Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs October 25, 2016 at Knoxville
from the Circuit Court for Robertson County No.
74CC2-2014-CR-453 John H. Gasaway, III, Judge
D. Brown (“the Defendant”) was convicted of
aggravated rape, especially aggravated kidnapping, and theft
of property over the value of $1, 000 by a Robertson County
jury. The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a career
offender to sixty years for both the aggravated rape and
especially aggravated kidnapping charges, and to twelve years
for the theft charge. The trial court ordered the sentences
to be served concurrently in the Department of Correction. On
appeal, the Defendant argues that venue was improper in
Robertson County and that the evidence as to identity was
insufficient for a rational juror to find that the Defendant
was the assailant beyond a reasonable doubt. After a thorough
review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the
judgments of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Circuit
E. Nell (on appeal), Clarksville, Tennessee and Collier W.
Goodlett (at trial), Springfield, Tennessee, for the
appellant, Jonathon D. Brown.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Robert
W. Wilson, Assistant Attorney General; John W. Carney,
District Attorney General; and Jason White and John Finklea,
Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State
L. Holloway, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.
L. HOLLOWAY, JR., JUDGE
Factual and Procedural Background
16, 2014, the Defendant was indicted by the Robertson County
Grand Jury for two counts of aggravated rape on alternative
theories, two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping on
alternative theories, one count of especially aggravated
burglary, and one count of theft of property over the value
of $1, 000. The especially aggravated burglary charge was
dismissed prior to trial on the State's motion.
trial, Jason Ghee, a Drug Interdiction Officer for the 18th
Judicial District Drug Task Force, testified that he was
employed by the City of White House "to stop vehicles
for valid traffic violations and try to disseminate if they
are law-abiding citizens or if there is criminal activity
afoot." On September 3, 2013, Officer Ghee was watching
traffic drive north on I-65 and observed a green four-door
Ford vehicle. Officer Ghee "initiated [his] emergency
equipment" when he observed that the driver was not
wearing a seatbelt and that the vehicle "crossed the
lane of traffic twice." The green Ford vehicle exited
I-65 onto Bethel Road and continued driving at speeds in
"excess of ninety [miles per hour]." Eventually the
vehicle "left the roadway" and crashed when it was
unable to navigate a sharp turn in Bethel Road. After the
vehicle crashed, Officer Ghee pulled into a nearby driveway
and observed a black male wearing "[d]ark colored pants
and [a] maroon shirt" exit the passenger side of the
vehicle. Officer Ghee also saw another black male wearing
"a white shirt and dark-colored pants and dark
shoes" exit the vehicle and run in a southeasterly
direction. Lastly, Officer Ghee observed a white female exit
the car. The female and the male in the maroon shirt were
apprehended within ten minutes of the crash. However, Officer
Ghee was unable to apprehend the male in the white shirt, who
Officer Ghee had observed driving the green Ford vehicle.
Officer Ghee followed the man until the officer "came
upon a large evergreen tree that [he] couldn't just run
past without tactically clearing whether the person had a
weapon or not . . . ." At that time, Officer Ghee
informed the Millersville Police Department that he was in a
"foot pursuit of a black male with dread locks wearing
black pants and a white shirt." Officer Ghee noted that
the victim's house was located in the direction where the
male in the black pants and white shirt was traveling.
Several hours after the green Ford crashed, Officer Ghee
alerted Kentucky Highway Patrol Trooper David Hall to be on
the lookout for "[a] dark colored Buick that [was]
possibly headed towards Bowling Green."
Inmon testified that on September 3, 2013, he was driving
from Nashville to Bowling Green, Kentucky with "a white
girl and [his] cousin." Mr. Inmon did not know his
cousin's name but referred to him as "Curly."
Mr. Inmon identified the Defendant as "Curly" and
stated that he was not actually related to the Defendant. Mr.
Inmon stated that the Defendant was driving the green Ford
vehicle on September 3 on I-65 when they were
"spotted" by two police officers near Bethel Road.
