Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Session: June 18, 2019
from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 93-A-176 Seth
W. Norman, Judge
DeVille Wilson,  Petitioner, filed a petition for writ of
error coram nobis. He argued that two key witnesses for the
State, Marquise Harris and Phedrek Davis, had recanted their
testimony. Petitioner argued that this recanted testimony was
newly-discovered evidence that may have affected the outcome
of his trial if it had been admitted. The coram nobis court
denied relief. On appeal, Petitioner asserts that the coram
nobis court abused its discretion by denying his petition. He
argues that the coram nobis court illogically credited Mr.
Harris' and Mr. Davis' trial testimony as juveniles
over their recanted testimony as adults. He also contends
that Detective Bill Pridemore's testimony that Mr. Harris
only spoke with police after being assured that he would
receive a Crime Stopper reward was newly-discovered evidence
that may have had an impact on the outcome of his trial.
After a thorough review of the facts and applicable case law,
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
Jessica Van Dyke, Nashville, Tennessee, (on appeal) and Jesse
Lords, Madison, Tennessee, (at hearing) for the appellant,
Cyrus DeVille Wilson.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; M.
Todd Ridley, Assistant Attorney General; Glenn Funk, District
Attorney General; and Dan H. Hamm, Assistant District
Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
L. Holloway, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which John Everett Williams, P.J., and D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.,
L. HOLLOWAY, JR., JUDGE
Factual and Procedural Background
convicted Petitioner of first degree murder. State v.
Cyrus Deville Wilson, No. 01C01-9408-CR-00266, 1995 WL
676398, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Nov. 15, 1995), perm.
app. denied (Tenn. Mar. 25, 1996). On direct appeal,
this court affirmed Petitioner's conviction. Id.
This court's opinion on direct appeal set out the
following summary of the evidence admitted at
On September 15, 1992, Metro Davidson police officers found
the body of Christopher Luckett partly lodged underneath a
chain link fence in East Nashville. The victim had sustained
a fatal gunshot wound to the head. The officers also found
empty shotgun shells, shotgun "wadding," and a blue
duffel bag at the crime scene. On February 2, 1993, the
Davidson County Grand Jury indicted . . . [Petitioner] for
the victim's murder. The case proceeded to trial on
January 31, 1994.
At trial, the [S]tate first called Chiquita Lee, the
victim's sister, in order to establish the victim's
age and health. Ms. Lee testified that the victim was
nineteen years old at the time of his murder and that he
had a deformity in his right arm that prevented its full
use. Defense counsel objected on the ground that the
[S]tate had not given prior notice of their intent to call
Ms. Lee as a witness. The trial court overruled the
The [S]tate next presented evidence to establish a motive
for the murder. Officer Phillip Wright testified that during
routine patrol on or about July 20, 1992, he was stopped by .
. . [Petitioner] who reported that the victim, Luckett, had
stolen his car. Officer Wright further testified that, when
asked if he wanted to swear out a warrant against the victim,
. . . [Petitioner] replied "not right now." Defense
counsel objected to this testimony on the ground that . . .
[Petitioner]'s statement to Officer Wright had not been
disclosed prior to trial. Again, the trial court overruled
Next, the [S]tate called two eyewitnesses to the murder.
The first, Rodriguez Lee, testified that . . . [Petitioner]
had a twelve-gauge shotgun which came from Mr. Lee's
house. Lee added that he saw . . . [Petitioner] remove the
gun from a blue duffel bag. Lee stated that he saw . . .
[Petitioner] chasing the victim on the night of the murder.
He further testified that the victim got stuck underneath a
patio fence. Lee then stated that he heard the victim plead
"[p]lease don't kill me." According to Lee, .
. . [Petitioner] paid no heed to the victim's pleas for
mercy. Instead, he fired point-blank into the victim's
face. Marquis[e] Harris, another witness for the
prosecution, also testified that he saw . . . [Petitioner]
shoot the victim in the face.
Other witnesses corroborated this testimony. Steve
Crawley testified that he saw . . . [Petitioner] three weeks
prior to the murder carrying a shotgun. Crawley also
testified that he witnessed . . . [Petitioner] on the night
of the murder "acting shaky and nervous." Another
witness, [Phedrek] Davis,  testified that he overheard . . .
[Petitioner] state that "he was going to get" the
victim for stealing . . . [Petitioner]'s car.
. . . [Petitioner] testified as a witness on his own
behalf. . . . [Petitioner] denied any involvement in the
murder, contending that he was at home with his girlfriend
at the time of the shooting. . . . [Petitioner] did admit
that, after the victim stole his car, he threatened to
"get" the victim. On cross-examination, the
[S]tate asked . . . [Petitioner] if, on the night of the
shooting, he was in possession of a shotgun. . . .
[Petitioner] responded that he was not. The [S]tate then
inquired if all the other witnesses who testified that . .
