Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs April 18, 2018
from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 97-D-2542
Steve R. Dozier, Judge
Petitioner, Rhyunia Lamont Barnes, was convicted of first
degree murder and sentenced to life. In his appeal, the
Petitioner argues that the trial court erred in summarily
dismissing his petition for writ of error coram nobis. Upon
review, we affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
Rhyunia Lamont Barnes, Pikeville, Tennessee, pro se.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Benjamin A. Ball, Senior Counsel; Glenn Funk, District
Attorney General; and J. Wesley King, Assistant District
Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
Camille R. McMullen, J., delivered the opinion of the court,
in which John Everett Williams and Robert W. Wedemeyer, JJ.,
CAMILLE R. McMULLEN, JUDGE
Petitioner was indicted in 1997 for the first degree murder
of De'Shon Martin. Following a jury trial in 1999, he was
convicted as charged and sentenced to life in prison. He
appealed his sentence to this court, and we affirmed the
trial court's judgment. State v. Rhynuia Lamont
Barnes, No. M2001-00631-CCA-R3-CD, 2002 WL 1358717, at
*1 (Tenn. Crim. App. June 24, 2002), perm. app.
denied (Tenn. Dec. 2, 2002). This court summarized the
facts on direct appeal as follows:
Joyce Martin testified she lived with her two sons, 24
year-old Da'Shon Martin, the victim, and 19 year-old
Carlton Martin. She stated that on September 2, 1997, at
approximately 2:00 p.m., Tom Morrell, a neighbor, came to her
door and asked if the victim were home. Martin responded the
victim was sleeping in his room, and Morrell walked toward
his room and told the victim someone wanted to see him.
Morrell then walked out of the residence and returned to his
home. Martin stated she looked outside her house and saw the
[Petitioner], whom she had never met, standing at her gate.
The victim exited the residence, stood on the porch, and
inquired what the [Petitioner] wanted. Martin said she next
saw the [Petitioner] brandish a pistol, at which time the
victim ran back inside the house. The [Petitioner] then said,
"Your son stole my jewelry, and I'm going to kill
him;" the victim ran to the back of the house; and the
[Petitioner] ran to her backyard with his gun in his hand.
Martin explained her back door was secured by a deadbolt key
lock which required a key to open.
Martin further testified she phoned 911 while the victim was
hiding in the back of the residence, and the [Petitioner] was
in the backyard. The [Petitioner] then ran back inside her
front door holding his gun. The [Petitioner] then said twice
that he would shoot the victim's mother if the victim did
not come out of hiding. At that point, the [Petitioner] ran
toward the bathroom at the rear of the house, and another
man, later identified as James Barnes, the [Petitioner's]
father, entered the residence and inquired about his son.
Martin told James Barnes the [Petitioner] went to the rear of
the house. Martin testified she then heard one shot and fled
from the residence to a neighbor's home. Martin
identified the murder weapon as the gun she saw in the
Tommy Morrell, a neighbor, testified that on September 2nd,
the [Petitioner] arrived at approximately 3:00 p.m. riding in
the front seat of a vehicle driven by an older man. Morrell
testified the [Petitioner] requested he get the victim.
Morrell further stated he went inside the victim's house
and told the victim "two guys" wanted to see him,
and Morrell exited the house. When Morrell reached the front
gate, he saw the victim step onto the porch. Morrell later
saw the [Petitioner] go inside the gate. Morrell further
stated the older man was seated in the car.
Morrell explained he knew "something [was] going
down," so he went back to his house and instructed his
mother to stay inside. Morrell stated the older man exited
the car; the [Petitioner] first ran in the house but then
exited the house telling the older man that "[the
victim] might have gone out the backdoor;" the
[Petitioner] ran around one side of the house, while the
older man ran around the other; the [Petitioner] ran back
around to the front of the house and entered it brandishing a
gun; the older man entered the house; and he heard a gunshot.
Morrell stated he never saw the older man with a gun. On
cross-examination, Morrell denied receiving drugs as
compensation for summoning the victim outdoors.
Metro Police Officer Jerry Bottom testified he arrived on the
scene within one minute of receiving the dispatch and saw the
[Petitioner] running across the street holding his waistband.
Officer Bottom stated his first priority was the victim, and
since a second cruiser had arrived, he entered the
victim's residence through the open front door and found
the wounded victim on the floor. Officer Bottom stated he saw
a man standing by a parked car when he initially arrived; he
was unsure if the [Petitioner] ran from inside the home; and
the interior of the home exhibited no signs of a struggle.
Metro Police Officer Marshall James Brown testified he and
his partner, Officer Chris Locke, arrived at the scene
immediately after Officer Bottom. Officer Brown stated that
while he and Officer Locke were walking toward the residence,
the [Petitioner] ran from across the street and dove head
first into the backseat of a parked car. He additionally
stated James Barnes walked toward the vehicle's
driver's side. He and Locke then detained them, and Joyce
Martin identified them as the persons in her home. On
cross-examination, Officer Brown stated James Barnes was
bleeding from a cut on his hand.
Officer Chris Locke corroborated Officer Brown's
testimony. He further testified the [Petitioner] made remarks
after being arrested; he activated his pocket audio recorder
to record the [Petitioner]; and he made notes during the
[Petitioner's] outbursts. He testified the [Petitioner],
while being handcuffed, stated that the victim should not
break in his house and steal his jewelry. At that point,
Officer Locke placed the [Petitioner] in the rear seat of the
cruiser, activated his pocket audio recorder, and sat in the
driver's seat for approximately one hour and fifteen
minutes. Officer Locke also wrote down the [Petitioner's]
statements verbatim. Officer Locke testified from his written
notes, which indicated the [Petitioner] said:
I went in the house with him; I didn't shoot him; I threw
my dope in the alley; that's why I ran. I ain't did
nothing. I ain't got no gun; what [are] you detaining me
for . . . . He needed to quit lying on me. He finded [sic] no
gun on me. Why am I being detained? I ran and dumped my dope
and came back . . . No gun, ...