State v. Reid

Decision Date24 May 2005
Citation164 S.W.3d 286
PartiesSTATE of Tennessee v. Paul Dennis REID, Jr.
CourtTennessee Supreme Court

James A. Simmons and Thomas F. Bloom, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Paul Dennis Reid, Jr.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Jennifer L. Smith, Associate Deputy Attorney General; John W. Carney, Jr., District Attorney General; and Arthur F. Bieber, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

OPINION

E. RILEY ANDERSON, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which FRANK F. DROWOTA, III, C.J., and JANICE M. HOLDER and WILLIAM M. BARKER, JJ., joined. ADOLPHO A. BIRCH, JR., J., filed a separate concurring/dissenting opinion.

The defendant, Paul Dennis Reid, Jr., was convicted of two counts of premeditated first degree murder, two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, and one count of especially aggravated robbery. In imposing a death sentence for each count of first degree murder, the jury found three aggravating circumstances, i.e., that the defendant was previously convicted of one or more felonies whose statutory elements involved the use of violence to the person, that the murders were especially heinous, atrocious or cruel in that they involved torture or serious physical abuse beyond that necessary to produce death, and that the murders were committed for the purpose of avoiding, interfering with, or preventing a lawful arrest or prosecution of the defendant or another, had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Tenn.Code Ann. § 39-13-204(i)(2), (5), (6) (2003). In addition, the jury found that the evidence of aggravating circumstances outweighed evidence of mitigating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt. Tenn.Code Ann. § 39-13-204(c) (2003). The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the convictions and the death sentences.

After the case was docketed in this Court, we entered an order identifying numerous issues for oral argument. We now hold as follows: 1) the trial court did not err in finding that the defendant was competent to stand trial; 2) the trial court did not err in excluding evidence during the competency hearing; 3) the trial court did not err in refusing to hold a new competency hearing on the basis that a court-appointed expert was biased; 4) the evidence was sufficient to support the defendant's convictions; 5) the trial court did not err in denying the defendant's motion to dismiss on the basis that the aggravating circumstances were not stated in the indictment; 6) the trial court did not err in allowing the prosecution to amend the indictment; 7) the trial court did not commit reversible error in limiting extrinsic evidence of inconsistent statements; 8) the evidence was sufficient to support the aggravating circumstances found by the jury; 9) the death sentences were not arbitrary or disproportionate as imposed in this case; 10) the evidence was sufficient to support the jury's finding that evidence of aggravating circumstances outweighed evidence of mitigating circumstances; 11) the capital sentencing statutes are not unconstitutional on the basis that they allow evidence to be admitted in violation of due process and confrontation under the United States Constitution; 12) the trial court did not err in admitting photographs of the victims at the crime scene during sentencing; 13) the trial court did not commit reversible error in failing to charge the jury on the "catch-all" statutory provision as to mitigating circumstances; and 14) the trial court did not err in denying a new trial based on prosecutorial misconduct during sentencing. We also agree with the Court of Criminal Appeals' conclusions with respect to the remaining issues, the relevant portions of which are included in the appendix to this opinion. Accordingly, the Court of Criminal Appeals' judgment is affirmed.

The defendant, Paul Dennis Reid, Jr., was indicted for two counts of premeditated murder, two counts of felony murder during the perpetration of a robbery, two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, and one count of aggravated robbery. The evidence presented during trial is summarized as follows.

Guilt Phase

On the night of April 23, 1997, Angela Holmes, age twenty-one, and Michelle Mace, age sixteen, were working at a Baskin-Robbins store on Wilma Rudolph Boulevard in Clarksville, Tennessee. The store regularly closed at 10:00 p.m. At around 10:10 p.m., Craig Mace arrived at the store to pick up his sister, Michelle. He noticed that Angela Holmes' car was in the parking lot and that the lights inside the store were on. He entered the store through an unlocked door and found no one inside. Mace called 911.

Officers were dispatched to the scene and searched the store. They found the cash register drawer empty, except for some coins, and a safe in an office with the top removed.1 The victims' purses were found at the store; no money had been taken from the purses. A mop and bucket were found in the customer area, and the freezer was left open.

