Tooley v. State

Decision Date08 September 1969
Citation448 S.W.2d 683,1 Tenn.Crim.App. 652
PartiesWillard Rex TOOLEY, Plaintiff-in-Error, v. STATE of Tennessee, Defendant-in-Error.
CourtTennessee Court of Criminal Appeals

Robert A. Tillman, Walker Gwinn and Hugh W. Stanton, Jr., Memphis, for plaintiff in error.

George F. McCanless, Atty. Gen., Robert H. Roberts, Asst. Atty. Gen., Nashville, Robert K. Dwyer and Leonard T. Lafferty, Asst. Dist. Attys. Gen., Memphis, for defendant in error.


WALKER, Presiding Judge.

The defendant below, Willard Rex Tooley, appeals from his conviction of murder in the first degree in the Criminal Court of Shelby County and sentence to 99 years in the penitentiary.

On the night of October 25, 1967, the defendant, 31 years of age, visited the V.I.P. Lounge, a bar in the Frayser area of North Memphis, where he met the deceased, Mrs. Edna Earl Scallions, aged 50. They drank beer there and at Ray's Lounge until a short time after midnight. He was not drunk, but he says he had a headache and she gave him a capsule to relieve it.

They left Ray's Lounge together and drove to a remote area near the Mississippi River. A farmer in this section identified the unusual sound of the defendant's automobile as it passed his house.

The following morning Mrs. Scallions was found barely alive in this isolated area. She was lying on the ground and was nude except for her slacks around her ankles. She had been struck on the back of her head and her forehead, the laceration on her forehead being deep enough to expose the skull. In addition she had been mutilated almost beyond description. A nipple was missing. Her vagina and rectum were severely cut and two large rocks had been inserted into her abdominal cavity through her vagina. Some of her intestines had been thrown on the ground. Although she was still alive when found at about 7:00 A.M., she died an hour later without regaining consciousness.

At about 3:00 A.M. on this same day (October 26, 1967), the defendant drove his automobile into a Texaco Service Station and had his car filled with gasoline, for which he paid with a credit card. It needed only three gallons, amounting to one dollar. He had blood on his hands and face. The attendant also noticed blood on his jacket lying on his car seat. He went into the rest room and washed off the blood. He left blood on the towel he used there. His credit card led to his identification as the perpetrator of the crime. He was a sergeant in the Marine Corps, on temporary duty at the Naval Air Station at Millington. From the Texaco station, he returned to the town of Millington, where he ate a good breakfast and went to sleep in his barracks. Later that day he went to his home in Missouri to visit his wife and children. On his return, as he crossed the Memphis and Arkansas bridge on October 30, 1967, he was arrested.

The defendant testified in his own behalf. He admitted being with the deceased on the night of the killing, but said that he 'blacked out' as he was leaving the last of the night clubs with her and did not remember anything until he awoke later in his automobile with a headache and sticky hands and face. He says he thought he had vomited on himself until he washed his hands in the rest room and found the water was red.

After his classes on that morning, he was concerned by a news report about the deceased. He had found blood on his clothing and in his car. He drove his car through a wash, vacuumed it and undertook to wash blood stains from a seat. Following this he drove to Missouri to see his family.

The defendant was examined at Central State Hospital and found sane.

The defendant assigns as error the search of his car in the police lot without a search warrant and the introduction of the rug or carpet into evidence.

After arresting the defendant without a warrant, at about 12:30 A.M., October 30, 1967, the officers took his automobile to the police storage garage. At approximately 10:00 A.M. that day, Mrs. Joyce Matthews, a technician from the University of Tennessee Department of Pathology, on the direction of police officers, without a warrant, searched the car to find evidence of the murder. She testified over the defendant's objection to the presence of blood on a rug and piece of paper inside the car. The defendant was in jail when the search was made. The defendant says this was an unreasonable search. In support of his contention that this evidence was illegally obtained, he cites Ellis v. State, 211 Tenn. 321, 364 S.W.2d 925.

In Preston v. United States, 376 U.S. 364, 84 S.Ct. 881, 11 L.Ed.2d 777, the Court said:

'* * * Once an accused is under arrest and in custody, then a search made at another place, without a warrant, is simply not incident to the arrest.'

See also Dyke v. Taylor Implement Mfg. Co., 391 U.S. 216, 88 S.Ct. 1472, 20 L.Ed.2d 538 (1968).

The rule enunciated in these cases prohibited the search of the defendant's automobile at the police station and the seizure of the rug and paper found there. Although the evidence was illegally seized, the defendant testified at the trial and both on direct examination and cross-examination said that blood was on the seat, carpet and door of his automobile and on his clothes there as well as on his person. His testimony is essentially the same as that of the technician as to blood in the car.

A defendant may make illegally seized evidence admissible by his testimony on direct examination. Walder v. United States, 347 U.S. 62, 74 S.Ct. 354, 98 L.Ed. 503. See Lester v. State, 216 Tenn. 615, 393 S.W.2d 288; Burks v. State, 194 Tenn. 675, 254 S.W.2d 970; Batchelor v. State, 213 Tenn. 649, 378 S.W.2d 751; 29 Am.Jur.2d Evidence, Sec. 416. He has done this and is now precluded from questioning the search.

