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State v. Taylor

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

January 20, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
TRACEY MCQUINN TAYLOR

          Assigned on Briefs September 7, 2016

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Madison County No. 14-469 Donald H. Allen, Judge

         A Madison County jury found the Defendant, Tracey McQuinn Taylor, guilty of two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of felon in possession of a firearm. The trial court sentenced him to concurrent sentences of twelve years for each count of aggravated robbery to be served consecutively to a four year sentence for the felon in possession of a firearm conviction. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions and that his sentence is excessive. After review, we affirm the trial court's judgments.

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

          Kortney D. Simmons, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tracey McQuinn Taylor.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Caitlin Smith, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Brian M. Gilliam, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Norma McGee Ogle and D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          ROBERT W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE

         I. Facts

         This case arises from a robbery of two victims, Justiss Williamson and Demarcus Cook, on May 11, 2014, in Jackson, Tennessee. A Madison County grand jury indicted the Defendant for two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of felon in possession of a firearm. At trial, the parties presented the following evidence: Justiss Williamson testified that, on May 11, 2014, he was visiting his cousin, T.C., [1] in Jackson, Tennessee. While there, he and another cousin, Demarcus Cook, contacted a friend, Tahj Transou, to arrange to meet and buy some marijuana. Tahj Transou did not sell marijuana but knew someone who did.

         Mr. Williamson testified that Tahj Transou arrived in a four-door white car with four or five other males. Mr. Williamson and Mr. Cook went outside at approximately 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. to buy and smoke the marijuana. Mr. Williamson purchased a blunt, and the group stood around outside the car smoking the marijuana. At some point, the Defendant, who wore his hair in dreadlocks, stepped around from behind the vehicle brandishing a handgun. He pointed the gun at Mr. Williamson's head and demanded, "Give me everything you got." Mr. Williamson, who was shocked, gave the Defendant the "Polo" hat he had been wearing because the Defendant had a gun pointed at him. Mr. Williamson observed Mr. Cook give the Defendant his lip balm, lighter, and wallet. Mr. Williamson recalled that the others, except for Tahj Transou, stood around laughing as the Defendant robbed Mr. Williamson and Mr. Cook.

         Mr. Williamson testified that, after taking their personal items, the Defendant ordered Mr. Williamson and Mr. Cook to "get on the back of the car." Everyone else present got inside the car, and the driver drove the car around the corner. Mr. Williamson and Mr. Cook were then allowed to get off the car trunk, and the car drove away. Mr. Williamson and Mr. Cook walked back to T.C's residence where they contacted the police. Mr. Williamson estimated that the robbery took approximately fifteen minutes and that he was on the trunk of the car for approximately two minutes. He confirmed that, although he had smoked marijuana, he sobered up when the Defendant produced the gun and that the marijuana did not cloud his ability to understand the events or identify the perpetrator. He described his clarity as his "adrenaline kick[ing] in."

         On cross-examination, Mr. Williamson confirmed that he had never seen the Defendant before the night of the robbery. Mr. Williamson agreed that he did not contact the police until an hour after the robbery. He explained that once he walked back to T.C.'s house, he was unsure of what to do at first. He woke up T.C. and told him what had happened and then woke up his aunt and uncle before calling the police.

         On redirect examination, Mr. Williamson agreed that he had identified the Defendant in a photographic lineup at the police station. He stated that upon seeing the Defendant's photograph he knew "exactly" who the Defendant was, and at trial he remained certain that the Defendant perpetrated this robbery.

         Demarcus Cook testified that Mr. Williamson had arranged to purchase the marijuana and that Mr. Cook did not know any of the people who came to the residence to sell the marijuana. Mr. Cook accompanied Mr. Williamson outside to meet the men because he did not think it safe for Mr. Williamson to go alone. Mr. Williamson bought a blunt from the men, lit the blunt, and then passed it around. After finishing the blunt, the Defendant walked around from behind the car with a gun and ordered Mr. Williamson and Mr. Cook to empty their pockets. When asked if he saw the person in the courtroom who approached him with a gun, Mr. Cook responded that he was not sure. He explained that, because he was "so mad" at that time, he did not "really get a good look at his face." Mr. Cook described the perpetrator as a black male who wore his hair in dreadlocks and had a "grill." He said the perpetrator held a gray chrome .380 caliber handgun.

         Mr. Cook testified that he gave the robber his dog tag, necklace, phone, wallet, Carmex, and body oil. Mr. Cook had $95.00 dollars in his wallet. Next, the man ordered Mr. Cook and Mr. Williamson on to the trunk of the car while the other men laughed. The two men rode on the trunk of the car for a short distance before they were "dropped [ ] off." Mr. Cook and Mr. Williamson then returned to T.C.'s house. After returning to the house, Mr. Cook called his mother who instructed him to call the police.

         Mr. Cook confirmed that he had identified the Defendant as the perpetrator in a photographic lineup. At trial, however, he stated that he did not know if he "picked the right person." He explained that his brother had died the night before trial and his mind was "still jumping back and forth." He agreed that his memory of the events was probably better at the time of the photographic lineup than at the time of trial.

         On cross-examination, Mr. Cook agreed that he had contacted the Defendant's attorney and told the attorney that he was unsure of his identification. He explained that he did so because he wanted to avoid going to trial. He said that he believed he could have "handled it" himself. He said that he knew the Defendant ...


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