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DECATUR COUNTY HON. C. CREED McGINLEY, JUDGE (Attempted First Degree Murder and Aggravated Robbery)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joe G. Riley, Judge



Defendant, Brian Christian Lautenschlager, filed this direct appeal as a result of his convictions by a Decatur County jury of the offenses of aggravated robbery and attempted first degree murder. He was sentenced to thirty (30) years as a Career Offender for the Class B offense of aggravated robbery and sixty (60) years as a Career Offender for the Class A offense of attempted first degree murder with the sentences to run consecutively. He presents the following issues for our review:

(1) whether the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction of attempted first degree murder;

(2) whether the trial court erred in refusing to compel the state to produce certain weapons;

(3) whether the trial court erred in failing to excuse jurors related to the assistant district attorney general;

(4) whether the trial court erred in not allowing the defendant to testify as to certain statements made by a co-defendant; and

(5) whether the sentences imposed by the trial court were proper.

After a careful review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


At approximately 10:00 p.m. on October 19, 1995, the defendant, along with Diane Brown and Charlie Davis, entered the Sportsman Club in Decatur County. The victim, Dennis White, was the operator of the establishment and was the only other person present at that time. While Brown and Davis were playing pool, defendant stated he was going outside to get a pool stick.

Defendant re-entered the establishment armed with a sawed-off shotgun. Defendant pointed the shotgun at White's head from only a few feet away and demanded money. White predictably complied by placing approximately $500 from the cash register onto the bar and pleaded with the defendant, "There's no need to kill me... I've got two (2) kids at home... I don't even know you." The defendant replied, "Yeah, you know me. My name is Chris." The defendant then smiled at White and fired the shotgun at him. White dodged, causing the primary shotgun pattern to miss him; however, part of the blast left a flesh wound on his left shoulder and "blowed [his hat] over the back of head." White then secured his own pistol causing defendant to flee the building. While outside, White wounded Brown and observed the defendant retrieve a pistol from an automobile. White fled. Defendant then fired two (2) or three (3) shots, and White was hit in the right leg while he was running away. White eventually made it to the safety of a neighbor's home.

The defendant, Brown, and Davis subsequently fled to Florida and then to California where defendant's grandmother resided. All three (3) were captured in California.

White and Brown testified for the state and positively identified the defendant as the person who fired both the shotgun and the pistol at White. Davis had fled the jurisdiction and was unavailable at the time of trial. Defendant testified that Davis was the person who confronted White and fired the weapons. The jury obviously rejected the testimony of the defendant.


Defendant contends there was no evidence of premeditation; therefore, the evidence was insufficient to support attempted first degree murder.

In determining the sufficiency of the evidence, this court does not reweigh or reevaluate the evidence. State v. Cabbage, 571 S.W.2d 832, 835 (Tenn. 1978). A jury verdict approved by the trial Judge accredits the state's witnesses and resolves all conflicts in favor of the state. State v. Bigbee, 885 S.W.2d 797, 803 (Tenn. 1994); State v. Harris, 839 S.W.2d 54, 75 (Tenn. 1992). On appeal, the State is entitled to the strongest legitimate view of the evidence and all legitimate or reasonable inferences which may be drawn therefrom. Id. This court will not disturb a verdict of guilt due to the sufficiency of the evidence unless the defendant demonstrates that the facts contained in the record and the inferences which may be drawn therefrom are insufficient, as a matter of law, for a rational trier of fact to find the accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. State v. Brewer, 932 S.W.2d 1, 19 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1996). Accordingly, it is the appellate court's duty to affirm the conviction if the evidence, viewed under these standards, was sufficient ...

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