Assigned on Briefs March 13, 2018
from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 12-00917 J.
Robert Carter, Jr., Judge
petitioner, Frederick Wendell Thomas, appeals the denial of
post-conviction relief from his 2013 Shelby County Criminal
Court jury conviction of first degree murder, for which he
received a life sentence. In this appeal, the petitioner
contends only that he was denied the effective assistance of
counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm.
R. App. P. 3; Judgment of the Criminal Court Affirmed
Matthew Charles Gulotta, Memphis, Tennessee (on appeal), and
James E. Thomas, Memphis, Tennessee (on appeal and at
hearing),  for the appellant, Frederick Wendell
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Jonathan H. Wardle, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P.
Weirich, District Attorney General; and Kirby May, Assistant
District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of
Curwood Witt, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Alan E. Glenn and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.
CURWOOD WITT, JR., JUDGE
Shelby County Grand Jury charged the petitioner with one
count each of first degree premeditated murder and employing
a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony.
Following a jury trial, the petitioner was convicted as
charged of first degree murder. The trial court imposed a
sentence of life imprisonment and dismissed the firearm
charge. This court affirmed the conviction and sentence on
direct appeal. See State v. Fredrick Thomas, No.
W2013-02762-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn. Crim. App., Jackson, May 6,
2015), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Aug. 13, 2015).
evidence adduced at the petitioner's trial established
[The petitioner] and the victim had been unhappy in their
relationship in the days and weeks leading up to their final
argument. On the evening of the victim's death, [the
petitioner] and the victim got into an argument. [The
petitioner] told the victim that she should call the police
and that they were both going to die. The victim hysterically
called 911; the operator heard the victim scream and heard
the children begging [the petitioner] not to shoot their
mother. [The petitioner] took his gun from its holster and
repeatedly shot the unarmed victim and then turned the gun on
himself. When police arrived, [the petitioner] was holding a
weapon. Testing confirmed that this was indeed the gun that
murdered the victim. The jury heard the evidence and chose to
disregard [the petitioner's] theory that the crime was
borne out of passion.
Id., slip op. at 6.
January 12, 2016, the petitioner filed, pro se, a timely
petition for post-conviction relief, alleging, inter
alia, that he was deprived of the effective assistance
of counsel. Following the appointment of counsel and the
amendment of the petition, the post-conviction court
conducted an evidentiary hearing on February 9, 2017.
evidentiary hearing, trial counsel testified that he had been
retained to represent the petitioner at trial but that he had
been appointed to handle the petitioner's appeal. Trial
counsel stated that he had not sought the services of an
investigator because the case was "pretty
straightforward" in that the petitioner "was
alleged to have shot his wife in the presence of his two
daughters, and then turned the gun on his head and shot
himself." Although trial counsel was unable to show the
necessity of an investigator, he did seek and was granted the
funds for a neuropsychologist. Trial counsel noticed that,
when he spoke to the petitioner, he possessed an "absent
glazed stare" and had "very delayed speech, "