Williams v. State, AP-74391.

CourtCourt of Appeals of Texas. Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas
Writing for the CourtKeller
Citation273 S.W.3d 200
PartiesPerry Eugene WILLIAMS, Appellant, v. The STATE of Texas.
Docket NumberNo. AP-74391.,AP-74391.
Decision Date11 June 2008
273 S.W.3d 200
Perry Eugene WILLIAMS, Appellant,
The STATE of Texas.
No. AP-74391.
Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas.
June 11, 2008.
Rehearing Denied October 29, 2008.

[273 S.W.3d 204]

Janet Morrow, Spring, for Appellant.

Dan McCrory, Asst. D.A., Houston, Jeffrey L. Van Horn, State's Attorney, Austin, for the State.

KELLER, P.J., delivered the opinion of the Court in which WOMACK, KEASLER, HERVEY, HOLCOMB, and COCHRAN, JJ., joined.

In June 2002, appellant was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death.1 Direct appeal to this Court is automatic.2 Appellant raises eleven points of error. Finding no reversible error, we affirm the conviction and sentence.

273 S.W.3d 205

One of appellant's points of error involves a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence to support the jury's determination of future dangerousness, while another point of error, relating to the admission of victim impact and character evidence, will require us to perform an extensive harm analysis. Consequently, we engage in a comprehensive discussion of the evidence relevant to appellant's punishment.

A. The Crime Spree

The offense for which appellant was convicted occurred during the middle of a crime spree. The State presented no evidence that appellant had engaged in any violent conduct before the crime spree began.

On September 9, 2000, appellant was driving in his car with a female friend, Kinita Starr Butler, who had a handgun. Upon seeing Lolita Cherry and Nicole Green walking down the street, appellant drove by and parked a short distance in front of them. Appellant got out of his car, grabbed Cherry, placed the handgun to her head, and demanded her purse. After getting the purse, Butler searched through it and told appellant, "This bitch don't got no money." Appellant turned Cherry around to face him and shot her in the breast. Appellant then jumped into his car and drove away. Cherry was taken to the hospital, where the wound was determined to be "superficial." The bullet had entered and exited her breast and was not recovered. Cherry was permitted to leave the hospital the next morning. During his testimony at the punishment phase of trial, appellant claimed that his shooting was intended only to scare Cherry, not to hit her, and that he did not realize at the time that she had actually been shot.

On September 17, 2000, appellant, his cousin James Dunn, Jr., and Butler were driving around in appellant's car and picked up Corey Phillips. Butler had again brought her handgun, and the group proceeded to carry out four robberies that evening. First, they approached Anthony Gonzales in a Kroger parking lot. Appellant pointed the handgun at Gonzales's face and said, "Give me your car." Because Gonzales's car had a stick shift, appellant could not drive it and point the gun at Gonzales at the same time, so he ordered Gonzales to drive the car while he held the gun to Gonzales's ribs. Appellant took Gonzales's wallet and yanked two chains from his neck. Appellant also took Gonzales's ATM card and demanded the PIN number. Appellant kept Gonzales's driver's license in case Gonzales ever reported the robbery and they needed "somebody" to "take care of it." Appellant testified that this was done at Phillips's instruction. The group drove to an ATM machine, and appellant tried to use the ATM card to withdraw money, but the PIN number did not work. Appellant testified that Dunn urged him to try again, but appellant's efforts were not successful.

The group next approached Matthew Carter, the victim in this case. Carter had visited his girlfriend and fellow medical student, Maryam Saifi, to help her with a class project. Carter left Saifi's home around 11:00 p.m. to return a rented video to Blockbuster. The group drove into the Blockbuster parking lot and saw Carter returning to his car after returning the videotape. According to appellant's testimony at trial, Dunn was supposed to take the handgun and rob Carter as part of an initiation into an affiliate of the Crips gang, but Dunn "froze up." Phillips then handed appellant the gun and told him to "go get em." According to his testimony at trial, appellant "took the gun and took over." Appellant forced Carter at gunpoint into the passenger seat of Carter's

273 S.W.3d 206

car, and appellant got into the driver's seat. They then followed Phillips, who was driving appellant's vehicle. Carter told appellant numerous times that he had an ATM card that appellant could "max out," and he pleaded with appellant not to hurt him. Nevertheless, after parking the car, appellant shot Carter in the head from close range. According to appellant's confession, Carter hit appellant and the gun fired. Forty dollars was taken out of Carter's wallet and distributed evenly among the four members of the group.

