RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Honorable J. S. Daniel, Judge (Denial of Probation)
Cornelius, Judge, wrote the opinion. Walker, Presiding Judge, concurs. Daughtrey, Judge, not participating.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cornelius
ALLEN R. CORNELIUS, JR., JUDGE
Michael Lampley pleaded guilty to attempting to commit the felony of conspiring to take a human life and to being an accessory after the fact of murder in the second degree. He received a sentence of three years on each count to be served consecutively.
Following a lengthy hearing, Lampley was denied probation, but his place of imprisonment was transferred to the county workhouse. The trial court considered the circumstances of the offense, that the defendant had helped procure a killer, had held the "pay off money" for a time, and provided a meeting place for the individuals to further the conspiracy. The trial court concluded that the defendant realized the seriousness of the plan but did nothing to discourage it. To serve his business and personal interests, the defendant participated in the "cover-up" of the killing of a conspirator. The need for deterrence was considered.
The defendant appealed the denial of probation insisting the trial court abused its discretion and failed to use an alternative to incarceration.
We review this case by the mandate of the newly enacted T.C.A. § 40-35-402(d), which requires a de novo review of the record without a presumption of correctness.
The defendant, while attending Middle Tennessee State University, was employed by Russell Jones at Jones' Locker. Lampley and Jones developed a strong friendship. Following graduation, Lampley was able to buy the business due to Jones' many problems, one of which was arrearage of support monies. Jones was indebted to his former wife, Christina Jones. Russell Jones left Murfreesboro for a time following the transfer of the business.
During Lampley's ownership of the business, Allen Hawkins was employed and quickly became a reliable employee; notwithstanding his prison record. When Russell Jones returned to the Murfreesboro vicinity and began to talk with Lampley about having Christina killed, defendant arranged for Jones to meet with Hawkins. An agreement was reached for a contract killing, but the victim was not named. Thereafter, Russell Jones gave Lampley $15,000.00 to hold for the payoff. This sum was returned to Jones who subsequently gave Hawkins $5,000.00 as front money with $5,000.00 to be paid after the killing. Again, Lampley arranged for Hawkins and Jones to meet, this time in Lampley's office. However, Lampley retired to his apartment on the second floor.
Lampley was soon summoned back to the office by Hawkins, who had shot and killed Jones following an argument. The defendant helped place Jones' body on a cart which Hawkins moved into an adjoining room. Lampley admitted that he left it to Hawkins to call the police. The next day it was business as usual at Jones' Locker, and two days later Lampley learned that Jones' body had been moved to an unused section of the plant. Later, it was placed in a newly dug blood pit.
Lampley testified at his probation hearing that he lived for four months thinking that Hawkins would tell the police the truth about what had happened. The defendant finally told his lawyer, who arranged a meeting with the district attorney.
As pointed out earlier in this opinion, we have reviewed de novo the denial of probation on the facts in this record. We have reached the same Conclusion as the trial court. The record supports the factors enumerated by the trial court. Furthermore, due to the nature and circumstances of this crime, incarceration is necessary to serve as a deterrent.
The judgment of the trial court is ...