United States District Court, N.D. Texas
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254 filed by petitioner, Jason Kyle Gee, a state
prisoner confined in the Correctional Institutions Division
of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, against Lorie
Davis, director of that division, respondent. After having
considered the pleadings, state court records, and relief
sought by petitioner, the court has concluded that the
petition should be denied.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
in Wise County, Texas, No. CR18318, found petitioner guilty
of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and assessed his
punishment at 75 years' imprisonment and a $10, 000 fine.
(Clerk's R. 21.} Petitioner's conviction was affirmed
on appeal and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refused his
petition for discretionary review. (Electronic R. 1.)
Petitioner did not seek writ of certiorari or post-conviction
state habeas relief. (Pet. 3-4.)
appellate court summarized the evidence at trial as follows:
One day in March 2015, [petitioner] and Jeseca Drury, who
were dating each other, visited the house of Bryon Nabors and
Michelle Combs. Drury wanted to trade two power tools for
illegal drugs, and Nabors called Skinner to facilitate the
trade. Skinner arrived at the house. According to Nabors,
[petitioner] gave Skinner the power tools, and Skinner gave
According to Combs, after Skinner left, [petitioner] became
upset. [Petitioner] believed that Skinner had
"shorted" Drury on the agreed-upon amount of
methamphetamine. Skinner had agreed to deliver one gram of
methamphetamine but had given Drury only about half a gram.
Nabors attempted to contact Skinner again but was not able to
immediately reach him. Nabors observed that [petitioner]
"storm[ed] around" and "kept talking
about" the fact that Skinner had not delivered the
promised amount of drugs.
Later that night, [petitioner], Drury, Nabors, and Combs-all
of whom had been using methamphetamine that day-traveled
together in Nabors's truck and spotted Skinner and
Jessica Puckett (Skinner's girlfriend), who were riding
together in Puckett's car. Both vehicles pulled over.
Nabors got out of his truck and approached Skinner. They
spoke for a couple of minutes. According to Nabors, Skinner
conveyed that he would eventually deliver more
When Nabors got back into the truck, he attempted to reassure
[petitioner] that Skinner was "going to take care of the
situation." Drury testified that Nabors told
[petitioner] that Skinner did not "have anything"
at that time and that [petitioner] could "check back
with him in a couple of hours." But [petitioner] became
angrier, jumped out of the truck, moved toward Puckett's
car with a knife in his hand, yelled in that direction, and
attempted to slash or stab a tire with the knife as Skinner
began to drive away. Skinner testified, "[petitioner]
went to make a stabbing motion toward me or the car or
something, and I mashed on the accelerator."'
According to Drury, when [petitioner] returned to the truck,
he said, "I cannot believe I stabbed [Puckett's]
Skinner saw [petitioner]'s attempt to slash the tire and
became angry. Knowing that [petitioner] had a knife, he
circled back toward Nabors's truck, stopped the car, got
out of it, and approached [petitioner], who had returned to
the truck. Skinner said to [petitioner], "You just
fucked up, boy." Nabors heard Skinner's words and
believed that Skinner was going to "whip
[Petitioner] and Skinner began to fight. During the fight,
[petitioner] used the knife to slash Skinner's throat.
The sequence of when [petitioner] did so is in dispute.
According to Skinner, when he approached [petitioner],
[petitioner] slashed his throat, and Skinner then began to
hit [petitioner] with a car door in attempt to hurt him and
knock him off balance. Skinner testified, "[A]fter I
felt the impact is when I started slamming the door."
According to Drury and [petitioner], however, Skinner slammed
[petitioner] with the door before [petitioner] slashed
Puckett moved Skinner back toward her car, and according to
Puckett, [petitioner] "came at [her] with the
knife." After Puckett helped Skinner get in the car,
while he was severely bleeding in the front passenger's
seat and trying to hold pressure against his neck with a
shirt, she drove toward a hospital and called 9-1-1.
At the same time, [petitioner] jumped into Nabors's truck
and told Nabors to "get him out of [there]." He
shouted at Nabors and Combs, telling them not to say anything
to anyone about what had occurred. According to Nabors,
[petitioner] said that Nabors and Combs "better not say
a damn thing or [he would] kill [them] both." Nabors
eventually pulled over, and [petitioner] and Drury got out of
the truck. They hid near a bush and called [petitioner]'s
mother. [Petitioner] threw the knife away. Nabors and Combs
Puckett and Skinner eventually arrived at a hospital. Skinner
had emergency surgery to treat a lacerated jugular vein and
an exposed trachea. In one of Skinner's pockets, the
police found a small folding pocketknife; the police did not
recover any other weapons from Skinner, from the car he had
been in, or from the scene of the crime. The police
discovered Skinner's fingerprint and his blood on a door
of Nabors's truck. A police officer spoke with
[petitioner] after arresting him. [Petitioner] did not deny
slashing Skinner's throat or claim that Skinner had used
a weapon during the incident, but he stated that he had
feared for his life and that he was trying to get away before
Skinner attacked him.
A grand jury indicted [petitioner] for aggravated assault;
the indictment alleged that the knife he had used qualified
as a deadly weapon. [Petitioner] received appointed counsel,
chose the jury to assess his punishment in the event of his
conviction, and pled not guilty. At trial, he testified that
when he approached Puckett's car, a window was down, and
he asked Skinner "if he was going to make it
right." According to [petitioner], at that point,
Skinner became angry, reached under his seat "for
something," and attempted to open his door. [Petitioner]
initially did not let him. Skinner told [petitioner] to
"[s]tep back from [his] fucking door," and
[petitioner] then did so. Skinner got out of the car, but
Puckett began yelling at him, and he got back into the car
and began to drive away. At that point, [petitioner] punched
one of Puckett's tires with one hand while holding the
knife with his other hand. He had pulled his knife out
because he had thought that Skinner had "pulled
something from underneath his seat."
According to [petitioner], he was "really scared"
when Skinner circled Puckett's car back toward him, got
out of the car, and approached him. [Petitioner] testified
that he "thought [Skinner] had pulled" a weapon. He
testified that Skinner opened the door of the truck and
repeatedly slammed it against him. According to [petitioner],
because he had "nowhere to go," thought Skinner had
a weapon (although not knowing whether Skinner did), and
feared for his life, he slit Skinner's throat.
[Petitioner] testified that he thought that Skinner had a
weapon because he "got in his car and came back."
But [petitioner] admitted that he never saw Skinner with a
weapon. [Petitioner] also admitted that he had displayed a
deadly weapon (the knife) in an aggressive manner to Skinner
before Skinner drove away and then circled back toward him.
[Petitioner] denied that he had threatened Puckett with the
knife after slashing Skinner's throat.
trial court's charge to the jury on the issue of
[petitioner]'s guilt contained language related to the
law of self-defense and instructed the jury as follows:
[I]f you believe from the evidence beyond a reasonable doubt
. . . that [petitioner] did . . . intentionally, knowingly[,
] or recklessly cause bodily injury to Clifton Skinner by
cutting Clifton Skinner with a knife, and [petitioner] did
then and there use or exhibit a deadly weapon . . . during
the commission of said assault, then you will find
[petitioner] guilty[, ] . . . but [if] you further find from
the evidence, or you have a reasonable doubt thereof, that .
. . [petitioner] reasonably believed that from the words or
conduct, or both, of Clifton Skinner, it reasonably appeared
to [petitioner], as viewed from his standpoint, that his life
or person was in danger and there was created in his mind a
reasonable expectation or fear of death or serious bodily
injury from the use of unlawful deadly force by Clifton
Skinner, and that acting under such apprehension and
reasonably believing that the ...