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Perry v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

February 23, 2018


          Assigned on Briefs December 5, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 08-02978 Paula L. Skahan, Judge

         The Petitioner, Matthew Perry, appeals the post-conviction court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief in which he challenged his convictions for first degree felony murder and attempted aggravated robbery. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by leaving before the close of the trial, which effectively pressured the Petitioner not to testify in his own defense, and by failing to introduce an exculpatory photograph into evidence. Upon reviewing the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal Court Affirmed

          Robert Golder, Memphis, Tennessee (on appeal); Stephen C. Bush, District Public Defender; and Neil Umsted, Assistant District Public Defender (at hearing), for the appellant, Matthew Perry.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Caitlin Smith, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Pam Stark, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          John Everett Williams, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Alan E. Glenn and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.





         The evidence presented at trial established that on October 3, 2007, Mr. Asa McGhee, the victim, was shot and killed in his own home during an attempted robbery perpetrated by the Petitioner and another man identified only as "Big P." The facts relevant to this post-conviction appeal are summarized below; a complete recitation of the evidence presented at trial is included in this court's opinion on direct appeal. See State v. Matthew Perry, No. W2010-00951-CCA-R3-CD, 2011 WL 3962865, at *1-8 (Tenn. Crim. App. Sept. 8, 2011), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Jan. 10, 2012).

         Ms. Paris Humes, the victim's girlfriend and mother of his child, testified that she arrived at the victim's home at approximately 9:30 a.m. on the morning of the murder. She noticed the victim's car parked in the street with its door and trunk open. Ms. Humes got out of her car and saw a man, "Big P, " exiting the victim's house. Ms. Humes had never seen "Big P" before that day. She took her baby out of the car, went into the house, and noticed that the wood on the inside of the carport door was cracked. "Big P" followed Ms. Humes inside the house and asked if she was the victim's girlfriend. Ms. Humes replied affirmatively and asked where the victim was. Ms. Humes walked toward the victim's bedroom and could hear voices, one of which belonged to the victim. Inside the bedroom, she saw the Petitioner, whom she knew as "ATL, " kneeling over the victim as the victim lay on the floor between the bed and the wall. When "Big P" entered the bedroom, Ms. Humes asked what was happening and he responded, "[Y]ou know what this is." The victim told the Petitioner, "[M]an, I ain't got nothing." Ms. Humes then noticed that "Big P" had a gun, and she began to scream, "[P]lease don't kill him!"

         "Big P" then forced Ms. Humes and her baby into a small bathroom connected to the victim's bedroom. Ms. Humes heard the Petitioner tell the victim, "Man, I got your baby in here, and your girl here now, you going to give me the money or what." The victim maintained that the only money he had was in his pants and urged the Petitioner to check his car to confirm that he did not have any money. The Petitioner said they had already checked his car. Ms. Humes then heard the Petitioner say, "[M]an, give me the gun, " followed by three to four gunshots. She heard the victim groan after each gunshot except the last. "Big P" told Ms. Humes to stay inside the bathroom. After she heard a car leave, she stepped out of the bathroom to check on the victim. The victim was wrapped in a blanket with multiple gunshot wounds. Ms. Humes heard someone banging on the window and saw Mr. Ponsay Bratcher. Mr. Bratcher said he had called the police. The victim died of multiple gunshot wounds: one in the chest, one in the abdomen, and one in the head.

         Ms. Humes testified that she had met the Petitioner while she was with the victim. After introducing Ms. Humes to the Petitioner, the victim told her that the Petitioner wanted to purchase the victim's watch. She had seen the Petitioner at the victim's house on one other ...

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