Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Session June 27, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Knox County No. 101910B Steven W.
Defendant, Lavonte Dominique Simmon, appeals as of right his
jury convictions for first degree premeditated murder and two
counts of aggravated assault. On appeal, the Defendant
alleges the following errors: (1) that the Defendant was
deprived of his right to present a viable defense when the
trial court permitted Charles Maples to assert the privilege
against self-incrimination and, thereafter, refused to allow
defense counsel to withdraw so that defense counsel could
testify about Mr. Maples' past statements; (2) that the
trial court improperly denied the Defendant's motion to
dismiss the indictment after the State failed to preserve
exculpatory evidence in the form of Mr. Maples'
testimony; (3) that the trial court should have granted the
Defendant's motion to suppress his statement to the
police in light of testimony that the Defendant suffered a
brain injury causing intellectual impairment, that the
Defendant invoked his right to counsel, and that the
Defendant did not voluntarily waive his Miranda
rights; (4) that the trial court erred by allowing the State
to introduce numerous photographs of weapons, weapons-related
items, and ammunition found during the search of the home
where the Defendant was apprehended; (5) that the evidence
was insufficient to support the Defendant's convictions
because the State failed to prove that the Defendant was the
person who shot the murder victim or that the Defendant acted
with premeditation; and (6) that the trial court should have
instructed the jury on diminished capacity. Following our
review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Criminal
Douglas A. Trant (on appeal), Knoxville, Tennessee; Mark E.
Stephens, District Public Defender (at trial); and Eric
Lutton and Jonathan Harwell, Assistant Public Defenders (at
trial), for the appellant, Lavonte Dominique Simmon.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Benjamin A. Ball, Senior Counsel; Charme P. Allen, District
Attorney General; and Leslie R. Nassios, Assistant District
Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Camille R. McMullen and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., JJ.,
KELLY THOMAS, JR., JUDGE.
a drive-by shooting at the home of Charles Maples and Uniqua
Brown, the Defendant, along with co-defendant Shawn
O'Neill,  was indicted for the first degree
premeditated murder of Uniqua Brown and the aggravated
assaults of Jasmine and Akeem Hollingsworth, both of whom
were also present. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§
39-13-102, -202. The Defendant filed multiple pretrial
motions, including a motion to suppress his statement to the
police, a "motion in limine" seeking suppression of
much of the evidence found at the residence where he was
apprehended, and a motion to dismiss the indictment based
upon a Ferguson violation. Defense counsel also
filed a motion to withdraw, so they could testify on the
Defendant's behalf about statements Mr. Maples made to
them. The case proceeded to trial on May 11 through May 15 of
7, 2013, siblings Jasmine and Akeem
Hollingsworth were standing in the driveway of 1430
Nolan Avenue talking with one of the residents of that home,
Uniqua Brown. Ms. Brown was sitting in the passenger seat of
a Chevy Caprice that belonged to her boyfriend Charles
Maples, who also lived in the residence ("the
Brown-Maples residence"). Mr. Maples had just taken the
couple's three-day-old twins inside the house.
Hollingsworths and Ms. Brown were in the driveway talking,
the Defendant's green Camry approached. As the car passed
by, the Defendant, who was in the passenger's seat, made
eye contact with Akeem, and Akeem recognized the
Defendant because they went to school together. The Camry
then stopped at "the neighbor's driveway, " and
the Defendant "pulled out" an AK-47 and
"opened fire" on the group. It all "happened
pretty quickly[, ]" and both of the Hollingsworths
dropped to the ground to avoid the gunfire.
green Camry sped away, and the shooting stopped. Akeem
suffered a "very minor injury" to his side, and
Jasmine was uninjured. Ms. Brown ultimately died as a result
of her wounds.
Police Response and Investigation.
received "a call to 1430 Nolan in Knoxville around 11:45
a.m." Knoxville Police Department ("KPD")
Officer Brian Bumpus was the first to arrive. Officer Bumpus
described the scene as he approached the residence:
"[T]here were several people standing outside, fairly
frantic running around. I could tell that somebody was being
tended to. . . . So I exited my vehicle, I walk around the
front of it and then could see the victim laying [sic] there
on the ground." According to Officer Bumpus, Ms. Brown
"had a rather large wound . . . to her left side."
