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Jackson v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

March 6, 2018

KERVIN JACKSON
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs February 6, 2018

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 13-04457 J. Robert Carter, Jr., Judge

         The petitioner, Kervin Jackson, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition, arguing the post-conviction court erred in finding he received effective assistance of counsel at trial. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

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

          Claiborne Ferguson, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kervin Jackson.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Ronald L. Coleman, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Paul Goodman and Muriel Malone, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          J. Ross Dyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which John Everett Williams and Camille R. McMullen, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          J. ROSS DYER, JUDGE

         FACTS

         On January 13, 2013, the petitioner shot and killed his brother-in-law in the kitchen of their family home. Despite claiming self-defense at trial, a jury convicted the petitioner of first degree murder, and he received a life sentence. The petitioner subsequently challenged the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction on direct appeal. This Court summarized the underlying facts leading to the petitioner's conviction as follows:

         The victim, Taumarein Covington, was shot and killed on January 13, 2013, while standing in the kitchen of the home in which he lived with his wife's family, including [the petitioner], his brother-in-law. [The petitioner] was arrested shortly after the shooting.

Pearlie Campbell, [the petitioner's] mother, owned the house where the incident took place. The modest home was occupied by multiple members of Ms. Campbell's family: Ms. Campbell; [the petitioner]; the victim; Dominique Covington, [the petitioner's] sister and the victim's wife; and [the petitioner's] sister Ashley Jackson and her child. Ms. Jackson and her child were not living at the residence permanently but were staying there on the day of the shooting.
Tancer Covington, the mother of the victim, testified that, about a week prior to his death, she met the victim at a bank to give him money for the first month's rent at a new apartment. During that meeting, the victim told her that he was "fearful of Dominique's brother."
The morning of the shooting, Ms. Campbell recalled sitting at the kitchen table "[w]aiting on Dominique and Ashley to get ready" to "go to the grocery store." The victim was in the kitchen sitting behind Ms. Campbell. According to Ms. Campbell:
[The petitioner] came in[, ] stood by the sink[, ] and asked me where I was fixing to go[, ] and I told him the grocery store[, ] and he asked me who was going with me[, ] and I told him[, ] and then he said, "Well, it just ain't right, mama. It just ain't right." So you know he just kept talking so -- I mean when I bent to tie my shoe all I hear was pow, pow, and I just ran out the door.
Ms. Campbell did not actually see her son shoot the victim but "he was the only somebody in the room" other than her and the victim. She admitted that in her initial statement to police, she maintained that [the petitioner] was responsible for shooting the victim. In fact, she described the gun that [the petitioner] used to kill the victim as "black and may have had a little silver on it." She explained that [the petitioner] was employed as a security guard and routinely carried a gun.
The victim and his wife, Dominique, had been staying at the house for quite some time. They were saving money to move in to their own place. Ms. Campbell knew that the victim and Dominique were planning on moving out as soon as they were "stable." While they lived at the house, Dominique and the victim slept on the floor in the living room on a blow up mattress. In order to make room for their bed, the couple had to rearrange some of the furniture in the living room. This often irritated [the petitioner], especially when the victim's gaming television was blocking the door.
On the morning of the incident the victim and [the petitioner] were "arguing." [The petitioner] was "telling him . . . he had to leave." Dominique stated that [the petitioner] never threatened to kill the victim but there was definitely tension between the two. She admitted that in her statement to police, she commented that [the petitioner] used the phrase "tick tock" when talking to the victim for several days prior to the incident. The victim reported to her that [the petitioner] was "taunting [the victim] and threatening to shoot him." Dominique later explained that [the petitioner] often used the phrase "tick tock" when "you need to do something." She did not perceive it as a threat toward her husband but thought that he was saying it because he wanted them to move out of the house. She described [the petitioner's] normal demeanor as "mad" and opined that the victim was "afraid" of [the petitioner] at the time of his death.
On the morning of the incident, Dominique and the victim got up around 11:00 or 12:00. After she arose that morning, Dominique was sitting in the living room listening to her iPod when she heard her mom say, "Kervin, no." After that, she heard one shot. Dominique "hit the floor and [she] heard [her] mom scream and run out the front door." Dominique ran to the front door to see where her mother was going but heard "the next couple of shots" and got back down onto the floor. After the shooting stopped, she ran in to the kitchen. She saw her brother standing there and her husband lying on the floor with blood around him. [The petitioner] "had a gun in his hand." Dominique saw [the petitioner] lay the gun down on the floor next to the victim's left hand. She picked the gun up and put it on the kitchen table.
Ashley Jackson was present at the home that morning but did not see anything happen. She heard the gunshots from her ...

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