STATE OF TENNESSEE
Assigned on Briefs November 7, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 11-05705 Chris
petitioner, J.W. Causey, appeals the denial of
post-conviction relief from his 2013 Shelby County Criminal
Court jury conviction of first degree murder, for which he
received a sentence of life imprisonment. In this appeal, the
petitioner contends only that he was denied the effective
assistance of counsel at trial. Discerning no error, we
R. App. P. 3; Judgment of the Criminal Court Affirmed
Terrell L. Tooten, Cordova, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; David
H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich,
District Attorney General; and Melanie Cox, Assistant
District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of
Curwood Witt, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., JJ.,
CURWOOD WITT, JR., JUDGE
Shelby County Grand Jury charged the petitioner with one
count of first degree premeditated murder. The
petitioner's first trial ended in a hung jury, but the
petitioner was convicted as charged in a second trial in 2013
and was automatically sentenced to life imprisonment. This
court affirmed the conviction on direct appeal. See State
v. J.W. Causey, No. W2013-01432-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn. Crim.
App., Jackson, Sept. 25, 2014), perm. app. denied
(Tenn. Jan. 16, 2015).
evidence adduced at the petitioner's trial established
that, on the night of December 17, 2010, a group of four
teenage girls gathered at a Memphis-area hotel for a
sleepover. J.W. Causey, slip op. at 4. Once the
girls were in their hotel room, they began placing telephone
calls to friends and inviting them to their room.
Id., slip op. at 4-5, 6.
McVay arrived at the hotel and encountered the petitioner and
two other men smoking and drinking in the lobby; Mr. McVay
was unfamiliar with the men but later identified all three in
a photographic lineup. Id., slip op. at 5-6. When
Mr. McVay later entered the girls' hotel room, he
encountered "about fifteen people" and stated that
the girls were frightened by "uninvited guests" who
were "trying to force themselves into the room."
Id., slip op. at 6. One of those guests, a friend of
the petitioner's, entered the room and was "touching
the girls." Id. The petitioner then removed the
man from the room. Id. According to Mr. McVay,
Laterrica Mims contacted the victim, 17-year-old William
"Peanut" Bibb, and his friends, Terriyuan Davis and
Terrance Rossell, and asked them to come to the hotel.
Id., slip op. at 1, 3, 6.
McVay, Ms. Mims, and Amber Matthews went to the lobby to open
the door for the victim, Mr. Davis, and Mr. Rossell.
Id., slip op. at 5, 6, 7. According to Mr. Davis,
the petitioner and two other men entered the hotel just ahead
of his group, and the petitioner entered the elevator.
Id., slip op. at 3. The victim, Mr. Davis, Mr.
Rossell, Mr. McVay, Ms. Mims, and Ms. Matthews remained in
the lobby for several minutes. Id., slip op. at 3,
5-7. Just as the victim and Mr. Davis were preparing to leave
the hotel, the elevator doors opened, and the petitioner
approached the group with a gun in his hand. Id.,
slip op. at 3-8. Ms. Matthews recalled that the petitioner
asked if "'this [was] who you brought for me, was
this who you called up here for me.'" Id.,
slip op. at 7. Mr. Davis and Mr. Rossell fled to their
vehicle. Id., slip op. at 3, 8. The petitioner
pointed the gun at the victim, and the victim put his hands
up. Id., slip op. at 6. The victim
"'[b]asically . . . beg[ed] for his life, " but
the petitioner shot him once in the chest, killing him in
front of Ms. Mims, Mr. McVay, and Ms. Matthews. Id.,
slip op. at 2, 5, 7.
19-year-old petitioner, after being provided with
Miranda warnings and executing a written waiver of
his constitutional rights, provided a statement to police
officers in which he admitted responsibility for the
We were chilling at the hotel, had a couple of drinks, and
two females were in the room with us. Me and Jay went to the
Wendy's on Shelby Drive to get him something to eat. We
came back to the room and we also seen women in the hallway.
We went upstairs and me, Jay and JR came back downstairs to
see the women that me and Jay saw. JR was drunk, JR kept
going back to the young women room. JR went to the room
twice. I got him out the room because they said they were
going to call the police. I was fixin to take Blue home when
I seen four guys walking into the hotel as I was walking to
the car. I walk back into the hotel, went up stairs and got
the gun. I came downstairs on the elevator and confronted the
victim. The victim had a gun also. Blue got the gun out of
the victim's ...