Although someone was performing CPR on Ms. Brown, Officer
Bumpus thought she was likely deceased due to the size of the
wound. The ambulance arrived and took Ms. Brown to the
Bumpus received a description of the suspect vehicle, and the
shooter was identified as "Dominique Simmon."
Thereafter, a "be-on-the-lookout"
("BOLO") was issued for the Defendant's
Bumpus had "two people that [he] believed to be good
witnesses, " so he had them sit in the back of his
police car to keep them from leaving the scene. These two
witnesses turned out to be Jasmine and Akeem Hollingsworth.
After spending approximately ten minutes on the scene,
Officer Bumpus took the Hollingsworth siblings to the police
department, so they could each give a statement to
investigators. Officer Bumpus described them as
"obviously very traumatized by what had happened."
Bumpus's cruiser's equipment recorded
"everything, " and the recording was admitted as a
trial exhibit. It provided video of Officer Bumpus's
arrival on the scene, as well as audio. In addition to
Officer Bumpus's conversation with those on the scene,
the Hollingsworths' dialog while they sat in the car was
redirect, Officer Bumpus agreed that it was "inherently
more dangerous to have a drive-by [shooting] in the
daytime." Officer Bumpus also clarified that the man on
the video who said he could not identify shooter was also the
same person who was frantic and said "my wife is
the BOLO went out, the Defendant's car was spotted parked
on Gross Avenue. As Lieutenant Gauffney approached the
vehicle, he "was flagged down by a passerby on foot,
" who told him that "the people ran from that
car" into the residence at 1605 Moses Avenue ("1605
Moses"). Shortly thereafter, officers surrounded the
three-story home, and three people emerged from
inside-Braxton Williams, Andre Harshaw, and Ray Johnson.
Teressa Williams was the owner of 1605 Moses, and she lived
there with her children, Braxton, Bronson, and Blair
Williams. Ms. Williams, who had arrived on the scene, gave
consent to search, and the SWAT team went inside. They found
the Defendant and Shawn O'Neill hiding underneath a pile
of clothes in the basement.
the Defendant was taken into custody, a search warrant was
obtained for 1605 Moses. An abundance of evidence from 1605
Moses was introduced at trial, including weapons,
weapons-related items, and ammunition. It was unknown if the
items found inside the house belonged to the Defendant.
also examined the scene at the Brown-Maples residence, 1430
Nolan Avenue, as well as the two adjoining residences, 1428
to the east and 1434 to the west. Seven bullets hit the
Brown-Maples residence in total-four entering the house, and
three striking the screened-in front porch area. Four bullets
in total hit the residence next-door at 1434-three hitting
the carport and continuing into the house, and one going
straight into the house. Additionally, one "bullet
defect" of unknown origin was observed on the far side
of 1434 possibly "from a prior incident in the
several vehicles were damaged. A black Chevrolet Trailblazer
parked in the driveway at 1428 had seven bullet holes in the
driver's side and three holes on the passenger's
side, suggesting that several projectiles had passed through
the vehicle. A "possible eighth bullet" flattened
the Trailblazer's left front tire. Furthermore, one
bullet struck the ground near that vehicle.
1430, the Chevrolet Caprice that Ms. Brown was sitting inside
had three holes on the driver's side, and five defects in
the windshield that were caused by "one or more"
bullets fragmenting after hitting something. To the untrained
eye, it might have appeared that something hit the windshield
directly. In addition, two fragments were found inside the
Caprice. A maroon Buick Park Avenue, parked in front of the
Caprice, had six bullet holes to the driver's side.
damage to these vehicles and residences all came from an
easterly direction. Immediately following the shooting,
police discovered thirty-two spent 7.62 x 39 shell casings in
the road just to the east of the Brown-Maples residence in
front of the house at 1428.
Envoy diagonally parked in yard of the Brown-Maples residence
just to the left of the Caprice, had a bullet hole in the
right, rear passenger's side. It was noted in the
ballistics report that the bullet hole in the Envoy could
"have been caused by return fire." In addition,
four live 9mm rounds were located near the rear bumper of the
Envoy. In front of the Envoy "to the right and around
[a] little doghouse area, " four spent .45 caliber shell
casings, by two different manufacturers, were discovered.
