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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Mar 27, 2015

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Vicki M. Carriker (on appeal) and Michael Scholl and Michael Campbell (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Eric Williams.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Stacy McEndree and Marquis Young, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): OGLE

A Shelby County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Eric Williams, of first degree premeditated murder, and the trial court sentenced him to life. On appeal, the appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction, that the trial court erred by refusing to allow State witnesses to testify about his statements after the killing, that the trial court erred by allowing the State to use a shotgun for demonstrative purposes when the gun was not involved in the crime, and that the trial court erred by not using the “reasonable effort method” for the jury’s consideration of the charge. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we conclude that the trial court erred by prohibiting the appellant from crossexamining State witnesses about his stating after the shooting that he did not intend to shoot the victim, by allowing the State’s expert to testify about the trigger pull of double-barrel shotguns, and by allowing the jury to handle a shotgun that was not the murder weapon. Moreover, we conclude that the cumulative effect of the errors warrants reversal of the appellant’s conviction. Therefore, the conviction is reversed, and the case is remanded to the trial court for a new trial.