Assigned on Briefs December 5, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 14-05813 Lee V.
Coffee, Judge No. W2017-00157-CCA-R3-CD
Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant, Corey Jones, of
aggravated kidnapping, robbery, aggravated burglary, and
theft of property valued at $1, 000 or more. The trial court
imposed an effective nineteen-year sentence. On appeal, the
Defendant contends that the trial court erred in requiring
that the Defendant wear physical restraints at trial and that
the trial court made improper comments in the presence of the
jury regarding the credibility of the State's witnesses.
Upon reviewing the record and the applicable law, we affirm
the judgments of the trial court. We remand for entry of a
corrected judgment reflecting a three-year sentence for the
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Criminal
Court Affirmed and Remanded
Mogy (on appeal) and Mark Renken (at trial), Memphis,
Tennessee, for the appellant, Corey Jones.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee
W. Turner, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney
General; and Stacy McEndree, Assistant District Attorney
General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
Everett Williams, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Alan E. Glenn and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.
OPINION FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
EVERETT WILLIAMS, JUDGE.
Defendant's convictions arose from a home invasion that
occurred on August 14, 2014. Mr. Terry Redden, Mr. Charles
Harris, Mr. Bobby McCain, and Mr. Redden's girlfriend,
Ms. Shari House, lived in the home. Ms. House was inside the
home when the invasion occurred.
time of the offenses, Mr. Redden, Mr. Harris, and Mr. McCain
were members of the football team at University of Memphis.
The Defendant had been a member of the football team but was
no longer on the team when the offenses occurred. At one
point, Mr. Redden, Mr. Harris, Mr. McCain, and the Defendant
were on the team's Leadership Council, which made various
decisions on the team's behalf, including those related
to player conduct. On one occasion, the Leadership Council
reviewed issues involving the Defendant, and Mr. Redden, Mr.
McCain, and Mr. Harris each supported the Defendant.
Nevertheless, the Defendant was removed from the team for a
period and then was allowed to return to the team.
Redden testified that he was unaware of any animosity between
him and the Defendant. Both Mr. Harris and Mr. McCain
recalled a prior dispute between Mr. Redden and the Defendant
over another woman. However, both Mr. Harris and Mr. McCain
testified that the incident occurred long before August 2014,
and neither noticed any other issues between the Defendant
and Mr. Redden.
morning of August 14, 2014, Mr. Redden, Mr. Harris, and Mr.
McCain left their home to attend football practice. Mr.
Redden locked his bedroom door where Ms. House, who had
recently learned that she was pregnant, was asleep. Ms. House
awoke to knocking on the door. She believed that Mr. Redden
may have forgotten something and opened the door. She saw a
man standing in the door way, wearing sheer pantyhose to
cover his face, and pointing a gun at her. Ms. House did not
recognize the man and described him as African-American and
approximately 6'3" or 6'4" tall with broad
shoulders and an athletic build. She could see the man's
facial features through the pantyhose and later identified
the Defendant as the perpetrator in a photographic lineup and
House, initially, believed that the Defendant was joking and
told him to "stop playing." However, the Defendant
entered her bedroom, instructed her to turn around and lie
down on the bed, and put the gun to her neck. Ms. House
testified that the gun appeared to be real and that she was
afraid and believed she was going to be shot. The Defendant
took Ms. House's cellular phone and demanded the PIN
number. After Ms. House gave him the wrong number, the
Defendant shoved the gun further into the back of her neck
and again demanded the PIN number. Ms. House provided the
Defendant with the correct PIN number.
Defendant repeatedly asked Ms. House, "Where's the
s**t?" Ms. House was crying and told the Defendant,
"I don't know. I don't know what you're
talking about." The Defendant searched through drawers
while Ms. House was lying on the bed. Ms. House said she
remained on the bed for approximately ten minutes.
Defendant instructed Ms. House to get out of the bed, grabbed
her by the back of the neck, and told her to not look at him.
