213 S.W.3d 792 (Tenn. 2006), M2002-01798-CCA-R3, State v. Reid

Docket Nº:M2002-01798-CCA-R3-DD
Citation:213 S.W.3d 792
Opinion Judge:OPINION GARY R. WADE, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which WILLIAM M. BARKER, C.J., JANICE M. HOLDER, and CORNELIA A. CLARK, JJ., joined. ADOLPHO A. BIRCH, JR., SP. J., concurred in part and dissented in part.
Party Name:STATE of Tennessee v. Paul Dennis REID, Jr.
Attorney:Thomas F. Bloom, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Paul Dennis Reid, Jr., Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Michelle Chapman McIntire, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Kathy Morante, Tom Th...
Case Date:December 27, 2006
Court:Supreme Court of Tennessee

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213 S.W.3d 792 (Tenn. 2006)

STATE of Tennessee

v.

Paul Dennis REID, Jr.

M2002-01798-CCA-R3-DD

Supreme Court of Tennessee, Nashville.

December 27, 2006

Session: Oct. 6, 2006

Rehearing Denied Jan. 17, 2007.

Circuit Court for Montgomery County No. 38939, Robert W. Wedemeyer, Judge

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Thomas F. Bloom, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Paul Dennis Reid, Jr.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Michelle Chapman Mclntire, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Kathy Morante, Tom Thurman, Roger Moore, Grady Moore, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

WILLIAM M. BARKER, C.J., JANICE M. HOLDER, and CORNELIA A. CLARK, JJ., joined. ADOLPHO A. BIRCH, JR., SP. J., concurred in part and dissented in part.

OPINION

GARY R. WADE, J.

The defendant, Paul Dennis Reid, Jr., was convicted of three counts of premeditated murder, three counts of felony murder, one count of attempted murder, and one count of especially aggravated robbery. The trial court merged each of the felony murder convictions with the corresponding premeditated murder convictions. The jury sentenced the defendant to death based upon four aggravating circumstances, see Tenn.Code Ann. § 39-13-204(i)(2), (6), (7), (12) (Supp.1996), and further found that the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt, see Tenn.Code Ann. § 39-13-204(g)(l) (Supp. 1996). We hold that (1) the trial court did not err by finding the defendant competent to stand trial; (2) the trial court did not err by admitting the testimony of the defendant's former employer; (3) the trial court did not err by denying the motion to limit proof regarding the defendant's financial condition; (4) the trial court did not err by refusing to refuse itself from the case; (5) the trial court did not err by allowing the State to introduce evidence of the murders at the Captain D's restaurant to establish the "mass murder" aggravating circumstance; and (6) the defendant's sentences of death are not invalid under the mandatory review criteria of Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-206(c)(1). As to the remaining issues, we agree with the conclusions reached by the Court of Criminal Appeals. The relevant portions of its opinion are appended. The

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judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals is, therefore, affirmed.

The defendant, Paul Dennis Reid, Jr., was indicted for three counts of premeditated murder, three counts of felony murder during the perpetration of a robbery, one count of attempted first degree murder, and one count of especially aggravated robbery.

Guilt Phase of Trial

On March 23, 1997, Ronald Santiago, Andrea Brown, Robert Sewell, and Jose Ramirez Gonzales, employees of a McDonald's restaurant on Donelson Pike in Davidson County, Tennessee, had just completed their night shift when the defendant forced his way into the restaurant, ordered them into the office, and demanded money. After Santiago, the manager, handed over the contents of the restaurant safe, the defendant directed the employees into a storage area and ordered them to lie on the floor. He then fired two shots each into the heads of Brown, Santiago, and Sewell. When the defendant attempted to shoot Gonzales, however, the gun malfunctioned. Gonzales struggled and the defendant drew a knife and stabbed him repeatedly. Gonzales stopped fighting, feigned death, and when the defendant left, was able to telephone for help. Santiago and Sewell died at the scene. Brown died later at the hospital.

