Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Session: March 19, 2019
from the Circuit Court for Maury County No. 9575 David L.
Petitioner, James Ellison Rouse, appeals the Maury County
Circuit Court's denial of his petition for
post-conviction relief from his two convictions of first
degree murder and two convictions of attempted first degree
murder and resulting effective sentence of two terms of life
without the possibility of parole plus forty-two years. The
post-conviction court ruled that the petition was
time-barred. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that his
petition was timely because he filed it within one year of
Montgomery v. Louisiana, 136 S.Ct. 718 (2016), and
Jacob Brown v. State, No. W2015-00887-CCA-R3-PC,
2016 WL 1562981 (Tenn. Crim. App. at Jackson, Apr. 15, 2016).
Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the
parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Hubbell, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, James
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie
E. Price, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Brent A. Cooper,
District Attorney General; and Caleb Bayless, Assistant
District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of
McGee Ogle, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
Robert W. Wedemeyer and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.
MCGEE OGLE, JUDGE.
November 1997, a Maury County Circuit Court Jury convicted
the Petitioner of two counts of first degree murder and two
counts of attempted first degree murder. On direct appeal of
the Petitioner's convictions, this court gave the
following account of the crimes:
On November 15, 1995, Jamie Rouse, the defendant, then
seventeen and a high school senior, walked into Richland High
School, in Giles County, at the beginning of the school day,
armed with a .22 caliber rifle. The defendant was driven to
school that day by co-defendant Stephen Abbott.
Once inside Richland High School, the defendant walked down
the north hallway. He stopped some two feet from his first
victim, raised his rifle to his shoulder, aimed it at teacher
Carol Yancey's head, and pulled the trigger. The rifle
did not fire, so he cocked it again, took aim, and shot Carol
Yancey in the head. She fell to the floor seriously wounded.
He then immediately shot teacher Carolyn Foster, who was
standing beside Carol Yancey. Carolyn Foster died as a result
of her wound. The defendant then lowered his rifle, smiled at
a fellow student, and walked calmly down the crowded hallway.
He again took aim, this time intending to shoot Coach Ron
Shirey. He fired down the hallway and struck his third
victim, Diane Collins, a fourteen year-old fellow student.
Diane Collins died as a result of being shot in the neck.
James Nichols, a teacher, was very close to the defendant
when the defendant shot and killed Diane Collins. Unaware of
whether anyone had been hit, Nichols immediately grabbed for
the rifle and demanded that the defendant give it to him.
Nichols and the defendant began to struggle over the rifle
and once again the rifle fired into the crowded hallway.
Fortunately, this shot entered the ceiling. During the
struggle, the defendant resisted all of Nichol's efforts
to remove the rifle from him, saying, "I ...