RODNEY L. JONES, APPELLANT
STATE OF ARKANSAS, APPELLEE
FROM THE VAN BUREN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. 71CR-08-132.
HONORABLE CHARLES E. CLAWSON, JR., JUDGE.
L. Jones, Pro se appellant.
McDaniel, Att'y Gen., by: Kent G. Holt, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
2008, appellant Rodney L. Jones was charged with capital
murder in the shooting death of his former wife, Orzona
Fischer, for which the State sought the death penalty. He was
tried by a jury in 2010 and sentenced to life imprisonment
without parole. We affirmed. Jones v. State, 2012
Ark. 38, 388 S.W.3d 411.
trial, appellant raised the affirmative defense of not guilty
by reason of mental disease or defect, arguing that his use
of prescription drugs and the stress that he had been
experiencing induced him to commit the murder. There was
evidence adduced at trial that appellant traveled from
Colorado to Clinton, Arkansas, where he used a rifle to shoot
Ms. Fischer through the front window of her house. He then
returned to Colorado, disposing of the rifle in a river in
Kansas. Appellant later confessed to authorities, and the
rifle was recovered. A witness for the State testified that,
months before appellant left Colorado, appellant had tried to
convince the witness on multiple occasions to provide him
with an alibi for when he traveled to Arkansas to plant drugs
on the victim's land or to otherwise harm her. On
cross-examination, the defense elicited testimony from the
witness that the medication appellant was taking changed his
behavior, making him agitated.
the judgment was affirmed on appeal, appellant timely filed
in the trial court a verified, pro se petition for
postconviction relief pursuant to Arkansas Rule of Criminal
Procedure 37.1 (2010). With leave of the trial court, he was
allowed to amend the petition. An evidentiary hearing was
held, and the relief sought was denied. Appellant brings this
petition, appellant alleged that he was not afforded
effective assistance of counsel at trial. This court has
held that it will reverse the trial court's decision
granting or denying postconviction relief only when that
decision is clearly erroneous. Conley v. State, 2014
Ark. 172, 433 S.W.3d 234. A finding is clearly erroneous
when, although there is evidence to support it, the appellate
court, after reviewing the entire evidence, is left with the
definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been
committed. Caery v. State, 2014 Ark. 247');">2014 Ark. 247 (per
curiam); Sartin v. State, 2012 Ark. 155, 400 S.W.3d
considering an appeal from a trial court's denial of a
Rule 37.1 petition based on ineffective assistance of
counsel, the sole question presented is whether, based on a
totality of the evidence under the standard set forth by the
United States Supreme Court in Strickland v.
Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674
(1984), the trial court clearly erred in ...