O'Neill, the co-defendant and driver of the Camry,
testified at the Defendant's trial. Mr. O'Neill knew
the Defendant because their parents "were together"
for ten years. According to Mr. O'Neill, he, the
Defendant, and the Defendant's younger brother, Daquawn,
had lived in Memphis in the same household for several years,
and Daquawn was approximately two years younger than the
Defendant. Mr. O'Neill testified that, when they
"all bec[a]me of age, " they moved out of their
parents' home. In June of 2013, Mr. O'Neill and
Daquawn still lived in Memphis, but the Defendant had moved
to the Knoxville area. According to Mr. O'Neill, the
Defendant "was always back and forth because his mom
lived in Knoxville, and his dad lived in Memphis."
the first week of June 2013, Daquawn asked Mr. O'Neill if
Mr. O'Neill would drive him to Knoxville because Daquawn
had a court date but no valid driver's license. Mr.
O'Neill agreed, knowing that Daquawn was carrying a
fairly large amount of cash on him for court costs and fines.
According to Mr. O'Neill, they left Memphis that
Wednesday evening around 7:00 or 8:00 p.m., and this
was Mr. O'Neill's first trip to Knoxville.
they arrived at approximately 4:30 the following morning,
June 6, 2013, they went to Braxton Williams's house-1605
Moses. Later that afternoon, the
came over to the residence, and he was driving a green Toyota
Camry, according to Mr. O'Neill. Mr. O'Neill left
with the Defendant and "hung out with him all day
because [he] hadn't seen [the Defendant] in almost a
year." Daquawn stayed behind with Braxton. Although they
went by 1605 Moses once more that evening, Mr. O'Neill
and the Defendant ultimately spent the night at the
O'Neill testified that he was awakened the following
morning about 11:00 a.m. by the Defendant: "[The
Defendant] taps me on the leg and he says, wake up, we've
gotta go over to check on Daquawn because he got robbed last
night." So they got in the Defendant's Camry and
drove to the Williams's home at 1605 Moses. According to
Mr. O'Neill, when they arrived, there was group sitting
outside on the balcony talking; this group included Jasmine
Hollingsworth, an eventual victim. Mr. O'Neill said that
Daquawn was sitting down, and "[e]verybody was pretty
much talking about . . . what happened and stuff, you know,
where . . . was he at when he got robbed and all that
stuff." Daquawn had reported the robbery to the police,
but he did not think they could help much.
to Mr. O'Neill, while Daquawn did not identify the
robbers, Daquawn did say that "he thought a guy named
Little Tony had something to do with it" and
that, after they robbed him, they "made him walk back
naked" to 1605 Moses. This information, Mr. O'Neill
said, made the Defendant even angrier. The Defendant said,
"I'm tired of stuff like this happening[.]"
However, Daquawn "really wasn't like saying or doing
anything, he was just sitting there[, ]" and Mr.
O'Neill was "more frustrated at the fact that . . .
[Daquawn] didn't have . . . any money or anything for
[them] to get back home[.]"
Defendant and Braxton went inside the house, and the
Defendant emerged with an AK-47 in his hands. Jasmine was
"act[ing] kind of scared" at that point and left,
according to Mr. O'Neill. A short time thereafter, Blair
Williams made a phone call to Jasmine, and during that call,
the Defendant "got up" and said, "I'll be
back." The Defendant, armed, got in the Camry alone and
left. Mr. O'Neill assumed that the Defendant was going to
find Mr. Dixson, aka "Little Tony." However, the
Defendant returned about five minutes later, got out of the
car with the gun, and started to converse with the group
again. The Defendant told them that "[h]e didn't see
anybody out there."
that, Blair was on the phone with Jasmine again, and she put
Jasmine on speaker phone. According to Mr. O'Neill,
"all of the sudden . . . there was [sic] voices heard
over the speaker phone[, ] and somebody busted out and said,
they're over there, they're over there, because
they're telling [Jasmine] to hang up the phone, hang up
the phone." Mr. O'Neill testified that, in response,
he and the Defendant got in the Camry. Mr. O'Neill was
driving. Mr. O'Neill said that Daquawn tried to talk them
out of going to find Mr. Dixson, saying, "[D]on't
worry about it, I've already filled out a police
report." They went anyway.