. [Petitioner] did have a shotgun around the time of the
shooting were "lying." . . . [Petitioner]
At the close of the defense's case in chief, the
[S]tate called Detective Bill Pridemore as a rebuttal
witness. Prior to trial, [Detective] Pridemore had made a
summary of statements given to him by Rodriguez Lee during
questioning. The statements corroborated Lee's trial
testimony. On direct examination, the [S]tate asked
[Detective] Pridemore to recount his summary of these
statements. Defense counsel objected on the ground that
[Detective] Pridemore was a material witness, and thus,
should not be permitted to testify as a rebuttal witness. The
[S]tate argued that . . . [Petitioner] had "opened the
door" when he testified on cross-examination that anyone
who said he possessed a shotgun on the night of the murder
was "lying." The trial judge overruled defense
Id. at *1-2 (footnote added).
subsequently filed a petition for post-conviction relief,
which the post-conviction court denied. Cyrus Deville
Wilson v. State, No. 01C01-9811-CR-00448, 1999 WL
994054, at *4 (Tenn. Crim. App. Oct. 29, 1999). This court
determined that it could not meaningfully review the
post-conviction court's order because it lacked findings
of fact and conclusions of law; thus, this court vacated the
judgment and remanded for entry of a new order. Id.
at *6. Thereafter, the post-conviction court entered a new
order denying relief, which this court affirmed on appeal.
Cyrus D. Wilson v. State, No. M2000-01237-CCA-R3-PC,
2001 WL 504910, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. May 14, 2001),
perm. app. denied (Tenn. Sept. 17, 2001).
August 25, 2009, Petitioner filed his first petition for writ
of error coram nobis. Wilson v. State, 367 S.W.3d
229, 232 (Tenn. 2012). In his petition, he alleged that on
August 26, 2008, he obtained a document created by the State
on December 28, 1992, that stated, "[G]ood case but for
most of [the witnesses] are juveniles who have already lied
repeatedly." Id. at 232-33. The coram nobis
court tolled the statute of limitations but summarily
dismissed the petition because the note was the State's
work product and was not subject to disclosure. Id.
at 233. This court reversed and remanded for an evidentiary
hearing on the merits because "the State had waived the
statute of limitations as a defense because it did not raise
the issue in the trial court[.]" Id.; see
also Cyrus Deville Wilson v. State, No.
M2009-02241-CCA-R3-CO, 2011 WL 1344519, at *2-3 (Tenn. Crim.
App. Apr. 6, 2011), perm. app. granted (Tenn. Sept.
the Tennessee Supreme Court granted the State's
application for permission to appeal under Tennessee Rule of
Appellate Procedure 11, the court concluded that the coram
nobis court did not err by tolling the statute of limitations
in Petitioner's case. Wilson, 367 S.W.3d at 234.
Additionally, the Tennessee Supreme Court concluded that the
State's note was work product protected by Tennessee Rule
of Criminal Procedure 16(a)(2). Id. at 236. Further,
the court concluded that the note was opinion work product
that was never discoverable and was inadmissible.
Id. Thus, the supreme court concluded that the note
was "not sufficient to support a petition for writ of
error coram nobis[, ]" reversed the judgment of this
court, and reinstated the judgment of the coram nobis court.
Id. at 236-37.
Petitioner's first error coram nobis petition was
pending, Rodriguez Lee, an eyewitness of the crime, recanted
his trial testimony in an affidavit. Cyrus Deville Wilson
v. State, No. M2013-01807-CCA-R3-CO, 2014 WL 3748573, at
*3 (Tenn. Crim. App. July 30, 2014), perm. app.
denied (Tenn. Dec. 17, 2014). Petitioner then filed his
second petition for writ of error coram nobis. Id.
After appointment of counsel, the coram nobis court tolled
the statute of limitations and held a hearing. Id.
The coram nobis court denied relief because "it was not
reasonably well satisfied that the testimony at the
evidentiary hearing was true and that the testimony at trial
was false" and because "other considerations would
preclude coram nobis relief even if the witnesses were
considered to be credible." Id. at *4. On
appeal, this court affirmed the coram nobis court's
denial of relief. Id.
4, 2017, Petitioner filed the instant petition for writ of
error coram nobis. In this petition, he asserted that the
recanted testimony of Marquise Harris and Phedrek Davis
constituted newly discovered evidence. The coram nobis court
appointed counsel, who filed an amended petition.
coram nobis hearing on October 23, 2017, Mr. Harris testified
that in 1992, police interviewed him prior to his testimony
in Petitioner's trial. He asserted that, at the time he
spoke with police, he did not know the victim. He explained
that he testified to whatever Detective Pridemore and the
prosecutor wanted him to say at Petitioner's trial. Mr.
Harris stated that he lied when he testified that he saw
Petitioner use a weapon to shoot the victim. He asserted that