Assigned on Briefs March 3, 2015
Direct Appeal from the Circuit Court for Madison County No. 14-159 Roy B. Morgan, Judge
George Morton Googe, District Public Defender, and Jeremy B. Epperson, Assistant Public Defender, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anthony Dewayne Blaylock.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith Devault, Senior Counsel; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Rolf G. Hazelhurst, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined
ROBERT W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE
This case arises from the Defendant's interactions with his wife and son on November 29, 2013. With regard to these events, the Madison County grand jury indicted the Defendant for one count of assault, three counts of aggravated assault, and one count of aggravated burglary. At the Defendant's trial on these charges, the following evidence was presented: Sharon Elaine Polk testified that she and the Defendant had two children together. She said that before these events she had obtained a "contact order of protection" against the Defendant. This meant that he could contact her and their children, but he could not commit "bodily harm or destroy [her] property." The order of protection was entered into evidence. She said that the Defendant did not live in her home at the time and that he had not lived there for "[p]robably two months or longer" before this incident.
On November 29, 2013, at around 7:20 p.m., the Defendant came to her home, uninvited and without her permission, while she was in her bedroom reading the newspaper. Ms. Polk recalled that she was in her "nightclothes" when she looked up and saw the Defendant standing in her room. Ms. Polk rose, went through her kitchen and into her living room where her fourteen-year-old son, A.B.,  was lying on the couch. The Defendant approached her and noted that she was not wearing undergarments under her night gown. She said he attempted to grab her gown, and she tried to get away from him. Ms. Polk recalled that the Defendant tried to hit her, but she "dodged back, " so he punched the wall. Ms. Polk felt "scared" by the Defendant's attempt to punch her.
Ms. Polk testified that A.B. stood up from the couch and approached the Defendant. The Defendant grabbed A.B.'s neck and encircled it with his hands. Ms. Polk got away and called the police, and the Defendant and A.B. went outside. Ms. Polk said that, as she called the police, the Defendant left. A.B. came back into the living room from outside, and he was "crying and screaming" and holding his back. A.B. was also "gasping for his breath and . . . throwing up blood." A.B. told her that the Defendant had hit him with a "weight." The police arrived and called an ambulance. Ms. Polk described the weight the Defendant used to hit A.B. as a round weight with a "little hole in it." The weight was outside her home being used to keep the basketball goal in place.
During cross-examination, Ms. Polk testified that this incident occurred on Thanksgiving evening. She said that, before this incident, she and the Defendant had been in a relationship for approximately twenty years. She agreed she had a restraining order against the Defendant but stated that it "allowed contact." She said that the Defendant would come to her home while she was at work and visit with their sons. She had told her sons not to allow him into the residence, but she knew that they still allowed him to enter the home. Ms. Polk said that, during this incident, their other son, who was nine years old at the time, was upstairs in his bedroom.
Ms. Polk agreed that the door to her home was unlocked when the Defendant entered. She said that she had two doors to her bedroom, and when she first saw the Defendant in her bedroom, she exited through the other door to get to the kitchen. Ms. Polk said that, before the assault, she noted that the Defendant had been "drinking" and was "angry." He became enraged by her failure to have undergarments under her nightgown. He grabbed her nightgown, she moved away, and he attempted to hit her. She said that the Defendant missed her, and he punched holes in the wall. Ms. Polk described the weight further, saying that it was made out of a piece of brick covered in plastic. She said she did not see the Defendant assault her son with the weight. Ms. Polk recalled that A.B. was treated at the hospital and released a few hours later.
A.B. testified that he was fourteen at the time of trial, and he identified the Defendant as his father. A.B. testified about that evening, saying that all he recalled was his father entering the residence and arguing. He said he also remembered going outside and "getting hit with the weight" by the Defendant. He said he did not recall his father grabbing him around the neck. At this point, the State refreshed A.B.'s memory with a statement he made to police in this case. Thereafter, he agreed that his father pushed him toward a wall by placing his hand around his neck. A.B. said that he went outside, where his father hit him with a weight. He said he was "coughing and stuff, " so he went back inside and sat on the floor. A.B. said that it was "burning real bad" when he was coughing and that he could not stop coughing. He agreed he started spitting out blood and that he then threw up. A.B. said that, at the hospital, doctors told him that he would be fine and might have some bruising.
During cross-examination, A.B. testified that he did not know how the Defendant got into the house that evening. He said he did not notice the Defendant until he walked past A.B. while he was lying on the couch. A.B. said that the Defendant came to their home "a lot" when his mother was at work but did not come over when his mother was home. A.B. recalled that the Defendant pushed him with his hands on his neck and then held him against the wall. A.B. then ran outside. The Defendant chased him ...