Defendant, who had brought the AK-47 with him, gave
directions to Mr. O'Neill as he drove because Mr.
O'Neill did not "know where to go" being
unfamiliar with the area. After turning onto Nolan Avenue,
they spotted Jasmine's car. The Defendant instructed Mr.
O'Neill "to go slow[, ]" and he "pulled
the gun out the window." Mr. O'Neill said that he
then saw "movement out of [his] peripheral, but [he]
never looked directly at the house." The Defendant
"opened fire" just as they passed the Brown-Maples
residence, according to Mr. O'Neill. Mr. O'Neill did
not see anyone else shooting and did not hear any other shots
being fired. The Defendant then said "go, go[.]"
Mr. O'Neill "hit the gas, " and the Defendant
directed him back to 1605 Moses. When Mr. O'Neill was
asked, "[The Defendant] certainly knew what he was gonna
do a couple of minutes before, didn't he?" Mr.
O'Neill replied, "It seemed like it."
they arrived at 1605 Moses, the Defendant ran into the house
and told Mr. O'Neill to hide the car. Mr. O'Neill
claimed that he never saw the AK-47 again. Mr. O'Neill
parked the car next to a nearby park and "walked back to
Braxton's house across the park." Once Mr.
O'Neill returned to 1605 Moses, they were "running
around trying to figure out what to do, " and about ten
or fifteen minutes later, the police had the house
surrounded. The Defendant and Mr. O'Neill went
"downstairs to the bottom part[, ] like where
there's a garage and storage areas, " and hid
underneath "a bunch of stuff" before being
O'Neill also testified that he had a conversation with
the Defendant the Monday before the trial began. According to
Mr. O'Neill, the Defendant requested that Mr. O'Neill
"help him out" by saying that "it wasn't
[the Defendant] in the car, it was [Mr. O'Neill] that was
driving and . . . Daquawn was the one that was
shooting." Although Mr. O'Neill agreed at the time,
he testified that he "wouldn't do that" despite
the fact that it was hard for him to testify against the
cross-examination, Mr. O'Neill testified that, in
addition to Tony Dixson, Akeem Hollingsworth's name was
mentioned as a potential robber by Daquawn. According to Mr.
O'Neill, that was the reason Jasmine left 1605 Moses when
she did "because she was going to get her brother,
" Akeem. Mr. O'Neill further stated that Jasmine was
present when Daquawn described that he had been stripped of
his clothes during the robbery. Mr. O'Neill also affirmed
that Daquawn would have gone to jail without his money for
O'Neill asserted that he "willingly got in the
car" with the Defendant and that he knew "the
reason for going over there, " although it had not been
specifically stated by the Defendant. Mr. O'Neill
maintained that the "purpose of going over there [was
not] to try and get the money back."
asked where he saw movement in yard of the Brown-Maples
residence, Mr. O'Neill replied, "[F]rom the back of
a truck that was kind of parked diagonally across the grass
and the front of the Chevy, there was some movement in that
area. Other than that, I didn't see any movement . . .
anywhere else out of my peripheral." Mr. O'Neill was
referring to the GMC Envoy in the yard. Mr. O'Neill also
admitted that he was "playing with" his phone when
they were "rolling up" to the Brown-Maples
asked if it was possible that someone else fired in addition
to the Defendant, Mr. O'Neill said, "I don't
think so" because all he "heard was the rapid
fire" from the Defendant's weapon. Mr. O'Neill
acknowledged that he had previously spoken with the assistant
district attorney and that he indicated to her that, although
he was "not a hundred percent sure, " "[he]
believe[d] a shot had been fired" by someone else first
"[a]t one point in time." On redirect, Mr.
O'Neill further explained that he told the prosecutor
"that it was possible that it was a shot [the Defendant]
fired off before he sprayed."