He walked Ms. House down the hallway with a gun touching the
back of her head for approximately twenty feet until they
reached the bathroom. He ordered Ms. House to get into the
bathtub and to not move or look at him. He turned on the
water in the bathroom sink, and Ms. House heard him turn on
the water in the kitchen. Ms. House heard the Defendant
rummaging through drawers and opening and closing doors.
House testified that she remained in the bathtub for
approximately thirty minutes and that the Defendant returned
to check on her twice. The Defendant did not lock her inside
the bathroom. She explained that she did not attempt to flee
because the Defendant threatened her and told her not to move
and she was afraid of being shot.
the Defendant returned to the bathroom the second time, he
asked Ms. House whether a red Chevrolet Trailblazer that was
parked outside belonged to her, and Ms. House affirmed that
she owned the truck. The Defendant left, and Ms. House heard
a vehicle back into the driveway and a door close a few
times. After Ms. House did not hear any other noises for a
period of time, she ran to a neighbor's house where she
called 9-1-1. Ms. House reported that the Defendant took her
truck, which was worth more than $1, 000, and her cellular
phone. Ms. House's truck was returned to her
approximately one week later, but her cellular phone was
contacted Mr. Redden, Mr. Harris, and Mr. McCain, and they
returned to the home. They discovered that the side entry
door was damaged, that drawers were open, and that clothes
were strewn throughout the house. Mr. Redden reported that
approximately thirty pairs of shoes, a forty-two-inch
television, four watches, and clothing were taken. Four or
five pairs of shoes and two watches were later returned to
him. Mr. Redden estimated that the value of the items that
were not returned was approximately $2, 000 to $3, 000. Mr.
Harris reported missing two watches, a television, a bottle
of cologne, and a bottle of aftershave. He later received the
watches and the aftershave and estimated that his television
was valued at approximately $700 and that his cologne was
valued at approximately $110. Mr. McCain reported missing a
fifty-five inch television valued at approximately $600 to
$800, a MacBook Air laptop valued at approximately $150,
eight to ten pairs of shoes valued at approximately $150 to
$200 for each pair, three watches, and hats. His three
watches and his hats were later returned to him.
Joseph Cunningham of the Memphis Police Department was the
first officer to arrive at the scene. He was met by Ms.
House, who was "hysterical." Ms. House informed
Detective Cunningham that her Chevrolet Trailblazer had been
taken. Approximately five minutes after Detective Cunningham
arrived, a neighbor stopped him and reported seeing a
Chevrolet Trailblazer backed up to a Mazda Millenia with
someone transferring items from the Trailblazer to the
Millenia. Detective Cunningham located Ms. House's truck
approximately one-half block from her home. The keys to the
truck were on the hood, and property that appeared to be from
Ms. House's home was inside the truck.
truck was towed to the Memphis Police Department's crime
scene laboratory where fingerprints matching the
Defendant's left index finger and left palm were lifted
from the truck. Officers also located a woman's purse and
an Xbox with games and some controllers inside the truck.
Police Officer LaTanya West, the case officer, verified with
Ms. House that she knew the Defendant and that the Defendant
did not have permission to be in her truck. The Defendant was
brought into the police station where he was advised of his
rights and questioned after he waived those rights. The
Defendant initially denied knowing Ms. House or taking her
truck. He stated that he was out of town when the home
invasion occurred and identified two people, who he stated
accompanied him on his trip. After officers spoke to the two
individuals, neither of whom confirmed the Defendant's
story, Officer West confronted the Defendant, who "was
still abstract and evasive about the whole thing, as if we
were wrong, and it couldn't be him." When officers
told the Defendant that the description of the car that had
been seen with Ms. House's truck was similar to a car
owned by the Defendant's brother, the Defendant denied
that the car seen with Ms. House's truck was his
brother's car or that the Defendant had driven the car.
obtained a search warrant for the Defendant's apartment.
