Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
on Briefs October 11, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Hamilton County No. 298242 Barry
A. Steelman, Judge.
December 10, 1992, Derrick Richardson, the Petitioner, was
convicted of first degree felony murder and sentenced to
life. On appeal, this court affirmed the Petitioner's
conviction. See State v. Derrick Richardson, No.
03C01-9305-CR-00165, 1994 WL 247114, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App.
June 9, 1994), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Sept. 12,
1994) (concurring in results only). The Petitioner filed a
petition for writ of error coram nobis based on the
affidavits of three individuals who claimed that one of the
State's "key witnesses, " LaKeysh Davis, lied
about seeing the Petitioner shoot the victim because she was
inside her home and could not have seen the location where
the shooting occurred. The Petitioner claims that the
information provided by the affiants is newly discovered
evidence. Following a hearing, the coram nobis court denied
coram nobis relief. We affirm.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
Miller, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Derrick
Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Benjamin A. Ball, Senior Counsel; M. Neal Pinkston, District
Attorney General; and Lance Pope, Assistant District
Attorney, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
L. Holloway, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in
which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and Camille R. McMullen, JJ.,
L. HOLLOWAY, JR., JUDGE.
and Procedural Background
court on direct appeal summarized the facts as follows:
. . . In the early morning hours of December 8, 1993,
[Petitioner], Gregory Strong, Stanley Gillespie, and Calvin
Johnson were at or near the Heaton Street residence of
LaKeysh Davis, the mother of Johnson's son. Apparently
upset because Davis' husband had been shot only a short
while earlier, all of the men were armed with guns. The
victim, Louie Dwight, stopped his vehicle, approached the
[Petitioner] and Strong as they stood on the side of the
street, and asked to buy drugs. The [Petitioner], armed with
a .38 pistol, and Strong, carrying a pump shotgun, fired
several shots, took the victim's money, and threw his
wallet on the ground.
Johnson testified that he and Gillespie heard the shooting
and approached the scene. Johnson carried an AK47 assault
rifle and Gillespie had a .380 pistol. Each fired shots.
Either the [Petitioner] or Stanley Gillespie, or both, shot
the victim in the legs. The victim got into his vehicle to
leave, stopped, and returned to retrieve his wallet. He then
drove away. After a short distance, however, the victim lost
consciousness and wrecked. He died due to multiple gunshot
wounds to his legs.
The Hamilton County Medical Examiner testified that the
victim was struck by three bullets; there were two wounds in
the right leg. A shot to the left leg pierced its main
artery. All shots that struck the defendant were fired by low
velocity weapons: a .38 or a .380.
Ms. Davis stated that the [Petitioner], Gillespie, and Strong
participated in the robbery. She testified that the
[Petitioner] held his weapon on the victim, took his wallet,
and shot him in the leg. Strong testified that he and the
[Petitioner] never had any kind of agreement to rob the
victim and blamed the [Petitioner] for that offense. During
the pretrial investigation, Strong stated that the
[Petitioner] had shot at the victim's legs; at trial, he
said he did not know who fired the shots that actually struck
The [Petitioner], who told officers he fired his weapon
twice, admitted having shot at the victim's truck but
denied shooting the victim. While conceding that the victim
handed him the wallet, the [Petitioner] testified that Strong
took the money and was responsible for the robbery. At that
point, he said, Johnson and Gillespie arrived. The
[Petitioner] claimed Johnson shot at the victim's truck
while Gillespie fired the fatal shots.
Id. at *1 (footnote added).
Petitioner then filed a petition for post-conviction relief,
claiming trial counsel was ineffective for, among other
things, failing to interview four witnesses named in a
statement given to police by co-defendant Calvin Johnson and
for failing to call his brother, Tony Richardson, and his
mother, Ernestine Richardson, as witnesses. On appeal from
the post-conviction court's denial of relief, this court
addressed this issue, as follows:
[The Petitioner] contends that Tony Richardson could have
rebutted the testimony of La[K]eysh Davis, a crucial prosecution
witness. At [the Petitioner's] trial, Ms. Davis testified
that she observed from her front porch the events surrounding
the robbery and subsequent murder of the victim. Tony
Richardson was prepared to testify that, at the time of the
murder, he was standing in the doorway of La[K]eysh
Davis' apartment and that she was upstairs in her bedroom
rather than on her front porch. However, Richardson also
testified that he could not see the events surrounding the
murder because his view was obstructed by a van which was
parked between him and the location of the robbery and
murder. [Trial counsel] explained that he opted not to call
Tony Richardson because Richardson had not observed the
murder. Moreover, [trial counsel] claimed that no one had
informed him that Tony Richardson was prepared to refute
[Ms.] Davis' statement that she witnessed the murder from
her front porch. Finally, [trial counsel] emphatically stated
that had Tony Richardson been able to clearly observe the
robbery and the shooting of the victim, [trial counsel]
definitely would have called Richardson as a witness.
At the post-conviction hearing, Ms. Richardson stated that
had she been permitted to testify at her son's trial, she
would have recounted a conversation between herself and [Ms.]
Davis which occurred approximately three days before the
commencement of the trial. According to Ms. Richardson, [Ms.]
Davis told her, "Ms. Richardson, wait a minute, I have
something to tell you. I'm sorry, I didn't see
nothing, I don't know nothing. Calvin told me to get up
there and lie like that, said if I didn't, he would have
no more use for me and my baby." At the post-conviction
hearing, however, both [trial counsel] and Mrs. Richardson
testified that Mrs. Richardson never disclosed this
information to [trial counsel] at any time prior to [the
With regard to the four witnesses mentioned above, [trial
counsel] explained that he had not interviewed them because
they could not be located and because he "had no leads
about finding any of them." Under these circumstances,
we find no deficient representation. Again, [the Petitioner]
has also failed to show a reasonable probability that the
result of his trial would have been different had these
witnesses been called.
Derrick Richardson v. State, No.
03C01-9605-CR-00186, 1998 WL 18199, at *3-4 (Tenn. Crim. App.
Jan. 21, 1998) (footnote added), perm. app. denied
(Tenn. June 8, 1998).
Petitioner also filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus,
which included as one of the grounds for relief that
"the [S]tate relied upon perjured testimony to support
the conviction[.]" Derrick Richardson v. Virginia
Lewis, Warden, No. E2005-00817-CCA-R3-HC, 2006 WL
3479530, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Dec. 1, 2006), no perm.
app. filed. The habeas corpus court summarily dismissed
the petition. Id. On appeal, this court determined
that the trial court correctly found that the claims were ...