The Defendant's Statement.
the Defendant was taken into custody, he was escorted by a
patrolman from 1605 Moses to the police station and was
placed in an interview room where he remained shirtless and
handcuffed. At 2:24 p.m., KPD Investigator Jason Booker began
to interview the Defendant. This video recording was admitted
as an exhibit.
the interview, the Defendant denied shooting anyone or having
any knowledge of the robbery involving his brother Daquawn.
According to the Defendant, he "was already inside"
1605 Moses and did not run from any car. In addition, the
Defendant told Investigator Booker that his Camry had been
stolen the evening before and that Shawn O'Neill had just
arrived in Knoxville that morning. In addition, the Defendant
asked Investigator Booker, "Listen, where is the gun at?
If I . . . did that, where's the gun at?"
Defendant sat in the interview room for a while after the
initial questioning by Investigator Booker. KPD Investigator
Brandon Wardlaw entered the room sometime later, accompanied
by a gunshot residue technician. While the gunshot residue
technician was swabbing the Defendant's hands and face,
the Defendant and Investigator Wardlaw conversed. The
Defendant stuck by his initial story. Additionally, the
Defendant explained that, if the test was positive, it was
because he had shot a gun "in the woods" the day
before. The Defendant told Investigator Wardlaw that he lived
several points during the recording the Defendant was left
alone in the interview room. During these moments, he
expressed concern that he was "going to jail, "
that his "life [was] over, " and that he would not
see his son again. At one point, the Defendant cried out,
"Lord, I'm so sorry. I don't want my kid to grow
up with anybody else." Investigator Booker, with use of
noise cancelling headphones, was able to hear the Defendant
say, "God, forgive me, clearly, I f-ked up." The
Defendant was also taken for fingerprinting while he waited.
Mr. Maples' Statements.
Mr. Maples was unavailable due to his invoking his right
against self-incrimination, an agreed-upon stipulation
between the parties was read to the jury and entered as an
exhibit, and it relayed what Mr. Maples' trial testimony
would have been had he been available. Contained in the
stipulation, Mr. Maples said that Tony Dixson took his car
during the early morning hours of June 7, returning it around
7:30 a.m. According to Mr. Maples, Mr. Dixson told Mr. Maples
that, while he was gone with the car, he and Shaquan Andrews
had robbed Daquawn. Mr. Maples did not know whether Akeem
Hollingsworth was involved in Daquawn's robbery.
Maples said that, later that day, he and Ms. Brown went
looking for strollers for their three-day-old twins.
According to Mr. Maples, Jasmine Hollingsworth called him
while they were in route to the store and "warned him
the Moses men were looking to shoot them." Jasmine told
Mr. Maples that she was on her way to his house. When Mr.
Maples and Ms. Brown returned home, Mr. Maples saw Mr.
Dixson's "car backed up in the driveway, " Mr.
Andrews's girlfriend's car "in the driveway
ahead of him[, ]" and Jasmine's car parked on the
street. Ms. Brown instructed Mr. Maples "to get them out
of the house."
Mr. Maples was getting one of the twins out of the car, he
saw the Defendant "slowly" drive by the house in
the Defendant's green Camry. According to Mr. Maples, the
Defendant spoke to him, asking him, "What's
up?" The Defendant travelled on out of Mr. Maples'
Maples said that he then took the twins inside while Ms.
Brown waited in the car. According to Mr. Maples, Jasmine,
Akeem, Mr. Andrews, Mr. Dixson, and "Little Ty"
were all inside his home, but he told them they had to leave.
Mr. Maples said that, at that time, he saw Mr. Dixson with a
.45 caliber handgun and Mr. Andrews with a 9mm.
five to seven minutes had passed before Mr. Maples went back
outside. Mr. Maples agreed that Jasmine, Akeem, Mr. Dixson,
and "Little Ty" exited the residence before he did.
According to Mr. Maples, Mr. Dixson moved into the yard,
though Mr. Maples did not see where Mr. Dixson went, and Mr.
Maples and Mr. Andrews were on the screened-in porch when the
shooting occurred. Mr. Maples said that he did not see Mr.
Dixson or Mr. Andrews holding a gun as they exited, and Mr.
