Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs October 25, 2016 at Knoxville
from the Circuit Court for Rutherford County No. F-71685
David Bragg, Judge
defendant, April Lamb, appeals her Rutherford County Circuit
Court jury conviction of aggravated assault, claiming that
the evidence was insufficient to sustain her conviction and
that the trial court erred by admitting certain evidence.
Discerning no error, we affirm.
R. App. P. 3; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed
L. Graves II, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy
Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; William C. Whitesell,
District Attorney General; and Dana Minor and Matthew
Westmoreland, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the
appellee, State of Tennessee.
Curwood Witt, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Robert L. Holloway, Jr., and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.
CURWOOD WITT, JR., JUDGE
Rutherford County Grand Jury charged the defendant with two
counts of aggravated assault and two counts of domestic
assault arising out of a physical altercation with the
victim, her then-husband, Jeremy Lamb. The trial court
conducted a jury trial in May 2015.
State's proof at trial showed that, on the evening of
November 8, 2013, Officer Kenneth Collins with the
Murfreesboro Police Department ("MPD") was
dispatched to the parking lot of a Dollar Tree store to
assist a "victim from a domestic violence assault [who]
had fled to that parking lot and was waiting for
police." When Officer Collins arrived, he located the
vehicle matching the description from dispatch and
encountered the defendant. As she got out of her vehicle, the
defendant was not wearing shoes, was "very upset"
and "very angry, " and "smelled of
alcohol." Officer Collins quickly concluded that the
defendant was intoxicated, and the defendant admitted that
she had been drinking.
defendant told Officer Collins that, earlier in the evening,
the victim awoke from a nap, "flew into a rage, "
and immediately began to assault her. The defendant explained
that the victim had "punched her in the head
repeatedly" and "drug her around the
residence" before she was able to free herself, get into
her vehicle, and drive to the Dollar Tree parking lot.
According to Officer Collins, the defendant made no mention
of a knife, a skillet, or any injuries sustained by the
victim. Officer Collins did not notice any injuries to the
defendant, but he called for paramedics to transport her to
the hospital for examination.
Collins testified that he initially believed the
defendant's story and filled out a domestic violence
report listing the defendant as the victim and the victim as
the suspect. While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, the
defendant asked Officer Collins "[a]t least five"
times if he was going to arrest the victim.
the defendant was transported to the hospital, Officer
Collins proceeded to the Lamb residence and knocked on the
door several times before the victim responded. When the
victim came to the door, Officer Collins noticed that he was
"badly injured" with a "large knot on top of
his head that was bloody." Officer Collins also noticed
that the victim was "bleeding from his arm" and had
"a bite mark on his side." Through Officer
Collins' testimony, the State introduced into evidence
photographs of the victim's injuries. The State also
introduced into evidence an iron skillet which weighed
approximately eight to ten pounds and a folding knife.
Officer Collins conceded that, when he first encountered the
victim at the scene, the victim "smelled of alcohol,
" but Officer Collins noticed no other signs of
Officer Collins asked the victim what had happened to his
head, the victim responded that while he had been asleep on
the sofa, the defendant had struck him in the head with a
skillet. He also stated that the defendant stabbed him with a
Collins spoke with the defendant at the hospital a short time
later and asked her to "be more specific" about the
incident with the victim. At that time, the defendant stated
that she "didn't remember what happened, because she
had suffered a concussion." When Officer Collins asked
her specifically about the skillet, she replied that it had
been used "in self-defense." Officer Collins
pressed the defendant to tell him more, but she continued to
maintain that her concussion had impacted her memory. Officer
Collins spoke with medical professionals at the hospital and
was informed that the defendant did not, in fact, have a
concussion. The hospital gave Officer Collins clearance to
take the defendant from the hospital to the jail for booking
on assault charges.
the defendant realized that she was being arrested, she
became "extremely angry" and "belligerent,
" stating to Officer Collins that she "should have
just killed" the victim.
victim testified that he and the defendant had been drinking
and arguing "[e]arlier in the day" on November 8,
2013, and that, between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m., he had fallen
asleep on the sofa in their residence. He recalled waking at
one point and noticing that the defendant was seated in a
nearby chair. The defendant was drinking, and the victim took
note that his liter of Vodka "was pretty much
gone." The victim fell asleep again and was awoken some
time later when the defendant hit him in the head with a
victim testified that the blow from the skillet "hurt
quite a bit." He stood up and attempted to stop the
defendant from hitting him again. In the process, he suddenly
felt as though his arm were "on fire" and realized
that the defendant had stabbed him in the arm with a knife.
As the victim was trying to force the defendant out of the
house, the defendant bit him on his side.
victim explained that he did not contact law enforcement
officers after the defendant left the residence because he
had an outstanding warrant for a violation of probation. ...