Appeals Court Upholds 2nd-Trial Conviction Of Randall Reed For Murder Of East Ridge Woman

Saturday, September 19, 2020

The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals has upheld the conviction of Randall Reed in a retrial for the murder of an East Ridge woman.

A jury in July 2018 convicted Reed of first-degree murder in the 2011 death of 70-year-old Jane Stokes.

An earlier conviction by a prior jury had been thrown out by an appeals court.

Reed testified in his own behalf.

The victim was murdered in her home during a robbery in 2011.

Her hands were zip-tied behind her back and her head was wrapped in cellophane. An autopsy revealed that she died from suffocation.

Evidence in the case showed Reed using the victim’s debit card at an ATM on Brainerd Road hours after the murder. Reed also testified to previously doing construction work at the victim’s house prior to the incident.

In 2013, Reed was tried before a Hamilton County Jury and sentenced to life in prison for the murder, to be served concurrently with sentences for especially aggravated robbery, theft of property, and four counts of fraudulent use of a debit card.

The defendant later appealed the ruling, referencing a court error where witness Milo Geiger testified that he had agreed to take a lie detector test and Reed had not. The defendant also argued that the court improperly admitted photos of the victim, failed to instruct the jury on one of the lesser offenses, and that the evidence was simply insufficient to support his conviction.

After a review of the record, Reed’s appeal for a new trial was granted.

In connection with the second trial, the appeals court said, "This appeal arises from the second jury trial of the Defendant-Appellant, Randall Kenneth Reed, for which he was convicted of first degree premeditated murder, first degree felony murder, aggravated robbery, and theft of property, and received an effective sentence of life imprisonment. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-13-202(a)(1), (a)(2), 39-13-402, 39-14-103. In this appeal, Reed argues: (1) the trial court erred in denying his right to self-representation; (2) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress, which it construed as a motion for reconsideration; (3) the evidence is insufficient to establish his identity as the perpetrator of the offenses; (4) the guilty pleas he made in front of the jury should have been assessed and a new jury empaneled to ensure that he had a fair and unbiased trial; and (5) the trial court erred in admitting life and death photographs of the victim at trial. After carefully reviewing the record and the applicable law, we remand the case for entry of corrected judgment forms in Counts 1 and 2 as specified in this opinion. In all other respects, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed."

Judge Tom Greenholtz handled the case.


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