Court of Appeals of Texas, Sixth District, Texarkana
Submitted: April 18, 2018
Appeal from the 124th District Court Gregg County, Texas
Trial Court No. 41913-B
Morriss, C.J., Moseley and Burgess, JJ.
C. Moseley Justice
Reed and Torry Jamal Reed were both implicated in the murder
of Deaundray Rossum. A Gregg County jury convicted Deion of
one count of murder and one count of aggravated robbery. On
each count, Deion was sentenced to sixty years'
imprisonment and was ordered to pay a $10, 000.00 fine. On
appeal, Deion argues (1) that the trial court erred in
failing to include an accomplice-witness instruction in the
jury charge, (2) that the trial court erred in failing to
suppress extraneous-offense evidence of another shooting
allegedly caused by Deion, and (3) that the evidence is
legally insufficient to support the jury's findings of
guilt on both counts alleged in the State's indictment.
conclude that Deion was not egregiously harmed by the failure
to include an accomplice-witness instruction, that the trial
court did not abuse its discretion in allowing evidence of an
extraneous offense, and that Deion's conviction was
supported by legally sufficient evidence. Accordingly, we
affirm the trial court's judgment.
night of May 15, 2012, the Longview Police Department (LPD)
received reports that shots had just been fired in the Signal
Hill apartment complex parking lot. LPD officers Dennis
Phillips and Benny Cooks were dispatched to Signal Hill with
instructions to be on the lookout for an orange Mitsubishi
Eclipse, which they soon spotted. While witnesses urged
Phillips to quickly attend to Elginn Jackson, who was alive
but had just been shot in the back, Cooks went to inspect the
Eclipse. He found Rossum slumped over in the driver's
side of the vehicle, dead from gunshot wounds to the head and
neck. Jackson was taken to the hospital by ambulance as
Phillips and Cooks began the murder investigation.
Redmon, a physical evidence specialist with the LPD, arrived
on the scene and collected several .380 caliber and
nine-millimeter cartridge casings from the parking lot.
Redmon also located Jackson's wallet on the ground, and
Longview police office Chris Taylor found a cell phone later
discovered to belong to Brendon Douglas. In examining Rossum,
LPD found no money on his person. Redmon and Taylor processed
the Eclipse for fingerprints, but only found prints from
Rossum and other known occupants of the vehicle.
testified that a man named Marcus Davis was in the parking
lot when the shooting occurred. Davis testified that he was
living with his girlfriend, Franceshell Nelson, and their
children at Signal Hill and that they were returning home
when they witnessed the shooting. Nelson testified that she
saw an unfamiliar man walking down the stairs as she and her
oldest son entered her ground-floor apartment. While Davis,
who was taking their four-year-old son out of a car seat, was
still in the parking lot, Nelson heard multiple shots being
fired. Nelson immediately ran inside and called 9-1-1 to
report the incident. She peeked out of the window to make
sure Davis and her son were okay and happened to see an
"older model, " "light color" car
speeding by. Unfortunately, neither Davis nor Nelson could
identify the shooter.
Cheatham, a detective with the LPD, turned to Jackson in
hopes that he could supply additional information. Jackson
testified that he grew up with Rossum, who drove the Eclipse,
and saw him "pretty much every day." On the morning
of the shooting, Rossum arrived at Jackson's house with
his friend, Don Robert Perry, Jr. According to Jackson, the
group's goal for the day was to acquire a large amount of
marihuana and cocaine to sell. In order to accomplish their
goal, Jackson, Rossum, and Perry went to a McDonald's in
Longview to meet Douglas, who had promised Rossum that he
could facilitate the drug purchase through his connection in
Shreveport. Jackson testified that he was carrying $2, 000.00
in cash to make the large drug purchase and that Rossum had
pulled out his cash several times in front of Douglas in
order to count it. After ensuring that they had enough money,
the group drove to Shreveport, waited for some time for
Douglas' connection, and decided to return home to
Longview empty-handed after it became apparent that they
would be unable to acquire the drugs. Jackson said Rossum was
aggravated with Douglas for his false promise that he could
get cheaper marihuana in Shreveport.
testified that Douglas "was texting a lot" on the
way back from Shreveport and asked Rossum to pull into Signal
Hill before dropping him home so he could purchase a
marihuana blunt from someone living in an upstairs apartment.
According to Jackson, Rossum let Douglas out of the back seat
and waited by the car as Douglas went upstairs to buy his
blunt. Jackson testified that two men wearing gray hoodies
and basketball shorts approached the Eclipse, asked Rossum an
undiscernible question, waited for Rossum to respond that
Douglas was upstairs, and then started shooting. Jackson
jumped out of the car as soon as he heard gunshots, tried to
run, was shot in the back, and
fell.[] Jackson testified that he
heard Douglas say, "Man, you shot me" to the
shooters and then instructed them to check Jackson's
pockets. Scared, Jackson pretended to be dead as the shooters
went through his pockets, but were unable to find any money.
who was in the back seat of the Eclipse with Douglas, also
testified that Douglas was texting and smiling on the way
back from Shreveport. Perry confirmed Jackson's testimony
that the group went to Signal Hill because Douglas wanted to
purchase a blunt. He testified that he saw Douglas coming
back downstairs as two men wearing gray hoodies, black
shorts, black shoes, gray socks, and white undershirts
approached. According to Perry, Douglas "shook their
hand and looked both ways, and took off running. And then
that's when they started shooting." Because he was
in the back seat, Perry was unable to escape. While he was
still in the car, he saw one of the shooters reach into
Rossum's pocket to take his wallet. The shooter saw
Perry, froze for a second, and ran away.
