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State v. Walls

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

June 27, 2019

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
MARIO WALLS

          Assigned on Briefs October 2, 2018

          Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 17-00301 Chris Craft, Judge

         A Shelby County Criminal Court Jury convicted the Appellant, Mario Walls, of attempted second degree murder, and the trial court imposed a sentence of thirty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence sustaining his conviction, contending that the proof did not show he was aware his conduct was reasonably certain to result in the victim's death. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

          Tony N. Brayton (on appeal) and Michael Johnson and Thomas Williams (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Mario Walls.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Ronald A. Coleman, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; Nicole Germain and Meghan Fowler, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Norma McGee Ogle, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which John Everett Williams, P.J., and Alan E. Glenn, J., joined.

          OPINION

          NORMA MCGEE OGLE, JUDGE

         I. Factual Background

         The Appellant was indicted for attempted first degree murder of the victim, Latonia Reeder, after an incident that occurred in the early morning hours of October 18, 2014.

         At trial, the victim testified that she first met the Appellant around August 2014 through Tajaylan Frison, who was the boyfriend of her cousin, Adrienne Brown. The victim, Mr. Frison, and the Appellant worked the evening shift at Technicolor. The victim drove Mr. Frison to and from work almost every day, and after Mr. Frison introduced her to the Appellant, she agreed to let the Appellant ride to and from work in exchange for gas money.

         The victim said that Mr. Frison told her the Appellant wanted to pursue a relationship with her. The victim and the Appellant dated for a couple of weeks. They mostly talked and "h[u]ng out" but went on one "official outing date" during which they had sex. The victim initially wanted the relationship. However, only two months into the relationship, the Appellant wanted to move in with her and her daughter, and her interest waned because the Appellant was "moving too fast." The victim tried to make the Appellant slow his advances, but he continued to make overtures, such as offering to purchase cable television for the victim and her daughter and coming to the victim's house when she was asleep and knocking on her door for hours. The victim ultimately told the Appellant that she did not want to live with him, that she recently had ended a long-term relationship, and that she did not want to date him.

         A week or two later, the victim arrived at work at 3:00 p.m. on October 17, 2014. She was "a little late" and wanted to get inside to "clock in on time," but the Appellant tried to stop her in the parking lot to talk. The victim told the Appellant that she had put belongings he had left at her house in a bag and that the bag was in her Ford Expedition. She gave him the keys to her vehicle so he could get his belongings, and she went inside.

         During a company meeting later that day, the Appellant again tried to talk to the victim. After the meeting, Mr. Frison informed her that the Appellant had left work but that he would return. When the victim's shift ended at 11:00 p.m., she found the Appellant and Mr. Frison in the parking lot, and all three got into her Expedition. They drove to a nearby gas station but were unable to get gas because of a problem with the pump. They then drove to a different gas station. During the drive, the Appellant asked the victim to take him somewhere, but she refused, explaining that it was out of her way. They did not argue about her refusal, but the Appellant tried to convince her to change her mind.

         The victim recalled that they arrived at the second gas station at approximately 11:30 p.m. or midnight but that they could not get gas because the pumps were crowded. They parked, and the Appellant sent Mr. Frison into the store. The victim, who was in the driver's seat, said nothing because she did not "want to be confrontational with" the Appellant. The Appellant, who was in the front passenger seat, suddenly pulled out a knife. Upon seeing the knife, ...


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