that, several weeks after the Defendant's arrest, he learned that Lake County Sheriff Bryan Avery had gone to Boyette's Resort on Reelfoot Lake ("Boyette's") as part of the investigation. Investigator Vernon went to Boyette's and spoke to people there, including the housekeepers. Investigator Vernon learned that, in the days leading up to the victims' murders, there had been "an unknown male . . . either a mixed or Mexican with short hair" staying in a cabin rented by the Defendant. The housekeepers stated that they found a bloody towel in the bathroom of the cabin when they cleaned up the room on the morning of March 4. They also found "marijuana shake, " fruit juice cans, and potato chips in the cabin. On redirect examination, Investigator Vernon explained that by the time he spoke to the housekeepers, they did not have the bloody towel, and the cabin had been cleaned.

         Susan Lee testified that on March 4 the Defendant came by her residence to talk to her husband, Andy Lee, at about 3:00 p.m., and Mr. Lee went outside to meet the Defendant. After this meeting, Mrs. Lee called her father-in-law, who was Assistant Chief of the Ridgley Police Department, and told him that the Defendant had "some guns and stuff that he was trying to sell." Mrs. Lee agreed that the Defendant was laid back, quiet, and had a passive personality. She never saw him violent or angry.

         Andy Lee testified that the Defendant came to his house on the afternoon of March 4, 2011. He went outside and got inside the Defendant's vehicle because it was raining. Mr. Lee and the Defendant smoked marijuana together, and the Defendant showed him several items of property, including some jewelry in a Crown Royal bag and a digital camera. The Defendant also had four or five "long barrel guns, rifles, shotguns" in the trunk of his car, which the Defendant was trying to sell. Mr. Lee was not interested in purchasing the guns, so the Defendant left. Mr. Lee then told his wife about the conversation with the Defendant.

         Mr. Lee testified that he had purchased marijuana from Mr. Hill in the past. He testified that the Defendant was not a violent person and that he had never seen the Defendant angry or agitated. He agreed that the Defendant was not very strong or tough and generally avoided conflict. He testified that, when he spoke with the Defendant that afternoon, he never discussed the details of the crime scene with the Defendant.

         Kenneth Lee testified that he was the Assistant Chief of the Ridgely Police Department in March 2011. He stated that Mr. Hill lived on North Main Street in Ridgely, about a block from the police department, and that Mr. Hill was known for selling drugs. He testified that he had no idea if his son, Andy Lee, had a relationship with Mr. Hill. He did not know who his son bought drugs from but agreed that his son "used to" use drugs. He stated that he did not learn until March 2015 that his daughter-in-law had called in the anonymous tip regarding the Defendant's attempting to sell guns.

         Laquisha Tyler testified that she purchased a digital camera from the Defendant on March 4, 2011, for $35. She recalled that the Defendant was also attempting to sell a laptop. She later turned the camera over to the Lake County Sheriff's Department. Ms. Tyler stated that she had not known the Defendant to be a violent person and agreed that he was "a laid[-]back kind of person."

         Curt Chisholm testified that the Defendant was his best friend and that the Defendant often stayed at his home. He stated that the Defendant was "never the type to argue" and that the Defendant had never been violent. On the evening of March 4, the Defendant came to his home with a laptop. The Defendant was "bagging marijuana" in Curt's bedroom when a deputy knocked on the door to the residence. At that time, the Defendant walked out the back door of the residence with the marijuana in his pockets.

         Deputy Patrick Leake from the Lake County Sheriff's Department testified that on March 4, 2011, he was instructed by Deputy Allison to try to locate the Defendant because the Defendant had attempted to "sell some guns." That evening, he saw the Defendant's vehicle at the Chisholm residence. Deputy Leake knocked on the side door under the carport and was greeted by Dennis Chisholm. Deputy Leake asked if the Defendant was there, and Mr. Chisholm responded, "Yeah, he's in." Deputy Leake then asked for permission to enter the residence, and Mr. Chisholm stated, "Yeah, come on in." Deputy Leake saw Curt Chisholm inside the residence and asked him about the Defendant's location. Curt responded, "He just ran out the back door." Deputy Leake went to the back door, which was standing wide open. He looked out the door and saw the Defendant standing by a shed in the backyard with his hands in his pockets. Deputy Leake said, "Hunter, come here, " and the Defendant "walked right to [him]." He told the Defendant that he wanted to talk to him and asked the Defendant to "come out front." He and the Defendant walked back through the residence and out the door and then stood in the driveway in front of the house. Deputy Leake stated that the Defendant did not appear intoxicated. He asked for permission to pat down the Defendant for weapons, and the Defendant consented. During the pat down, Deputy Leake found a digital scale with marijuana residue on it and a cell phone, which Deputy Allison took into his possession. While other officers searched the Defendant's car, Deputy Leake obtained permission from Mr. Chisholm to search his backyard where he found numerous baggies of marijuana.

         Deputy Jason Tubbs testified that he responded to the Chisholm residence after hearing Deputy Leake's radio transmission that the Defendant's vehicle was in the driveway of the residence. A few seconds after the initial report, Deputy Leake announced that the Defendant was "running out the back door" of the residence. Deputy Tubbs arrived at the residence a few minutes later as Deputy Leake and the Defendant were walking out the front door. Deputy Tubbs asked the Defendant for consent to search his vehicle, and the Defendant said, "Go ahead." However, Deputy Tubbs waited for Deputy Allison to arrive before beginning a search. After Deputy Allison obtained additional consent from the Defendant, Deputy Tubbs assisted in the search of the vehicle. Inside the trunk, Deputy Tubbs found a Crown Royal bag containing jewelry. When he informed Deputy Allison what he found inside the trunk, Deputy Allison instructed Deputy Tubbs to stop the search. In his interactions with the Defendant, the Defendant did not appear to be intoxicated.

         Dennis Chisholm testified that he was at home on March 4, when deputies arrived. He recalled that deputies asked for his consent to search his backyard, and he provided a lantern to help in the search. There, they found baggies containing marijuana. After the Defendant's arrest, Sheriff Avery instructed Mr. Chisholm to look through his house and "see if there's anything there that didn't belong[.]" Mr. Chisholm found a pistol "right outside the back door" that did not belong to him and gave it to Sheriff Avery. Several days later, Mr. Chisholm contacted Investigator Vernon and turned over a laptop that he had found in his son's bedroom. Mr. Chisholm stated that he knew the Defendant well and that the Defendant came to his house "[a]bout every day." He stated that the Defendant was "[m]ild mannered. Nice. Courteous." He never saw the Defendant angry or acting in a violent manner.

         Lake County Sheriff Bryan Avery testified that he responded to the crime scene on March 4 with Investigator Vernon and Deputy Allison, where he was advised that several items of property were missing from the residence, including a camera, laptop, and guns. Sheriff Avery also responded to the Chisholm residence that evening. The Defendant was standing in the driveway with several deputies "standing around." After Deputy Allison obtained permission from the Defendant to search the Defendant's vehicle, Sheriff Avery opened the driver's side door of the car and noticed a knife in the front console. He took the knife out of its sheath and noticed that the knife had what appeared to be a dry, red substance where the handle met the blade. Sheriff Avery recalled that he collected a .22 caliber pistol with white paint on it from Mr. Chisholm, which was later identified as belonging to the victims.

         On cross-examination, Sheriff Avery stated that between September and March of 2011, he was not aware of any Mexican gangs, cartels, or the Mexican Mafia operating in rural West Tennessee. Sheriff Avery testified that, on March 5 or 6, he received a phone call from Judy Capps, who informed him that the Defendant "had rented a room from her" at Boyette's. Sheriff Avery went to the resort and spoke to Ms. Capps and two housekeepers. The housekeepers said that a "Hispanic person, maybe Puerto Rican" had stayed in Cabin 9-the cabin rented by the Defendant. Sheriff Avery went inside Cabin 9 and saw that it had been cleaned. Although he did not preserve the cabin, take photographs, or take a formal statement from the housekeepers, Sheriff Avery informed the TBI about Cabin 9. Sheriff Avery acknowledged that he did not file a written report about having been to Boyette's until October 2013, after the defense asked about Cabin 9. He stated that, when he wrote the report, he was aware that there had been the "largest single marijuana farm in the history of Tennessee" located on a bluff above Reelfoot Lake in Obion County. Sheriff Avery testified that the marijuana had been found on a farm leased for hunting purposes by a trooper with the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Brian Wright. Sheriff Avery stated that Trooper Wright was being investigated but had not been charged with anything related to the marijuana grow.

         Special Agent Julian Conyers testified that he was a forensic scientist with the TBI and was a member of the Violent Crime Response Team ("the Response Team"). He testified that the Response Team arrived at the victims' residence at 2:54 p.m. on March 4. Agent Conyers videotaped the crime scene and collected evidence. He collected a bloody shoeprint on the linoleum floor in the kitchen by cutting out the piece of linoleum. He also collected evidence from the Defendant's vehicle, including a knife in a sheath from the gear shift area of the vehicle. The Response Team released the crime scene to the TBI agents in charge of the investigation at 8:40 p.m.

         Special Agent Lawrence James testified that he was a forensic scientist, who supervised about twenty other forensic scientists at the TBI crime lab in Memphis. Agent James responded to the crime scene with the Response Team on March 4. He testified that his job at the scene was to perform screening tests for potential blood stains. He recalled that the victims appeared to have "had their throats cut" and that there were large amounts of blood at the scene. He collected a bloody washcloth found in the master bathroom. Agent James also took swabs of what appeared to be blood stains from the inside of the front door and door knob, the exterior screen door, the handle to a gun cabinet in the master bedroom, and off of the surface of Mr. Shell's body. He explained that Mr. Shell was lying face down, and there were what appeared to be "essentially vertical blood drops . . . on his skin[.]" Agent James cut out a stained area from a sheet on the bed in the master bedroom and took a cutting from the love seat in the living room because it contained a blood stain that "was a little bit suspicious" because it was "removed . . . by ten feet or so from . . . the rest of the activity[.]"

         Dr. Marco Ross, the Deputy Chief Medical Examiner for Shelby County, testified that he conducted the victims' autopsies. Mrs. Shell had multiple "sharp force[] injuries" that were the result of stabbing or cutting motions with a sharp instrument. He identified seven sharp force injuries to her head and neck area, a stab wound just above her breast bone, and another stab wound in her right upper arm. Additionally, Mrs. Shell suffered stab wounds to her left temple and left upper cheek and a "v-shaped wound" "right behind the angle of the jaw." He noted that there was an "incised wound" to the lower front part of Mrs. Shell's neck which was a "zigzag wound" that penetrated three inches and completely transected the larynx. Dr. Ross explained that this wound "completely cut across the right carotid artery on the right side of the neck, " and it cut across the left jugular vein, esophagus, and into the "spine itself." He testified that the cutting of the jugular vein and carotid artery would result in a "tremendous amount of blood loss." He stated that this wound would have caused death quickly. Dr. Ross identified an area of hemorrhage in the scalp on the back of Mrs. Shell's head which was likely the result of "blunt force[] impact" and was consistent with Mrs. Shell hitting her head on the linoleum floor. He noted scratches on the underside of her left wrist that could have been defensive wounds.

         Regarding Mr. Shell, Dr. Ross testified that he had "multiple sharp force[] injuries." Mr. Shell suffered multiple stab wounds in the head, neck, left chest, and back, and he had an incise wound to his right hand. Dr. Ross described the injuries to Mr. Shell's neck as four sharp force injuries on the right side that combined features of stab and incise wounds and another stab wound towards the front of the neck that penetrated three inches and cut across the carotid artery. Dr. Ross stated that this injury alone was sufficient to cause Mr. Shell's death. However, Dr. Ross found additional stab wounds behind Mr. Shell's left ear and on the back of his neck which penetrated four inches; two stab wounds at the base of the neck; a stab wound to the left upper chest area that went into the upper part of the left lung and was sufficient to cause death; a stab wound to the left upper back; and another stab wound to the right upper back. Dr. Ross also found an incise wound on Mr. Shell's right hand, which was "potentially a defensive wound." He stated that, in both victims, he found that the hyoid bone had been cut.

         Special Agent Donna Nelson, a forensic scientist with the TBI, testified that she responded to the crime scene on March 4, 2011, as the leader of the Response Team. In that role, she directed other team members in their collection of items of evidence. Agent Nelson stated that sixteen pieces of evidence were collected at the crime scene and that twenty-seven items of evidence were collected in total. Agent Nelson explained that subsequent testing showed that the blood stains from inside the front door, on the gun cabinet handle, the washcloth in the bathroom, and on the sheet in the master bedroom were a mixture of DNA from both victims. The swab of the front door knob failed to indicate the presence of human DNA, and no DNA profile was obtained from the stain on the exterior screen door due to insufficient or degraded DNA. Agent Nelson explained that the testing of the items collected did not reveal the presence of DNA from someone other than the victims.

         Agent Nelson also tested the Defendant's boots and bib overalls, but a presumptive test failed to indicate the presence of blood. However, a presumptive test did indicate blood on the Defendant's sweatshirt. Further DNA testing on two areas of the sweatshirt revealed a mixture of genetic material, in which Mr. Shell was the major contributor. She stated that she tested the sleeve and the chest area of the sweatshirt and found Mr. Shell's DNA profile. Additionally, the knife from the console of the Defendant's vehicle was tested, and Agent Nelson found a DNA profile consistent with a mixture of both victims' DNA. Agent Nelson testified on cross-examination that the knife from the Defendant's vehicle was not checked for fingerprints, and the Response Team did not have a blood spatter expert. Agent Nelson agreed that what appeared to be a fingerprint in blood on Mrs. Shell's walker was not collected or swabbed. However, she stated that the crime scene documentation and analysis, photographs, and narrative descriptions complied "with the standards that we have." On redirect, the following exchange took place:

Q. In your experience as a crime scene technician was there any evidence with any apparent evidentiary value that was not collected at the Shell residence?
A. Not to my knowledge.

         Special Agent Suzann Lafferty, a forensic scientist with the TBI and expert in fingerprint analysis, testified that she received a glass light cover from the front porch of the victims' residence, two wallets, a jewelry box, and jewelry from the Defendant's trunk; she tried to lift latent prints from the items but found none. She also attempted to lift and identify latent prints from the .22 pistol but was unable to identify any latent prints. Agent Lafferty stated that the following items were not tested for latent prints: the victims' gun cabinet, front door and doorknob, exterior storm door, the knife from the Defendant's car, and the victims' laptop.

         TBI Special Agent Linda Littlejohn testified that she compared the tread designs of the boots the Defendant was wearing at the time of his arrest to the linoleum cuttings of the bloody shoeprints taken from the crime scene. The tread design appeared to be similar, so she made a test impression. She found that three of the four partial impressions from the crime scene were "consistent with the right boot . . . with size, shape and tread design; and, therefore, that right boot or another right boot with those same class characteristics could have made that impression."

         Alaina Kring testified that, in March 2011, she worked as a special agent with the TBI in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. On March 4, she responded to the crime scene with the lead investigator, Special Agent Nathan Bishop. She later assisted Agent Bishop during his interview with the Defendant. The Defendant said that he had been drinking beer and had taken Xanax earlier that day, but Agent Kring saw no signs that the Defendant was intoxicated at that time. The Defendant indicated that he understood his Miranda rights and was willing to answer questions. Agent Kring took four pages of notes of the interview. She reviewed the notes with the Defendant, and he initialed each page, and signed and dated the notes. She recalled that the Defendant was "very calm" during the interview and that Agent Bishop only asked him a few questions. She stated that the Defendant never indicated that anyone else was involved in the murders.