About an hour later, the group committed two more robberies. In the first of these robberies, Tomas Kooh and Ricardo Rubio were at a gas station when appellant and his companions drove up. Phillips pointed the handgun at both men and demanded their wallets. After Phillips took their wallets, appellant "burned off and got on the freeway." In the other robbery, Phillips approached Franklin Jackson, who had left the door of his motel room open after unloading his truck. As Jackson turned to close the door, Phillips pointed a gun at him and told him to get back. Jackson slammed the door as Phillips attempted to force his way in and a shot was fired as a result, causing a minor wound to Jackson's hand. Appellant was also the driver of the car in this robbery.

B. Appellant's Incarceration

Upon arrest, appellant was incarcerated in the county jail's "kid tank," the section of the jail occupied by inmates who are under the age of twenty-two. During his time in the kid tank, appellant was disciplined four times for fighting, once for giving himself unauthorized tattoos, once for committing an assault and destroying county property, and once for stealing. The jail disciplinary reports contained information about these incidents, including statements made by appellant and other inmates involved.

The first incident occurred on October 25, 2000. The jail officer determined that appellant and another inmate were engaged in a mutual fight. In his statement, appellant claimed that the other inmate, Charles King, called him various insulting names and took away his newspaper. Appellant further claimed that this was not the only time that King had insulted him and there was only "so much you can take." After making these comments, appellant said, "All I can say is I'm sorry for breaking the rules by fighting."

King claimed that he asked appellant for the comics section of the newspaper, but appellant said he was reading it. Seeing that appellant was reading only the metro section, King asked why appellant was acting that way. Appellant then replied, "Fuck you." King told appellant that he did not have to curse at him and appellant stood up as if he was going to hit King. King threatened to hit appellant back if appellant hit him, appellant swung at him, and they began to fight. Appellant told King that he did not care about fighting because he wanted to be moved out of the tank anyway.

On March 12, 2001, appellant and inmate Floyd Barnes were caught fighting. The record contains no statements from either of the inmates about this incident.

On April 22, 2001, appellant was found fighting with Wiley Williams. According to appellant, they started fighting when Williams insulted appellant's neighborhood. Appellant claimed that Williams threw the first punch and that appellant was only defending himself. Appellant concluded by saying, "I know I was wrong for fighting but I had to defend myself. I ask you to understand where I am coming from."

273 S.W.3d 207

Williams claimed that he was sitting in a group engaging in friendly conversation when appellant "took the conversation to a whole different level" and "continuously tried to fight" him. He told appellant that he did not want to fight, but appellant kept advancing toward him. The other inmates left because they did not want to get into trouble. Appellant then hit Williams, who defended himself. Williams concluded by saying, "I feel this inmate had no reason to put his hands on me and I want to press charges."

On June 17, 2001, the jail authorities discovered that appellant had tattooing equipment in his possession and that he had recently given himself tattoos. In his written statement regarding the matter appellant said, "I'll like to start by saying I am sorry for disobeying county rules. But I felt I was paying my cousin respect by getting his name tattooed on my arm since he passed away. I know it was wrong but all I can say once again I am sorry. But I didn't mean to cause so much trouble."

On June 23, 2001, appellant engaged in a fight that involved inmates David Bradford, Willie Jones, Hari Brown, and Quentin Rubin. In his statement, appellant claimed that he was not fighting but "was trying to break it up." All of the other disciplinary allegations against appellant during his jail stay ended with a plea agreement, but appellant contested this particular allegation and was found guilty.

On August 4, 2001, appellant walked up to inmate Curtis Vandver and grabbed and tore Vandver's shirt. Vandver appeared to be afraid of appellant and said that appellant did this for no reason at all. In his written statement, appellant claimed that he was just playing with Vandver and getting him back for something Vandver did to him. Appellant complained that he did not understand why he was getting written up for something like this, but he concluded his statement by saying, "I know it was wrong but all I can say is I was being a kid. I don't need to get into anymore trouble but I did so I don't know what else to say but I'm sorry for my childish actions. Please forgive me and give me a second chance."

Finally, on August 12,...

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