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Rouse v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

August 14, 2019

JAMES ELLISON ROUSE
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Session: March 19, 2019

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Maury County No. 9575 David L. Allen, Judge

         The 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 post-conviction court.

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

          Jake Hubbell, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Ellison Rouse.

          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 Tennessee.

          Norma McGee Ogle, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Robert W. Wedemeyer and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          NORMA MCGEE OGLE, JUDGE.

         I. Factual Background

         In 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 ...

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