         TBI Special Agent Cathy Ferguson testified that she also responded to the crime scene to assist Agent Bishop and participated in the Defendant's interview. The Defendant told the agents that he "knew what happened out on Owl Hoot Road, but [the agents] didn't know if he was involved unless he told us." The Defendant said that "he thought it happened during a black-out, and then went on to say that maybe it was during a dream." The Defendant "gave specific details about the crime scene[.]" Agent Ferguson stated that no one told the Defendant about the positioning of the victims' bodies inside the residence, and no one told him that the victims had been killed with a knife. However, the Defendant said that "it must have been a knife, " and he mentioned that Mr. Shell was "lying in the living room or near the kitchen." The Defendant correctly described the linoleum kitchen floor, which he said "look[ed] like tile." When Agent Bishop specifically asked the Defendant if anyone else was involved, the Defendant stated that "he was alone." On cross-examination, Agent Ferguson stated that Agent Bishop never specifically asked the Defendant if he had killed the victims.

         Special Agent Nathan Bishop of the TBI testified that, after learning of the tip that the Defendant was attempting to sell weapons, he instructed officers to find the Defendant and ask him about the information. Agent Bishop responded to the Chisholm residence after the Defendant was located there. Agent Bishop informed the Defendant, who was in the back of a patrol car, that he was being arrested on drug-related charges and that deputies had found a knife while searching his vehicle. Agent Bishop asked the Defendant if he would be willing to talk to him, and the Defendant agreed. The Defendant did not appear to be intoxicated.

         While at the sheriff's office, the Defendant executed a written waiver of his Miranda rights. At the beginning of the interview, the Defendant said to Agent Bishop, "Look, I know you know what happened, but you don't know I was involved unless I tell you." According to Agent Bishop, the Defendant then acknowledged involvement in the murders. He did not seem to be afraid, and he never mentioned that other people were involved in the murders.

         A few days after the murders, Agent Bishop learned that the Defendant had rented a cabin at Boyette's and that "a Puerto Rican[] had been there with him." Although he considered that it was potentially a secondary crime scene, Agent Bishop stated that he did not have the scene processed because it was "two or three days after the homicide[s], and . . . it was already cleaned." On cross-examination, Agent Bishop explained that no one from the Response Team dusted for fingerprints at the victims' residence. He stated that the crime scene was "released" to the victims' family at 8:45 p.m. on March 4. He said that, in looking at the kitchen and living room of the victims' residence, he did not see any indication of a violent struggle between multiple people. He explained, "[T]he furniture was not overturned or anything like that." Agent Bishop opined that the crime scene appeared to be a drug-related robbery and murder. He acknowledged, however, that there was still a one hundred dollar bill in Mr. Shell's wallet at the crime scene.

         Defendant's Proof

         David Eddlemon testified that in the late afternoon of March 2 or March 3, 2011, he was at a store near Boyette's when he was approached by a Hispanic man, who asked Mr. Eddlemon if he knew the Defendant, if he could "get in touch" with the Defendant, and where the Defendant lived. Mr. Eddlemon stated that the Hispanic man got out of a gold or tan Jeep Grand Cherokee, and there were two other people in the vehicle.

         Judy Capps testified that she was the owner and operator of Boyette's, located on Reelfoot Lake. Ms. Capps recalled that on March 1, 2011, the Defendant came to the resort to ask about the cost of renting a cabin for three nights. Ms. Capps provided the Defendant a total, and the Defendant said, "[L]et me go talk to my buddy to see if that was okay with him." The Defendant went outside, but Ms. Capps did not see the individual mentioned by the Defendant. The Defendant came back in and rented Cabin 9 for three nights, paying in cash. Ms. Capps explained that Friday, March 4 would have been the day that the Defendant was expected to check out of the cabin. She stated that she did not see the Defendant the rest of the week, and she did not know who stayed in Cabin 9 between March 1 and March 4. Ms. Capps stated that, when a cabin was cleaned, housekeepers collected the trash, towels, and sheets from the cabins. The trash was placed in a dumpster at the end of the row of cabins, and the dumpster would not have been emptied until it was full. When housekeeping collected the towels and sheets, the items would be "[a]ll lumped together" in a large bag and stored at a laundry shed until the laundry service collected them every Thursday. She stated that there was not a separate laundry bag for each cabin but that all of the resort's sheets and towels went into the same large bag. Ms. Capps explained that it was not unusual for housekeeping to remove bloody towels from the cabins because guests would use the cabins to clean fish. She recalled that, at the time the Defendant rented Cabin 9, a fishing tournament was being held at Reelfoot Lake. Ms. Capps recalled that she spoke to Sheriff Avery several days after she learned of the Defendant's arrest. Ms. Capps stated that Cabin 9 was next rented on Monday, March 7, 2011.

         Dorothy Patterson testified that in March 2011, she and her daughter, Connie Nugent, worked as housekeepers at Boyette's. She recalled that from March 1 to March 4, Cabin 9 was rented. During that week, she knocked on the door to the cabin to ask if the occupants needed any towels. A man opened the door just far enough that she could see his face. Ms. Patterson described the man as "maybe Mexican or part Mexican" with a "real full face and black hair." She stated, however, that this man did not have "much of an accent." Ms. Patterson also recalled seeing a "tannish-gray" car parked between Cabin 9 and Cabin 8, but Cabin 8 was not rented at the time. Ms. Patterson testified that on Friday, March 4, two men exited Cabin 9 and got into the tannish-gray car. She only saw the men from the back but described the driver as heavy-set man wearing tan pants and a striped shirt and the passenger as a taller, white man, wearing a light blue shirt and tan pants.

         When Ms. Patterson and Ms. Nugent entered Cabin 9 to clean it later that day, it appeared that two of the three beds had been used. They also found about "a cup-full" of "marijuana seed" all over the floor of the cabin and three half-gallon containers of fruit punch, one of which had not been opened. Inside the bathroom, Ms. Patterson saw a towel laying in the floor that had "a little blood on it." She rolled all the towels up and put them into a large laundry bag along with the sheets. Ms. Patterson recalled that Sheriff Avery came out to Boyette's to interview her the day after she learned of the Defendant's arrest. She told Sheriff Avery that she had not seen the Defendant at Cabin 9 the whole week. On cross-examination, Ms. Patterson agreed that she had not been suspicious of anything she found while cleaning Cabin 9. She stated that finding a towel with a small amount of blood on it was not unusual.

         Connie Nugent testified that she worked as a housekeeper at Boyette's. Ms. Nugent recalled that Cabin 9 was rented for the week of March 1, 2011. She recalled that, during that week, she knocked on the door to Cabin 9 to ask the occupants if they needed any towels. A "black-Mexican" man with a "round face" answered the door and said that they did not need anything. During the week, a "golden-champagne color" Ford car with a Texas license plate was parked between Cabin 8 and Cabin 9. Ms. Nugent testified that after the occupants checked out of Cabin 9 on Friday, March 4, she cleaned the cabin. Inside the cabin, Ms. Nugent found marijuana seeds all over the floor, along with two "big jugs" of fruit punch. On Saturday, Sheriff Avery came to Boyette's and asked Ms. Nugent if she had seen any blood in Cabin 9. Sheriff Avery then went into the cabin and looked around.

         Cousins, Brandon and Brian Jines, testified that in March 2011, they participated in the Crappie Masters Tournament on Reelfoot Lake and stayed at Boyette's during the fishing tournament. On Saturday morning, March 5, they saw a Jeep Cherokee enter a grassy area next to Brandon's truck and boat with its headlights turned off at about 4:45 a.m. The jeep went through the grass and back onto the road and then moved behind a boat shed. The jeep stayed behind the boat shed for five or ten minutes. It then pulled out in reverse and with its headlights on and drove down the road, in reverse, at a high rate of speed. Brandon saw two people in the jeep but could not tell what they looked like. He thought that the driver was "shorter" and that passenger was "a little bit taller." He also noticed that the passenger wore a beanie or sock cap on his head. Brian testified that he saw two occupants in the vehicle but that he could not identify them.

         Callie Hinson testified that she was the Defendant's friend and had known him for fifteen years. She testified that she would occasionally go with the Defendant to Mr. Hill's residence to buy marijuana. Ms. Hinson stated that Mr. Hill had the reputation as a drug dealer in the community. Ms. Hinson recalled that on March 3, 2011, the Defendant picked her up in Tiptonville at Decker's gas station around 6:00 p.m., and the Defendant eventually picked up two other friends, Matt Corum and Chelsey Windsor. Ms. Hinson explained that they rode around, smoking marijuana and drinking beer, for about four and a half hours. She recalled that they went to the fire department so that the Defendant could look at a four-wheeler. They then went to Ridgely to get gas for the Defendant's vehicle sometime before 9:00 p.m. and then went to Tobacco Dock, a tobacco store. They also went to Denver Harris' house to pick up a CD. They rode "out by the river, in the country[.]" Ms. Hinson stated that the Defendant did not seem angry or disturbed when he dropped her off at Decker's gas station around 10:15 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. She stated that she had never seen the Defendant become violent or lose his temper, even when he was drinking and using marijuana and Xanax. She recalled that the Defendant was wearing a pair of camouflage bib overalls, blue jeans with torn ends that dragged on the ground, a black shirt, a white hat, and boots.

         On cross-examination, Ms. Hinson agreed that she had previously signed two affidavits in which she stated that the Defendant dropped her off at Decker's gas station sometime between 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. She agreed that the Defendant was using his phone while in his vehicle and recalled that he was "texting." Ms. Hinson acknowledged that they also went to Mr. Hill's residence that night, where the Defendant purchased marijuana.

         Matthew Corum, the Defendant's friend, testified that he had known the Defendant his entire life and that he had never seen the Defendant lose his temper or act in anger. On the evening of March 3, 2011, the Defendant picked up Mr. Corum at his residence sometime between 6:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Mr. Corum recalled that the Defendant was wearing "[h]unting bibs, " which the Defendant wore often. After picking up Ms. Windsor, they rode around smoking marijuana, drinking beer, and taking pills. They went to the river, Pat's service station, Tobacco Dock, to Andy Lee's residence, to Denver Harris' house, and stopped by the fire station. Mr. Corum recalled that they also stopped at a bank. Mr. Corum testified that the Defendant dropped him off at his residence about 10:00 p.m. or 10:30 p.m. He stated that the Defendant did not act unusual that night and did not appear angry about anything.

         Joseph Jones and Sherry Price testified that they were working at the Tobacco Dock on the night of March 3 when they received a phone call from the Defendant about 9:00 p.m. The Defendant said that he would be at the store in two minutes and asked that Mr. Jones not close the store. When the Defendant arrived, Mr. Jones and Ms. Price unlocked the front door and let him in. Mr. Jones noted that Mr. Corum, Ms. Hinson, and Ms. Windsor were with the Defendant. The Defendant wore "some bibs and a long sleeve dark shirt." The following day, March 4, the Defendant came into the store between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. when Mr. Jones and Ms. Price were working. The store was full of people, and Mr. Jones and Ms. Price were talking about the victims' murders at the time the Defendant entered the store. Mr. Jones said that "a lot of rumors [were] going around" and that he had heard that the victims had been shot. Ms. Price said that she had heard that the victims had been "murdered, and stabbed, and Mr. Shell was by the recliner and Ms. Shell was in the kitchen . . . ." Mr. Jones testified that the Defendant had on what appeared to be the same clothing from the previous night.

         Denver Harris testified that he lived in Ridgely on Poplar Street with his parents. On the evening of March 3, the Defendant's brother, Caylan Bargery, was spending the night with Mr. Harris when Caylan received a phone call from the Defendant. Caylan then went outside and placed the keys to his truck in the mailbox between 9:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

         Michael Reynolds and Katherine Jones testified that on the evening of March 3, 2011, they saw the Defendant and his "gold-ish . . . tannish" colored Nissan Altima at the Regions Bank ATM in Tiptonville at about 10:00 p.m. They recalled that the Defendant obtained money from the ATM machine and then got back into his vehicle, which contained two or three other people.

         Caylan Bargery, the Defendant's youngest brother, testified that on the morning of March 3, 2011, the Defendant drove him to school. That morning, the Defendant was wearing his bib overalls and boots. Caylan recalled that the Defendant owned only one pair of bib overalls and one pair of boots. Later that night, the Defendant retrieved a CD from Caylan's truck after he called Caylan from Ms. Hinson's cell phone around 9:30 p.m. or 10:00 p.m. The following morning, Caylan went into the Defendant's bedroom and asked for the keys to his truck back. The Defendant appeared to have been sleeping but told Caylan that the keys were either in his bib overalls or pants. The Defendant did not get up, and Caylan pulled the keys out of the pants. Caylan acknowledged that he had previously smoked marijuana with the Defendant and that he had gone with the Defendant to Mr. Hill's residence to purchase marijuana. Caylan explained that Mr. Hill was a known drug dealer in Lake County. He testified that he had never seen the Defendant lose his temper or get angry at anyone and stated that the Defendant was always "laid back."

         Rhonda Strube testified that she worked as an adjunct instructor at Dyersburg State Community College and that the Defendant had been one of her students. She recalled that, on the morning of March 4, the Defendant took a make-up test, which he finished in about fifteen or twenty minutes. After taking the test, the Defendant asked to leave class early.

         Matthew Knox, the Defendant's cousin, testified that he met the Defendant around lunchtime on March 4 at the levee. Mr. Knox explained that he and the Defendant had previously decided to take a boat ride on the river. He recalled that, when he pulled up at the levee, the Defendant and his car were on top of the levee. There was a small fire that looked like the Defendant may have been "burning some trash out of his car, like bottles and paper, stuff like that." Mr. Knox said that, while he put the boat into the water, the Defendant met with someone at the bottom of the levee, but he did not see the individual. Mr. Knox testified that he and the Defendant were in the boat on the river for about an hour or hour and a half. While on the water, the Defendant drank beer and smoked marijuana. Mr. Knox thought that the Defendant "seemed a little stressed about money" because the Defendant "kept counting his money[.]" Mr. Knox stated that, later that day, the Defendant stopped by his home. Mr. Knox got into the Defendant's vehicle, and they went to a carwash in Tiptonville, where they met Tony Hayes, and the Defendant sold Mr. Hayes a gun. After this meeting, the Defendant and Mr. Knox went to their grandfather's[2] shop where the Defendant "put a couple of other guns out there in an old trailer." He recalled that he had previously seen the Defendant put a push mower and a couple of chain saws in the trailer. He testified that he thought the Defendant had obtained the items from "crack heads." Mr. Knox said that, by this time, he had heard about the murders but did not know that there were guns missing from the crime scene. He stated that, when he went back out to the trailer three weeks later, the guns were gone. Mr. Knox testified that he had never seen the Defendant angry or lose his temper.

         Regina Bargery, the Defendant's mother, testified that the Owl Hoot area where the murders occurred was a "little community" close to the Dyer County line. She explained that the Defendant's great-grandmother, Mrs. Smith, lived in a house in the Owl Hoot community until the "first part of 2010." Mrs. Bargery explained that Mrs. Smith's home was located across a field from the victims' residence. Mrs. Bargery explained that the Defendant was twenty years old in March 2011. She described the Defendant's personality as "[f]un-loving, outgoing, laid back" and "[v]ery compassionate." The Defendant showed no tendency toward violence. She recalled that the Defendant was living at home in March 2011. She saw the Defendant on the mornings of March 3 and 4, and on both mornings, the Defendant was wearing a pair of camouflage bib overalls, jeans, a pair of boots, and a black long-sleeve, insulated shirt. On the morning of March 4, the Defendant spoke to Mrs. Bargery in her hair salon, located at the back of their residence before he went to school at Dyersburg State Community College.

