Assigned on Briefs September 7, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Tipton County No. 8245 Joe H.
Walker, III, Judge
Tipton County Circuit Court Jury convicted the Appellant,
Dwight Michael Alston, of first degree premeditated murder,
and he received a life sentence. On appeal, the Appellant
contends that the evidence is insufficient to support the
conviction because it fails to show he premeditated the
killing. Based upon the record and the parties' briefs,
we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Melissa A. Downing (on appeal), Covington, Tennessee, and
Leslie I. Ballin (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the
appellant, Dwight Michael Alston.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Zachary T. Hinkle, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael
Dunavant, District Attorney General; and James Walter
Freeland, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the
appellee, State of Tennessee.
McGee Ogle, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and J. Ross Dyer, J., joined.
MCGEE OGLE, JUDGE.
case relates to the Appellant's shooting his wife,
Johnnie Patricia Alston, on September 20, 2014. Michael
Alston, the Appellant's and the victim's son,
testified that he was born on November 4, 1993, and was
twenty-two years old at the time of trial. In September 2014,
he lived with his parents on Andy Drive in Drummonds,
Tennessee. At some point, the Appellant had moved out of the
house, but he moved back in about three months before the
Michael testified that on the
evening of Friday, September 19, his parents were at home
arguing. His mother was dressed to go to a party, but the
Appellant wanted "some family time" and did not
want her to leave. The victim left in her blue Jaguar, and
Michael went to his room to watch television. He fell asleep
but was awakened by the garage door opening. He said that he
knew the victim had returned home, that he heard his parents
arguing in the garage, and that the Appellant sounded angry.
Michael walked from his bedroom to the door that separated
the house from the garage and looked through a window in the
door. The Appellant was standing in front of the door, and
the victim was standing in front of her car. Michael said
that the victim "was begging him and stuff" and
that the Appellant would not let the victim into the house.
The Appellant kept pushing the victim backward toward the
overhead garage door and kept telling Michael to "stay
testified that he saw the Appellant holding a shotgun and
that the victim "fell to the ground on her knees and
started begging and everything." The victim was crying
and told the Appellant, "I'm sorry. I'll do
anything. I'll do -- I'll sign the papers." The
Appellant told Michael, "[G]et back, [you] don't
need to see this." Michael walked into the kitchen and
heard a gunshot one to two minutes later. He said that he was
scared, that he grabbed the cordless house telephone, and
that he ran across the street and hid under a neighbor's
vehicle. The Appellant came outside, and Michael crawled out
from under the vehicle. He did not see the Appellant holding
a gun and asked if the Appellant was okay, but the Appellant
would not answer. The Appellant told Michael to call the
police, got into the Appellant's Nissan, and drove away.
Michael called 911.
cross-examination, Michael testified that his mother left
about 9:00 p.m. on September 19 and that he and the Appellant
watched wrestling on television in the living room. About
9:20 p.m., Michael went to his room and fell asleep. Sometime
before 10:00 p.m., he heard the front door of the house open
and close. He went into the living room and looked outside
but did not see the Appellant. The Appellant's Nissan was
still in the driveway.
acknowledged that he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia
and said that he used to take trazodone and Risperdal because
he spoke to the devil and heard demons talking to him.
However, he stopped taking the medications because they gave
him headaches. He acknowledged telling a police officer that
he thought the Appellant had the gun just to scare the victim
and that he did not think the Appellant was going to shoot
her. He also acknowledged that the victim would come home
sometimes at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. and that one time, she did not