Moreover, this evidence was merely cumulative and added little to the State's case. It did not result in prejudice. See State v. Wood, 197 Kan. 241, 416 P.2d 729 (1966); State v. Sorenson, 270 Minn. 186, 134 N.W.2d 115 (1965).

The defendant complains that his statements on arrest and at the police station were inadmissible under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694, 10 A.L.R.3d 974.

He was arrested without a warrant and was thoroughly advised of his constitutional rights by two officers separately. He says they did not tell him the offense for which he was charged. Captain R. L. Williams testified that he told the defendant he wanted to talk to him about a woman that had been killed in Memphis. He was arrested on probable cause of the commission of a felony. The trial judge found against his contentions and there was no error here.

At the police station, he was again fully advised of his rights and voluntarily answered questions. During the interrogation, he was asked to explain the bloody clothes. The officer asked if he wanted to explain them, and he replied that he did not. In a hearing out of the presence of the jury, the trial judge held inadmissible any questions and answers about the clothing. The defendant says that his answer that he did not want to talk about the clothing was prejudicial under O'Brien v. State, 221 Tenn. 346, 426 S.W.2d 507. This reply was not introduced as a tacit admission of guilt, and this assignment is without merit. See State v. Flanagan, 443 S.W.2d 25, opinion by our Supreme Court released for publication June 13, 1969.

Following his remark about the clothes, the defendant says any further interrogation was inadmissible. He continued answering questions without any objection or indication that he did not want to talk. We think his statements were admissible under Miranda.

On cross-examination, the assistant attorney general was permitted to ask the defendant if he had raped a woman in Okinawa. He denied it, and the prosecutor stopped questioning him on that subject. Later the defendant brought it up and voluntarily explained an incident in Okinawa without objection of his counsel. If there was any error here, it was harmless.

The defendant objected to the prosecutor's argument to the jury about this incident. The Court promptly sustained the objection and admonished the jury to disregard it. In view of the Court's prompt instruction to the jury, the error was harmless. Williams v. State, 218 Tenn. 359, 403 S.W.2d 319.

The defendant says there is no proof of premeditation. The question is whether or not the circumstances here are sufficient to show premeditation. The elements of premeditation and deliberation may be inferred from the circumstances of the killing. Edwards v. State, 221 Tenn. 60, 424 S.W.2d 783. If the design to slay was premeditated, it is not material that the defendant was in a passion or excited when that design was executed. Presley v. State, 161 Tenn. 310, 30 S.W.2d 231.

Although the defendant did not know the deceased until the night of the slaying, the circumstances show deliberation and premeditation at the time this atrocious crime was committed. Many cuts and wounds were found over the victim's body, and it was horribly mutilated. The perpetration of the crime took from several minutes to an hour and shows an intent to kill formed after a pre-existing reflection and not formed as a result of mere unconsidered action or sudden impulse, hastily executed. The design may be conceived and deliberately formed in an instant. Lewis v. State, 40 Tenn. 127; Galvin v. State, 46 Tenn. 283.

The defendant gave a conflicting story about where he had last seen the deceased. He told the officers that he had let her out of his automobile in front of the bar where he had met her.

Although the evidence is circumstantial in character, it is legally sufficient to support a conviction of first degree murder.

In Breeding v. State of Maryland, 220 Md. 193, 151 A.2d 743 (1959), the Court of Appeals of Maryland considered a case in which the deceased was killed by manual strangulation after a severe beating and...

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16 cases
  • Bouwkamp v. State
    • United States
    • Wyoming Supreme Court
    • June 2, 1992 characterizing it as circumstances attending the killing. See Heiney v. State, 447 So.2d 210 (Fla.1984); and Tooley v. State, 1 Tenn.Cr.App. 652, 448 S.W.2d 683 (1969). This is inappropriate, and we decline to align Wyoming with these jurisdictions. A sure hazard devolving from the diffi......
  • State v. Davidson
    • United States
    • Tennessee Supreme Court
    • October 20, 2003
    ...killing was motivated by a desire for some sort of gratification and was not a rash or impulsive killing. See Tooley v. State, 1 Tenn.Crim.App. 652, 448 S.W.2d 683, 687 (1969) (concluding that horrible mutilation of victim was circumstance from which premeditation could be inferred). Davids......
  • Ledford v. State
    • United States
    • Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals
    • March 16, 1978
    ...v. State, 2 Tenn.Cr. 398, 454 S.W.2d 178, 182 (1970); Squires v. State, 525 S.W.2d 686, 694 (Tenn.Cr.App.1975); Tooley v. State, 1 Tenn.Cr. 652, 448 S.W.2d 683, 687 (1969). Or, more adroitly stated in Morrison v. State, 217 Tenn. 374, 390, 391, 400 S.W.2d 239 ". . . We must conclude that th......
  • State v. Lenahan
    • United States
    • Arizona Court of Appeals
    • July 13, 1970
    ...herself has made illegally seized evidence admissible by testifying to those same facts, and no prejudice results. Tooley v. State, 448 S.W.2d 683 (Tenn.App.1969); Cf. Walder v. United States, 347 U.S. 62, 74 S.Ct. 354, 98 L.Ed. 503 (1954). Contra, United States ex rel. Savino v. Follette, ......
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