         Around 11:00 a.m. on March 4, Mrs. Bargery called the Defendant and told him that she had heard that the victims had been shot and killed. Sometime before midnight on March 4, she received a phone call from someone saying that the Defendant had been arrested. When she arrived at the jail, she learned that the Defendant had been arrested for marijuana possession. She went back home without seeing the Defendant. Minutes later, several deputies arrived at her home. Deputy Allison told her that the Defendant had been arrested for the victims' murders. She gave them permission to search the home, and deputies seized various items belonging to the Defendant. Mrs. Bargery testified that the Defendant did not need money. He worked and had access to additional money from his grandparents if he needed it. Mrs. Bargery recalled that the Defendant called her from jail the day after his arrest and told her that he was sorry. The Defendant was crying and upset. During the call, the Defendant spoke to his brother and said, "Caylan, I'm sorry, I F'd up[.]"

         Rachelle Chisholm testified that she lived on Headden Drive in Tiptonville in 2011 with her husband and son, Curt. Mrs. Chisholm explained that Curt and the Defendant were best friends and that the Defendant spent time at their residence most days. Mrs. Chisholm described the Defendant as a "tender-hearted, kind, [and] considerate[.]" She recalled that she saw the Defendant twice on March 3, 2011, and that the Defendant was wearing bib overalls, a long sleeved black shirt, blue jeans, and boots. The Defendant was also at her residence on March 4, the evening of his arrest. She testified that the Defendant "didn't seem himself" that evening. She stated, "I didn't smell any alcohol on him, but he seemed like he had taken something." Mrs. Chisholm recalled that the Defendant bumped into a cart in their kitchen twice, knocking items to the floor. She further recalled that the Defendant was wearing the same clothing as the previous day.

         Ryan Bargery, the Defendant's younger brother, testified that in March 2011, the Defendant owned one pair of camouflage bib overalls and one pair of boots. Ryan admitted that he used to smoke marijuana with the Defendant. He further stated that he knew Mr. Hill and that Mr. Hill was a drug dealer in the community. Ryan explained that he had never seen the Defendant in a fight, get angry, or lose his temper.

         The Defendant testified that he graduated from high school in 2008. He explained that he began using marijuana and "experimenting with pills" while in high school. After graduation, the Defendant worked at a boat dock, Cypress Point Resort, until the time of his arrest in March 2011 when he was twenty years old. The Defendant testified that, at that time, he was enrolled in Dyersburg State Community College and needed two additional classes for his degree. The Defendant testified that by the time of his arrest he was using marijuana "several times a day, every day[, ]" and he took Xanax. He explained that the marijuana and Xanax made him "real mellow" and calm. The Defendant said that he smoked marijuana with several friends, including Andy Lee. He stated that he met Shondell Hill, "[t]he drug dealer there in Ridgely, " through Mr. Lee in 2007 or 2008 when the Defendant was seventeen or eighteen years old. The Defendant recalled that he would buy marijuana from Mr. Hill "almost every day." The Defendant often went to Mr. Hill's residence in Ridgely, where he would "hang out" and play video games with Mr. Hill. The Defendant stated that he believed that he and Mr. Hill were "good friends." They would "ride around and smoke" in the Defendant's vehicle because Mr. Hill did not have a driver's license and did not want to drive. The Defendant explained that he eventually began taking Mr. Hill to various locations in Lake County for Mr. Hill to sell drugs and deliver marijuana. The Defendant stated that he knew that Mr. Hill was affiliated with a gang, but he never asked Mr. Hill which gang. He stated that he benefitted from driving Mr. Hill around to sell marijuana because the Defendant "was basically getting free marijuana from [Mr. Hill]" for driving. Regarding Mr. Hill's client base, the Defendant stated that it was "[a]nywhere from Dyersburg to Union City and Lake County."

         The Defendant recalled that, by 2010, he was at Mr. Hill's residence playing video games and using marijuana "close to every other day[.]" The Defendant recalled a time in 2010 when he and Mr. Hill were out riding on Owl Hoot Road when he pointed out his great-grandmother's house. The Defendant stated, "When we passed by my great-granny's house I just off-hand said that's where my great-grandmother lived. That's where she lives, just pointing it out." The Defendant explained that the Owl Hoot community consisted of five or six houses and that only two houses were close to one another-the victims' residence and the house where his great-grandmother had lived before she moved closer to town. However, the Defendant testified that he had not known the victims and had been unaware that they lived in the residence. He believed that Doris Spence, his great-grandmother's sister-in-law, lived in the home.

         The Defendant explained that he occasionally sold items for Mr. Hill, such as electronics, phones, and guns, and that Mr. Hill would split the proceeds from such sales with him or pay him in marijuana. The Defendant explained that he would smoke some of the marijuana and also bag some of it to sell to friends. The Defendant stated that Mr. Hill would sometimes place items in his vehicle for the Defendant to sell.

         The Defendant testified that the first time he saw Joel Hernandez was at the Greyhound bus station in Memphis in 2010. He explained that Mr. Hill had asked him to drive to Memphis and pick up Mr. Hernandez and Mr. Hernandez's girlfriend and bring them to Lake County. When he and Mr. Hill picked up Mr. Hernandez, Mr. Hernandez had two suitcases with him. Mr. Hill did not introduce the Defendant to Mr. Hernandez at that time.

         The Defendant recalled that he picked up Mr. Hernandez from the Greyhound bus station in Memphis a second time on March 1, 2011. He explained that he had rented Cabin 9 at Boyette's the day before. He explained that he rented the cabin in his name because Mr. Hill "didn't want the cabin to be in his name." Mr. Hill told the Defendant that he would give the Defendant marijuana and cash for picking up Mr. Hernandez and renting the cabin. According to the Defendant, Mr. Hernandez was supposed to be at Cabin 9 from Tuesday, March 1 through Friday, March 4. Mr. Hill rode to Memphis with the Defendant to pick up Mr. Hernandez. When they arrived, the Defendant went into the bus station to get Mr. Hernandez. Mr. Hernandez had two suitcases and a duffle bag. He helped Mr. Hernandez with the luggage and stated that they each weighed about forty to fifty pounds. The Defendant drove to Cabin 9 to drop off Mr. Hernandez, but he did not go inside with Mr. Hernandez and Mr. Hill. The Defendant recalled that, when Mr. Hill exited the cabin, he had a tote bag full of marijuana.

         The Defendant and Mr. Hill then drove to the Kentucky state line where Mr. Hill met with some men in a car around midnight to sell marijuana. The Defendant recalled that Mr. Hill initially approached the other car and spoke to the occupants. He then took out one of the bricks of marijuana from the tote bag and showed it to the occupants. A few minutes later, Mr. Hill called Mr. Hernandez. During the call, Mr. Hill was "vehemently explaining to [Mr. Hernandez] what he was trying to tell him in the phone call." After speaking to Mr. Hernandez, Mr. Hill grabbed the tote bag and handed it to the people from Kentucky. When Mr. Hill returned to the Defendant's vehicle with the tote bag, the bag was empty. The Defendant then drove Mr. Hill to Cabin 9.

         The Defendant testified that on the morning of March 2, he put on a black shirt, camouflage bib overalls, a pair of blue jeans, white hat, and boots before going to school. He stated that he owned only one pair of bib overalls and that the cuffs of his blue jeans dragged the ground when he walked. He testified that he wore the same clothing the rest of the week. After class, the Defendant picked up Mr. Hill, and they drove back to Cabin 9. Mr. Hill went inside the cabin and came out with Mr. Hernandez's duffle bag, which was full of marijuana. The Defendant then drove Mr. Hill to several locations where Mr. Hill sold the marijuana to various individuals. At one location, Mr. Hill delivered anywhere from five to nine bricks of marijuana. When Mr. Hill returned to the car, he pulled out "an amount of money folded over." The Defendant stated that it was "a lot of . . . bills." He then drove Mr. Hill to Peach Tree Apartments where Mr. Hill again delivered a quantity of marijuana in exchange for cash. They drove from Dyersburg to Union City, and Mr. Hill delivered more marijuana. After leaving Union City, the Defendant heard a phone call between Mr. Hill and Mr. Hernandez. He then drove Mr. Hill back to Cabin 9, and they both went inside. The Defendant testified that there was "an intense discussion" between Mr. Hill and Mr. Hernandez at that time and that it looked like the men were going to fight. Mr. Hernandez was angry and scared and "wasn't happy with the way things were going." The Defendant explained that, although the agreed-upon sale price for the marijuana had been between $1100 and $1300 per pound, Mr. Hernandez was "getting considerably less" from Mr. Hill-around $700 to $800 per pound. The Defendant testified that Mr. Hernandez got his marijuana from Texas "[f]rom the people that sent him down." The Defendant stated that he was only in Cabin 9 on March 2.

         The Defendant recalled that he went to school early the next day to take an exam. About thirty minutes before the exam, Mr. Hill called the Defendant and told him that Mr. Hernandez was going to be leaving that day. Mr. Hill wanted the Defendant to drive Mr. Hernandez to a different Greyhound bus station in Jackson. Mr. Hernandez left his duffle bag with Mr. Hill for Mr. Hill to finish selling the marijuana. Mr. Hill was "supposed to get the money and send it on to [Mr. Hernandez] after he got through selling it."

         The Defendant drove Mr. Hernandez alone to Jackson, and they smoked marijuana on the way there. The Defendant recalled that, during the drive, Mr. Hernandez began shaking, rubbing his face, and mumbling to himself. Mr. Hernandez seemed "real stressed out." Mr. Hernandez told the Defendant that, "from now on, " the Defendant would be picking up him and the marijuana in Texas instead of Mr. Hernandez's taking a bus. Mr. Hernandez also stated that the Defendant was "gonna be selling more marijuana, a lot of . . . large amounts of marijuana." The Defendant testified that this was when he "realized [he] was in way over [his] head, " and he explained to Mr. Hernandez that he could not do that. However, Mr. Hernandez did not accept the Defendant's refusal. Mr. Hernandez asked the Defendant for his phone number because he wanted to be able to contact the Defendant. Mr. Hernandez then stored his phone number in the Defendant's cell phone under the name "Lobo." The Defendant stated that, rather than arguing with Mr. Hernandez, he decided to talk to Mr. Hill about the plan. He believed that Mr. Hill would "be reasonable" about the situation because Mr. Hill knew that the Defendant lived at home with his mother. The Defendant recalled that Mr. Hernandez made several phone calls during the drive and that he spoke in Spanish during the calls. At one point, he heard Mr. Hernandez say, "Mi cholos, " but he did not know what that meant.

         The Defendant stated that he called Mr. Hill as soon as he dropped off Mr. Hernandez in Jackson. The Defendant explained that, when he called Mr. Hill about his conversation with Mr. Hernandez, Mr. Hill initially told him to "calm down" and that "[i]t's not gonna be that often[.]" During a second phone call with Mr. Hill, Mr. Hill was angry and would not listen to the Defendant. Mr. Hill was mad at Mr. Hernandez "for approaching [the Defendant] to sell marijuana." The Defendant drove to Mr. Hill's residence to further discuss the situation. When he arrived, Mr. Hill was "very mad" at the Defendant and began "grilling" him about what the Defendant had said to Mr. Hernandez. The Defendant assured Mr. Hill that he had "take[n] up" for Mr. Hill and told Mr. Hernandez that he could not sell marijuana or drive for Mr. Hernandez. However, Mr. Hill did not believe the Defendant. The Defendant stated, "I thought at any moment [Mr. Hill] was just gonna rear back and . . . smack me." He said that he was scared of what Mr. Hill was accusing him of and felt threatened by Mr. Hill. The Defendant testified:

Because what we were talking involved way, way, way more than what I was prepared to do and it was on so many levels on top of what I was, what I could ever be. And I knew that there was [sic] some serious people involved and I couldn't -- I didn't want to be involved in this. And they were -- they were telling me that I was involved, that I was gonna be involved, that I didn't have any choice about it.

         The Defendant attempted to talk to Mr. Hill about driving back and forth to Texas. He explained why he could not do it, but Mr. Hill did not accept his explanation. Mr. Hill said that the Defendant did not have any choice about whether to drive Mr. Hernandez. The Defendant testified that, when he left Mr. Hill's residence around 5:30 p.m., he intended to "cut[] ties as best as [he] could[.]"

         The Defendant recalled that he picked up Ms. Hinson at Decker's gas station around 6:00 p.m. and then picked up Ms. Windsor. They "rode around for a little while" until Mr. Coram got off work, and then the Defendant picked up Mr. Coram. The Defendant recalled that he drove to the fire station and several other places, like the Tobacco Dock and the bank. The Defendant testified that he was smoking marijuana, taking Xanax, and drinking beer that night. He dropped Ms. Hinson off around 10:30 p.m. and then took Ms. Windsor and Mr. Coram to Mr. Coram's house. The Defendant then went home and got in bed. He was watching television and was about to go to sleep when Mr. Hill called him at 11:42 p.m. After the call, the Defendant put the same clothes back on and went to Mr. Hill's residence because he did not want Mr. Hill to continue to be angry with him.

         When he arrived at Mr. Hill's residence, there was a gold-colored car already parked in the driveway. Mr. Hill was standing by the vehicle talking to two other people and one man was sitting in the driver's seat of the car. Mr. Hill walked over to the Defendant's vehicle and got in the passenger seat. As a result of what Mr. Hill told him, the Defendant drove up to Highway 78 headed towards Dyersburg and turned onto Highway 79. When the Defendant asked Mr. Hill "why [they] were going up there, " Mr. Hill did not have a friendly response. When he got to Owl Hoot Road, the Defendant drove towards his great-grandmother's old house. When he pulled into the driveway, no one was there. The Defendant told Mr. Hill that his great-grandmother no longer lived at the residence and "had been gone for a[]while." However, Mr. Hill did not believe the Defendant. Mr. Hill cursed at the Defendant and was angry.[3] The Defendant testified that he was scared and that he did not know what Mr. Hill intended to do. Mr. Hill then told the Defendant to do something else, and as a result, the Defendant pulled back out onto the road and stopped in front of the driveway to the victims' residence. The gold- colored car pulled into the driveway, and the Defendant followed the vehicle. The Defendant recalled that, as he was pulling in behind the gold-colored car, he saw that the car was a Ford with Texas plates. Three "Mexican men" stepped out of the car wearing gloves on their hands. The "short one" that had been sitting in the back of the gold-colored car signaled for the Defendant to turn off his headlights, and Mr. Hill cussed at the Defendant for pulling into the driveway with the headlights on. Mr. Hill then said something to the Defendant, and as a result, the Defendant got out of the car. The Defendant testified that, based on Mr. Hill's tone of voice, he did not believe that he had a choice but to get out of the vehicle. He stated that he was afraid of Mr. Hill. When Mr. Hill exited his vehicle, Mr. Hill pulled a pair of gloves out of the pocket of his hoodie. The Defendant continued to ask Mr. Hill why they were there, but Mr. Hill did not respond.

