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Minor v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

July 3, 2019

CHRISTOPHER MINOR
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs May 7, 2019

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Madison County No. C-18-187 Roy B. Morgan, Jr., Judge

         The petitioner, Christopher Minor, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which petition challenged his Madison County Circuit Court jury convictions of felony murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, aggravated assault, and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. In this appeal, the petitioner reiterates his claim that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. Because the petitioner has failed to establish that he is entitled to post-conviction relief, we affirm.

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

          William J. Milam, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christopher Minor.

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

          James Curwood Witt, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Thomas T. Woodall and D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          JAMES CURWOOD WITT, JR., JUDGE

         A Madison County jury convicted the petitioner of two counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated robbery, one count of aggravated burglary, one count of aggravated assault, one count of being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun, one count of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, one count of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony after having been previously convicted of a dangerous felony, and seven counts of violating the criminal gang enhancement statute. See State v. Minor, 546 S.W.3d 59, 63 (Tenn. 2018). On appeal, this court affirmed the petitioner's convictions and sentences, but our supreme court vacated the petitioner's convictions for violating the criminal gang enhancement statute based upon this court's declaring that statute unconstitutional and remanded the case for resentencing. See id. at 75.[1]

         Our supreme court summarized the petitioner's case as follows:

On June 8, 2014, Christopher Minor, a member of the Black P-Stone Nation criminal gang, and another gang member went to an apartment Rico Swift shared with his girlfriend, Julie Frye, on the pretext of buying marijuana. They were acting on orders from a gang leader to rob Mr. Swift, and other gang members were waiting just outside the apartment. The two men entered the apartment, and, when Mr. Swift turned his back to retrieve the marijuana, they attacked him, punching and choking him. During the assault, the other gang members entered the apartment. According to Ms. Frye, the men choked Mr. Swift until his legs "started jumping" and he turned blue. When Ms. Frye attempted to leave the room to grab a knife to assist Mr. Swift, the [petitioner] followed her and struck her with a gun, knocking her unconscious. By the time Ms. Frye regained consciousness, the assailants were gone, but Mr. Swift was lying on the sofa, unconscious and badly injured in a pool of his own blood. Emergency personnel were summoned, but Mr. Swift died from the injuries he sustained. Ms. Frye later discovered that the assailants had also stolen items from her purse.
Days later, police investigators linked the [petitioner] to the crime. They showed Ms. Frye a photographic array, and she identified the [petitioner] as the person who beat Mr. Swift and knocked her unconscious. When the officers questioned the [petitioner], he admitted being present at Mr. Swift's apartment, but he denied any involvement in assaulting Mr. Swift or Ms. Frye. According to the [petitioner], he was simply a scout and left the apartment and advised the gang members waiting outside not to go through with the planned robbery because Mr. Swift was not alone.
The [petitioner] admitted accepting his share of the proceeds from the robbery, however, explaining that he would have been disciplined by ...

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