While executing the search warrant, officers recovered a
Smith and Wesson .380 handgun and a magazine with .380
bullets inside a kitchen cabinet, a Black Ops BB gun inside
the living room closet, three Apple iPhones, two Apple iPods,
a Fossil watch, a black do-rag, a Samsung forty-inch
television, a flat screen television, two pairs of Air Jordan
Nike tennis shoes, one pair of Nike tennis shoes, an empty
box for a .40 caliber gun behind the couch in the living
room, and a box of .40 caliber ammunition in the living room.
One of the televisions was found inside a bedroom closet
covered by clothing. Officers did not recover a .40 caliber
gun inside the apartment.
Shawn Hicks of the Memphis Police Department was asked to
assist in questioning the Defendant after other officers were
unsuccessful in obtaining the Defendant's cooperation.
Sergeant Hicks began questioning the Defendant after he
confirmed that the Defendant was advised of his rights and
waived those rights. The Defendant was "totally
evasive." He continued to claim that he was out of town
when the home invasion occurred, that he did not know those
who lived on the street where the home was located, and that
he was not involved. Sergeant Hicks told the Defendant that
he was aware that the Defendant knew the residents and went
to school with them and that the Defendant had been to the
home previously. The Defendant acknowledged that he may not
have been honest with the officers but continued to insist
that he was not involved. He did not change his story even
after Sergeant Hicks informed him that officers executed a
search warrant at his apartment.
Sergeant Hicks showed the Defendant photographs of items
belonging to the victims that were found inside of the
Defendant's apartment, the Defendant admitted that he
committed the offenses and provided details that Sergeant
Hicks stated matched those details included in reports from
the victims. The Defendant told Sergeant Hicks that he had
played football with some of the occupants and that he was
angry with one of the men about an incident involving a
woman. The Defendant stated that he also was angry because
one of the men provided him with free marijuana while they
were on the same football team but that the man required the
Defendant to pay for the marijuana once the Defendant was no
longer on the team.
Defendant gave a formal statement in which he admitted taking
shoes, televisions, and watches from the victims' home.
He stated that he was armed with a BB gun and was driving a
maroon Mazda Millenia and that no one was injured. The
Defendant said he waited until everyone left, entered the
house through the back door, and began packing items. He
attempted to open the bedroom where Ms. House was sleeping,
but it was locked. He stated that when Ms. House opened the
door, he pulled out the BB gun and instructed her to lie down
on the bed. He said that he saw the keys to Ms. House's
vehicle and confirmed that the keys belonged to her. The
Defendant told the officer that he "escorted" Ms.
House to the bathroom and told her to get into the bathtub.
He then walked around the house, packing items and loading
them into Ms. House's truck. The Defendant drove Ms.
House's truck around the corner, placed the items in his
younger brother's car, and drove away.
Defendant stated that he committed the robbery "to get
back" at Mr. Redden. The Defendant explained that Mr.
Redden had "talked" to the Defendant's
girlfriend and then denied it when the Defendant confronted
him. The Defendant also stated that Mr. Redden sold
marijuana, previously provided it to him for free, and then
began requiring him to pay for it. The Defendant believed
that most of the items he took were inside his apartment,
although he may have lost some of the items. He stated that
he attempted to conceal his identity when he saw Ms. House by
covering his face with the hood on his shirt. He apologized
and maintained that he did not want to hurt Ms. House.
Sergeant Hicks acknowledged that it was possible that the
Defendant may not have expected Ms. House to be home.
Hicks testified that upon reviewing the information related
to the home invasion, he did not see any indication that
drugs were at the victims' home. Mr. Redden testified
that he did not sell drugs and that he did not have any drugs
in the home. He stated that he saw the Defendant following
the offenses and that the Defendant apologized to him. When
Mr. Redden confronted the Defendant about his statements to
the police that Mr. Redden sold drugs, the Defendant denied
making the statements. Mr. Redden testified that the
Defendant contacted him and offered him $1, 200 to not come
to court and that as a result the Defendant was "still
not trying to own up to what [he] did." When Mr. Harris
saw the Defendant following the invasion, the Defendant
apologized but did not return any of the items that had not
Defendant testified that on the night prior to the home
invasion, he attended a party where he was drinking alcohol
and smoking marijuana. He said he was given a pill while at
the party, but he did not take it. After he left the party, a
police officer stopped him for running a stop sign, and the
Defendant ingested the pill because he did not want the
officer to find it on his person. The Defendant said that the
pill caused his mind to "race" and that he became
intoxicated. He explained that he decided to go to the
victims' home to purchase marijuana in order to calm him
because he was supposed to go to Atlanta the following day.