         The Defendant recalled that the front porchlight of the victims' residence was on. He noticed that, when "the three Mexicans" stepped onto the porch, they "all three had knives in their hands." The "tall Mexican" then opened the front door and walked inside the residence. The Defendant explained that he was "rooted to the spot" as soon as he saw the knives, and he started crying. Mr. Hill walked up onto the porch and opened the storm door. He motioned for the Defendant to follow, but the Defendant shook his head at him. The Defendant stated that, as Mr. Hill was motioning for him, he heard "a really loud sound" coming from inside and then the sound of "gurgling." When Mr. Hill entered the residence, the Defendant heard a woman screaming. The Defendant testified that he "couldn't move." He recalled that the "tall Mexican" came back outside and said, "Come on, white boy." However, he turned away from the "tall Mexican" and continued to stand in the driveway. The "tall Mexican" then walked over to the Defendant, grabbed his shoulder, turned him around, and slapped the Defendant on the side of the head. The "tall Mexican" told him, "Quit crying like a little bitch." He told the Defendant they were "going into the house, " and he grabbed the back of the Defendant's neck and right arm and directed him into the residence. When he entered the residence, the Defendant saw a body lying across the room, and he turned and ran back out the front door and into the yard. The "tall Mexican" and Mr. Hill followed the Defendant out of the house. The "tall Mexican" asked him, "What's wrong, white boy, you can't handle a little blood?" The "tall Mexican" then said, "This is what happens to people who think that they can f*** with us." He told the Defendant, "You are going to do every[thing] and anything that you're told to do or this s*** [will] happen again." The "tall Mexican" told the Defendant to come inside the house.

         When he entered the residence, the Defendant went into the master bedroom where Mr. Hill was going through a drawer. The "fat Mexican" had two guns in his hands, and he pointed a gun at the Defendant and said, "Bang, bang." The "short Mexican" then walked out of the bathroom, wiping his hands off on a towel. The Defendant testified that they were no longer wearing gloves. Mr. Hill grabbed a laptop off the floor and handed it to the Defendant and told him to take it to his car and then come back in and "grab some more stuff." When the Defendant returned, the "tall Mexican" was coming out of the kitchen. He had blood on his shirt, on both of his hands, and on a knife that he held in his hand. The "tall Mexican" approached the Defendant, pointed the knife at his chest, and said, "Take it. Take it. Take it. Take it." The Defendant took the knife, and the "tall Mexican" wiped both of his hands on the Defendant's. The "tall Mexican" said, "Now their blood is really on your hands." The "tall Mexican" then took the knife back from the Defendant, and the Defendant "broke down" again.

         Mr. Hill told the Defendant to wash his hands in the bathroom. He then instructed the Defendant to grab the guns and put them in his car. Once outside, the "tall Mexican" put the gloves inside a McDonald's bag and tossed the bag to Mr. Hill. Mr. Hill then got into the passenger seat of the Defendant's car with a knife in his hand. Mr. Hill took a camera and pistol out of his pocket and put them in the glove box. The Defendant testified that he never saw the knife that Mr. Hill had again. The Defendant stated that he did not know if he ever handled the knife found in his car and that he did not know if it was the same knife the "tall Mexican" handed him. The "tall Mexican" approached the Defendant, put his hands on the Defendant's shoulders, and said, "You gonna be okay, white boy? This is good fun, huh? Just remember, you do everything you're . . . told or this - this will happen again." The Defendant testified, "They thought that they had just killed my great-granny and [Mr. Hill] knew where my mama lived, where my brothers lived." He stated that he "wasn't gonna let that happen to [his] family."

         After leaving the crime scene, Mr. Hill turned on the victims' laptop but could not get into it. As they pulled into the driveway of Mr. Hill's home, the Defendant asked what to do with the victims' property. Mr. Hill stated that the victims' property was to be left in the Defendant's car for the night. Mr. Hill told the Defendant that he needed to return the following morning and that he needed to "find a way to get into the laptop." The Defendant returned home and went to bed, but he did not sleep. He stated that he felt that he "couldn't tell what happened because [he] didn't want what happened to the [victims] to happen to [his] family." The Defendant explained that he did not call the police because he "wasn't gonna do anything to get [his] family killed." He stated that he first told his attorneys what happened the night the victims were murdered about a month and a half before trial.

         The Defendant stated that he went to school to take a make-up mid-term exam at 10:00 a.m. and that he was dressed in the same clothing that he had worn the previous night. After class, the Defendant called several people about accessing the laptop and then drove to Mr. Hill's residence where Mr. Hill gave the Defendant "the rest of the marijuana that he [] owed [the Defendant] from the week and some cash[.]" The Defendant asked Mr. Hill about the previous night, but Mr. Hill did not answer his questions. The Defendant asked Mr. Hill what he wanted to do with the victims' property, which was still in the Defendant's car. Mr. Hill gave the Defendant directions in a "forceful" demeanor. The Defendant explained that, as a result of Mr. Hill's response, he understood that he had to "sell all the stuff off quick[.]"[4]

         The Defendant recalled that he went on a boat ride with his cousin, Mr. Knox, later that day. When he got to the boat dock, the Defendant took the McDonalds bag containing the gloves out of his car. He stated that he burned the bag and its contents because of his conversation with Mr. Hill. While on the boat with Mr. Knox, the Defendant smoked marijuana, took Xanax, and drank beer. The Defendant testified that he pulled out his money and "started trying to calculate for the [victims'] guns and the cameras and stuff how much [he] could just give to [Mr. Hill] and just tell [Mr. Hill] that he sold all the stuff and not sell it." While on the boat, the Defendant received several text messages from Mr. Hill about the Defendant "selling the stuff." The Defendant denied that he deleted any text messages from his phone that day. The Defendant testified that he later sold the victims' camera, and then he called Mr. Lee. He asked Mr. Lee what he had heard about the murders and told Mr. Lee that he had "come across some guns" and wanted to sell them. According to the Defendant, Mr. Lee told him that Mr. Shell had been found in the living room but that Mrs. Shell was in the kitchen. Mr. Lee said that "they were both cut real bad" and that "[t]heir throats had been cut." Mr. Lee told the Defendant that there was "blood everywhere" and that it "looked like a lot of people had [gone] in and just ransacked the place." The Defendant went to Mr. Lee's residence around 3:00 p.m. and showed Mr. Lee the guns; however, Mr. Lee "didn't want any." The Defendant stated that, after leaving Mr. Lee's residence, he and Mr. Knox drove out to a trailer on the Defendant's grandfather's property where the Defendant stored the victims' stolen guns. Later, the Defendant and Mr. Knox met a man at a car wash in Tiptonville, and the man bought one of the victims' guns. The Defendant testified that he had been unaware of the jewelry in his trunk.

         The Defendant explained that, later that night, he went to the Tobacco Dock. When he approached the counter, there were customers and employees talking about the murders. The Defendant stated that one man was "talking about all the details" of the murders. The man said that Mrs. Shell "had the phone in her hand and she'd been trying to run out the back door and that she was on her back." He also stated that the victims' throats had been cut and that there was "[a] lot of blood." The Defendant testified that he left the Tobacco Dock and went to the Chisholm residence. He stated that he took the laptop and a pistol belonging to the victims into the home because he wanted everything out of his car. While in Curt's bedroom, the Defendant began "bag[ging] some more marijuana up." The Defendant explained that he made plans with a friend, Amber, to meet her in Dyersburg and sell her the laptop. Regarding his interaction with police while at the Chisholm residence, the Defendant explained that after he got off the phone with Amber, Curt ran into the bedroom and said, "[T]he cops are here." The Defendant had a "big stack of marijuana in [his] lap and then a bigger stack sitting [] on the bed with scales and everything." The Defendant gathered up the marijuana and went out the back door of the house. He put the bigger bag of marijuana into a cooler and then "bent down like [he] was petting the puppies" in the backyard. At that time, Deputy Leake came to the back door and yelled at the Defendant, saying he wanted to talk to the Defendant. The Defendant asked, "What's this about, Owl Hoot?" The Defendant stated that he asked the question because everyone in the community was talking about the murders, and the Defendant wanted to see what the police would say about the crime. The Defendant testified that he did not delete text messages from his cell phone before Deputy Leake removed the phone from his pocket.

         The Defendant stated that, between noon and the time of his arrest that night, he smoked ten blunts of marijuana, took fifteen Xanax pills, and drank beer. Regarding his interview with Agent Bishop, the Defendant stated that Agent Bishop "wanted to know what [he'd] heard" about the murders. The Defendant told Agent Bishop what "everybody in town had been talking about[.]" They then discussed the Defendant's drug use, and the Defendant agreed with Agent Bishop that someone in a "constant state of inebriation" was "not really in reality" and everything has a "dreamlike quality." The Defendant admitted that he lied to Agent Bishop when he said he did not go to the victims' residence. He stated that he could not tell Agent Bishop the truth, explaining:

If I told somebody [-] I wasn't gonna let that happen to my - I was keeping my family out of it. I - I was ready to go to jail. I was ready to die to keep my family out of this. I didn't want anything to happen to my mama like what happened . . . [t]o the [victims].

         The Defendant testified that he was not at the victims' residence that night of his own free will and that he did not want to enter the house. He went in because the "tall Mexican" made him. The Defendant denied that he killed the victims and denied telling Agent Bishop that he had done so. The Defendant also testified that he was not acting of his own free will when he sold the items taken from the victims' residence and stated that he had not wanted to sell the items. He testified that he did not tell Agent Bishop the truth because he did not want anything to happen to his family.

         On cross-examination, the Defendant stated that he had "plenty of marijuana" and Xanax on March 4, 2011, explaining that Mr. Hill had given him $500 and a quarter of a pound of marijuana. The Defendant admitted that he received $35 for the victims' camera, and he sold the victims' guns for a total of about $100.

         Shondell Hill testified that he graduated from high school in 1998, and from that time until June 2011, he made money by selling marijuana and crack cocaine. He explained that he joined the Black Gangster Disciples when he was fourteen or fifteen years old and that he had two previous felony convictions for selling crack cocaine. He agreed that he beat up a man that had testified before a grand jury regarding one of the crack cocaine charges. Mr. Hill stated that, before March 2011, he had known the Defendant for about five or six months and that he met the Defendant through a mutual friend. He stated that the Defendant would call him almost every morning on the way to school, wanting to purchase "either a blunt or a dime sack." He recalled that the Defendant also sometimes called in the afternoons and sent him text messages about coming to purchase marijuana. Mr. Hill recalled that the Defendant would occasionally come over to his house where they would play video games.

         Mr. Hill testified that he knew Joel Hernandez, whose nickname was "Lobo." He explained that Mr. Hernandez would bring him marijuana from Texas on a Greyhound bus. Mr. Hill stated that, in February 2011, he asked the Defendant to drive him to Memphis to the Greyhound bus station to pick up Mr. Hernandez. He stated that this was the only time that the Defendant drove for him. Once at the bus station, Mr. Hill sent the Defendant inside to find Mr. Hernandez. Mr. Hill explained that they were in the Defendant's car and that he remained in the car while the Defendant went inside the bus station. The Defendant then drove the men back to Lake County. Mr. Hill stated that Mr. Hernandez brought about ten pounds of marijuana with him from Texas and explained that a pound of marijuana could sell for $800 to $1, 000 or more, depending on the quality. Mr. Hill recalled that, when Mr. Hernandez's business was completed in Lake County, the Defendant drove Mr. Hernandez back to the bus station, but Mr. Hill did not go with them. Mr. Hill explained that he paid the Defendant in marijuana; he gave the Defendant four ounces to pick up Mr. Hernandez and another four ounces to take Mr. Hernandez back to the bus station. Mr. Hill explained that, during this time, he did not have a driver's license. He stated that this was the only occasion in which the Defendant was around Mr. Hernandez.

         Mr. Hill recalled that, before Mr. Hernandez's arrival, he asked the Defendant to rent a room for Mr. Hernandez at Boyette's. He explained that he paid for the cabin but that it was rented in the Defendant's name. He stated that he did not know anything about a pot farm in Obion County. Mr. Hill testified that Mr. Hernandez stayed alone at Cabin 9 during the week of March 1. Mr. Hill never saw a gold-colored car or anyone else with Mr. Hernandez at the cabin. Mr. Hill recalled that Mr. Hernandez came to Memphis about every three weeks and that, between trips, he communicated with Mr. Hernandez "[p]robably once a week." He stated that he did not know whether Mr. Hernandez belonged to a prison gang. Mr. Hill recalled that, on the morning of March 2, the Defendant drove him to Cabin 9 to pick up the marijuana. The Defendant drove Mr. Hill around Tiptonville while he tried to sell the marijuana. Mr. Hill noticed that the marijuana was "real seedy and sticky" and smelled like dryer sheets. Around 9:00 or 10:00 a.m., Mr. Hill attempted to sell the marijuana to two African-American men at the Kentucky state line, but the men did not want the marijuana. Mr. Hill recalled that Mr. Hernandez left Cabin 9 on March 3, 2011, rather than stay until March 4 because "the weed he brought was garbage and it wasn't selling[.]" Mr. Hill told Mr. Hernandez that the marijuana was "terrible, " but Mr. Hernandez responded, "Come on . . . you've got to be able to do something for me. I know you can make it happen." Mr. Hill told Mr. Hernandez that people would pay for the marijuana but not at the price Mr. Hernandez wanted. He told Mr. Hernandez to take the marijuana back to Texas with him, but Mr. Hernandez did not want to risk it so the marijuana remained with Mr. Hill. Mr. Hill admitted that he eventually sold the marijuana. He stated that he paid Mr. Hernandez $1, 500 for about two pounds' worth of marijuana. He stated that, had he paid Mr. Hernandez what he was asking for it, he would have paid between $4, 000 and $5, 000.

         Mr. Hill was unaware of the Defendant's discussions with Mr. Hernandez on the way back to Jackson. The Defendant never told Mr. Hill that Mr. Hernandez had offered him the opportunity to deal directly with him. Mr. Hill stated that he had no reason to call the Defendant at 11:42 p.m. on March 3, 2011. He stated that he was at home on the night of March 3 and the early morning hours of March 4 and that he never left his residence. He further stated that no one visited his house during that time. Mr. Hill testified that it was only after the victims were murdered that he learned that the Defendant's grandmother had lived on Owl Hoot Road. He said that it was his understanding that the victims were the Defendant's grandparents.

         Mr. Hill said that, after the Defendant dropped off Mr. Hernandez at the bus station in Jackson, the Defendant called him to let him know that Mr. Hernandez made it to the bus station. Mr. Hill denied that the Defendant came by his residence that night. Mr. Hill testified that the following morning, March 4, he woke up to find that the Defendant had called him five or six times around 4:00 a.m. and sent a text message at 6:30 a.m., asking him to call the Defendant. The Defendant then came over to his residence. Mr. Hill explained:

I opened up my back door, [the Defendant] walked in, he said, "What's up, my guy?" That's how he talked to me -- every time he enter[ed] my house and we talk[ed] on the phone, he'd say, "My guy." He came on in. He had a laptop and he had like a jewelry bag or some type of Crown Royal bag or something. He began to pour the jewelry out in his hand. And I told him he could -- he was wasting his time with that. I told him it looked oldish. I said it looked old-timey, my exact words to him. He put that up. I told him I was interested in the laptop. He opened -- he flipped the laptop open, he proceeded to try to power it on. He powered it on, it had a lock code in it. Then, after he couldn't get through the code he made a phone call to somebody. And I don't know they [sic] name. He asked them, he said, "I got a laptop." He said, "You think you can get it open for me?" I don't know what the reply was over the phone. But he got off the phone, he said, "Hey, I think I know somebody that can open it." He put that -- he put it up. And he let -- When he first came in he also said he had a -- he said he had a trunk full. I asked him where he got that from. He said, "We hit a lick last night." He never said who we were or none of that. I didn't ever ask who "we" were. But he said, "We hit a lick last night."

