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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Mar 11, 2015

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Stephen Bush, Shelby County Public Defender; Phyllis Aluko, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal); and William Yonkowski, Assistant Public Defender (at trial), for the appellant, Donnell Tunstall.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Senior Counsel; Amy Weirich, District Attorney General; and Marianne Bell, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): EASTER

Defendant, Donnell Tunstall, was convicted of attempted second degree murder, employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and aggravated assault. He received an effective sentence of thirty-two years for these crimes. Defendant now appeals his convictions, claiming insufficient evidence and improper admission of unfairly prejudicial evidence regarding his previous arrest for the murder of the victim’s brother. After careful review, we conclude that the evidence was sufficient to support all of the convictions but that the admission of specific pieces evidence was improper and not harmless. Accordingly, the convictions are reversed and remanded for a new trial.