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State v. Estrada

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

November 30, 2016

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
MARIO CRUZ ESTRADA

          Assigned on Briefs October 25, 2016

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Lawrence County No. 32502 Stella L. Hargrove, Judge

         The defendant, Mario Cruz Estrada, was convicted of attempted second degree murder for which he received a sentence of twelve years in confinement. The defendant appeals his conviction challenging the trial court's denial of his request for a jury instruction on the defenses of self-defense and defense of another and the admission of certain evidence. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed.

          William M. Harris, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mario Estrada.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Brent A. Cooper, District Attorney General; and Gary Howell, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          J. Ross Dyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr. and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          J. ROSS DYER, JUDGE

         Facts

         On January 1, 2014, the victim, Charles Davis, and his wife, Tasha Davis, lived with their four children on Rabbit Trail Road in Lawrence County, Tennessee. Mr. and Mrs. Davis additionally cared for the four year-old and infant daughters of Ms. Davis's sister, Crystal Carranza. Ms. Carranza was about to begin a one-year incarceration and could not care for her children herself.

         That day, Ms. Carranza's four year-old daughter spent the day with her grandmother. After the visit, Ms. Carranza and the defendant, Ms. Carranza's new boyfriend, brought the child back to the Davis's home. The victim was leaving to visit his mother at the time and noticed the defendant driving with a forty-ounce beer in his hand. Despite his disgust, the victim continued leaving and went to his mother's house. According to Mrs. Davis, when Ms. Carranza and the defendant arrived, Ms. Carranza was "high" and the defendant was holding two forty-ounce beers.

         When the victim returned, he found the defendant and Ms. Carranza still at his house. The defendant was sitting on the arm rest of the couch, Ms. Carranza was on the floor beside him, Ms. Davis was in the kitchen, and the kids were "everywhere." As the victim settled into his chair, the defendant told him "I'm teaching your kids to fight." The victim responded by telling the defendant that he did not appreciate that. When the defendant apologized for being disrespectful, the victim stated, "Well it's very disrespectful to be pulling up in my drive way with my niece in the car drinking and driving. I don't appreciate that at all." The defendant did not respond and simply lowered his head. However, the victim continued, "Look I just want you all out of my house. I'm going to the back here into the bathroom and y'all need to leave. And you're not taking the kids with you."

         As the victim walked towards the bathroom, Ms. Carranza yelled, "Which would you rather do, him drink and drive or me drive without my glasses." The victim responded "Neither one." Ms. Carranza then followed the victim into the bathroom, shoved him in the back, and asked "What are you going to do." The victim turned to face Ms. Carranza, and she began hitting him with both fists. In an attempt to both protect himself and calm her down, the victim grabbed both of Ms. Carranza's fists, crossed her arms across her chest, and laid her on the ground. According to the victim, Ms. Carranza stopped talking and fighting with him at that point.

         While kneeling over Ms. Carranza, the victim felt something "like slapping on my neck." He looked up to see the defendant standing behind him and a knife blade coming towards him. In an attempt to protect himself, the victim picked the defendant up on his shoulders, running him into the wall, and carried him into the bedroom. As the two continued to struggle, the victim called out for help and the defendant continued to stab him. Once the victim was able to grab and control the defendant's hand, the defendant stopped. The next thing the victim remembers was waking up in Vanderbilt Hospital.

         The defendant and Ms. Carranza fled the house in a maroon minivan. Ms. Davis followed them and found a neighbor to call 911. Ms. Davis then returned to the house to care for her husband. The victim was unresponsive when Ms. Davis first returned to the house. ...


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