         Later that afternoon, when he learned about the victims' murders, he called the Defendant. Mr. Hill explained:

Because he had just left my house with a computer and some jewelry, and I -- because when he said, "We hit a lick, " like I said, when my friend came over and was telling me about, "Did you hear about the double murder, " it instantly made me call [the Defendant]. I said, "That stuff you got, did that belong to them people that got killed?" His exact words, he said, "No. Them [sic] was my kin people." And I said, "Why you didn't tell me this while you was here?" He didn't reply or nothing . . . I told him, I said, "Make sure you get my fingerprints off that laptop, " because I had just been looking at it.

         Mr. Hill could not explain why his phone records did not show that the Defendant called him five or six times on the morning of March 4.

         Mr. Hill recalled meeting a man named Luis Mendez while incarcerated at the Lake County Jail. Mr. Mendez was in jail for trafficking marijuana. About six or seven months after Mr. Hill got out of jail, Mr. Mendez called him. Mr. Mendez stayed at Mr. Hill's residence, and Mr. Hill provided him with money to return home to Texas. When Mr. Mendez later returned to Lake County on a Greyhound bus, he brought Mr. Hernandez with him.

         Joel Hernandez, Jr., testified that he was born in Laredo, Texas, that he was thirty-three years old, and that he was serving a sentence in the United States Penitentiary in Allenwood, Pennsylvania for "smuggling illegal aliens." Mr. Hernandez stated that Mr. Mendez was a friend from high school in Texas. He stated that he had "no idea" if Mr. Mendez was a gang member. Mr. Hernandez denied that he was a member of the Texas Mexican Mafia or "Mexikanemi"; rather, he stated that he was a gang "associate" while in prison, which meant that he was under the gang's protection and "[j]ust hangs around" gang members. Mr. Hernandez denied that he ever worked for the Mexikanemi. He acknowledged, however, that he signed a document from the Allenwood, Pennsylvania prison, which stated that he had been a member of the gang since 2009. Mr. Hernandez identified several photographs of his tattoos but denied that the tattoos were gang insignia. He stated that they had "nothing to do with . . . the Mexican Mafia" but that they were simply art denoting "Aztec culture." Mr. Hernandez testified that the Mexikanemi was a criminal gang consisting of "[b]ig bad boys from prison." He stated that to become a member of the Mexikanemi an individual must "kill somebody." He said that he had never been asked to join the gang. He identified several photographs of himself and other prison inmates that his aunt had posted on his Facebook page and admitted that two individuals in the photographs were Mexikanemi members.

         Mr. Hernandez stated that he met Mr. Hill through Mr. Mendez when he accompanied Mr. Mendez to Tennessee while Mr. Mendez was transporting marijuana on a bus. Mr. Hernandez admitted that he later came to Tennessee by bus to bring Mr. Hill marijuana three or four times. Mr. Hernandez recalled that he stayed in a cabin for two days in March 2011, while in Lake County. He stated that he never left the cabin except to go out to eat with the Defendant and Mr. Hill. He recalled that the Defendant was "driving [Mr. Hill] around." He denied that anyone in a gold or champagne-colored car with Texas tags came to see him or that he went anywhere in this car. He recalled that, when Mr. Hill and the Defendant picked him up from the bus station, he had a duffle bag and a backpack. He stated that he had about five pounds of marijuana inside the backpack, which he sold to Mr. Hill for between $800 and $900. Mr. Hernandez testified that he had "a couple" of marijuana suppliers and that he believed his marijuana came from Mexico. During the last trip to Lake County, Mr. Hill informed Mr. Hernandez that the marijuana was not selling for the price Mr. Hernandez requested. Mr. Hernandez testified that he did not have a problem with Mr. Hill not paying him the money he requested for the marijuana. He explained, "I knew it was, you know, no good like it had too much seeds. I knew it was a struggle because I got it very cheap, so I knew he was gonna have a hard time. But I just thought I could take the risk and bring it." He recalled that he told Mr. Hill to keep the marijuana because Mr. Hill "had a wedding coming."

         Mr. Hernandez stated that the Defendant gave him a ride to the bus station in Jackson on March 3. Mr. Hernandez agreed that, when the Defendant drove him to Jackson, he and the Defendant smoked marijuana together. He denied that he and the Defendant discussed the amount of money Mr. Hill gave him for the marijuana. Mr. Hernandez stated that he never called the Defendant, and he did not know the Defendant's phone number. Mr. Hernandez stated that, if the Defendant had his cell phone number, Mr. Hill must have provided it to the Defendant.

         Mr. Hernandez testified that on March 1, 2011, the Defendant and Mr. Hill picked him up at the bus station. Once at Cabin 9, he and Mr. Hill discussed the marijuana and how much Mr. Hill would sell it for. The following day, Mr. Hill informed him that he was having trouble selling the marijuana and that it was "no good." Mr. Hernandez responded, "[C]ome on man[, ] just do what you can do." At the end of the day, he told Mr. Hill, "[Y]ou know what, keep it." He stated that Mr. Hill was supposed to pay $1, 300 for the drugs but that Mr. Hill gave him only $800 because Mr. Hill could not sell it. Mr. Hernandez recalled that the Defendant came inside Cabin 9 twice-when he and Mr. Hill took Mr. Hernandez to buy food and when the Defendant picked up Mr. Hernandez to take him to the bus station. On those occasions, the Defendant watched television and smoked marijuana. Mr. Hernandez said that he probably called Mr. Hill on the afternoon of March 3 to let Mr. Hill know he was on the bus. He denied that he and Mr. Hill talked about the Defendant during this call. He stated that there was no one other than Mr. Hill that he would have been calling in West Tennessee.

         Regarding phone calls from Mr. Hill on March 5, Mr. Hernandez testified that the calls were likely about Mr. Hill having trouble selling the marijuana. Although he initially testified that he knew the marijuana was of poor quality, Mr. Hernandez later stated that Mr. Hill was "making up stories about [how] the weed [wa]s no good." He stated that he received a phone call from Mr. Hill after returning to Texas, during which Mr. Hill told him about the Defendant "murdering people." Mr. Hernandez denied that he and Mr. Hill ever discussed having the Defendant transport marijuana from Texas to West Tennessee. He stated that he continued communicating with Mr. Hill after leaving for Texas because Mr. Hill still owed him money. Mr. Hernandez testified that the prosecutor told him that, if he did not testify, he would "be a suspect" in the murders. He stated that he knew nothing about a bloody towel being found in Cabin 9.

         Mitchell Davis testified that he was a licensed private investigator who provided forensic examination services of electronic devices, including cell phones. Mr. Davis examined the Defendant's cell phone in order to download and obtain information, such as text messages sent and received, deleted text messages, and phone calls made and received. When he received the cell phone, he placed it in a Faraday bag[5] and connected the cell phone to a computer. Mr. Davis then utilized special software, which generated an extraction report of the data on the Defendant's cell phone. Based on the data he retrieved from the Defendant's cell phone, Mr. Davis testified that the cell phone contained only ten text messages with the first message being received on March 4, 2011, at 9:11 p.m. Mr. Davis explained, however, that there had been a forty-minute delay between when the text message was sent and when the Defendant's cell phone received the message. Mr. Davis stated that the device was "either busy or shut off" and then turned back on, which would explain the delay in receiving the message. Mr. Davis opined that, based on the extraction data and the Defendant's cell phone records, text messages sent and received were missing from the cell phone. He said that "[a] missing message can come up by somebody using the delete function on the phone, and the message can be deleted if it's part of a time cycle." Mr. Davis testified that during the gap of time between when the first text message was sent and when it was received- from 9:31 p.m. to 10:11 p.m.-"there [was] a possibility that some messages were deleted from that device." He testified that text messages could not be accidently deleted from the Defendant's cell phone based on the steps required for deletion of a message.

         Mr. Davis reviewed the phone calls between the Defendant and Mr. Hill and found that between February 27, 2011, and March 4, 2011, there were forty-one texts messages sent between the Defendant and Mr. Hill and sixty-two phone calls. Mr. Davis explained that he could not retrieve the substance of the text messages shown on the Defendant's cell phone records, except for the ten messages left on the phone. Mr. Davis also reviewed the cell phone records of Mr. Hernandez and located numerous text messages and phone calls between Mr. Hill and Mr. Hernandez between February 27, 2011, and March 5, 2011. Additionally, Mr. Hernandez's cell phone records showed that he called "West Tennessee numbers" fifty-one times during this time period.

         On cross-examination, Mr. Davis stated that there were several possible explanations for the forty-minute time gap. He said that someone could have turned off the cell phone, or it was in an area with no reception. Mr. Davis testified that the text messages could be deleted off the phone either individually or by group. Regarding how text messages could be deleted from the cell phone, Mr. Davis stated:

You could physically delete it by having the device in your hand; there's one. If there's a calendar built into the device that allows for messages to be deleted after a certain period of time; there's two. That's a manufacturer option. The third way would be because some type of spyware or something remote could delete those messages. And if you want to go on to number four, it could be because there's a glitch in the system, something could have happened to the phone that caused catastrophic damage to something that was holding that text information.

         He agreed that, if officers arrived at Mr. Chisholm's residence at 9:17 p.m. and the Defendant received a text message at 9:20 p.m., that the Defendant could have deleted all of his prior text messages in less than a minute. Mr. Davis agreed that some drug dealers will delete their text messages shortly after the messages are received so that no record of the text messages existed. He stated that it was "[j]ust as possible" that the Defendant deleted his messages shortly after they were received as it was that someone else deleted the messages off of the cell phone after his arrest.

         Dennis Waller, an expert in police investigation policies and procedures, testified that he owned a licensed private detective agency and that he consulted and provided expert testimony on police-related litigation. He explained that he had been asked to review evidence in the Defendant's case, including the TBI lab reports and narratives, photographs of the crime scene, transcripts of testimony from prior hearings, and the tangible evidence collected by the TBI. Additionally, Mr. Waller reviewed the TBI's policy and procedures manual. He stated that there were minimum standards for investigative policies and procedures, which were accepted across the country, and that the investigation of the victims' murders had been deficient in multiple ways. Mr. Waller testified that there should have been a crime scene log created to document who went in and out of the victims' residence, but no such log existed. Additionally, he said that an attempt should have been made to collect samples from all of the different pools of blood around the residence. He stated that the large pools of blood should have been "sectioned or quartered [] off" and samples taken from different areas of the blood in order to determine if it came from the victims or a perpetrator. Mr. Waller stated that the tangible evidence collected at the crime scene did not comply with the accepted standards for investigating a double homicide. He said that the investigation was "minimal" and that it would "[a]bsolutely not" meet the minimum standards of a police investigation as expected in a double homicide case. He identified blood stains in crime scene photographs that should have been collected and explained that standard procedures would require officers to collect this evidence. He testified that a blood spatter expert should have been at the crime scene and that a technician should have dusted for fingerprints on a variety of surfaces inside the residence. Mr. Waller further testified that, upon the discovery of the "secondary crime scene" at Cabin 9, it should have been treated "the same way . . . you would [treat] the primary crime scene." He stated that investigators should have attempted to collect the bloody towel from Cabin 9 after it had been taken to the laundry shed and to collect the fruit punch cans from the dumpster.

         Additionally, Mr. Waller criticized the Defendant's interview by the TBI, explaining that the recording of the notes by Agent Kring did not comply with the accepted standards required of such an interview. He stated that the interview should have been recorded, and if a video camera was not available, Agent Kring's notes should have recorded the questions asked by Agent Bishop, as well as any "qualifiers, " in order to "have the total context" of the Defendant's statements. He noted that Agent Bishop failed to ask the Defendant if he had killed the victims or whether the Defendant had been present at the crime scene. Mr. Waller described such questions as "basic questions that you would want answered."

         Janice Johnson testified as an expert in the areas of crime scene investigation and analysis and blood spatter analysis. Ms. Johnson explained that she was a "[f]orensic specialist" and owner of the Florida-based business, Forensic Pieces, where she taught courses in forensics for law enforcement officers and crime scene investigators. Ms. Johnson testified that she reviewed the forensic evidence collected by the TBI in the Defendant's case. In reviewing the crime scene photographs taken by the TBI, Ms. Johnson noted that many of the photographs did not comply with accepted standards for crime scene documentation. She stated that it was important to measure blood spatter at a scene and that the "height of the stains and the size of the stains could be crucial." However, with the exception of a few photographs of the front door, the TBI failed to photograph blood stain patterns at the scene with a proper scale. Regarding DNA collection and analysis of blood spatter patterns, Ms. Johnson stated:

You would want to do proper collection of these spatter patterns to determine whose blood is where. Obviously, in this case we have two people that have received injuries. So you'd want to know whose blood is where. And perspective in the violent attack[, ] perhaps the perpetrator injured themselves and in doing so sometimes they will leave blood stains behind.
. . . .
Oftentimes again, the violent attack will result in the perpetrator injuring themselves and some of these stains may be displayed as passive stains. When you look at blood stain pattern analysis you look at the stains that are passive versus dynamic and a passive stain could be a drop of blood or a couple of drops of blood from an injury. But without proper sampling sometimes those blood stains from the perpetrator could be missed.

         Ms. Johnson testified that insufficient blood samples were collected from the crime scene for a reconstruction. She said that she had been asked to determine who may have been injured first during the attack but stated that "[i]f sufficient samples had been collected and sufficient photographs taken [she] may have been able to sort that out. But based upon four samples from that scene there's no way [she could] sort that out." She stated that all blood patterns should have been sampled and that there were multiple areas of blood that were not sampled. She stated that the failure to collect these samples violated the minimum standards for crime scene analysis and processing. Ms. Johnson further testified that areas of the crime scene should have been examined for latent fingerprints, latent blood, and "touch DNA." Ms. Johnson stated that "[t]he end result is that we perhaps had forensic evidence that was not detected, collected or preserved that could help us with the reconstruction of the case." She identified multiple pieces of evidence and areas of the crime scene that were not properly documented, collected, and tested. She further stated that the TBI did not conduct any analysis of the blood spatter at the crime scene. Regarding Cabin 9, Ms. Johnson testified that the fruit punch cans and the towel with blood on it should have been collected and tested. She also noted that tire impressions in the victims' driveway were not preserved by the TBI.

         Ms. Johnson testified that she analyzed the Defendant's shirt for blood and found one blood stain on the upper right shoulder and a second blood stain on the cuff of the shirt. She sprayed the shirt with BlueStar Forensics, "a reagent that detects blood that's invisible to the naked eye." She stated that the blood stains were "very small stains like the size of . . . the head of a pin." She further stated that the Defendant's shirt was not properly wrapped and packaged in butcher paper; rather, it was "just wrapped together in a ball." She also examined the Defendant's camouflage overalls, blue jeans, and boots, as well as the Defendant's vehicle. She used BlueStar on the Defendant's boots and found that there were no areas of the boots that tested positive for possible blood. Additionally, she stated that she found nothing on the Defendant's boots that indicated they made the tracks in blood on the victims' kitchen floor. She stated that the Defendant's boots appeared not to have been washed as they still had dirt embedded in the tread. Ms. Johnson stated that she would have expected to find blood residue on the boots even if they had been washed because "when people scrub it's impossible to remove all the blood." Ms. Johnson testified that no blood was found in the Defendant's vehicle, on his cap, camouflage overalls, or blue jeans. Regarding the blue jeans, Ms. Johnson stated that, based on the crime scene, she would have expected blood on the cuffs because they dragged the ground when the Defendant walked.