At trial, Gonzales testified that on the night of the shooting he and Robert Sewell were leaving the restaurant when they were confronted by a man armed with a small, silver handgun and carrying a bag under his arm. Gonzales recalled that the man, whom he later identified as the defendant, said something in English. Santiago, who was in the doorway of the restaurant and overheard the comment, translated into Spanish, informing Gonzales that the defendant had ordered them back into the restaurant. When the three men returned to the restaurant, the defendant demanded the money from the safe and placed the contents into his bag. Gonzales recalled that the defendant then directed the employees into a storage area where he shot Sewell, Santiago, and Brown execution-style. The defendant then attempted to shoot Gonzales, but the gun malfunctioned. Gonzales fought the defendant but was overpowered and stabbed in the stomach. As Gonzales fell to the floor, the defendant stabbed and kicked him repeatedly. The defendant discontinued the attack only when Gonzales pretended to be dead. Although badly injured, Gonzales was able to telephone 911 after the defendant left. The police arrived minutes later and Gonzales was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

Dorothy Carter, the dispatcher who answered the 911 call, testified that she could hear only groans and mumbling. Although she was unable to communicate with the caller, she nevertheless dispatched both the police and an ambulance to the restaurant.

Detective Mike Rolland, who investigated, found no fingerprints, shoe prints, or other physical evidence linking the defendant to the crime scene. He and other officers found six Remington .25 caliber automatic cartridge casings inside the restaurant. Testing established that the casings matched the .25 caliber bullets recovered from the three murder victims.

Detective Pat Postiglione testified that Gonzales worked with a police sketch artist in an effort to develop a composite drawing of the suspect. Gonzales had described the mustached perpetrator as twenty-nine to thirty years old, tall, thin, and possibly of Hispanic descent, with long hair only partially covered by his baseball cap. Detective Postiglione confirmed that during the investigation, Gonzales viewed

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more than three hundred photographs of potential suspects, eventually identifying the defendant some four months after the shootings.

Other testimony established that prior to the crimes the defendant had moved from Texas to Nashville to pursue a career in country music. He obtained employment at a Shoney's restaurant, where Mitchell Roberts served as manager. Roberts testified that the defendant worked at the Shoney's until February of 1997, only weeks before the shootings. He stated that he next saw the defendant in June of 1997 when the defendant unexpectedly arrived at his residence. Roberts recalled that the defendant had in his possession a small caliber automatic handgun and a knife that was approximately eight to nine inches long.

Danny Tackett, a former co-worker of the defendant, testified that in January 1997, he overheard the defendant, who was experiencing financial difficulties, speak of robbing a fast food restaurant at night, when there would be no witnesses. Tackett recalled that the defendant asked him for help in procuring a gun. The defendant made similar comments to another former co-worker, Jeffrey Potter, and explained that robbery was an easy way to make money. Potter testified that the defendant had also solicited his assistance in an effort to acquire a gun.

The proof established that approximately eight to ten weeks before the crimes, Robert Bolin sold the defendant two .25 caliber automatic handguns. One was nickel-plated with black handle grips and the other was nickel-plated with pink handles. Bolin testified that he gave the defendant a box of ammunition in a green and yellow box as a part of the transaction.

Agent Tommy Heflin of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, who was familiar with ammunition for handguns, testified that the bullets recovered from the bodies of the victims were Remington brand. Agent Heflin confirmed that Remington ammunition was packaged in a green and yellow box.

Sentencing Phase

After the jury returned guilty verdicts and during the penalty phase of the trial, Assistant District Attorney Brian Johnson of Harris County, Texas, testified that the defendant had been convicted of aggravated robbery in his state in 1984. Walt Draper of the Davidson County Criminal Court Clerk's Office testified that the defendant had been convicted of two counts of first degree murder and one count of aggravated robbery on April 14, 1999. John Carney, Jr., District Attorney General for the Nineteenth Judicial District, testified that on September 22, 1999, the defendant had been convicted of two counts of first degree murder, two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, and one count of aggravated robbery. The parties stipulated that each of these crimes involved the use of violence to the person.

