Assigned on Briefs July 9, 2019
from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 16-06596 James
M. Lammey, Judge.
defendant, Whitcliffe McLeod, appeals his sentences for
second degree murder and attempted second degree murder. The
defendant argues the trial court abused its discretion in
ordering the defendant to serve his sentences consecutively.
Following our review, we affirm the judgments and sentence of
the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
E. Sayle III, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Garrett D. Ward, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich,
District Attorney General; and Melanie Cox, Assistant
District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of
Ross Dyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
James Curwood Witt, Jr., and Robert W. Wedemeyer, JJ.,
ROSS DYER, JUDGE.
case arises as a result of the murder of Aaron Forbes and the
attempted murder of Andrea Williams-Forbes. Mrs.
Williams-Forbes is the widow of Mr. Forbes. A Shelby County
grand jury indicted the defendant for one count of
premeditated first degree murder and one count of attempted
premeditated first degree murder. The defendant went to trial
on both counts. At trial, the parties presented the following
proof: Mrs. Williams-Forbes testified she drove to the home
of her step-mother, Gloria Williams, on August 19, 2016. When
she arrived, Ms. Williams was there with the defendant, and
the defendant was drinking a glass of Jamaican rum. After a
few hours, the three went to pick up Mr. Forbes from work.
Then all four returned to Ms. Williams's house where Mr.
Forbes, Ms. Williams, and the defendant started drinking
approximately 8:00 p.m., the victims and the defendant left
Ms. Williams's house to go shopping at Wal-Mart. While
shopping, Mr. Forbes picked up a t-shirt and asked Mrs.
Williams-Forbes for her opinion on the shirt. She told Mr.
Forbes the shirt was too small and he needed to "[g]et a
bigger size." According to Mrs. Williams-Forbes, the
defendant interjected and urged Mr. Forbes "don't
let nobody tell you what to do. You're a guy. You're
a gangster." Mrs. Williams-Forbes became upset and
walked away. After a few minutes, she returned, and Mr.
Forbes asked for her opinion on a pair of pants. She replied,
"[m]y opinion doesn't matter" and again walked
away. Seeing his wife upset, Mr. Forbes became angry and
dropped the clothes. Mrs. Williams-Forbes testified the
defendant again pressured Mr. Forbes, stating "[m]an,
man, you don't let nobody tell you what to do. You're
a gangster -- you're a gangster." The defendant
picked up the clothes, and they walked to the register to
asked whether she observed any arguments between the
defendant and Mr. Forbes inside of Wal-Mart, Mrs.
Williams-Forbes testified she did not but stated the
defendant and Mr. Forbes were "talking Jamaican."
At trial, Mrs. Williams-Forbes identified a video which
showed her, the defendant, and Mr. Forbes exiting Wal-Mart
together. She walked immediately to the car, while the
defendant and Mr. Forbes walked "somewhere else"
before returning to the car. She testified the defendant and
Mr. Forbes were talking before returning to the car, but she
did not know what they were discussing. She also testified
that when the defendant and Mr. Forbes returned to the car
they were arguing and "cussing each other out." She
did not know what they were arguing about.
leaving Wal-Mart, they drove the defendant to his house,
where he lived with his wife and his wife's children and
grandchildren. Mrs. Williams-Forbes parked the car in front
of the defendant's house. She testified the defendant and
Mr. Forbes argued the entire drive, which was "[a]bout
ten or fifteen minutes . . . ." When they arrived, the
defendant exited the vehicle and walked inside the house.
Mrs. Williams-Forbes briefly exited the car to remove a
lawnmower from the back of the car. The lawnmower belonged to
Ms. Williams; they were transporting it to the
defendant's house because Ms. Williams was letting the
defendant borrow it. After removing the lawnmower, Mrs.
Williams-Forbes returned to the vehicle, secured her seat
belt, and started the car.
the victims could leave, Mrs. Williams-Forbes saw the
defendant outside of the house "with a gun, " and
he "beg[an] to start shooting us." When asked if
she was sure the person she saw was the defendant, she
stated, "[y]es, I'm positive." In an attempt to
get away, Mrs. Williams-Forbes shifted the car into reverse
before running into a mailbox. She then exited the vehicle in
an attempt to save her life. She stated, "when I jumped
out the car, [the defendant] ran the car down and emptied the
gun on my husband." The defendant then walked over to
Mrs. Williams-Forbes, who was lying in the street, and said,
"Andrea, get up. Get up." Mrs. Williams-Forbes was
unable to move because she had been shot. When asked whether
Mr. Forbes carried a weapon, Mrs. Williams-Forbes stated he
did not carry a weapon and never owned a gun.
Edjuan Burriss, of the Shelby County Sheriff's Office,
responded to the 911 call. When he arrived on the scene he
saw Mrs. Williams-Forbes lying face down in the street. As he
rendered aid to her, he noticed she was conscious but barely
responsive. Officer Burriss testified, "[a]nd then at
some point, my attention was directed to the white Jeep that
was a few houses down on the west side of the
street." When he approached the Jeep, "it was
pretty obvious that [the male victim] was already
deceased." He checked for pulse and called for medical
assistance. Medical personnel confirmed Mr. Forbes, who was
seated in the front passenger seat, was dead. ...