Assigned on Briefs July 9, 2019
from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 17-01313 J.
Robert Carter, Jr., Judge
defendant, Raymon Muhammad, appeals his Shelby County
Criminal Court jury conviction of first degree murder,
challenging the sufficiency of the convicting evidence.
Discerning no error, we affirm.
R. App. P. 3; Judgment of the Criminal Court
N. Brayton (on appeal); and Robert Felkner and Brent Walker
(at trial), Assistant District Public Defenders, for the
appellant, Raymon Muhammad.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Katharine K. Decker, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P.
Weirich, District Attorney General; and Austin Scofield and
Carla Taylor, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the
appellee, State of Tennessee.
Curwood Witt, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Robert W. Wedemeyer and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.
CURWOOD WITT, JR., JUDGE
Shelby County Grand Jury charged the defendant with first
degree premeditated murder for the December 23, 2015 death of
the victim, John Jones.
October 2018 trial, Louise Benson testified that on December
23, 2015, she lived at 1586 McMillan in Memphis. The victim,
whom she knew only as "Fish," had come over to
visit. Ms. Benson recalled that she "was inside picking
some chitlins" when she "heard some shooting."
She said that she dropped to the floor while the shooting,
which "lasted a good while," continued. When the
shooting stopped, she crawled to the front door and saw the
victim lying on the front porch; he had been shot. A neighbor
telephoned the police.
Police Department ("MPD") Officer Jonathan McHugh
responded to a call of shots fired at 1586 McMillan on
December 23, 2015. When he arrived, he observed "a black
male face down on the porch. . . . He had no pulse. He
wasn't breathing." Officer McHugh believed the
victim to be dead.
scene investigators found the home riddled with bullet holes.
They located a single 7.62x39 shell casing on the sidewalk
Detective Julius Beasley was the lead investigator into the
victim's death. In March 2016, Detective Beasley
"received information that [the defendant] would be a
critical source to talk to," so he went to interview the
defendant, who was incarcerated in Memphis at that time. In
his first statement, the defendant "said that Derrick
Matthews had gotten into a fight with" the victim about
a week before the victim's death and that Mr. Matthews
"knew that he had to get [the victim] before [the
victim] got him." The defendant said that Mr. Matthews
picked him up in Mr. Matthews' white Chevrolet Cobalt,
that he rode in the backseat, and that Mr. Matthews fired
shots at the victim as he was driving. The defendant told
Detective Beasley that he saw the victim fall just before Mr.
Matthews drove away.
Beasley said that the defendant's claim that he had been
a backseat passenger in the car while Mr. Matthews shot the
victim "didn't sound right," so he elected to
interview the defendant a second time. In his second
statement, the defendant "admitted that he was the
shooter and that he shot because Mr. Matthews told him to and
that he received $1000 plus a cell phone in order to do
it." Detective Beasley recalled that the defendant
"became emotional" and started ...