Detective Postiglione pointed out the similarities between the crimes in this case and those that the defendant had committed earlier at a nearby Captain D's restaurant. According to the officer, the two separate criminal episodes took place at fast food restaurants. Both occurred on a Sunday while the restaurants were closed. In each instance, the restaurants had been locked following the crimes. In addition, there was no sign of forced entry at either restaurant. The defendant had used a small caliber weapon and in each incident, the victims were forced to lie face down in an isolated area of the restaurant before they were murdered. Each of the murder victims suffered two gunshot wounds to the head. Detective Postiglione testified...

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118 practice notes
  • Clayton v. Clayton, 052108 TNCIV, W2007-01079-COA-R3
    • United States
    • Tennessee Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • May 21, 2008
    ...of Mother. However, an adverse ruling does not necessarily indicate bias or prejudice and is not grounds for recusal. State v. Reid, 213 S.W.3d 792, 816 (Tenn. 2006); Davis v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 38 S.W.3d 560, 565 (Tenn. 2001). "If the rule were otherwise, recusal would be required......
  • Marcum v. Caruana, 091112 TNCIV, M2012-01827-COA-10B-CV
    • United States
    • Tennessee Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • September 11, 2012
    ...cases must be tried by unprejudiced and unbiased judges. Davis v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 38 S.W.3d at 564. . . . State v. Reid, 213 S.W.3d 792, 815 (Tenn. 2006) (" '[T]he preservation of the public's confidence in judicial neutrality requires not only that the judge be impartial in fac......
  • State v. Zeigler, 020719 TNCRIM, M2017-01091-CCA-R3-CD
    • United States
    • Tennessee Court of Appeals of Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee
    • February 7, 2019
    ...and control of cross-examination of witnesses, however, remain within the discretion of the trial court. State v. Reid, 213 S.W.3d 792, 839 (Tenn. 2006); Rice, 184 S.W.3d at 670. When the defendant's right to cross-examine witnesses is unreasonably restricted, the t......
  • Discrimination after Daugherty: are Missouri courts "contributing to" or "motivated by" the number of cases on the discrimination docket?
    • United States
    • Missouri Law Review Vol. 73 Nbr. 2, March - March 2008
    • March 22, 2008
    ...disability was a "contributing factor" in the City's decision to fire Daugherty. Daugherty v. City of Maryland Heights, 213 S.W.3d 814, 824 (Mo. 2007) (en banc). (122.) See supra notes 78-88 and accompanying text. (123.) Erin C. Hansen, State ex rel Diehl v. O'Malley Breaks Down t......
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117 cases
  • Clayton v. Clayton, 052108 TNCIV, W2007-01079-COA-R3
    • United States
    • Tennessee Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • May 21, 2008
    ...of Mother. However, an adverse ruling does not necessarily indicate bias or prejudice and is not grounds for recusal. State v. Reid, 213 S.W.3d 792, 816 (Tenn. 2006); Davis v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 38 S.W.3d 560, 565 (Tenn. 2001). "If the rule were otherwise, recusal would be required......
  • Marcum v. Caruana, 091112 TNCIV, M2012-01827-COA-10B-CV
    • United States
    • Tennessee Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • September 11, 2012
    ...cases must be tried by unprejudiced and unbiased judges. Davis v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 38 S.W.3d at 564. . . . State v. Reid, 213 S.W.3d 792, 815 (Tenn. 2006) (" '[T]he preservation of the public's confidence in judicial neutrality requires not only that the judge be impartial in fac......
  • State v. Zeigler, 020719 TNCRIM, M2017-01091-CCA-R3-CD
    • United States
    • Tennessee Court of Appeals of Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee
    • February 7, 2019
    ...and control of cross-examination of witnesses, however, remain within the discretion of the trial court. State v. Reid, 213 S.W.3d 792, 839 (Tenn. 2006); Rice, 184 S.W.3d at 670. When the defendant's right to cross-examine witnesses is unreasonably restricted, the t......
  • Reid v. State, 070307 TNCRIM, M2006-01294-CCA-R3
    • United States
    • Tennessee Court of Appeals of Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee
    • July 3, 2007
    ...restaurant in Nashville. The supreme court recently affirmed the convictions and death sentences in the McDonald's case. State v. Reid, 213 S.W.3d 792 (Tenn. 2006). On September 23, 2005, the Office of the Tennessee Post-Conviction Defender filed a petition for post-conviction relief on beh......
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