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State v. Williams

Supreme Court of Tennessee, Jackson

July 14, 2015

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
RICCO R. WILLIAMS

Session February 5, 2015, Heard at Nashville.

Tenn. R. App. P. 11 Appeal by Permission; Judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals Affirmed. Appeal by Permission from the Court of Criminal Appeals Circuit Court for Lauderdale County. No. 8856. Joe H. Walker, III, Judge.

George D. Norton, Jr., Ripley, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ricco R. Williams.

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Joseph F. Whalen, Acting Solicitor General; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; Joni R. Livingston and Julie K. Pillow, Assistant District Attorneys General for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

SHARON G. LEE, C.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which CORNELIA A. CLARK and HOLLY KIRBY, JJ., joined. GARY R. WADE, J., filed a separate dissenting opinion. JEFFREY S. BIVINS, J., not participating.

OPINION

SHARON G. LEE, J.

Page 511

This appeal presents the issue of whether a trial judge is required to give a jury instruction based on our decision in State v. White, 362 S.W.3d 559 (Tenn. 2012), when a defendant is tried on charges of kidnapping and robbery of different victims. The defendant, along with two accomplices, broke into a family's home while they were sleeping. Brandishing weapons, the intruders forced the family members to remain in the living room while they ransacked the home. The intruders later fled with money and jewelry. At trial, a White jury instruction was neither requested nor given. The jury convicted the defendant of numerous charges, including five counts of especially aggravated kidnapping of the husband, wife, and three children; aggravated burglary of the husband's residence; and two counts of aggravated robbery of the husband and wife. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the convictions for especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, and one count of aggravated robbery as to the husband and modified the conviction of aggravated robbery of the wife to aggravated assault. On review, we remanded

Page 512

the case for consideration in light of White. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the convictions of especially aggravated kidnapping as to the three children, but, in light of White and State v. Cecil, 409 S.W.3d 599 (Tenn. 2013), reversed the convictions of especially aggravated kidnapping as to the husband and wife and remanded those charges for a new trial. In this appeal, the defendant asserts that the trial court's failure to give a White jury instruction as to the remaining three convictions for the especially aggravated kidnapping of the children constituted reversible error. In accordance with our opinion in State v. Teats, __ S.W.3d __, No. M2012-01232-SC-R11-CD, 468 S.W.3d 495 (Tenn. 2015) released contemporaneously with this opinion, we hold that the White jury instruction was not required as to the offenses of especially aggravated kidnapping of the three children.

OPINION

I. Facts and Procedural History

In the early morning hours of June 1, 2009, Ricco R. Williams (" the Defendant" ) and two accomplices broke into the home that Sherita and Timothy Currie[1] shared with Mrs. Currie's three children in Ripley, Tennessee. They held the family at gunpoint in the living room and ransacked the home. When the police arrived, the intruders fled with money and jewelry. A grand jury returned a multi-count indictment against the Defendant, charging him with the following crimes: Counts 1-5 -- five counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, one for each member of the family; Count 6 -- aggravated burglary of Mr. Currie's residence; Count 7 -- employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony; Counts 8 and 9 -- two counts of aggravated robbery against Mr. and Mrs. Currie; Count 10 -- employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, having been previously convicted of drug possession, aggravated assault, and voluntary manslaughter; and Count 11 -- possession of a firearm, having been previously convicted of a felony.

The Defendant was tried before a jury in June 2011. Evidence at trial consisted primarily of testimony from members of the Currie family and law enforcement officers. The Defendant presented no proof.

Mrs. Currie testified that, at the time of the crimes, she and her husband lived with Mrs. Currie's three children, M.R., age 19, K.R., age 17, and A.R., age 13.[2] At 1:15 a.m. on June 1, 2009, Mrs. Currie and her husband awoke to the sound of breaking glass. Mr. Currie left the bedroom to investigate the cause of the noise while Mrs. Currie went to check on K.R. and A.R. in their bedroom. While in the children's bedroom, Mrs. Currie heard her husband exclaim from the living room, " Man, what the F-- y'all doing?" She then gathered K.R. and A.R., and all three made their way to the living room. Mrs. Currie heard a scuffle and, when ...


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