The Defendant arrived at the victims' house at 3:00 a.m.
or 4:00 a.m and parked his car away from the house. He stated
that he planned to wait until the victims would be awake but
that he fell asleep in his car. He awoke around 7:00 a.m. and
saw Mr. McCain leaving.
Defendant testified that he "felt a little rage"
because he had learned that Mr. Redden had been involved in a
relationship with the Defendant's girlfriend. The
Defendant also testified that Mr. Redden previously provided
him with marijuana for free but then required the Defendant
to pay for it after they "fell out." The Defendant
believed he was not going to obtain marijuana from Mr. Redden
and said he was "furious" because he wanted to
enjoy himself while on his trip. As a result, the Defendant
decided to enter the home. He maintained that he was unaware
that anyone was in the home at the time.
Defendant testified that he began searching for marijuana and
believed that Mr. Redden had it hidden in his bedroom. The
Defendant discovered that Mr. Redden's bedroom door was
locked and "bumped" it two times with his arm. The
Defendant stated that the door opened as he turned to walk
away, that he was "startled, " and that he pulled
out his BB gun from his back pocket. He explained that he had
the BB gun because he had used it to shoot rodents and
raccoons at the party he had attended. The Defendant
instructed Ms. House to lie down on the bed. He stated that
he asked for the PIN to her cellular phone because he did not
want her to call the police. He also stated, "I
wouldn't say I took her phone. It was kind of laying
there, and I just picked it up."
Defendant said that he searched the house for marijuana and
other drugs and that he located marijuana, which he placed in
a bag along with other items from the home. He returned to
Mr. Redden's bedroom to search for marijuana but did not
want Ms. House to be in the room while he searched. The
Defendant stated that he grabbed Ms. House's shoulder and
"escorted" her to the bathroom. He maintained that
he was intoxicated and did not understand the magnitude of
his actions. He instructed Ms. House to get into the bathtub,
turned on the water, and continued searching for items inside
the house. The Defendant obtained the keys to Ms. House's
truck, loaded up various items, drove the truck to the Mazda
that he had been driving, and loaded as much as he could fit
inside the Mazda. The Defendant apologized for his actions
and said he believed "it was the worst decision"
that he had ever made.
cross-examination, the Defendant denied forcing Ms. House
into the bathroom but said he "escorted" her. He
said that while he instructed her to get into the bathtub, he
did not instruct her to remain there. He also said he did not
tell officers that he found marijuana inside the house to
prevent charges for stealing drugs. He denied selling or
otherwise disposing of any of the items that he took from the
Defendant denied any attempts to dissuade Mr. Redden from
coming to court and said he was merely attempting to repay
Mr. Redden for any items that the Defendant may have taken
and were not returned. The Defendant's bond was revoked
as a result of his unauthorized contact. He acknowledged that
he was prohibited from contacting Ms. House as a condition of
his bond but maintained that he was unaware that he was
prohibited from contacting Mr. Redden, Mr. McCain, or Mr.
Harris. The Defendant denied asking his mother or his
girlfriend to attempt to contact Mr. Redden in an effort to
dissuade him from coming to court, and the State played the
recordings of the Defendant's calls to his mother and his
girlfriend from the jail to counter the Defendant's
Defendant stated that while he was dressed for court in the
holding area waiting for the trial one morning, he did not
knock on the door of an adjoining courtroom and tell the
deputy who opened the door that he ...