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Anglin v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

December 19, 2019


          Session August 20, 2019

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Williamson County No. PCR599-159 James G. Martin III, Judge

         The Petitioner, Billy Anglin, appeals from the Williamson County Circuit Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions for first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, aggravated assault, and reckless endangerment, for which he is serving an effective sentence of life plus twenty-five years. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred in denying relief on his ineffective assistance of counsel and due process claims. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

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

          Vakessha Hood-Schneider (on appeal) and John Austin (at hearing), Franklin, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Billy Anglin.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Kim Helper, District Attorney General; for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., J., and John Everett Williams, P.J., joined.



         Conviction Proceedings

         According to the post-conviction court's review of the trial record during the post-conviction hearing, the Petitioner was charged with premeditated first degree murder of Bess Besson, attempted first degree murder of Buddy Simmons, aggravated assault of Rose Haskins, and reckless endangerment of Rose Haskins, Tammy Gatlin, Tammy Carol, Junior Lee Haskins, and Boyce Cannon.[1]

         The facts related to the Petitioner's convictions were summarized by this court in the Petitioner's previous appeal:

On August 23, 1991, Steve Anglin, accompanied by Billy Anglin and armed with his shotgun, had gotten out of his truck at Dottie's Trailer Park and made statements threatening Buddy Simmons and Linda Lee Anglin, who was married to Johnny Ray Anglin, a brother of the Appellants. He grabbed Mrs. Anglin by the hair, slapped her three or four times, called her a "slut" and threatened to kill her, telling her he was "fixing to blow [her] brains out." He also said "that son of a bitch in the yellow truck's going to get some too." The only yellow truck there belonged to Buddy Simmons.
Mrs. Anglin went into her trailer and called the police. Steve Anglin came into her trailer and said if she was calling the law, he would kill her. She stayed on the telephone until officers arrived, during which time Steve Anglin again threatened to kill her if she had him arrested.
Nonetheless, Mrs. Anglin went to get a warrant for Steve Anglin's arrest, but the sheriff would not allow her to have one issued. She returned to the trailer park to get her five-year-old son whom she had left with Bess Besson.
Neither Steve Anglin nor Billy Anglin were at the trailer park when she arrived. However, while she was at Ms. Besson's trailer, she heard the Anglins arrive. She heard loud music.
Steve Anglin and Billy Anglin were sitting close to one another on the back of a car with the radio in the car playing loudly. Steve Anglin was banging on a garbage can and screaming for someone to make him turn the radio down. There was a shotgun leaning between the men. Linda Anglin got very scared and went back to get a warrant for Steve Anglin's arrest.
As the Appellants sat on the car, Buddy Simmons was seen walking toward the car where the Appellants were sitting. Steve Anglin shot into the ground in front of Buddy and Buddy backed away, after which Steve shot into the ground again. Buddy stood still while Steve reloaded the gun, then Buddy grabbed the gun and swung it at Steve.
John Anglin, father of Steve and Billy Anglin, lived in the trailer park. Billy went to his father's trailer and said "Daddy, I need the gun." He got a shotgun. As he left the trailer, he put the gun to his shoulder and started swinging it and shooting. One shot hit Ms. Besson, who lived with Buddy Simmons. She had been outside trying to get Mr. Simmons to go back inside their trailer. At the time she was shot, she was returning to her trailer. She was not armed.
Rose Haskins was hit on the "rear end" by one of the shots. She was taken to the hospital. She recovered and testified at the trial.
Mr. Simmons was also hit by one of the shots fired by Billy Anglin and he fell. As Mr. Simmons laid on the ground, Billy Anglin then shot him again. Billy Anglin then went to Mr. Simmons, put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger. It clicked, apparently out of ammunition. Steve Anglin then pulled the shotgun back, put it to Mr. Simmons' head and pulled the trigger. Again, the gun clicked.
Steve Anglin then got down on the ground where Mr. Simmons was lying and was described by a witness as making motions with his hands like he was "carving something up." He then stood up and began kicking and "stomping" Mr. Simmons.
The medical proof revealed that Mr. Simmons had very large and numerous lacerations to his abdomen, chest, back, face, back of his head, ears, over his eyes, to his tongue, arms and legs, as well as a cut throat. The lacerations to his arms were so deep that his bones were visible to his elbows. Parts of his left thigh [were] blown away by the shotgun blast midway to his buttocks with much of the muscle and tissue in that area blown away. Both bones in his lower left leg were fractured, and his right ulna was fractured. He had an evulsion injury to his right hand and his fifth finger (pinky) was destroyed. Miraculously, Mr. Simmons recovered after extensive medical treatment requiring eleven separate surgeries and forty-nine days of hospitalization at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
During the shooting incident, Billy Anglin was heard to say to Mr. Simmons, "What are you going to do now, you son of a bitch?"
The autopsy revealed that Ms. Besson died of gunshot wounds to several vital organs including the left carotid artery, left subclavian artery and multiple left jugular veins. Three pieces of a deer slug were removed from her body. The slug entered her lower neck at the top of her sternum and exited in the area of the left shoulder blade. Ms. Besson was dead at the scene.
A TBI Crime Laboratory forensic expert tested the firearms found at the scene. A shotgun was identified as the weapon from which the fatal .410 gauge shell was fired. Other spent shotgun shells were identified as having been fired from the .12 gauge shotgun found at the scene. Both shotguns were surrendered to law enforcement officers by John Anglin, the father of Billy and Steve Anglin who had picked them up and taken them inside his mobile home. Four live .410 shotgun shells were found in Steve Anglin's left pants pocket.
Brenda Davis testified that immediately after the incident Billy Anglin appeared "calm and collected" and made small talk with her husband as he walked to his trailer, which was located behind Mr. and Mrs. Davis' trailer. Ms. Davis further testified that Steve Anglin "flipped us all a bird" as he was being driven away by the law enforcement officers.

State v. Billy Anglin and Steve Anglin, No. 01C01-9403-CC-00106, at *1-3 (Tenn. Crim. App. Aug. 25, 1998). This court affirmed the convictions. See id.

         Procedural Background

         After this court filed its opinion, the Petitioner's trial counsel failed to file a timely application for permission to appeal with the Tennessee Supreme Court. After the time period expired, counsel filed a motion for extension of time to file an application for permission to appeal and lodged an application for permission to appeal with the supreme court. The motion was accompanied by an affidavit explaining the circumstances surrounding counsel's failure to file a timely application. The supreme court denied the motion for extension of time on November 6, 1998.

         On May 21, 1999, the Petitioner filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief. His first post-conviction counsel was appointed on July 16, 1999. The parties submitted an agreed order, which was adopted and filed by the post-conviction court on April 7, 2001. The order stated that the Petitioner "shall be permitted to file his Petition for Appeal to [the] Tennessee Supreme Court" notwithstanding the expiration of the sixty-day period for filing. The order stated that the State waived any claim of prejudice and that all other issues raised in the post-conviction petition were dismissed. Notwithstanding the agreed order, no application for permission to appeal was filed with the supreme court.

         In 2003, the Petitioner filed pro se pleadings attempting to ascertain the status and amend or reissue the order stating that he shall be permitted to file an ...

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