MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – Former Middle Tennessee State University student and convicted murderer Shanterrica Madden claims her attorney, who passed away last year, mislead about how long she had to file a post-conviction petition – her last hope of getting a new trial.
A Rutherford County judge took up a motion filed by state prosecutors asking that Madden’s petition for a new trial be dismissed.
The parents of the victim, MTSU basketball player Tina Stewart, were hoping this would be their final time in court to face their daughter’s accuser.
As Madden walked into the courtroom, in handcuffs and leg shackles, Stewart’s parents sat front and center, watching her every move.
“Words cannot describe how I feel when I see her, but also I don’t get a chance to see my child,” Stewart’s mother Ida said. “My child is gone and never coming back. Why should she get a second chance when my daughter didn’t get a second chance?”
The hearing was supposed to be simple.
State prosecutors asked the judge to dismiss Madden’s motion for a new trial.
“I can’t tell the number of years, it seems like it was yesterday in the same courtroom doing the same thing,” Stewart’s father Andrian Lee Jackson said.
Madden maintains she was misled by attorney Joe Brandon, who died unexpectedly last year.
Brandon sent a letter to Madden saying she had one year after the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear her case.
Brandon’s wife Laurie Young read part of the letter dated April 14, 2015 in court.
Previously when I sent you the denial from the U.S. Supreme Court, I failed to inform you that you have one year to file a post-conviction action against Laurie and I. I am truly sorry that the USSC refused to hear your appeal.”
Young had visited Madden in prison and informed her that she had one year from the Supreme Court ruling to file the post-conviction relief.
She said she now realizes that was wrong.
Madden even took the stand claiming it took her 10 months to file her petition, even after working on it sometimes up to six hours, three days a week.
“I trusted him [Brandon] as my attorney so he could have made small mistakes and minor mistakes and I would see them afterwards,” Madden told the court.
Her attorney said she shouldn’t be punished for advice from her previous attorney.
“That’s why she filed it when she did and we’re asking this judge not to shut her out of the courthouse on that basis,” Madden’s attorney Wesley Clark said.
“This was not something he did intentionally or something he did in bad faith, it’s simply a negligent error he may have made,” said Rutherford County Deputy District Attorney General J. Paul Newman.
Judge Royce Taylor decided to review the matter, but he didn’t give a timeline as to how soon he’ll make his ruling.
Madden wiped away tears after the hearing.
But the tears the Stewart family said they have shed have been basically unending.
“It’s very difficult for me and my family opening up these wounds that haven’t even closed up yet,” Ida Stewart said.
After the hearing, Madden asked the judge to sign a transfer order to send her back to a state prison in west Tennessee rather than staying in jail in Rutherford County.
If the judge rules in favor of the state, it will Madden’s last opportunity to get relief in local court.