When the police officers initiated a traffic stop, the
Defendant did not stop the vehicle because both Mr. Inmon and
the Defendant believed that there were warrants out for their
arrests. Mr. Inmon testified that the police chased them down
Bethel Road until the green Ford vehicle hit a pole and the
occupants jumped out and ran away. Mr. Inmon testified that
he and the Defendant ran in different directions but that the
police detained and arrested him. Mr. Inmon stated that he
had criminal charges pending in Davidson County and had
"a hold out of Kentucky" but that he did not accept
any "deal" for testifying against the Defendant.
Mr. Inmon stated that neither he nor the Defendant had ever
previously been in the area of the car crash.
testified that she had lived on Bethel Road in Robertson
County for approximately forty-five years with her children
and now-deceased husband. On September 3, 2013, H.N. drove to
Goodlettsville to "run a few errands" and returned
home by noon. When she arrived home, H.N. pulled her car into
the garage located in the basement of her house. H.N. walked
outside of the basement and filled up her lawnmower with gas.
As she got on the lawnmower, a man "jumped out"
from behind two of H.N.'s other vehicles parked next to
the lawnmower. H.N. got off the lawnmower and tried to run
away from the assailant, but "he came up behind [her]
and stopped [her]" by holding a knife to her neck. H.N.
testified that she tried to alert her neighbors by saying
"help, " but the assailant "pushed [her] back
into the basement." The assailant told H.N. to be quiet,
took her cars keys from her pants, and asked H.N. if she had
any money. H.N. initially replied that she did not, but she
then remembered she had placed two fifty-dollar bills in the
trunk of her car. H.N. retrieved the two fifty-dollar bills
from her car trunk and gave them to the assailant. Then the
assailant got into the car and briefly turned on the
ignition. By this time, the assailant had shut the garage
door. The assailant also took off his shirt, opened the
"passenger side door, " and tossed his shirt into
the car. He told H.N. that "he bet [she] had money
upstairs." H.N. told the assailant that the door from
the basement to the house was locked and that she did not
have the key. However, H.N. had laid her house keys in the
tray of an old dishwasher in the basement before leaving to
run errands that morning. The assailant attempted to get into
the house by climbing the steps and bringing H.N. up the
steps, but H.N. told the assailant that she was locked out of
her house and that her children were bringing her keys to the
house around 3:30 p.m.
he was unable to get into the house, the assailant came back
down the steps and pushed H.N. against the vehicle while
standing behind her. The man "unzipped [her] blue[
]jeans and pulled them down." The assailant then pushed
H.N. "around to the hood of the car" as H.N. said
"I am so old, please don't do this to me." The
assailant responded that her age did not matter. H.N. then
felt the assailant penetrate her vagina with his penis
several times, causing her pain. Additionally, the assailant
put a garbage bag in her mouth to gag her. The assailant then
pulled up his pants and H.N.'s pants, pushed her over to
a "yard chair" in the basement, and tied her to the
chair while she was still gagged with the garbage bag. H.N.
recalled that the assailant used ski ropes hanging on the
walls of the garage to tie each of her arms and legs to the
chair, and he used "binder twine" to tie her waist
to the chair. As the assailant "was getting ready to
leave, " H.N. was able to see his face. H.N. saw that
the assailant was a black male with a short, stocky build and
that his hair was in dreadlocks. However, H.N. was unable to
positively identify the Defendant as the assailant at trial.
testified that, after the assailant tied her to the chair, he
took a bottle of water and some rubber gloves that she had
worn earlier that day to pull weeds. H.N. stated that the
assailant put the gloves on before he left in her vehicle.
H.N. testified that, before the assailant took her car, there
were no gloves or knives in the vehicle.
the assailant left in her vehicle, H.N. was able to free her
hands, move over to a phone on the garage wall, and call her
son, daughter, and son-in-law. After her family members
arrived, they helped H.N. to free herself from the chair and
called the police. Family members gave the police the license
plate number of H.N.'s stolen car and took H.N. to the
hospital. H.N. testified that the assailant gave her a small
cut on her cheek with his knife and that she sustained
bruising on her wrists from being tied to the chair.
Additionally, H.N. stated that her vaginal area was
"hurting really bad" following the assault. At the
hospital, the emergency room doctor examined H.N. and
performed a "rape kit." While she was at the
hospital, H.N. became nauseous. The doctor performed an
arteriogram on H.N. and ...