Perry nor Jackson was able to identify the shooters. However,
Jackson told Cheatham that they had climbed into a
light-colored Lincoln with Douglas and sped off. Since
Jackson's description of the getaway car was similar to
Nelson's, the LPD set out to find the getaway vehicle.
Thornton and Chris Taylor, officers with the LPD, were both
stationed at Good Shepherd Medical Center when a
light-colored Lincoln dropped Douglas off at the emergency
room to receive medical treatment for his gunshot wound.
According to Taylor, Douglas was uncooperative, did not allow
gunshot residue testing to be conducted on his hands, and
claimed he had been shot at a local EZ Mart store. Thornton
and Taylor were both informed that the people who brought
Douglas to the emergency room were standing outside in the
parking lot around a vehicle. Thornton and Taylor located the
light-colored Lincoln, which was identified as belonging to
Gabrina Ward. Although Ward was not present, she provided her
consent to search the vehicle that was being driven by
testified that she allowed Skinner to borrow her
light-colored Lincoln Town Car from time to time. Ward said
she was getting ready to go to the store on the day of the
incident and, when she was ready to leave her apartment, was
shocked to find her keys missing and the car gone. Ward
testified that Skinner and Douglas were at her apartment
while she was getting ready, and she knew that they must have
taken the car. Ward called Skinner and, according to Ward,
Skinner and Douglas admitted that they had taken the car, but
assured her that it would soon be returned.
the course of the investigation, Taylor was able to extract
text messages from Douglas' telephone in order to uncover
more information about the Signal Hill shooting. Taylor
extracted the following text message conversation between
Douglas and someone using a telephone number labeled in
Douglas' telephone as "Reed":
Reed: "Dnt go to [Ward's] house wen u get back dwn
hur . . . If [Ward] . . . call u dnt answer"
Douglas: "were yall at . . . b behind ezmart in
Reed: "We still got da car wat u wnt to do"
Douglas: "b at ezmart wit da kar n thirty min"
Reed: "Ok we finna go up dur now ima park on da
Douglas: "u ready or not m*********"
Reed: "Nigga we already hur waitin on u"
Douglas: "say yall pop da driver n I got da passenger. .
. . okk tell [Skinner] I said iiiiiiiiiight mane"
Reed: "Do u wnt us to park in signal hill or da feed
Douglas: "say soon as I get out pop da driver . . .
Reed: "We gone b in da back bro . . . ."
Douglas: "naw just park at signal hill boi . . . ok bout
15min we b der"
Reed: "You want us to walk up to the car as soon as yall
Douglas: "yea wen u c him open da door open for me"
Reed: "So he gettin out"
Douglas: "yeah im n da back it's a two door kar . .
. . n nigga put dat bitch smooth to his head n pop his
Reed: "How much he got"
Douglas: "$1000 . . . . light"
Reed: "So when I hit the driver you.hittin the
Douglas: "yea . . . . okk we finna pull up"
conversation occurred on the day of the shooting, with the
last few messages being exchanged just before Rossum was
shot. Because the messages established Douglas'
participation in the murder, he was convicted of capital
murder. Douglas v. State, 489 S.W.3d 613, 618 (Tex.
App.- Texarkana 2016, no pet.). In setting out to find other
suspects, the LPD spoke to Skinner.
testified that he went to Ward's house and that, contrary
to Ward's testimony, Leonard Mitchell was also present.
According to Skinner, Ward voluntarily turned over the keys
to her car and went to shower. Skinner said that Douglas, who
he had known for his entire life, "popped up" as he
was retrieving a CD out of Ward's car and that he,
Douglas, and Mitchell went back to Ward's apartment where
they were met by sixteen-year-old Reed. Skinner testified
that while he was in the bathroom, he heard Douglas telling
Deion "about a lick."
Douglas' request, the group left Ward's apartment in
her car while Ward was still in the shower. After they spent
time at Douglas' house, Douglas asked to be dropped off
at McDonalds. As he was being dropped off, Skinner testified
that he, Mitchell, and Deion were instructed to wait for
Douglas at Signal Hill. After Douglas failed to appear in a
timely manner, the trio drove to another apartment complex to
meet a friend of Mitchell's. Leaving Deion behind,
Skinner and Mitchell got out of the car to find a telephone
they could use to call Douglas. Afterward, they returned to
the car, met with Deion, and drove to Deion's house,
where his brother, seventeen-year-old Torry Jamal Reed, was
present. Skinner testified that he used Torry's telephone
to communicate with Douglas, who was angry that the group had
failed to meet him at Signal Hill as instructed. The group
then went to a friend's house, where Torry, Deion, and
Mitchell got out of the car, while Skinner stayed inside.
Skinner testified that he again used Torry's telephone to
text Douglas in order to establish his whereabouts. After
Mitchell, Deion, and Torry returned to the car with Dashun
Taylor, Skinner began driving the group back to Ward's
house. On the way, Skinner said Torry informed him that
Douglas wanted them to pick him up from a local EZ Mart
store. They waited for Douglas for twenty or thirty minutes
before driving to Signal Hill to see if he was there.
testified that he parked Ward's car in the Signal Hill
parking lot, where Deion and Torry, who were wearing jogging
shorts and gray hoodies, hopped out. They walked around an
apartment building toward an area where Skinner testified he
soon heard gunshots. Skinner said he cranked up the car,
pulled around to see what happened, and witnessed Douglas
running from an orange Eclipse. Skinner testified that
Douglas got in the car with him, Mitchell, and Taylor, and
told them to head to the hospital. Skinner testified that he
was about to drive off when Torry and Deion jumped in the car
as well. En route to the hospital, Skinner pulled over to the
side of the road to let Torry and Deion out of the car.
Before they left, Skinner testified that Douglas passed Deion
and Torry a nine-millimeter Hi-Point gun and ...