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State v. Glass

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

December 29, 2016

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
ASHANTI GLASS

          Assigned on Briefs May 18, 2016

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Knox County No. 103646 G. Scott Green, Judge

         The defendant, Ashanti Glass, was sentenced to fifteen years in confinement after a jury found her guilty of aggravated child neglect pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-15-402. On appeal, the defendant argues the evidence was insufficient to support her conviction. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

          J. Liddell Kirk, Knoxville, Tennessee (on appeal) and Michael A. Graves, Knoxville, Tennessee (at trial and motion for new trial), for the appellant, Ashanti Glass.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Charme P. Allen, District Attorney General; Ashley McDermott and Rachel Russell, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr. and D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          THOMAS T. WOODALL, PRESIDING JUDGE

         FACTS

         In this case, the two-year-old victim sustained severe burn injuries to her feet at the hands of the defendant, her mother. Though the victim's injuries occurred on December 28, 2013, she did not receive medical treatment until January 11, 2014. Upon her admittance to East Tennessee Children's Hospital, the emergency department physician, Dr. Mary Palmer, recognized immediately that the victim needed to be treated in a burn center. As a result, the victim was transferred to the burn center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where she remained for thirteen days.

         Prior to being transferred to Vanderbilt, Dr. Palmer, an expert in pediatric emergency medicine, treated the victim. She testified that the victim was in obvious pain when she arrived at the hospital. Though hospital staff provided the victim with morphine and fluids to control her pain, the victim "was really anxious about [hospital staff] approaching her feet, and she kept holding them off the bed." The victim's feet were burned from her toes to the front and the back of her ankles. The bottoms of the victim's feet were not burned. According to Dr. Palmer, when hospital staff asked the victim who burned her feet, "[the victim] stated that [the defendant] did it."

         After speaking with the defendant and examining the victim, Dr. Palmer suspected neglect based upon the defendant's time frame of when the victim's injuries occurred and "because of the amount of pain that the child would've been in" after sustaining the burns. She noted that the victim was not walking, "[a]nd by [the defendant's] history she had been pretty much scooting prior to that." Dr. Palmer notified the Department of Children's Services.

         Accordingly, Investigator Keith Johnson of the Knoxville Police Department and Travis Bishop of the Department of Children's Services interviewed the defendant on January 11, 2014, and April 25, 2014, regarding the victim's injuries. Investigator Johnson recorded both interviews and portions were played for the jury at trial. Throughout the investigation, it was clear the defendant told several versions of the events that led to the victim's injuries.

         The defendant told the investigators that on December 28, 2013, the victim had an accident in the bathroom which left feces on the floor, in the victim's hair, and on the victim's body. As a result, the defendant placed the victim in the bathtub with the water running. The defendant left the victim unattended in the bathtub for two to three minutes. When she came back to the bathroom, the defendant noticed that the water was hot and she took the ...


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