         Dr. Alfonzo Valdez testified that he was a professor at the University of California where he taught "gang classes." He explained that he was also a retired police officer with twenty-eight years' experience, and he had a doctorate in psychology. Dr. Valdez explained that he had previously worked as a narcotics investigator. He explained that, as an investigator, he had "hundreds of hours of courses involving the histories, modus operandi and characteristics of all the major street gangs." Dr. Valdez testified that he was familiar with Hispanic gangs, including the Mexikanemi out of Texas. He explained that the Mexikanemi was an inmate-run prison gang. He stated, "All prison gangs operate in and outside the prison and many prison gangs have a relationship with the local street gangs that they kind of adopted." Dr. Valdez explained that "street gangs have become the primary distributors and retailers of drugs that come from our prison gangs. And the prison gangs get their drugs from the cartels." He testified that gang members can work with non-gang members to carry out the gang's business.

         Dr. Valdez reviewed Mr. Hernandez's tattoos, criminal record, and prison records and determined that Mr. Hernandez was a member of the Mexikanemi. He testified that Mr. Hernandez would be killed in prison because of his tattoos if he were not a member of the Mexikanemi. He testified that Mr. Hernandez likely had a "lower ranking position" in the Mexikanemi and stated that a prison gang member "will not tell you in court that he's a prison gang member." He explained that the Mexikanemi primarily funded itself through drug sales, contract killings, extortion, and "home invasion robberies[.]" Dr. Valdez explained that the term "mi cholos" meant "[m]y home boys, my fellow gang members." Dr. Valdez testified that the Mexikanemi operated in West Tennessee at the time of the murders. He explained that the gang used the I-35 corridor from Laredo to deliver drugs to the "eastern or mid part of the United States." He stated that the Mexikanemi used "extreme forms of violence to intimidate you and to control you." Dr. Valdez testified that, based on his review of the case, he believed that the violence inflicted upon the victims was consistent with the violence of the Mexikanemi.

         Dr. Valdez explained that he had also studied the Gangster Disciples, of which Mr. Hill was a member. He stated that the Gangster Disciples were "one of the country's more violent gang[s]." Dr. Valdez explained that the victims' murders were "very consistent" with the operations of both the Mexikanemi and the Gangster Disciples. He testified that the gangs use "hyper violence" for intimidation purposes. He stated, "They come in numbers. They overpower you. They will . . . do brutal things to you to send a message of fear and intimidation." Dr. Valdez opined that the victims' murders were consistent with the Mexikanemi's modus operandi. He explained that there was a lack of a major struggle in the residence; he stated, "This was a very quick overpowering attack. The [victims] had very little time to defend themselves." He testified, based on his experience, that a single person could not have committed the murders.

         Dr. Richard Ofshe, an expert on police interrogations tactics and on the reliability of suspects' statements, testified that he had reviewed Agent Kring's notes of the Defendant's interview with Agent Bishop. The notes, signed by the Defendant, read:[6]

Last night I was riding around drinking[.] I took drugs. Don't remember much between 10 pm-midnight. Cannot remember where I was. I was alone. I was with my buddies earlier. Made it to Owl Hoot. What happened happened. Woke up during the night seeing that thinking it was too real to be a nightmare. Literally scared me. Waking up this morning and Owl Hoot and being shot in the head. First I heard [two people] shot at Owl Hoot[.] [D]id not think about it until I got to my car and worked through it. Put two [and] two together. The nightmares were more than real. Feel that my conscience was telling me what I had done. The only thing I have been in court for is a traffic stop. I don't do things like that.
Here lately I have been taking pills. This is not me. I don't rob you know. I am well off family. I smoke weed since 13. Pills off and on hydro freshman [year of] high school. I have never been on drugs. Never done cocaine. I do drugs and I don't think I have a [] problem. The dream is realer than real. The only thing it wakes me up-jerk up in a cold sweat. I see him laying on the floor-cannot tell where on his stomach in a pool of blood. No stab wounds. When I see her it might be in the kitchen-tile floor next to a table laying on her back. It had to be a knife that I used. I could have used a gun. I didn't know I was taking one pistol when I took it. I was by myself. I don't know which knife I used. There[']s 2-a hunting knife-you might check in the middle consol[e]. There are 2 sections. I don't know maybe one in . . . the bottom. There are 2 hatchets in the back area used for chopping wood. Curt-the guy where I was. I have not told anyone about my dream. 10 pm-12 am no recollection of what happened. Started drinking at 6 pm and riding around. Got home about 12 am. Watched an episode of South Park . . . . At the house in his bed. Went to sleep about 1 am. Woke up this morning like usual and went to school at DCC. Have 1 class from 10-11 am. Taking 13 hours. The guns I might have taken [and] thrown the guns in the river. There ain't no telling where it is. If I did take pills from the house I probably did not take any. If I did take any pain medication it would be in my car. I took a shower this morning. I cannot remember if I had any blood on them. I was going to wear my Jordans this morning and I did not see anything on them. Did not remember having blood on them. I did not even know that they moved out there. Still thought [] my great grandmother's husband who passed away.

         Dr. Ofshe testified stated that Agent Kring's notes of the Defendant's statement were "clearly not complete." He explained:

It doesn't tell us everything that was said. It doesn't tell us anything about what tactics may have been used in order to facilitate getting whatever it is that was written down from the suspect. These notes don't add up to anything. And even by the admission of the interrogators, they're not - they don't add up to an admission to participation in the crime.

         Dr. Ofshe noted that the Defendant's statement was "couched as a dream" and was not "a statement about something that happened." He stated that, when looking at Agent Kring's notes, the context of the Defendant's statements was unknown. Dr. Ofshe testified that, if the details of the crime scene were known in the community at the time of the Defendant's statement, his statement could have been contaminated by that information. Based on his analysis of the Defendant's statement, Dr. Ofshe testified that the statement was "worthless."

         State's Rebuttal Proof

         Matt Sipes of the Tennessee Highway Patrol testified that, in January 2011, he began working with the DEA investigating large scale drug trafficking cases in northwest Tennessee. Trooper Sipes stated that drug dealers who used buses to transport marijuana would not transport more than about fifteen pounds because of the smell. He testified that, in October 2011, he investigated "a sizeable outdoor grow" of marijuana in Obion County. He explained that approximately eight Hispanic individuals were suspected for their involvement in the grow and that two Hispanic individuals were identified and arrested. Investigators found no connection between the two arrested men and Texas. Additionally, he found no connection between the marijuana grow in Obion County to anyone in Lake County.

         Defendant's Rebuttal Proof

         Dr. Valdez testified that, based on his research and experience, a member of the Mexikanemi would not travel by bus from Texas to Tennessee to sell only three to five pounds of marijuana.

         At the conclusion of proof, the Defendant moved for a judgement of acquittal, arguing that no reasonable jury could find the Defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The trial court determined that the issue of the Defendant's guilt was a "question of fact for the jury" and denied the motion. Following deliberations, the jury convicted the Defendant of two counts of second degree murder, as a lesser-included offense of first degree premediated murder; two counts of first degree felony murder; and two counts of especially aggravated robbery.

         Sentencing

         At sentencing, Paul Shell delivered a victim-impact statement on behalf of his family, requesting that the Defendant receive consecutive life sentences.

         Captain Dennis Dean, the jail administrator for the Obion County Jail, testified that the Defendant was under his supervision from March 2011 through 2015. Captain Dean explained that the Defendant had been kept in "solitary" for the entire time he was in the "maximum security unit." He described the Defendant as "respectful" and stated that the Defendant followed the procedures and policies of the jail. He explained that the Defendant read two or three books a week. Captain Dean recalled that the Defendant had warned officers on more than one occasion of another inmate's plans to "do harm" to a staff member at the jail. Captain Dean testified that the Defendant gave no indication that he would be an especially dangerous prisoner and that he never saw the Defendant lose his temper when confronted by other inmates.

         David Gray, the pastor at Abundant Life Fellowship, and his wife, Tammy Gray, testified that they had known the Defendant since the Defendant was about a year old. Pastor Gray described the Defendant as "very nice. Kind." He testified that he had never seen the Defendant lose his temper or act violently. Pastor Gray stated that the Defendant was not a dangerous person and that he believed that the Defendant could be rehabilitated. Mrs. Gray described the Defendant as "[s]weet" and stated that she did not believe that the Defendant was especially dangerous.

         Regina Bargery, the Defendant's mother, testified that the Defendant was loving, very respectful, and had a "[b]ig heart." She stated that she had not known the extent of the Defendant's drug use until the trial. She said that there had never been any indication that the Defendant might be violent towards another.

         The Defendant then made an allocution statement to the court, during which he reiterated that he did not kill the victims but expressed remorse that he involved himself with drugs and Mr. Hill and Mr. Hernandez.

         The trial court merged the Defendant's second degree murder convictions into his convictions for first degree felony murder and sentenced the Defendant to consecutive life sentences. For his convictions for especially aggravated robbery, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to fifteen years on both counts and ordered the sentences to run concurrently with the life sentences. In ordering consecutive sentences, the trial court found that the Defendant was a dangerous offender whose behavior indicated little or no regard for human life and that the Defendant had no hesitation about committing a crime in which the risk to human life was high. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-35-115(b)(4). The trial court stated that the victims' murders were "the bloodiest, most gruesome murders" that the court had seen and recalled that the victims were "stabbed repeatedly and cut repeatedly. Mrs. Shell's throat was so violently sliced almost to the point of decapitation." The trial court found that the Defendant was "a danger to the public, " citing State v. Wilkerson, 905 S.W.2d 933 (Tenn. 1995). The court further noted that, although the Defendant had no prior convictions, he had a history of criminal behavior that included selling and delivering drugs. Regarding the Defendant's allocution statement, the trial court stated:

You do state that you're sorry that the Shells were killed but, you accept no responsibility at all for what has happened other than the fact that you were present and that you - that this might not have happened had you not been using drugs. You don't, however, accept direct responsibility for the crime. This bothers me. Your statement today bothers me.

         The trial court found that the Defendant's "lack of candor and . . . lack of remorse" suggested that consecutive sentencing was appropriate.

         Motion for New Trial Hearing

         The Defendant filed a timely motion for new trial. At a hearing on the motion, Officer Mason McDowell of the Dyersburg Police Department testified that he worked mainly narcotics investigations, and in those cases, he occasionally needed to recover text messages from suspects' phones. He explained that many cell phone providers, including Verizon Wireless, had preprinted preservation letters which law enforcement could use to request that the company preserve the content of text messages. Officer McDowell explained that Verizon "loosely guarantee[d] three to five days" worth of text messages prior to the date the request for preservation was made. He stated that no subpoena was needed for a preservation letter but that officers would typically obtain a subpoena after filing the letter with the cell phone company. He said that the procedure was available in March 2011.

         On cross-examination, Officer McDowell stated that it was possible to delete information from a cell phone remotely and that "it would not be difficult for one of [the Defendant's] associates, a family member, anyone else that would have the same interest as him in getting rid of the messages" to delete them in this manner. Officer McDowell agreed that law enforcement could have filed a preservation letter with the Defendant's cell phone company to preserve his text messages. However, he noted that, as the account holder, the Defendant could have requested them at any time.

         Sergeant Dennis McCaig, with the Dyer County Sheriff's Office, testified that he had been responsible for developing the security protocol for the sequestered jury. He stated that the officers working the security detail followed two rules-jurors were not left alone unless they were in their particular hotel room and jurors were to have no contact with anyone outside the jury. Regarding the jurors' phone calls, Sergeant McCaig stated that he instructed court officers to listen to jurors' conversations and to stay within two feet of the jurors during the calls. Sergeant McCaig explained that the guidelines for the family member visitations were "very strict, " and the visits were "for a very short period of time and with immediate family members only." He stated that he could hear the conversations between jurors and their visitors, and he did not hear anyone discussing the trial. Sergeant McCaig instructed court officers to listen for "key words" like "evidence" and "trial" while listening to the conversations between jurors and visitors.

         Eight deputies and two lieutenants of the Dyer County Sheriff's Office testified that they were part of the security detail for the sequestered jury during the Defendant's trial. Their testimony was consistent and generally repetitious. Court officers were on duty twenty-four hours a day at the hotel where the jury stayed. Jurors were also monitored by video surveillance, and cameras were set up on both ends of the hall of the hotel in which the jury stayed. Jurors were supervised while on smoke breaks, and jurors had no outside contact during those breaks. Jurors would occasionally use the exercise room at the hotel in groups, and court officers supervised the jurors' use of the exercise room. Two or more court officers supervised the jury during family member visits, and jurors were instructed not to discuss the case. Jurors were allowed to make one phone call a day from a specific hotel phone. The jurors' hotel rooms were not equipped with phones. A log with the juror's name, the date and time, the number called, whom the juror called, the juror's relationship to that person, and the topic of the conversation was maintained. A member of the court security detail would remain close to the juror during their phone call to insure the juror did not speak about the trial. None of the court security detail heard or saw anything to indicate that the jurors at any time discussed the case.

         Several members of the jury also testified. Juror Johnson explained that the jury had been sequestered during the three week trial and that, during that time, deputies went with the jurors "everywhere [they] went." Juror Johnson stated that she never discussed the facts of the case with anyone outside of the jury. She further testified that, to her knowledge, no other jurors spoke to anyone outside the jury about the case. Juror Johnson recalled that on several occasions the jury was allowed visitation with family members. She stated that she and other jurors were made aware that, if they were caught discussing the case with family, the trial would end. Juror Johnson testified that she did not discuss the case during family member visitation and that she never heard other jurors talking about the case at that time. Juror Johnson testified that two to three deputies supervised the family member visitation and stood "on the outside watching everybody." Juror Johnson testified that there were occasional "smoke breaks" for jurors but that a deputy was always supervising them. Juror Johnson recalled that, during deliberations, another juror discussed a letter written by the Defendant with a "very dark" poem at the bottom of it, which had been introduced at trial. The juror said that the Defendant was "highly intelligent" and had a "dark side."

         On cross-examination, Juror Johnson stated that jurors were allowed to make phone calls to family members, and the calls were recorded on a call log. She recalled that a deputy was always in the room with a juror when she made a phone call, and the deputy could hear her side of the conversation. Juror Johnson recalled that during deliberations another juror said that the Defendant's "granddaddy was a big farmer who had money, and that he had been known for buying his family members out of trouble with his money." This juror also said that the Defendant's grandfather was paying his legal fees.

         Juror Vestal testified that she would occasionally go on a smoke break at the hotel with other jurors and that there was always a deputy outside with them. She stated that they were not approached by anyone during the smoke breaks and that the jurors did not discuss the case while on smoke breaks. Juror Vestal stated that she went to the exercise room at the hotel a couple of times and that a deputy was in the room supervising jurors while they exercised. She recalled that, a few times, jurors gathered in their hotel rooms to watch movies, talk, and play cards. She stated that she was able to make phone calls only while supervised by a deputy, and she explained that all of her phone calls were logged by deputies. Juror Vestal said that she never had a conversation about the trial during her phone calls. Juror Vestal participated in the two family member visitations; she stated that she never discussed the trial with visitors. Juror Vestal testified that she did not recall a juror saying anything about the Defendant's grandfather. On cross-examination, Juror Vestal explained that one juror read the letter written by the Defendant to other jurors during deliberations. The juror also read the poem at the end of the letter, which Juror Vestal believed the Defendant had written. Juror Vestal did not recall any jurors "saying anything negative or positive" regarding the poem.

