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Edwards v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

April 25, 2018


          Assigned on Briefs Date: June 6, 2017

          Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 12-05320 J. Robert Carter, Jr., Judge

         The Petitioner, Devaughn Edwards, filed for post-conviction relief from his convictions of facilitation of kidnapping, facilitation of robbery, and facilitation of aggravated burglary, alleging that his trial counsel was ineffective. The post-conviction court denied the petition, and the Petitioner appeals. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

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

          Marty McAfee, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Devaughn Edwards.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Dru Carpenter and Carrie Shelton, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Norma McGee Ogle, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., joined.



         I. Factual Background

         After the Petitioner and three co-defendants participated in a home invasion on Mud Island in Memphis, the Petitioner was charged with three counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, especially aggravated robbery, especially aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, and employing a firearm during a felony. On direct appeal, this court summarized the proof adduced at trial as follows:

Tad Robbins testified that he was a lieutenant in the United States Navy and was living on Mud Island on April 11, 2012. That evening, he and his wife heard a commotion coming from a neighbor's house, and he saw a Lincoln automobile backed into the driveway of a nearby vacant house. He observed two men entering "quickly" into the garage and went out his back door because he thought "there was something weird." He noticed that the car was "running" and returned to his house to call 911. As he watched, the garage door opened, and he saw two men leaving a house carrying a television set, a guitar, and a bag of other items. Two more men came out of the house, and they "loaded up" in the car to leave.
Jaredan Braal testified that he was a mechanical engineer for Medtronic. On April 11, 2012, he was living on Mud Island and returned home "around 10:45 or 10:50 at night" from teaching a dance class. He pulled into his garage, which was in an alley behind his house. As he was unloading items from his car, he saw a vehicle in front of the neighbor's house behind him. One of the two men at the car said he wanted to ask Mr. Braal a question, adding that he was looking for a particular street. They were joined by another man who soon produced a pistol, which he pointed at Mr. Braal. Mr. Braal then threw down his cell phone and wallet and ran into his garage but was hit in the head multiple times and fell to his hands and knees. Two of the men then entered Mr. Braal's house, while a third kept watch on him. Mr. Braal's roommate was brought from the house and made to lie down beside him. After the men loaded their vehicle with items from the victims' house, they asked for the PIN number for Mr. Braal's debit card, and he made up a number. The four men then left, and the victims telephoned 911 from a neighbor's telephone. Mr. Braal was hospitalized for twelve days as a result of his injuries. He identified the [Petitioner] as the person who hit him with the pistol.
Frederick Krafcik, Jr. testified that he was living on Mud Island on April 11, 2012, and was employed by the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, working at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. He said that, during that evening, he was on the bed in his room when the door was kicked open and two men entered at pistol-point. They took different items, including cash, and ordered him to go downstairs to the garage, where he found his roommate already lying facedown and blood on the floor. He said that as "the criminals were still going back and forth in the house, removing items, " he stayed facedown on the garage floor, as they ordered. After the men left, the two victims ran to neighbors for help, "knocking on doors, looking bloody and beaten up, [but] people weren't answering."
Mr. Krafcik said that he at first thought it was his roommate coming up the stairs, but then his door was kicked in. The man who came through the door pointed a pistol at him, and another man then came in, the two of them asking, "[W]here is the cash?" He said that the two men took his DVD player and computer, the cash from his wallet and, later, he discovered they had taken his cell phone. At gunpoint, he was made to go down the stairs to the garage [where he saw Mr. Braal lying face down on the garage floor. Mr. Braal's face was beaten and bloody.]
Mr. Krafcik said that at least three men came into the house, but "it sounded like there was a fourth person." He said that he had paid between $3000 and $3500 for the items the men took.
Officer Robert Forbert of the Memphis Police Department testified that he received a prowler call on April 11, 2012, to the victims' residence. Upon their arrival, officers found the door was open, the residence was ransacked, and there was a pool of blood in the garage. Officer Forbert learned that Mr. Braal was at a nearby address, where he went and found him on the floor, with others trying to stop the bleeding from his nose. Mr. Braal said his iPhone had been taken, and information was entered into Officer Forbert's iPhone to locate Mr. Braal's phone. An exact address was provided by the iPhone application, which was 2423 Manchester Road. Officer Forbert then went to that address, where he observed traveling south on the street a tan Lincoln Zephyr automobile, which matched the description the victim gave of the car the defendants were operating. Two African-American males were in the automobile, which the officer stopped. The vehicle was being driven by the [Petitioner], whom the officer identified in the courtroom. At the residence, a male and female came to the door and were detained while a search warrant was obtained to search for the iPhone.
Officer Terrell Hunt of the Memphis Police Department testified that he was assigned to the Felony Response Unit. On April 12, 2012, he responded to a call to a residence on Manchester Road. A search warrant was obtained, and Officer Hunt entered the residence where he located a large television, matching the description of the one taken from the victims' residence. He also found at the residence an iPhone, a Mac 10 Notebook computer, a bulletproof vest, and a guitar. All of these were found in the bedroom of Adrian Henderson, one of the co-defendants.
Officer Justin Edward Sheriff, a crime scene investigator with the Memphis Police Department, testified that on April 12, 2014, he was called to photograph a 2006 Lincoln Zephyr and items taken from it at an auto shop located at Alcy and Manchester. He took photographs of the vehicle and a wine bottle which was inside it.
Sergeant Velynda Thayer of the Memphis Police Department testified that on April 12, 2012, she was assigned to investigate the home invasion and robbery that occurred on Mud Island, for which two suspects, one of whom was the [Petitioner], were in custody. She advised the [Petitioner] of his Miranda rights, which he waived. The [Petitioner] gave a statement, admitting his participation in the crimes.
Patrece Edwards, the [Petitioner's] mother, was the only witness testifying in his behalf. She said she had not known that he was spending time with the three co-defendants.

State v. Devaughn Edwards, No. W2013-02009-CCA-R3-CD, 2014 WL 6792747, at *1-3 (Tenn. Crim. App. at Jackson, Dec. 3, 2014). The jury convicted the Petitioner of three counts of facilitation of kidnapping, two of which were merged; two counts of facilitation of robbery, and one count of facilitation of aggravated burglary. Id. at *1. He received a total effective sentence of sixteen years. Id. On appeal, this court affirmed the Petitioner's convictions and sentences. Id.

         Thereafter, the Petitioner, acting through counsel, filed a timely petition for post-conviction relief and an amended post-conviction petition, alleging numerous ways in which his trial counsel was ineffective. ...

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