Maples was unsure if anyone else fired besides the passenger
of the Camry. Mr. Maples identified the shooter as Daquawn,
but he was "not certain." According to Mr. Maples,
Mr. Dixson, Mr. Andrews, and Little Ty fled immediately.
addition to the stipulation, a video recording of Mr. Maples
June 13, 2013 interview with Investigator Chaz Terry was
likewise made a trial exhibit. Mr. Maples was very emotional
immediately after the shooting so he was not interviewed
until several days later. During the interview, Mr. Maples
was very concerned about the damage done to the windshield of
his Chevy Caprice, thinking that possibly one of the people
coming from inside his house had fired the shot that killed
Ms. Brown. According to Mr. Maples, he saw Mr. Dixson with a
.45 handgun, Mr. Andrews had an SKS rifle "in his hand,
" and Akeem had a 9mm when they came out of his house
that day. However, he said that he did not see "nobody
return no [sic] fire." He said that Mr. Andrews left the
SKS on his front porch after the shooting and that he took
the SKS next-door before the police arrived. Mr. Maples also
claimed that the Defendant was the one driving the Camry and
was not the shooter, but that it was the Defendant's
"little brother" from Memphis with dreadlocks, whom
Mr. Maples had met the night before. In addition, Mr. Maples
stated that Akeem Hollingsworth was not involved in the
robbery of Daquawn but noted that Akeem was very close with
Mr. Dixson. At one point during the interview, Mr. Maples
asked, "Can I ask you a question? Do you feel like I had
something to do with that?" and Investigator Terry said,
"No." Mr. Maples also expressed concern with
Investigator Terry putting his name on any paperwork.
Other Witnesses' Trial Testimony.
testified that he called 9-1-1 immediately after the shooting
stopped. He testified that he "was scared for [his]
life" and that it was the first time he had "ever
witness[ed] anything like that." Akeem noticed that Ms.
Brown appeared to be seriously injured while he was dialing
went to speak with the officers when they arrived on the
scene "telling them who did it and all[.]" Akeem
described that, during this time, Mr. Maples "came back
outside" and "was freaking out" because he
realized that Ms. Brown had been shot. Akeem also saw his
sister who was visibly upset.
identified the driver of the Camry as "kind of like
mixed, like Mexican looking guy." According to Akeem, he
saw this man around 2:00 p.m. the day before while he was
standing outside 1605 Moses. When Akeem was asked who lived
at 1605 Moses, he responded, "Braxton, [the Defendant],
the Mexican looking guy and his brother Bronson."
also testified that he had seen the Defendant in the Camry
earlier that day. When asked if the Defendant looked
"anything" like his younger brother Daquawn, Akeem
replied, "Not-kind of, but not really."
Furthermore, according to Akeem, Daquawn had
"dreadlocks" back then, and the Defendant's
hair was short.
cross-examination, Akeem averred that only he, his sister,
Ms. Brown, and Mr. Maples were at the residence when the
shooting occurred and, specifically, that neither Mr. Dixson
nor Mr. Andrews were present. Akeem said that he had been
there talking with Ms. Brown and Mr. Maples for some time.
Akeem maintained that he was unarmed.
to Akeem, his sister had only arrived shortly before the
shooting, and after her arrival, she instructed Mr. Maples to
take the twins inside because it was getting hot. Jasmine
also "started telling [them] that Daquawn had got [sic]
robbed and he thought . . . that [Akeem] had something to do
with it[.]" Akeem denied being involved in Daquawn's
robbery. Akeem said that the Defendant "came around the
corner" and opened fire.
Hollingsworth also testified, relaying much of the same
information as her brother, including that the driver of the
Camry was "Mexican, " that Mr. Maples "came
running out of the house saying" Ms. Brown had been
"hit, " that Ms. Brown appeared to be gravely
injured, and that they were all "going crazy" from
these events. Jasmine recollected that Mr. Maples was in the
house when the shooting started. Jasmine further stated that
she was scared and "didn't like . . . being in that
cross-examination, Jasmine stated that she "stopped
by" 1605 Moses before she went to the Brown-Maples
residence and that Blair Williams told her about
Daquawn's robbery, although she never provided specific
details. According to Jasmine, Blair had come out of the
house and "was talking off the balcony."