         Juror Holland testified that he served as a juror at the Defendant's trial. He recalled that he would occasionally join other jurors during smoke breaks and that a deputy always accompanied jurors for those breaks. Juror Holland testified that the only time he was left alone was "[w]hen [he] went to sleep at night." He explained that there was not a phone in his hotel room, and jurors were not allowed to have cell phones. When he wanted to make a phone call, he had to go into a hotel room with a deputy, who monitored his conversations. Juror Holland stated that he never discussed the case during these phone calls. He stated that, when he would go to the exercise room, a deputy would stand at the door and watch. He recalled that there were several deputies in the room during family member visitations and that he never heard other jurors discussing the case with family members during those meetings. On cross-examination, Juror Holland stated that one juror requested a magnifying glass during deliberations so that she could read the poem at the end of the Defendant's letter. Juror Holland said that he believed that the Defendant had written the poem but that the jurors did not talk about it "a whole lot, " and no one attempted to interpret the poem. He stated that he did not hear any juror comment about the Defendant's grandfather.

         Juror Bennett, a juror at the Defendant's trial, testified that when she went on smoke breaks or to the exercise room a deputy always accompanied her and the other jurors, and they were never left unattended. She stated that deputies maintained a call log of all of the jurors' phone calls, and a deputy was in the room while she was on the phone. Juror Bennett said that she never had a conversation about the trial during her phone calls. She stated that no one attempted to tell her anything about the case during these conversations. Juror Bennett recalled that there were several deputies watching the jurors during family member visits, and the deputies were in a position to overhear their conversations. Juror Bennett never heard anyone talking about the trial during the visits. Juror Bennett explained that she had "heard of the Bargerys most all of [her] life" because she lived nearby but that she did not know the family personally. During deliberations, she mentioned that a member of the Bargery family was "a well[-]known farmer in Lake County." She explained:

I had said that I had known his grandmother, Miss Billie, for several years, and I hated that she was having to go through what she was having to go through. And that's the only thing I remember ever saying about that.

         On cross-examination, Juror Bennett said that she did not recall discussing the Defendant's father's death during deliberations nor did she recall saying that the Defendant's grandfather "always bought those boys out of trouble[.]" Regarding the poem on the Defendant's letter, Juror Bennett stated that she believed he had written it.

         Juror Edwards testified that she served as a juror at the trial. She recalled that deputies escorted jurors when they wanted to use the exercise room and take smoke breaks. Juror Edwards said that deputies never left jurors unattended and that no one outside the jury attempted to talk to her about the Defendant's case. She recalled that the deputies made a call log of each juror's phone calls and that deputies were in the same room while jurors were on the phone. She said that, during the phone calls, she never had a conversation about the trial. During family member visitations, the deputies were in the same area monitoring the interaction. She stated that she never spoke to visitors about the case and that she did not overhear any other jurors speaking about it. Juror Edwards recalled that she played cards two times with other jurors in a hotel room, but they were "very careful" not to discuss the trial. She testified that, at no point during the trial, was she provided information by anyone outside the jury. On cross-examination, Juror Edwards stated that she did not recall Juror Bennett talking about the Defendant's family. Regarding the poem on the Defendant's letter, Juror Edwards stated that she was not sure if the Defendant had written the poem.

         Following a hearing, the trial court entered a written order denying the motion for new trial. This timely appeal follows.

         Analysis

         I. Motion to Suppress

         Before trial, the Defendant filed a motion to suppress, requesting that the trial court suppress all evidence obtained as a result of the illegal seizure, search, and arrest of the Defendant. At an evidentiary hearing, Chief Kenny Lee of the Ridgely Police Department testified that he received a phone call on March 4, 2011, from an anonymous caller who stated that the Defendant was "trying to sell guns." Chief Lee then "passed the tip along" to the Lake County Sheriff's Department, the agency investigating the victims' murders.

         Deputy Patrick Leake of the Lake County Sheriff's Department testified that, during the investigation at the crime scene, investigators determined that guns and jewelry were missing from the Shell residence. After the sheriff's department received an anonymous tip that the Defendant was "selling guns around town, " Deputy Leake was tasked with locating the Defendant in order to ask him about the guns. Deputy Leake, along with Deputy Mario Montgomery, patrolled the county for several hours before seeing the Defendant's vehicle at the residence of Dennis Chisholm. Deputy Leake intended to conduct a knock and talk at the Chisholm residence. He parked his patrol car in the driveway, exited the vehicle, and knocked on the front door of the residence. When Mr. Chisholm answered the door, Deputy Leake asked Mr. Chisholm if the Defendant was at the residence, and Mr. Chisholm replied that he was there. Deputy Leake then asked for permission to enter the residence, saying that he "needed to talk to [the Defendant]." Mr. Chisholm told Deputy Leake to "come on in." Once inside, Deputy Leake saw Mr. Chisholm's son, Curt, standing in the kitchen and asked, "[W]here did [the Defendant] go?" Curt told the deputy that the Defendant "just ran out the back door." Deputy Leake went to the open back door, looked outside, and saw the Defendant standing by a shed. While standing in the doorway, Deputy Leake said to the Defendant, "Hunter, come here, " and the Defendant "walked right to [him]." Deputy Leake said, "Let's go out front. We need to talk to you." The Defendant responded, "Okay." Deputy Leake did not have his weapon drawn and did not make any threats to the Defendant. The Defendant and Deputy Leake walked back through the residence and out the front door. By the time they got to the driveway, additional officers had arrived at the residence. There were four or five police cars, but the cars did not have their blue lights activated. Deputy Leake did not place handcuffs on the Defendant or touch the Defendant, and he did not ask the Defendant any questions. Deputy Leake testified that he noticed no signs that the Defendant was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

         Deputy Jason Tubbs asked the Defendant for consent to search his car, and the Defendant gave consent. The Defendant said, "[Y]eah, search it, there's nothing in there." Moments later, Deputy Allison arrived and read the Defendant his Miranda rights. Deputy Allison asked the Defendant if he had sold any guns, and the Defendant said that he had not. Deputy Allison then asked for consent to search the Defendant's vehicle, and the Defendant again consented. Deputy Leake testified that deputies made no threats and did not attempt to coerce the Defendant.

         Deputy Leake recalled that when they began searching the Defendant's car, he conducted a pat down of the Defendant for weapons for "officer safety." Deputy Leake first asked the Defendant, "Can I pat you down? Do you have anything on you?" The Defendant responded, "Go ahead, there's nothing on me or in my car." Upon conducting the pat down, Deputy Leake noticed a square object in the right cargo pocket of the Defendant's pants. Deputy Leake was unsure of what the object was; he thought that it could have been a small gun in a case. Deputy Leake removed the object from the Defendant's pocket and found that it was a digital scale in a leather case and that the scale had marijuana residue on it.

         Deputy Leake asked Mr. Chisholm for consent to search the yard to make sure there were no "weapons or drugs or anything back there." Mr. Chisholm consented to the search. Deputy Leake found several baggies containing marijuana in the backyard "in a pretty straight line, " leading to where he had seen the Defendant.

         Chief Deputy Jason Allison testified that, on March 4, 2011, he responded to the crime scene at the Shell residence after the victims' bodies were discovered by family members. Deputy Allison cleared the house, "making a quick sweep of the house." He saw that the house appeared to have been ransacked; he saw a wallet laying in the floor and jewelry spread out on a bed. Investigators learned from the victims' family members that several guns and some pieces of jewelry were missing from the residence.

         Deputy Allison testified that he received a call from Chief Lee, who told him that he had received a tip that the Defendant had been "selling guns in town." He also learned that the Defendant was "kin" to the Shell family by marriage. He told Deputy Leake to talk to the Defendant and ask if he had sold any guns that day. That evening, Deputy Allison heard a radio transmission from Deputy Leake that he had located the Defendant's vehicle at Dennis Chisholm's residence. Deputy Allison then heard a second radio transmission from Deputy Leake that the Defendant "just ran out the back door." He responded to the Chisholm residence, arriving approximately two minutes after the transmission. There were four or five deputies standing outside with the Defendant and a couple of Tiptonville City officers sitting in their patrol cars on the street. The Defendant, who was standing in the driveway, was not handcuffed, officers did not have their weapons drawn, and no one was searching the Defendant's car. However, Deputy Tubbs told Deputy Allison that the Defendant had given consent to search his vehicle.

         Deputy Allison read the Defendant his Miranda rights, and the Defendant indicated that he understood his rights. Deputy Allison testified that he was familiar with the signs of intoxication, and the Defendant did not appear to be under the influence of any intoxicant. He asked the Defendant if he had any guns or if he had sold any guns that day. When the Defendant denied having or selling guns, Deputy Allison asked for permission to search his car. The Defendant responded, "Yes, sir, go ahead, there's nothing in there." It was a "very casual conversation, " and the Defendant was not threatened or coerced into giving consent. Deputy Allison searched the front passenger side door. He saw a pill bottle on the floor board, which contained pills that appeared to be Xanax, but the bottle did not contain a label. He removed the pill bottle and a cell phone. He and Sheriff Avery then saw a knife between the seats, and Sheriff Avery said, "I think there's blood on this." Deputy Tubbs was searching the trunk, and he reported, "Chief, we got costume jewelry in the back." At that time, Deputy Allison told everyone to stop searching and "back out of the vehicle." He knew that the vehicle would need to be processed because they had possibly found items from the Shell residence. Deputy Leake informed Deputy Allison of the digital scale and marijuana residue in the Defendant's pocket, and Deputy Allison arrested the Defendant for possession of drug paraphernalia.

         Sheriff Bryan Avery testified that he went to the Chisholm residence after hearing Deputy Leake's radio transmission that he had found the Defendant's vehicle. When he arrived, the Defendant was standing in the driveway; he did not appear to be under duress, he was not in handcuffs, and officers did not have their weapons drawn. After the Defendant consented to a search of his vehicle, Sheriff Avery and Deputy Allison found a knife near the center console. The knife had a "red substance" on it where the blade and the handle met.

         Deputy Jason Tubbs testified that Deputy Allison instructed deputies that, if they saw the Defendant, they should stop and ask if he was selling guns. Deputy Tubbs testified that he went to the Chisholm residence after hearing Deputy Leake's radio transmission that he had located the Defendant but that the Defendant was "running out the back door." When Deputy Tubbs arrived at the residence, the Defendant and Deputy Leake were coming out the front door of the house. Deputy Leake did not have his weapon drawn and was not touching the Defendant, and the Defendant never said that he wanted to leave. Deputy Tubbs asked the Defendant for consent to search his vehicle. The Defendant consented to the search and asked Deputy Tubbs, "What's this about, Owl Hoot?" Deputy Tubbs recalled that the Defendant then took a step towards the vehicle as if he was going to open the door for Deputy Tubbs when Deputy Allison pulled into the driveway. Deputy Tubbs informed Deputy Allison that the Defendant had given consent to search his car. Deputy Allison also asked for permission to search the vehicle, and the Defendant stated, "Yes, sir, go ahead." Deputy Tubbs searched the trunk of the vehicle. The trunk was "pretty packed, " but underneath everything, Deputy Tubbs found a Crown Royal bag containing jewelry. When Deputy Allison instructed everyone to "[g]et away from the vehicle, " Deputy Tubbs closed the trunk.

         Deputy Corey Glidewell testified that Deputy Allison told deputies to "be on the lookout" for the Defendant because the Defendant was supposed to have been selling guns that may have come from the Shell residence. Deputy Glidewell arrived at the Chisholm residence after Deputy Leake and Deputy Montgomery. Deputy Glidewell saw Deputy Leake perform a pat down search of the Defendant while they were under the carport in the driveway. Deputy Leake told the Defendant that he was going to pat down the Defendant "for safety."

         Dennis Chisholm testified that, on March 4, 2011, he was at his residence on Headden Drive in Tiptonville with his wife and son, Curt, when Deputy Leake knocked on his door. Deputy Leake asked if the Defendant was there and if he could speak to the Defendant. Mr. Chisholm told Deputy Leake that the Defendant "just went out the back door." At that time, Deputy Leake "came through the house to the door that [the Defendant] had left out of." Two other officers stood inside the door but did not come through the house with Deputy Leake. Mr. Chisholm later counted twenty-four officers outside the front of the house and saw that there were patrol cars blocking the Defendant's car in the driveway. Both Mr. Chisholm and his wife, Rachelle Chisholm, testified that, in their interactions with the Defendant earlier that afternoon, the Defendant appeared to be intoxicated.

         Deputy Mario Montgomery testified that, after the sheriff's department received information from "someone" that the Defendant "had been trying to sell a stolen pistol or a computer, " he and Deputy Leake found the Defendant's vehicle at the Chisholm residence on Headden Drive. Deputy Montgomery said that he had known the Defendant for several years and was familiar with the Defendant's car. Deputy Montgomery said that they pulled in the driveway and "parked behind [the Defendant's] vehicle." Deputy Montgomery explained that he was standing in the carport area when he heard Deputy Leake say, "He's running out the back door." Deputy Montgomery entered the fenced backyard where he saw the Defendant beside a shed, petting some puppies. Deputy Montgomery recalled that Deputy Leake asked the Defendant if he could conduct a pat down for his safety while they were still in the backyard. The Defendant said, "I don't have anything on me . . . you can search me if you like." When Deputy Leake patted down the Defendant, he felt "bulges" in the Defendant's jacket. When Deputy Leake asked what it was, several bags of marijuana fell onto the ground. Deputy Montgomery testified that, after the discovery of the bags of marijuana, Deputy Leake placed the Defendant in handcuffs and walked "through the [fence] gate back onto the concreted driveway." When they got to the front yard, the Defendant asked him, "This doesn't have anything to do with the . . . Shells' murder, does it?" Deputy Montgomery told him that he was "not at liberty to discuss anything with [the Defendant] at th[at] time." He told the Defendant that he was just there to "pick him up" and that an investigator "wanted to speak with [the Defendant]."

         Following the hearing, the trial court entered a memorandum opinion, which read in pertinent part:

[W]hile officers were investigating a gruesome murder scene, they discovered that there [were] jewelry and guns missing. During the investigation at the crime scene, they received a call from Chief Kenny Lee stating that an unidentified informant had advised them that [the Defendant] was attempting to sell guns. Knowing that guns had been taken from the Shell home and with this tip, the Lake County Sheriff's Department deputies were notified to locate [the Defendant], and question him about whether or not he had been selling guns. Sheriff Avery, [] Deputy Allison, [] Agent Bishop and [] Agent Ferguson continued their investigation at the scene. Deputy Leake located the [D]efendant's car at the Dennis Chisholm home in Tiptonville. Deputy Leake went to the home and knocked on the front door and asked Mr. Chisholm if [the Defendant] was there. He was told that he was there. Deputy Leake was invited in to talk to [the Defendant]. At this point, Kirk Chisholm standing in the kitchen[, ] stated that [the Defendant] had just run out the back door. The Sheriff's Department was notified that the [D]efendant had run out the back door. Deputy Leake called for the [D]efendant[, ] who was in the backyard. The [D]efendant came to the house. They went out the front of the house at which point the [D]efendant was asked by Deputy Tubbs if they could search his car. At this time, [] Deputy Allison arrived. The [D]efendant had already been [M]irandized, and Chief [Deputy] Allison [M]irandized him again and also got permission to search the vehicle. At this point, Deputy Leake performed a pat down and found drug paraphernalia. During the search of the vehicle, the Lake County Sheriff's Department found evidence of jewelry and a knife which appeared to have blood on it. Up to this point, the [D]efendant had not been in custody. The defense argues that he was unable to leave because he was blocked in and because there appeared to be an overwhelming number of law enforcement officers present. The [D]efendant, however, was not in custody and no custodial interrogation had taken place at that time. He was then placed under arrest for being in possession of drug paraphernalia. He was taken to the Sheriff's Department where he was again [M]irandized and he was interviewed. He had asked a question at the Chisholm home as to whether or not this involved Owl Hoot Road. The Shell home was on Owl Hoot Road. Although the [D]efendant was never formally advised the reason for the pat down or a search of his vehicle, it appears that the [D]efendant knew why the requests were made. At no time at the Chisholm home were any weapons drawn or any threats or attempts to coerce the [D]efendant [made]. The [D]efendant was not handcuffed when his consent to search his vehicle was given or when his consent to a pat down was given. The search of the vehicle started after the [D]efendant had been [M]irandized and after he had given permission to search the vehicle.
The Court does not find that there was a formal seizure of the [D]efendant until after the pat down. The Court also finds that the Terry pat down was constitutionally valid as it was supported by reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. In addition to the anonymous tip, all of the officers involved were aware that there had been a gruesome murder. They were aware that there was a relationship between the [D]efendant and the parties murdered. They also were aware that jewelry and guns had been taken from the crime scene. When Deputy Leake went to the Chisholm home, it appeared that the [D]efendant was running out the back door. With all this information, the Court finds that a Terry stop was proper under the circumstances of this case.
The Court finds also that[, ] although the Defendant may not have appeared to have been himself, there is no evidence to conclude that he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs so that he was unable to understand the request being made of him or the Miranda Rights which he was given on multiple occasions. The Court, therefore, finds that he gave consent to search the vehicle and consent to make the pat down although it does not appear necessarily that consent for the pat down was necessary. Although there were many officers present and the driveway was blocked, the Court does not feel that the consent to search the vehicle should be suppressed because of a coercive environment. The defendant was not threatened or coerced in any way. He was not placed under arrest or handcuffed until after the pat down when drug paraphernalia was discovered. The conduct of all the officers present does not negatively affect the validity of the consent.

