Stabbing case involving two students finally reaches conclusion
Twelve jury members from Hamilton County decided the fate of Shanterrica Madden yesterday in a trial that has been 14 months coming.
After four days of proof and one day of deliberation, the Madden v. State trial concluded May 14 with the jury finding the defendant guilty of second-degree murder and tampering with evidence. The jury heard 47 witnesses and saw 200 pieces of evidence that helped the conclude trial.
The defendant pleaded self-defense in the case, and the court charged her with first-degree murder and tampering with evidence after stabbing Lady Raider basketball player Tina Stewart in their Raiders Crossing apartment March 2, 2011.
Prosecution attorneys J.P. Newman and Bill Whitesell sifted through and debated over several pieces of evidence to attempt to prove first-degree murder. Criteria for first-degree murder are unlawful action, intentionally committing the unlawful action and premeditated thinking prior to the act itself.
Whitesell said in a small press conference outside the Rutherford County Courthouse that he believed the strongest part of the case was Madden’s actions after the altercation.
“The fact that she shut the door and let her die was uncalled for,” Whitesell said. “There is just no excuse for that.”
Both Newman and Whitesell presented text messages from Stewart’s phone that Madden sent to Stewart’s boyfriend, K.C. Anuna, and childhood friend Charnera Macklin. Macklin was on the phone with Stewart when the altercation occurred, and heard bits and pieces of the fight through the phone call.
Macklin said that she knew something was wrong, but the text message Madden sent from Stewart’s phone kept her from pursuing the issue.
“I was concerned because I heard my best friend fighting,” Macklin said. “I don’t know what else I was supposed to feel other than something might be wrong.”
Both texts indicated that Stewart was showering, but both Macklin and Anuna testified before the court the neither text sounded like Stewart.
Anuna found Stewart that evening on her bedroom floor after Madden told Anuna that Stewart was no longer in the apartment. Anuna testified that he walked into Stewart’s bedroom the first time and saw nothing. The second time he checked, he found Stewart on her stomach in a pool of blood.
“I seen her on the floor,” Anuna said. “I grabbed her and that’s when it all happened. I started screaming. The first thing that came to mind was the fighting.”
Anuna called 911, and confronted Madden. The two ran out of the Raiders Crossing apartment where several eyewitnesses testified that they saw Madden hiding in the parking lot under a black Mustang. She started running until police stopped her.
The Murfreesboro Police Department was in charge of the investigation, and took Madden into custody for questioning. Detective Michael Taylor questioned Madden, and the rest of the officers on the scene found the murder weapon in the dumpster while Madden told her story of what happened that evening.
The murder weapon was a serrated knife, found broken into two pieces. Officers also discovered other pieces of evidence from the Raiders Crossing apartment in the dumpster including two more kitchen knives, Stewart’s MTSU jacket, a bloody Tinkerbell blanket and a bra.
Madden told one version of the story to Detective Taylor in an interrogation before she told what Taylor believed to be the truth. Madden’s first version involved a black man with dreadlocks. She described the man as 5’6’’ and said he visited the apartment looking for Stewart previously.
In her second version, Madden told Taylor she went to Stewart’s door after Stewart called the front office to complain about marijuana use in the apartment. Madden and her friend Renee Reese had been smoking marijuana in the apartment. The courtesy officer, Tim Jensen, told the two to dispose of the marijuana roach and throw out the trash.
Madden told Taylor that once she reached Stewart’s door, the two got into a verbal altercation, which quickly became physical. Reese testified that she was still in the apartment during the fight.
“I was in Shanterrica’s room sitting on the bed,” Reese said. “I heard someone say, ‘Don’t push me!’ I don’t know who it was. Then I heard three big booms, and I ran and locked Shanterrica’s door.”
Madden said she only remembered stabbing Stewart one time, despite the four injuries in the autopsy report. After the fight was over, Madden said she left the room and closed the door, and Reese looked for a way to leave. She said she then did laundry and packed a black duffle bag to go home to Memphis. She checked on Stewart to see if she was breathing.
“I didn’t want to touch her,” Madden said. “I just went in there to hear the sound.”
Madden concluded her story remembering how she told Anuna that Stewart wasn’t there. The court saw the video of Madden telling both versions of the story.
“I wish I had just told the truth from the beginning,” Madden said when she testified to the court. “Things would have been so much easier if I had.”
Madden’s composure on the stand differed from that on the testimony video. Eyewitnesses such as Reese and officers who responded to the altercation testified that Madden was calm that evening. However, on the stand, Madden had a tearful testimony and repeatedly apologized for her actions.
“I am sorry I didn’t tell him,” Madden said. “I’m so sorry. I could have helped her. I could have saved her. I’m sorry.”
The prosecution proved the fight happened in Stewart’s room through blood spatter analysts, emergency responders and the lead investigators on the case. Whitesell and Newman also proved Stewart had more than one wound by bringing in the medical examiner, who explained Stewart sustained three other wounds in addition to the one to the chest that caused her to bleed to death.
Whitesell said a weakness of the argument was how the knife got into Stewart’s room.
“We couldn’t place the knife in Stewart’s room,” Whitesell said. “We couldn’t prove that Madden brought the knife into the room.”
Madden could serve 15 to 25 years for second-degree murder. She could also serve up to 3 to 6 years for tampering with evidence, and the sentences would run concurrently. Madden has no prior record, which could potentially lessen her sentencing time, according to Whitesell.
Madden’s father, Frank Madden, said after the trial that it was hard on Madden because she had never been in a fight or in trouble with law. He later said his heart went out to the Stewart family for all that happened. He also told reporters how he was looking to deal with the situation.
“I am going to keep my faith and stay strong,” Frank said. “We will deal with whatever God has for us. The odds were against her, but God is still good.”
Madden’s arraignment for her sentencing is set for July 16.