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Waller v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

May 8, 2019


          Assigned on Briefs February 5, 2019

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Madison County No. C-17-150 Donald H. Allen, Judge.

         The Petitioner, Jakeil Malik Waller, appeals the post-conviction court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The Petitioner was convicted of second degree murder and reckless endangerment and received an effective sentence of twenty-seven years. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. After a review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the post-conviction court's judgment.

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

          J. Colin Morris, Jackson, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Jakeil Malik Waller.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Ronald L. Coleman, Assistant Attorney General; Jody Pickens, District Attorney General; and Al Earls and Aaron Chaplin, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

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





         This appeal arises from the Petitioner's convictions of second degree murder and reckless endangerment. The Petitioner previously filed a direct appeal to this court, and this court denied the Petitioner relief. See State v. Jakeil Malik Waller, No. W2015-02361-CCA-R3-CD, 2016 WL 7242816 (Tenn. Crim. App. Dec. 15, 2016), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Mar. 9, 2017). This court summarized the evidence presented at trial as follows:

This case arises out of a fight between two young men, which ended when the [Petitioner] and his brother fired multiple shots into a crowd of people who were watching the fight-killing Shomari Peterson and injuring Thomas Reid, Jr. At trial, Jessica Spencer testified that she was living at Parkway East Apartments in Jackson on July 27, 2014. On that day, Ms. Spencer saw a crowd gathering in a grassy area behind one of the apartment buildings, and she heard someone say, "[T]hey [sic] fixing to fight[.]" Ms. Spencer went to where the crowd had gathered and began recording the scene with her cell phone. She explained that a fight broke out between Tristan Cook and another young man. According to Ms. Spencer, the other man "was whupping Tristan," and several people stepped in to help Tristan and break up the fight. Then, Ms. Spencer's boyfriend, Quantavious Anderson, started to fight with the man who had beaten up Tristan. At that time, Ms. Spencer saw the [Petitioner] come from behind one of the nearby buildings to stand at the edge of the crowd. Ms. Spencer recalled that the [Petitioner] was wearing gray and black clothing and a hat. She noticed that the [Petitioner] was "fidget[ing]" with something and then pulled out a black handgun and shot into the crowd of people. Ms. Spencer stated that she saw the [Petitioner] shoot the gun one time, but she heard additional gunshots as she ran from the scene. She said that she saw someone with a bat but did not see anyone else with a gun.
Ms. Spencer testified that, several days after the shooting, she dropped her cell phone and cracked the screen. She then sold her phone at a machine at a mall. Ms. Spencer testified that, before her phone was damaged, she showed the cell phone video of the incident to the mother of one of the shooting victims. She explained that she did not initially turn it over to police because she did not want to get involved. However, an investigator with the Jackson Police Department ("JPD") subsequently asked her about the cell phone video and the location of her phone. Ms. Spencer identified the [Petitioner] in the video. She then reviewed several screenshots from the cell phone video. She identified the [Petitioner] in one of the screenshots and stated that it showed the [Petitioner] holding up a gun and "getting ready to shoot[.]"
Jamarion Snipes testified that, on the day of the shooting, he and his best friend, Shomari Peterson, were at a restaurant when Mr. Peterson received a phone call. Mr. Peterson said that they needed to go back to Parkway East because some people were "fixing to jump on Tristan[.]" Jamarion explained that Tristan had intervened in a fight between his girlfriend and another woman a few days earlier and the other woman's boyfriend, Martel Majors, wanted to fight Tristan. Jamarion said that he and Mr. Peterson returned to the apartment complex around 5:00 p.m. As they were walking through the parking lot, Jamarion noticed four men sitting on the hood of a car. He knew two of the men-the [Petitioner] and the [Petitioner]'s brother, Jernigal Blackwell. He recalled that the [Petitioner] had on a backwards ball cap and gray sweat pants and that Mr. Blackwell had on orange shorts. Jamarion testified that, as he and Mr. Peterson approached Tristan, he heard someone say that they needed to wait until Tristan's uncle arrived. While they waited for Tristan's uncle, about thirty to forty people gathered outside. Eventually, Tristan and Mr. Majors began arguing and then started to fight.
Jamarion recalled that, at the beginning of the fight, the [Petitioner] announced, "I'm going to sit back in the breezeway and make sure nobody just jump[s] in. You ain't go[t] to worry about nothing." At that time, he noticed Mr. Blackwell reaching in his pockets. Mr. Peterson pointed a baseball bat at Mr. Blackwell and said, "Keep your hands out [of] your pocket. You don't need to do that." Jamarion stated that, when another man jumped into the fight, he heard gunshots. When the shooting began, Jamarion and Mr. Peterson "tried to take off running," but Mr. Peterson was hit with a bullet and fell down. Two men picked up Mr. Peterson and carried him into a nearby apartment. Jamarion testified that he looked back when Mr. Peterson fell and saw the [Petitioner] and Mr. Blackwell shooting at them. He estimated that Mr. Peterson was five or six feet away from the [Petitioner] and Mr. Blackwell when they began shooting. He stated that he heard about twenty gunshots in total. After the shooting, Jamarion learned that Mr. Peterson had been shot. He stated that he went to the apartment where Mr. Peterson was located and that Mr. Peterson was "in the house bleeding to death and then my cousin took off his shirt and wiped his face." Mr. Peterson said, "Please don't let me die. Please don't let me die[.]"
Jamarion recalled that, when the police arrived on the scene, the [Petitioner] and Mr. Blackwell avoided the officers and left the apartment complex. Jamarion testified that Mr. Blackwell fired the first shot but that he also saw the [Petitioner] shooting from the side of the building. He stated that he knew Mr. Blackwell had a gun before the shooting because it had an extended clip that was "hanging out of his shorts[.]"
On cross-examination, Jamarion said that Tristan initially did not want to fight and that someone called Tristan's uncle over "just to make him fight [.]" Jamarion recalled that Tristan's uncle arrived with four other people before the fight. Jamarion said that Mr. Blackwell fired the first shot and that he believed the first shot hit Mr. Peterson. He stated that Mr. Peterson fell down before the [Petitioner] fired a shot. He said that Mr. Peterson was attempting to run away when he was shot. He stated that, after the [Petitioner] started shooting, "They was [sic] all shooting back at each other."
Averyion Cook testified that he was at Parkway East with his brother, Tristan, when a group of people began gathering in a parking lot. He recalled that the [Petitioner] and Mr. Blackwell were standing with the group of people with "their hands in their pocket[s] the whole time." Averyion explained that the crowd was there to watch Tristan fight Mr. Majors because the day prior the mother of ...

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