Furthermore, Jasmine denied telling anyone at the
Brown-Maples residence "that the guys at 1605 were
coming down to shoot[.]"
recross, Jasmine viewed a portion of her police station
interview to refresh her recollection, and the video
recording was also played for the jury. Jasmine then
recalled that she spoke on the porch of 1605 Moses with Blair
Williams, the Defendant, and the Defendant's
"Mexican" brother, and that a gun was exchanged on
the porch. Also, Jasmine agreed that she said during the
interview "that this was all on that Little Boy"
and that Daquawn was robbed of $1500. Jasmine denied ever
calling Mr. Maples after leaving 1605 Moses.
Matson lived on Brookside Avenue behind Nolan Avenue. On June
7, 2013, he was in his backyard when he heard twenty-eight to
thirty shots coming from an AK-47. Mr. Matson further
relayed, "And then I heard probably three or four more
shots in the middle of all that going on, " which he
said sounded different "like an M-80 or something going
off[, ] . . . [l]ike a firecracker." Shortly after the
shooting, Mr. Matson saw a green Toyota Camry drive by his
residence. According to Mr. Matson, the passenger was
"hanging out the window" and pretending to make
"the noise that the gun was making just three seconds
prior to that." Mr. Matson explained that the man, whom
he described as "slender-built" African-American
with "short hair at the top" and "wearing a
black t-shirt, " was pointing at him and mimicking
"[p]ow, pow, pow." Furthermore, Mr. Matson depicted
the driver of the car as "light-skinned[, ]"
possibly "Hispanic" maybe "mixed[, ]" and
"heavy built, " with "some tattoos."
However, Mr. Matson also said that his view was limited
because he "was on the other side of the car."
Matson went to 1430 Nolan to offer assistance, and he started
administering CPR to Ms. Brown. He observed Ms. Brown's
boyfriend and another male and female present. Mr. Matson
described them as "[h]ysterical, screaming,
crying." He had never met any of these individuals prior
to this time.
Brown also lived on Brookside Avenue and heard "a whole
bunch of gunshots" the morning of June 7, 2013. He
testified that he ran to his backyard and saw "like
green, maybe a dark-colored car coming" up the street
before it turned. He further described it as a "small
car like a Honda, Toyota, something like that." Mr.
Brown was able to identify the driver of the car as
"dark-headed, had some facial, tattoos, kind of a . . .
like dark-skinned, but he wasn't black or he wasn't
Hispanic[, ] . . . like a good tan[.]" He was unable to
get a good look at the passenger of the vehicle. According to
Mr. Brown, the car "was moving faster than it
should." After the car turned, Mr. Brown observed a man
hollering "help me, help me, they've killed her,
they've killed her[.]" He thought the man was the
victim's husband or boyfriend and said that "the guy
was running crazy." Mr. Brown had never met any of these
individuals prior to this incident.
Berry testified that she knew the Defendant "from the
neighborhood, " and the night before the shooting, she
talked with the Defendant and Mr. O'Neill in a parking
lot in "Western Heights right across from the Baptist
Center[.]" She had never met Mr. O'Neill before.
According to Ms. Berry, on this occasion, the Defendant
received a phone call from his brother saying that he had
just been robbed, and she heard the Defendant's telling
his brother "where some guns were" located in a
Malone testified that he was arrested on June 7, 2013, for
failure to appear and that, on that day, he was transported,
along with the Defendant and others, "in a wagon that
was being driven by Knoxville Police Department
officers[.]" According to Mr. Malone, he overheard the
Defendant say, "[T]hey don't have anything on us,
stick with your story." He also heard the Defendant
admit to "[c]leaning his self off" with alcohol to
remove any "gunpowder" and to "hiding
out" from police.
trial, Investigator Booker described the Defendant as
"nonchalant" during the recorded interview.
According to Investigator Booker, the Defendant became
when Investigator Booker did not believe the Defendant's
story. Investigator Booker also found it "as very
odd" that the Defendant asked about the gun during the
interview, "almost like he knew we didn't have the
Booker also interviewed Mr. O'Neill. When Mr. O'Neill
was told that he was getting charged with murder, his
"response was literally 'okay.'" Like the
Defendant, Mr. O'Neill told Investigator Booker that they
had been at 1605 Moses that morning and had not left.
