The Murders of Paul Dennis Reid Jr.

During three months in 1997, Paul Reid murdered seven victims connected with fast-food restaurants in Middle Tennessee.

On Sunday morning, Feb. 16, Reid shot Steve Hampton and Sarah Jackson as they were opening the Captain D’s on Lebanon Road in Donelson. He stole over $7,000.[1]

A month later, on Sunday, March 23, at the end of the nightshift, Reid shot Ronald Santiago, Andrea Brown, and Robert Sewell in the McDonald’s on Donelson Pike in Hermitage. He stabbed Jose Ramirez Gonzales, who feigned death and survived to testify.[2]

Then on the night of Wednesday, April 23, around 10 p.m. closing time, Reid kidnapped Angela Holmes and Michelle Mace from the Baskin-Robbins on Wilma Rudolph Boulevard in Clarksville. Their bodies were found with stab wounds on April 24 in the Dunbar Cave Natural Area.[3]

Reid received seven death sentences, all affirmed on appeal. He decided to abandon post-conviction relief. But his sister Linda Martiniano made the opposite decision as her brother’s “next friend.” This leads us to the recent opinion, Reid ex rel. Martiniano v. State.[4]  The Supreme Court held that “Ms. Martiniano and the Office of the Post-Conviction Defender failed to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that Mr. Reid was incompetent during the statute of limitations periods for the McDonald’s and Baskin-Robbins cases and incompetent at the time of the hearing in the Captain D’s case.”

Of broader impact is another holding. The Supreme Court tells us that its internal Rule 20 at §11 will apply currently and retroactively to all post-conviction proceedings where the petitioner’s competency is raised. That section bears the title “Withdrawal of Post-Conviction in Capital Cases” and lists criteria and procedures.

What happened to Paul Dennis Reid Jr.? Was he executed? No. Reid died on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, in Nashville General Hospital at Meharry. He was 55 years old.

Notes

  1. 91 S.W.3d 247 (Tenn. 2002).
  2. 213 S.W.3d 792 (Tenn. 2006).
  3. 164 S.W.3d 286 (Tenn. 2005).
  4. Reid ex rel. Martiniano v. State, 396 S.W.3d 478 (Tenn., Koch, 2013).

Don Paine DONALD F. PAINE died Nov. 18, 2013. He was a past president of the Tennessee Bar Association and at the time of his death was of counsel to the Knoxville firm of Paine, Tarwater, and Bickers LLP. He was member emeritus to the Tennessee Bar Journal Editorial Board. He wrote his columns months in advance, and as a result, “Paine on Procedure” will continue through mid-2014. Read remembrances about him at www.tba.org/news/don-paine-legal-community-shares-thoughts-memories