         Accordingly, the trial court denied the Defendant's motion to suppress.[7]

         On appeal, the Defendant contends that his rights under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, section 7 of the Tennessee Constitution were violated by the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained by the search of his person and automobile. The Defendant contends that the trial court: (1) erroneously relied upon the anonymous tip as a basis for the detention; (2) erroneously found that the Defendant was not in custody when he was searched by Deputy Leake; (3) erroneously found that, although the Defendant was never formally advised of the reason for the pat down search or a search of his vehicle, it appeared that the Defendant knew why the requests were made; (4) erred in finding there was no formal seizure of the Defendant until after the pat down; and (5) erred in finding the Terry pat down was constitutionally valid and supported by reasonable suspicion. The State responds that the trial court properly denied the motion to suppress because the Defendant's encounter with law enforcement was consensual "up to and including the time digital scales containing marijuana residue were discovered on his person." Alternatively, the State asserts that any Terry stop was supported by reasonable suspicion.

         A. Standard of Review

         When reviewing a motion to suppress, this court is bound by the trial court's findings of fact unless the evidence preponderates otherwise. State v. Odom, 928 S.W.2d 18, 23 (Tenn. 1996). Questions of credibility, the weight and value of the evidence, and resolutions of conflicts in the evidence are resolved by the trial court. Id. The prevailing party is entitled to the strongest legitimate view of the evidence and all reasonable inferences that may be drawn therefrom. Id. We review the trial court's conclusions of law de novo. State v. Carter, 160 S.W.3d 526, 531 (Tenn. 2005). When reviewing a trial court's ruling on a motion to suppress, this court may consider the entire record, including the proof presented at the suppression hearing as well as at trial. State v. Thacker, 164 S.W.3d 208, 248 (Tenn. 2005); State v. Walton, 41 S.W.3d 75, 81 (Tenn. 2001); State v. Henning, 975 S.W.2d 290, 297-99 (Tenn. 1998).

         B. Police-Citizen Encounters

         It is well-settled that courts have divided police-citizen encounters into three different categories: (1) a full scale arrest which must be supported by probable cause; (2) a brief investigatory detention which must be supported by reasonable suspicion; and (3) brief police-citizen encounters which require no objective justification. State v. Daniel, 12 S.W.3d 420, 424 (Tenn. 2000) (citing Brown v. Illinois, 422 U.S. 590 (1975); Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 20-22 (1968); Florida v. Bostick, 501 U.S. 429, 434 (1991)). "Of the three categories, only the first two rise to the level of a 'seizure' for constitutional analysis purposes." State v. Day, 263 S.W.3d 891, 901 (Tenn. 2008).

         The United States and Tennessee Constitutions protect citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. U.S. Const. amend. IV; Tenn. Const. art. I, § 7; State v. Binette, 33 S.W.3d 215, 218 (Tenn. 2000). "[A] warrantless search or seizure is presumed unreasonable, and evidence discovered as a result thereof is subject to suppression unless the State demonstrates that the search or seizure was conducted pursuant to one of the narrowly defined exceptions to the warrant requirement." State v. Yeargan, 958 S.W.2d 626, 629 (Tenn. 1997) (citing Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 403 U.S. 443, 454-55 (1971)). A seizure occurs when "in view of all the circumstances surrounding the incident, a reasonable person would have believed that he or she was not free to leave." Daniel, 12 S.W.3d at 425 (internal citations omitted). "In order to determine whether a particular encounter constitutes a seizure, a court must consider all the circumstances surrounding the encounter to determine whether police conduct would have communicated to a reasonable person that the person was not free to decline the officer's request or otherwise terminate the encounter." Id. (quoting Bostick, 501 U.S. at 440) (internal quotation marks omitted). The factors that a court should consider when determining whether a seizure has occurred include, but are not limited to, "the time, place and purpose of the encounter; the words used by the officer; the officer's tone of voice and general demeanor; the officer's statements to others who were present during the encounter; the threatening presence of several officers; the display of a weapon by an officer; and the physical touching of the person of the citizen." Id. at 425-26 (internal citations omitted). The Fourth Amendment is implicated when a police officer:

(1) pursues an individual who has attempted to terminate the contact by departing; (2) continues to interrogate a person who has clearly expressed a desire not to cooperate; (3) renews interrogation of a person who has earlier responded fully to police inquiries; (4) verbally orders a citizen to stop and answer questions; (5) retains a citizen's identification or other property; (6) physically restrains a citizen or blocks the citizen's path; [or] (7) displays a weapon during the encounter.

Id. at 426 (citing 4 Wayne R. LaFave, Search & Seizure, § 9.3 (a), at 104 (3d ed. 1996 & Supp. 1999) (collecting cases)).

         C. Consent Exception to the Warrant Requirement

         Consent is one of the recognized exceptions to the warrant requirement. Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U.S. 218, 219 (1973). In order to be valid, consent must be "'unequivocal, specific, intelligently given, and uncontaminated by duress or coercion.'" State v. Ingram, 331 S.W.3d 746, 760 (Tenn. 2011) (quoting State v. Berrios, 235 S.W.3d 99, 109 (Tenn. 2007)) (internal quotation marks omitted). "Whether an individual voluntarily consents to a search is a question of fact to be determined from the totality of the circumstances." Berrios, 235 S.W.3d at 109. "The pertinent question is . . . whether the [individual's] act of consenting is the product of an essentially free and unconstrained choice. If the [individual's] will was overborne and his or her capacity for self-determination critically impaired, due process is offended." State v. Cox, 171 S.W.3d 174, 185 (Tenn. 2005) (citing Schneckloth, 412 U.S. at 225-26). Factors to be considered when evaluating the voluntariness of consent include the time and place of the encounter; whether the encounter was in a public or secluded place; the number of officers present; the degree of hostility; whether weapons were displayed; whether consent was requested; and whether the consenter initiated contact with the police. Id. The State bears the burden of proving that the consent was freely and voluntarily given. State v. Blackwood, 713 S.W.2d 677, 680 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1986).

         Here, the evidence shows that, after Deputy Leake saw the Defendant's car at the Chisholm residence, he parked his patrol car in the driveway, exited the vehicle, and knocked on the front door of the residence. Mr. Chisholm answered the door, and Deputy Leake asked if the Defendant was there. Mr. Chisholm replied in the affirmative and invited Deputy Leake into the residence to speak to the Defendant. Curt Chisholm, who was standing in the kitchen, stated that the Defendant had "just run out the back door." Deputy Leake went to the open back door, looked outside, and saw the Defendant standing by a shed in the backyard. Deputy Leake did not approach the Defendant. He stood rather in the doorway and called to the Defendant, "Hunter, come here, " and the Defendant "walked right to [him]." Deputy Leake explained that he needed to talk to the Defendant and suggested that they "go out front." The Defendant and Deputy Leake then walked back through the residence to the front of the house and stood in the driveway. Additional officers had arrived at the residence by this time; there were approximately five patrol cars in the driveway and on the road. There were four or five deputies standing outside with the Defendant and some officers sitting in their patrol cars on the street. However, the blue lights on the patrol cars were not activated.

         When the Defendant came outside, Deputy Tubbs asked the Defendant for consent to search his vehicle, and the Defendant gave consent. The Defendant said, "[Y]eah, search it, there's nothing in there, " and then the Defendant asked Deputy Tubbs, "What's this about, Owl Hoot?" The Defendant took a step towards the vehicle as if he was going to open the door for Deputy Tubbs when Deputy Allison pulled into the driveway. Deputy Tubbs informed Deputy Allison that the Defendant had given consent to search his car. After providing the Defendant his Miranda rights, Deputy Allison asked the Defendant if he had sold any guns, and the Defendant said that he had not. Deputy Allison then asked if he could search the Defendant's vehicle, and the Defendant again consented. At this point, Deputy Leake asked the Defendant if he could perform a pat down search for officer safety and asked the Defendant, "Do you have anything on you?" The Defendant responded, "Go ahead, there's nothing on me or in my car." Deputy Leake performed a pat down and found a set of digital scales, which contained marijuana residue. While searching the Defendant's car, deputies discovered jewelry in the trunk and a bloody knife in between the front seats. Deputy Allison placed the Defendant under arrest for possession of drug paraphernalia.

         Under the totality of the circumstances, we conclude that the deputies' initial interaction with the Defendant was a consensual encounter and that the search of his person and vehicle were based on the Defendant's voluntary consent. Deputy Leake lawfully approached the Chisholm residence to conduct a "knock and talk, " which required no basis for suspecting the Defendant of having committed a crime. See State v. Cothran, 115 S.W.3d 513, 522 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2003). The evidence shows that the deputy was invited to enter the residence by Mr. Chisholm. Deputy Leake did not go out into the backyard after the Defendant but stood in the doorway and called for the Defendant. The Defendant showed no hesitation in speaking with Deputy Leake and "walked right to [him]." As they came back through the residence, Deputy Leake did not touch the Defendant or place him in handcuffs. When Deputy Tubbs asked the Defendant for consent to search his vehicle, the Defendant expressed a desire to cooperate with the officers. The Defendant replied, "[Y]eah, search it, there's nothing in there, " and he stepped towards the vehicle as if to open the door for the deputies. After being given his Miranda warnings, the Defendant again consented to a search of his vehicle. The Defendant also consented to Deputy Leake's pat down search, which led to the finding of the drug paraphernalia. The deputies made no threats toward the Defendant or attempts to coerce him to consent to the search, and no weapons were drawn. His responses to the requests for consent showed no indication that the Defendant was ambivalent or equivocal in his consent. Further, the trial court determined that there was no evidence to conclude that the Defendant was under the influence of alcohol or drugs such that he was unable to understand his Miranda rights and the requests being made of him.

         The Defendant contends that the initial encounter with Deputy Leake was not consensual because of the overwhelming number of police officers outside the Chisholm residence and because his vehicle was blocked in the driveway. However, the evidence shows that the Defendant gave no indication he wanted to leave, and there is no allegation that deputies physically restrained him. Daniel, 12 S.W.3d at 426. The Defendant also argues that that Deputy Leake had no cause to conduct the pat down search because he did not have reasonable suspicion of criminal conduct. However, Deputy Leake did not need reasonable suspicion because the Defendant freely and voluntarily consented to the pat down search.

         On balance, we agree with the trial court that the Defendant's initial encounter with the deputies was consensual; he voluntarily consented to the search of his person and vehicle. He was not "seized" until Deputy Leake found him in possession of drug paraphernalia, at which time deputies had probable cause to arrest the Defendant. This issue is without merit.

         II. Exclusion of Statements Made by Mr. Hill and Mr. Hernandez

         During several jury-out hearings, the Defendant testified about various out-of-court statements objected to by the State as hearsay. In one hearing, the Defendant testified that Mr. Hill told him during the drive to the Kentucky state line that he and Mr. Hernandez had already agreed upon the sale price for the marijuana by the pound. However, Mr. Hill stated that he was going to try to get the people from Kentucky to buy the marijuana for more money and, at the same time, he was going to tell Mr. Hernandez that "he couldn't get what they had agreed on, that he could only get less." Mr. Hill said that he was going to "short" Mr. Hernandez. He then instructed the Defendant that, if he were ever asked about the marijuana, he needed to "take up" for Mr. Hill and tell Mr. Hernandez that there was "nothing going on."

         The Defendant additionally testified about a phone conversation he overheard between Mr. Hill and Mr. Hernandez when the Defendant and Mr. Hill were at the Kentucky state line. He explained that there was a dispute between Mr. Hill and Mr. Hernandez and that the Defendant heard Mr. Hill tell Mr. Hernandez that he could not sell the marijuana for $1100 or $1300 per pound and that the people from Kentucky were only willing to pay $700 or $750 per pound. The Defendant testified, "[Mr. Hill] was saying he couldn't help the fact that they were saying that it wasn't good marijuana and he said he was trying to sell it but [Mr. Hernandez] was gonna have to work with him on it."

         The Defendant also testified that he heard a conversation between Mr. Hill and Mr. Hernandez while at Cabin 9. Mr. Hernandez told Mr. Hill that it "wasn't his weed and he couldn't just go back and tell the people that he . . . brought it down from that he couldn't sell it." Mr. Hernandez complained that "they had already agreed on the amount and that he couldn't . . . just get less for it like that." Mr. Hernandez said that it was "good weed."

         In another jury-out hearing, the Defendant testified about his conversation with Mr. Hernandez during the drive to Jackson. Mr. Hernandez stated that the Defendant was supposed to start picking him up from Texas and driving him to West Tennessee. Mr. Hernandez explained that it was too risky and dangerous for him to use the bus any longer and that he was afraid "they were gonna get caught riding on the bus." Mr. Hernandez told the Defendant:

It's a lot safer and easier for [the Defendant] to use [his] car moving the stuff. They could move a lot more marijuana and that . . . [the Defendant] would be driving from Texas to pick him up and take him back every time.

         The Defendant testified that, at this time, he knew he was in "way [] over his head[.]" The Defendant told Mr. Hernandez he did not mind picking him up at the bus station. Mr. Hernandez asked, "Has [Mr. Hill] not talked to you about this?" He then told the Defendant, "Look, we're not using the bus no more [sic]. It's done. It's way too dangerous. We can't take that risk anymore. You're - you're the bus. You're gonna be coming to pick me up from Texas and driving me back and forth." The Defendant stated that he told Mr. Hernandez that he was in school and lived at home with his mother. However, Mr. Hernandez stated that "[t]he decision's already been made. You are the bus from now on." Mr. Hernandez said that he had "already talked to [his] people" and that they would all "be making a lot more money."

         The Defendant testified that he did not argue further with Mr. Hernandez; the Defendant thought that Mr. Hill would "be reasonable" about the situation because Mr. Hill "knew that [the Defendant] was in school [and] that [he] wouldn't have time to do it." However, the Defendant testified that, when he later asked Mr. Hill about the plan for him to drive to Texas, Mr. Hill told the Defendant that it was "already a done deal . . . that ...


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