Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
GREGORY L. MATHIS
STATE OF TENNESSEE
Assigned on Briefs October 17, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2009-B-1806
Steve R. Dozier, Judge No. M2016-02516-CCA-R3-PC
Petitioner, Gregory L. Mathis, appeals the Davidson County
Criminal Court's denial of his petition for
post-conviction relief from his 2010 convictions for
aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, and two counts of
especially aggravated kidnapping and his effective 126-year
sentence. The Petitioner contends that (1) he received the
ineffective assistance of counsel, (2) his especially
aggravated kidnapping convictions violate principles of due
process, and (3) he is entitled to a new trial based upon
codefendant Turner's testimony at the post-conviction
hearing. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
Chadwick Wyatt Jackson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the
appellant, Gregory L. Mathis.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Clark
B. Thornton, Senior Counsel; Glenn Funk, District Attorney
General; and J. Wesley King, Assistant District Attorney
General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
H. Montgomery, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court,
in which D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., and Timothy L. Easter, JJ.
H. MONTGOMERY, JR., JUDGE
case arises from the burglary of Terry Beckner and Lisa
Lewis's home in February 2009. The Petitioner and three
codefendants, Elza Evans III, Emily Turner, and Danny Lee
Sams, were indicted for aggravated robbery, aggravated
burglary, and two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping.
The trial court granted codefendant Sams's motion to
sever his case, and he later pleaded guilty and testified at
the joint trial of the Defendant and the remaining
codefendants. The Defendant, codefendant Evans, and
codefendant Turner were convicted as charged. The Defendant
and codefendant Evans appealed their convictions, and this
court affirmed the convictions and summarized the facts of
the case as follows:
Terry Becker testified at trial that in 2009 he was renting a
small two-bedroom house with his fiancée, Lisa Lewis,
in Nashville. On the night of February 25, 2009, co-defendant
Emily Turner, a friend of Ms. Lewis, and co-defendant Danny
Lee Sams, Turner's boyfriend, came to his house. Mr.
Becker testified that Turner and Sams had visited the house
in the past and that Turner would occasionally spend the
night in his guest bedroom. Mr. Becker also testified that he
had previously loaned Turner and Sams money and that he had
helped Sams secure various odd jobs. According to Mr. Becker,
Turner and Sams got into an "argument" while they
were at his house. Mr. Becker testified that Sams told him
that Turner was "driving [him] crazy or something to
that effect." Sams then "stormed out and took
[Turner's] car, " stranding her at Mr. Becker's
Mr. Becker testified that co-defendant Turner rejected
several offers he made to help her retrieve the car. Instead,
Turner stayed in his guest bedroom and was up late
"visiting" with Ms. Lewis. Mr. Becker testified
that he went to bed "late in the evening" and that
Ms. Lewis eventually joined him later that night. The next
morning, Mr. Becker awoke at approximately 7:45 a.m. Mr.
Becker testified that he saw Turner standing in the doorway
of the guest bedroom. Mr. Becker asked Turner if she had let
the dogs out, and she replied that she was about to. Mr.
Becker then went to his kitchen to make some coffee. As Mr.
Becker was making his coffee he saw two African-American men
standing in his living room. Both men were dressed in
"dark colored" clothes, had bandanas over their
faces, wore sunglasses, and had plastic gloves on their
hands. Both men were also wearing baseball caps and had the
hoods from their sweatshirts up. Both men had guns and
pointed them at Mr. Becker.
Mr. Becker testified that one of the men told him to get
"all of the way down" on the ground. Mr. Becker
complied, and the men duct taped his hands behind his back.
The men then moved Mr. Becker to a dining room chair where
they "strapped [him] to the chair around [his] chest and
[his] upper arms" with duct tape. The men also taped Mr.
Becker's arms to the chair. After Mr. Becker was taped to
the chair, one of the men brought codefendant Turner into the
room and had her lie down on the floor. Mr. Becker testified
that one of the men then went into the bedroom, woke Ms.
Lewis up, brought her into the dining room, and had her lie
down next to Turner. According to
Mr. Becker, one of the men said, "Lisa we've been
looking for you for a long time." The man said that Ms.
Lewis "owed them $18, 000." The man also nudged
Turner with his foot several times and repeatedly said,
"We don't know who this b---h is, " to the
point that Mr. Becker thought that they were overemphasizing
The men made Ms. Lewis kneel down in front of Mr. Becker, and
one of them asked Ms. Lewis if she loved Mr. Becker. When Ms.
Lewis stated that she did, the man said that Mr. Becker would
write two checks for $9, 000, one made out to Ms. Lewis and
one made out to co-defendant Turner, and that the women would
cash the checks and return with the money in thirty minutes
or they would kill Mr. Becker. While the man was explaining
the plan he had a gun pointed at Ms. Lewis, and the other man
pointed his gun at Mr. Becker. One of the men got Mr.
Becker's checkbooks and brought it back to the dining
room. The men freed one of Mr. Becker's hands, and Mr.
Becker wrote the checks as instructed. Sometime after the
women left, the branch manager from a nearby Regions Bank
called Mr. Becker. Mr. Becker testified one of the men put a
gun to his head and leaned in so he could overhear the
conversation. The branch manager told Mr. Becker that he was
calling to verify that he had written the checks, and Mr.
