Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Session May 15, 2019
from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2015-C-2231
Monte Watkins, Judge
Defendant-Appellant, Derek Wyche, was convicted by a Davidson
County jury of felony murder and especially aggravated
robbery, for which he received a mandatory life sentence plus
twenty years' imprisonment. In this appeal as of right,
the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence in
support of his convictions and the trial court's
imposition of consecutive sentencing. Upon our review, the
convictions of the trial court are affirmed. However, we
remand this matter for a new sentencing hearing.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Criminal
Court Affirmed in Part and Reversed in Part; Remanded for
B. Russ, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant,
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie
E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Glenn R. Funk, District
Attorney General; and Roger D. Moore, Assistant District
Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.
Camille R. McMullen, J., delivered the opinion of the court,
in which Norma McGee Ogle and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ.,
CAMILLE R. McMULLEN, JUDGE.
case involves a 1999 robbery of a movie theater during which
the manager, Heather Finney, was shot, and the security
guard, Brandon Brewer, was shot and killed. Eighteen years
later, the Defendant was developed as a suspect, admitted to
his involvement, and charged with the instant offenses. In
his recorded statement and at trial, the Defendant claimed
that he was forced to participate in the instant offense
because Keith Henry, his co-defendant, threatened to kill him
and his family if he failed to do so. The following proof was
adduced at the April 10-12, 2018 trial.
October 3, 1999, the day of the offense, Heather Finney had
been employed with Regal Entertainment Group as a general
manager and was responsible for operations, money, deposits,
payroll, and film bookings at a movie theater in Hermitage,
Tennessee. Prior to going to the bank for the nightly cash
deposit, Finney walked through the theater to ensure no one
was there, set the alarm, and began to lock up. She was
escorted by a security guard, Brandon Brewer, who was in
uniform and armed with a gun. As they were locking the door
to the theater, two men approached them with guns. Finney was
certain it was a robbery when one of the men said, "give
me the money." The men were approximately six feet away
from Finney, and neither man wore a mask. Finney dropped the
bank bag of money on the ground and kicked it toward the men.
At this point, Brewer was standing behind Finney, and Finney
heard "the first shot." Finney then heard another
gunshot and realized she had been shot in the arm. She fell
to the ground and played "like she was dead."
Finney said the time between the first and second gunshots
was "very short" or "immediately after"
the first gunshot that struck Brewer.
Finney was on the ground, she heard the two men walk away.
She looked at Brewer and observed that he "was probably
not going to make it." Finney then went back inside the
theater and called the police. Finney did not know which man
shot her, but she was certain that she saw a gun that night.
Following the police arrival, Finney was taken to the
hospital where she stayed for approximately three days.
Finney had to undergo physical therapy, and the doctors were
unable remove the bullet from her chest. Finney explained
that the bullet "chipped" her shoulder and lodged
in her chest. An x-ray showing the location of the bullet in
Finney's chest cavity was admitted as an exhibit at
could not recall a specific description of the perpetrators
other than both were male, black, and wore dark clothes. She
also could not recall the exact amount of money that was
inside the bag, but she estimated that it was "a few
thousand . . . seven to eight-ish, twelve-thousand"
dollars. She testified that the theater did not have internal
or external video surveillance at that time. On July 8, 2015,
Finney was shown a photographic array of individuals by
Detective Satterfield, and she circled a photograph of the
Defendant because of the "shape of his face[.]"
However, at trial, Finney was unable to identify the
Defendant as one of the perpetrators of the offense. On
cross-examination, Finney confirmed that she heard only one
voice demand the money and that this was the only statement
she heard during the robbery. Finney also confirmed that she
observed only one gun; however, she was unsure whether it was
the gun that shot her or Brandon Brewer.
his arrival to the scene, Officer George Bouton, a crime
scene investigator with the Metro Nashville Police Department
(MNPD) at the time of the offense, observed that Brandon
Brewer, deceased, and Finney were present and that the area
was secured with crime scene tape. Officer Bouton took
photographs of the area, which were admitted as a collective
exhibit at trial. Officer Bouton also identified certain
items that were collected from the crime scene including a
9-millimeter fired cartridge casing, a .380 fired cartridge
casing and projectile, another spent cartridge casing, and a
blue shirt worn by Finney during the offense, all of which
were admitted as exhibits at trial. Officer Bouton testified
that he temporarily took possession of Brandon Brewer's
gun, which was located on his person in its holster, before
returning it to Brewer's employer.
time of the offense, Detective Kent McAllister was assigned
to the "Murder Squad" or what is now known as the
MNPD Cold Case Unit. Detective McAllister responded to the
scene and observed the lifeless body of Brandon Brewer with
his weapon strapped in his holster. It was later determined
that Brewer's weapon had not been fired that night
because it did not have a round in the chamber. Detective
McAllister observed two different types of shell casings on
the scene, which indicated that two different guns had been
fired during the offense. There was never a weapon recovered
connected to the offense, and the three red bank bags with
"Old Dominion" written on them taken from the scene
were also never recovered. At some point in 2000, after
speaking with Keith Henry, Detective McAllister interviewed
the Defendant while he was incarcerated in Plainfield, New
Jersey. During that discussion, the Defendant did not
"mention anything … about being forced to
commit" the instant offense. However, Detective
McAllister testified that the Defendant did admit to
committing the crime at that time. Detective McAllister
prepared his case files and forwarded the ...