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State v. Webb

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

May 18, 2015

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
TIFFANY MARIE WEBB

Assigned on Briefs April 28, 2015

Appeal from the Criminal Court for Sullivan County No. S62130 Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., Judge

Stephen M. Wallace, District Public Defender; William A. Kennedy, Assistant Public Defender, Blountville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Tiffany Marie Webb.

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Senior Counsel; Barry Staubus, District Attorney General; and Emily Smith, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.

OPINION

ROBERT W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE

I. Facts

This case arises from burns suffered by the victim, a two-year-old child. At the guilty plea hearing, the trial court informed the Defendant of the charges she faced and of their potential sentences. The Defendant acknowledged understanding the potential consequences of her guilty pleas. The trial court stated that the Defendant was allowing the trial court to determine the manner of the service of the sentence. The trial court stated that it could deny the Defendant's request for an alternative sentence and order the Defendant to serve her nine years, at 30%, in incarceration.

The State informed the trial court that, had the case gone to trial, the proof would have shown the following:

[O]n January 21st of 2013 officers were dispatched to Bristol Regional Medical Center. There they spoke with the [D]efendant who presented to the hospital with her [step]son who had severe burns, the son being [2] years of age. The [D]efendant first stated a story about the child burning himself on a stove accidently and then she gave a second story of the child burning himself in a shower accidently. She ultimately confessed to having gotten upset with the child because he had gotten syrup on him. She put him in the shower and held him under the hot water. It was tested. The officers took a thermometer out, tested the water and it got between 125 and 130 degrees and then the [D]efendant also participated in a video showing how she held the child underneath the water and that did occur in Sullivan County, Tennessee.
There were numerous second degree burns . . . [o]n a large area of the child's body. . . . The child was burn[ed] on his back, near his ears, his left front side of him. He was covered in burns.

The Defendant agreed that the evidence articulated by the State was the evidence it would have presented against her if the matter went to trial. She then entered her guilty plea to three counts of attempted aggravated child abuse and three counts of attempted aggravated child endangerment. As part of the plea agreement, the trial court merged the convictions into one conviction for attempted aggravated child abuse. It entered the Defendant's sentence of nine years, as a Range I offender, and set her sentencing hearing.

At the Defendant's sentencing hearing, the Defendant's husband, Curtis Webb, testified that the couple had one mutual child, and he also had fathered a child with another woman. This child, who was the Defendant's step-child, was the victim in this case. Mr. Webb testified that the victim's mother had not allowed him to see the victim since this incident. Mr. Webb said that, if the Defendant were released, their mutual child would live with the Defendant's parents. The Defendant would initially not be allowed to be alone with their child. Mr. Webb said that they had discussed the need for the Defendant to attend parenting classes, anger management classes, and maybe counseling.

Mr. Webb testified that, before this incident, he had never seen the Defendant act violently toward a child. He agreed that her personality had ...


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