Becker told the branch manager to cash the checks.
A short time after the phone call from the bank manager, one
of the men left the room to answer a cell phone call. When
the man came back into the room he said that the police were
at the bank, that they needed to leave, and told the other
man to "take care" of Mr. Becker. The other man
gagged Mr. Becker and bound him with more duct tape. The men
broke Mr. Becker's cell phone, took the battery out of
his home phone, and then fled the house. After they left, Mr.
Becker was able to free himself. Mr. Becker testified that
the skin on his arms was torn and bleeding from the duct
tape. Mr. Becker also testified that at least one of the men
stayed with him at all times during the ordeal and that the
men kept their guns out the entire time they were there. Mr.
Becker recalled that one of the men did most of the talking
and that the other man stayed with him the majority of the
time. Mr. Becker later inspected the house and found no
evidence of forced entry.
Ms. Lewis testified at trial that on the night of February
25, 2009, co-defendants Turner and Sams came over to the
house she shared with Mr. Becker. Ms. Lewis recalled that
Turner and Sams got into an argument that night and Sams left
in Turner's car. Ms. Lewis testified that she
thoughtSams's taking the car "was very unusual"
because she had "never known [Sams] to leave [Turner]
without her car because it was her car, not theirs." Ms.
Lewis also testified that Turner showed no interest in
finding Sams or getting her car back that night. Instead,
Turner and Ms. Lewis stayed up late taking drugs and
"talking all night." Ms. Lewis admitted to taking
Percocet while Turner used cocaine. At some point during the
night, Turner told Ms. Lewis to go to bed with Mr. Becker
because it would "look more suspicious" if she
stayed in the guest bedroom. Ms. Lewis testified that she got
into bed with Mr. Becker around 4:00 a.m.
Ms. Lewis testified that when she woke up the next morning
there was a man with a bandana and a "hoodie on"
standing over her and pointing a gun at her. The man motioned
for her to get up and took her into the dining room where Ms.
Lewis saw Mr. Becker, co-defendant Turner, and another masked
man holding a gun. Ms. Lewis testified that one of the men
told her to get down on the ground and then repeatedly said
that they had "been looking everywhere for [her]."
The man said that Ms. Lewis owed them money and that they
were "going to get it." Ms. Lewis testified that
the man then had her get up and go kneel down in front of Mr.
Becker. The man put a gun to her head and asked her if she
loved Mr. Becker. When she said yes, the man said that if she
loved Mr. Becker she would do what they told her to. The men
then had Ms. Lewis lie back down on the ground while Mr.
Becker wrote two checks.
Ms. Lewis testified that one of the men said that she and
co-defendant Turner would go to the bank and cash the checks
for them. Ms. Lewis recalled that the man referred to Turner
as "whoever this b---h is" and emphasized that he
did not know Turner. Ms. Lewis also recalled that neither one
of the men ever said her last name and that they checked her
driver's license to make sure Mr. Becker had written the
check to the right person. One of the men took her to the
bedroom, so she could put on a sweatshirt. Ms. Lewis
testified that the man kept a gun pointed at her the entire
time. While they were in the bedroom, Ms. Lewis asked if she
could get some cigarettes out of the night stand. When she
opened the drawer, the man saw $300 in cash and a debit card.
The man took the money and the debit card and demanded that
Ms. Lewis give him the PIN for the account, which Ms. Lewis
did. The men told her to come back in thirty minutes with the
money or they would kill Mr. Becker.
Ms. Lewis testified that co-defendant Turner drove to the
bank. According to Ms. Lewis, Turner repeatedly said that she
wanted to stop somewhere and call co-defendant Sams. At some
point while they were driving to the bank, Turner told Ms.
Lewis, "[T]hey know you're wanted, they don't
think you'll call the police." Ms. Lewis testified
that when they arrived at the bank she "came
unglued" and explained to a bank employee what was
happening. The employee had Ms. Lewis call the police on his
cell phone while the bank manager called Mr. Becker to
"buy him a little bit of time." Ms. Lewis recalled
that Turner continued to talk about how she needed to call
Sams. The bank employees who helped Ms. Lewis testified at
trial that she was "hysterical" while Turner was
"real calm" and "distant." While they
were at the bank, Turner pulled out her cell phone and made a
phone call. Turner told the person she called that she was
not at Mr. Becker's house, that she was at the bank, and
whoever was going to pick her up should not go to Mr.
Ms. Lewis admitted that when she called the police and
initially spoke with the responding officers she used a fake
name. Ms. Lewis explained that, at the time, she had a drug
problem and an outstanding warrant for a probation violation.
Ms. Lewis testified that she was afraid of being arrested by
the police. Ms. Lewis was arrested later that day after the
police had completed their investigation into the robbery.
Ms. Lewis testified that she gave the check made out to her
to the police when they arrived. However, the police could
not locate the check made out to co-defendant Turner. The
bank employee who assisted Ms. Lewis testified that he had
seen two checks both made out for $9, 000 when the women
arrived at the bank. Turner told the police that she had
given the check to Ms. Lewis, but Ms. Lewis ...