FROM THE GARLAND COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [26CR-12-539] HONORABLE
JOHN HOMER WRIGHT, JUDGE
Wesley Hall and Sarah M. Pourhosseini, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Brad Newman, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
F. WYNNE, Associate Justice
Ray Edwards appeals from the denial of his petition for
postconviction relief pursuant to Rule 37 of the Arkansas
Rules of Criminal Procedure. On appeal, Edwards argues that
the circuit court erred by denying his petition because his
trial counsel was ineffective for (1) failing to elicit
testimony from his expert regarding his lack of capacity to
form intent or, alternatively, failing to argue that ruling
such testimony inadmissible violated due process by depriving
appellant of his only defense; (2) failing to pursue a
self-defense theory of the case; and (3) failing to present
adequate mitigation evidence at sentencing. We affirm.
was convicted of murder in the first degree with a firearm
enhancement and attempted murder in the first degree. He was
sentenced to a total of sixty-five years' imprisonment.
His convictions were affirmed by this court on direct appeal.
Edwards v. State, 2015 Ark. 377, 472 S.W.3d 479. The
relevant facts, as recited in our opinion on direct appeal
are as follows:
The shootings occurred at Pop-A-Top Club in Hot Springs,
Arkansas. A number of patrons and employees testified at the
trial. To summarize, on August 28, 2012, Edwards offered a
$200 tip to Eliza Beth McDaniel, a bartender, which she
refused. Edwards nevertheless slipped the money into her
unattended purse. The next day, Edwards returned to the bar
and asked the bartender if she had received the
"surprise." She unsuccessfully tried to return the
money to Edwards. On August 31, 2012, he returned to the bar
and asked if she would go out with him. Because Edwards was
married, she declined. Edwards then demanded the money back
and threatened to kill her. She returned $62, which was all
the money she had on her, and offered to return the remainder
in a few days. Edwards told her that she had better return
the rest of the money or he would kill her and everyone in
the bar. The bartender reported the incident to the owner and
the manager, but rather than reporting it to the police, the
owner and the manager decided that Edwards would no longer be
allowed in bar.
On September 3, 2012, at 3:00 p.m., Edwards entered the bar
and was told by the acting manager, Teresa Williams, that he
could not enter the bar until he spoke with the owner.
Edwards began arguing, and a customer, Toby Fowlks, told
Edwards that he needed to leave. Edwards told Fowlks that he
was not scared and that Fowlks could not "kick" his
"ass." Fowlks chased Edwards out of the bar.
Outside, Fowlks struck Edwards in the face, and Edwards left
in his vehicle.
Less than an hour later, Edwards returned to the bar with a
shotgun in his hands, and asked, "Where's that son
of a bitch that hit me?" After seeing Fowlks, Edwards
said, "Oh, there you are, " and shot Fowlks twice,
killing him. Edwards then turned to the bartender and said,
"Fuck you too." He shot twice at her but she ducked
behind a gaming machine, thus avoiding injury. When Edwards
left the bar, other patrons at the bar followed him, and
after a struggle, the patrons were able to disarm Edwards.
Prior to trial, Edwards obtained the services of Dr. Albert
Kittrell, an expert in the field of psychiatry and forensic
psychiatry. Doctor Kittrell conducted an evaluation of
Edwards in which he opined in his report that Edwards
suffered from a mental disease-a psychotic disorder not
otherwise specified-at the time of the offenses. Doctor
Kittrell noted that, at the time of the offenses,
"several factors impacted Mr. Edwards's capacity for
purposeful conduct" and that he was "experiencing
considerable emotional upheaval." Doctor Kittrell,
however, opined that, even though Edwards was diagnosed with
a mental disease and was psychotic at the time of the
offenses, Edwards nonetheless did not lack the capacity to
appreciate the criminality of his conduct and did not lack
the capacity to conform his conduct to the requirements of
the law at the time of the offenses. In his summary, Dr.
Kittrell noted that "Edwards had impairment in his
capacity to have culpable mental state required to establish
an element of the offenses charged."
At an in-camera hearing on Edwards's fitness to proceed,
with the circuit court presiding, Dr. Kittrell was asked on
what he "base[d] the fact that [Edwards] had the
impairment of the ... culpable mental state?" Dr.
Kittrell noted the diagnosis of a psychotic disorder not
otherwise specified, meaning that "at some point he had
lost contact with reality and when I saw him he continued to
have ongoing impairment." Doctor Kittrell noted that
Edwards told him that he hallucinated and heard voices and
was suspicious and paranoid. Doctor Kittrell noted that
Edwards had not received treatment for these conditions.
On the day of the trial, the State argued that Dr. Kittrell
should not be allowed to testify that he did not believe that
Edwards "had the ability to do a purposeful mental
state." In response, Edwards's attorney asserted
that Edwards was entitled to a defense and that the jury
should determine whether he had a culpable mental state. The
court took the motion under advisement, and during the trial,
the court ruled that "Dr. Kittrell cannot testify to his
opinion as to whether [Edwards] had the capacity to form a
purposeful intent." The court instructed Dr. Kittrell
that he could render an opinion on Edwards's
"ability to conform his conduct to the requirements of
the law" but could not opine "as to his ability to
form the requisite mental intent for this crime."
During his testimony, Dr. Kittrell again opined that Edwards
suffered from a mental disease, a psychotic disorder not
otherwise specified. He noted that Edwards suffered from
auditory hallucinations. The doctor further noted that
Edwards was limited in his ability to handle stressful
situations. On cross-examination, Dr. Kittrell testified that
in his report he had opined that Edwards's psychotic
disorder did not render Edwards unable to appreciate ...