Investigator Booker confirmed that the Defendant and Mr.
O'Neill were transported together "in a wagon"
addition, because of information provided by Mr. Maples
during his interview, Investigator Booker "learned of
two more people that may have possibly been at the scene,
" Mr. Dixson and Mr. Andrews. Investigator Booker then
spoke with both Mr. Dixson and Mr. Andrews, but neither of
them admitted to being present during the shooting.
Investigator Booker determined that the red Buick in the
driveway of the Brown-Maples residence belonged to Mr.
Dixson. Mr. Dixson admitted to regularly staying with Mr.
Maples and Ms. Brown.
Booker discovered that Mr. Andrews's aunt lived at the
residence next-door to Ms. Brown at 1428 Nolan Avenue.
Investigator Booker confirmed that, during a 9-1-1 call
following the shooting, a female said that she "saw
someone carrying a gun from the scene of the shooting."
Mr. Maples admitted to hiding an SKS rifle at Mr.
Andrews's aunt's house before the police arrived.
Investigator Booker also spoke with Ms. Brown's other
neighbor at 1434 Nolan Avenue. That neighbor "had
nothing but praise for [Ms. Brown]." However, he also
told Investigator Booker that "[Mr. Maples] ran with a
bad group of folks, and he said there's actually been
shootings there at the house before." According to
Investigator Booker, shootings occurred somewhat often in
this area of Knoxville, and it was not that unusual to find
ballistic evidence at a scene that was possibly related to
Booker also testified that he had received a call from
Daquawn on June 7, prior to the shooting, during which
Daquawn reported that he had been robbed at approximately
3:00 a.m. that morning. According to Investigator Booker,
Daquawn did not provide the name of his assailants. When
Investigator Booker contacted Daquawn after the shooting,
Daquawn was "stunned" by news of the shooting, but
he refused to speak with Investigator Booker further.
Autopsy and Forensics.
examiner Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan performed Ms.
Brown's autopsy and determined that Ms. Brown died as a
result of an "atypical[, ] large" gunshot wound to
the back. Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan described the path of the
[T]he entrance was on the left back area toward the side and
then entered the left chest where it affected the lung, it
crossed the midline going upward, it affected the vessels in
the neck region, actually, also nicked the aorta, and
that's where major bleeding was coming from, and then as
it . . . transferred toward the right side of the body,
affected the thyroid gland, and then the bullet was lodged in
the right side of the neck.
Mileusnic-Polchan described that the "overall
trajectory" of the bullet "was from back to front,
left to right, and upward, " and it "affect[ed] all
the major organs along its path[.]" Furthermore,
"as the bullet actually fractured one of [Ms.
Brown's] ribs, " it "pretty much fragmented[,
]" which led Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan "to believe that
there was some intermediate target" before the bullet
reached Ms. Brown. Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan was also able to
determine that Ms. Brown was "leaning forward" when
she was shot.
firearms examiner Patricia Ann Resig was given four
"small lead fragments" and "one metal
fragment" taken from Ms. Brown's body to examine.
According to Officer Resig, the four lead fragments were
"recovered from the right neck, the right bronchus and
mediastinum of" Ms. Brown. The metal fragment was
"recovered from the left arm of" Ms. Brown.
However, these fragments did not have any "class
characteristics or individual characteristics" that
would allow Officer Resig "to say whether [they] came
from a specific gun, or whether or not it was, in fact,
Defendant's Camry was examined once at the police impound
lot, and no bullet damage was observed. Also, several of the
Defendant's identification cards were found inside. Five
fingerprints were "lifted" from the Camry-four
belonged to the Defendant and one to Braxton Williams.
gunshot residue test performed on the Defendant was
inconclusive. That meant that the results could not
"eliminate the possibility that the [Defendant] could
have fired, handled or was near a gun, if fired but they
O'Neill was recalled and testified that he anticipated a
plea deal from the State in light of his testimony against
the Defendant. There was no specific deal in place, but Mr.
O'Neill hoped for a "facilitation" charge and ...