On the morning of April 24, 1997, the bodies of Angela Holmes and Michelle Mace were found at the Dunbar Cave State Natural Area in Montgomery County, Tennessee, which was between 2.1 and 3.6 miles from the Baskin-Robbins store.2 Both victims had suffered deep stab wounds to their necks, as well as stab wounds, cuts, and abrasions to other parts of their bodies. Both had bled to death.

Lavanda Zimmerman testified that she had visited with the victims at the Baskin-Robbins store from 9:20 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. on April 23, 1997. At one point, a man in his late twenties or early thirties entered the store and became "obnoxious" and "very loud" about the prices before leaving. As Zimmerman left the store at 10:00 p.m., she saw a "shiny red" car enter the parking lot. Although she testified that a photograph of the defendant's car — a 1997 red, four-door Ford Escort — was "consistent" with the car she had seen, she conceded that she told a private investigator prior to trial that the car was "dark reddish or maroon." She also conceded that she did not tell officers about the car when she was interviewed in May of 1997.

George Hertenstein testified that he was driving to work at 9:59 p.m. on April 23, 1997, when he saw a car driving slowly on Rossview Road near the BaskinRobbins store. When Hertenstein attempted to pass the car, the car abruptly turned onto Union Hall Road, which was one road after the entrance to the Baskin-Robbins store. Hertenstein testified that the car was "identical" to photographs of the defendant's car. On cross-examination, Hertenstein admitted that he contacted police in June of 1997 after he saw pictures of the defendant's car on the television news. He also acknowledged that he told a private investigator that the car he saw had two doors, whereas the defendant's car had four doors.

Jerry Perdue, a friend of Michelle Mace, testified that he saw a small red car in the Baskin-Robbins parking lot shortly after 10:00 p.m. on April 23, 1997. He further testified that photographs of the defendant's car "could very well be" the car he saw in the parking lot. He acknowledged that he told law enforcement officers that the car he saw was a two-door hatchback but that he was no longer sure. He also stated that he told officers that the car had black bumpers.

Elfrieda Lane testified that she was a friend of the defendant and that she lived three miles from the Baskin-Robbins store in Clarksville, Tennessee. Lane testified that the defendant called her "once or twice" a week from February to April of 1997 and that they discussed the defendant's effort to be re-hired at a Shoney's restaurant. Lane testified that the defendant was at her home on or about April 18, 1997, and that he had been driving a red car. According to Lane, the defendant telephoned her on April 24; he told her that he had planned to visit her the previous evening but that it had gotten too late.

Business records revealed that the defendant purchased gasoline at a Texaco station in Clarksville at 9:45 p.m. on April 23, 1997. The Texaco station was 0.7 miles from Lane's home and 0.9 miles from the Baskin-Robbins store. A signed credit card receipt showed that the defendant purchased $11.95 worth of gasoline. Handwriting experts confirmed that the signature on the receipt was the defendant's. A copy of the receipt was also found in the defendant's wallet.

Jay Smith and Shannon Reeves testified that they saw a car near Dunbar Cave around 10:30 p.m. on the night of April 23, 1997. They were at the home of Smith's girlfriend, Holly Schmidt, who lived across the street from the Dunbar Cave entrance and parking lot. Smith testified that the car was a red four-door and that he thought it was "odd" because the car was not in a parking space. Smith, a friend of Michelle Mace, conceded that he had told officers the car looked like several makes of cars, none of which matched the defendant's car. Smith nonetheless testified that the car he saw was "consistent" with photographs of the defendant's car. Reeves testified that he saw a car in the Dunbar Cave parking lot. Although he could not make out any details about the car, he noticed that the car's headlights were on and, at one point, changed from low to high beam.

Samero Zavaro, a serologist and DNA specialist with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, testified that a DNA sample taken from blood found on the defendant's left tennis shoe was consistent with the DNA profile of Angela Holmes. In addition, a DNA sample taken from small blood stains found on the right tennis shoe was consistent with a mixture of two or more donors from which...

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