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State v. Rivera

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

January 30, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
RADAMES ANTONIO RIVERA

          Assigned on Briefs December 14, 2016

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Montgomery County No. 41400336 Jill Bartee Ayers, Judge

          The defendant, Radames Antonio Rivera, was indicted for one count of first degree murder, one count of attempted tampering with evidence, and one count of unlawful possession of a weapon. Following trial, the jury found the defendant guilty of one count of second degree murder. The trial court sentenced the defendant to fifteen years of incarceration. On appeal, the defendant argues the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. After our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

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

          Gregory Smith, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Radames Antonio Rivera.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; John W. Carney, District Attorney General; Robert Nash and Art Bieber, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          J. Ross Dyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., and Camille R. McMullen, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          J. ROSS DYER, JUDGE.

         Factual and Procedural History

         Shortly after 2:00 a.m. on March 16, 2014, the defendant stabbed Darrell Ray Willis in the parking lot of Wild Woody's Saloon ("the bar") in Clarksville, Tennessee. At trial, the State presented a number of witnesses who were present during the incident. Their accounts were largely consistent with regard to the events surrounding the stabbing. Those witnesses present during the offense and who testified for the State at trial were:

          Ashlee Hughes, Michael Stewart, Candice Corbin, Derrick Douglas, James Wilbur, Shane Cortez, and Adam Zacharzuk.

         The defendant and victim were members of two separate groups who had participated in a "pub crawl" in celebration of St. Patrick's Day. A "pub crawl" is an event where individuals are transported, usually by foot or public transportation, to various bars and clubs in a single night for the purpose of consuming alcohol. The two groups visited several different bars the night of March 15, 2016, before ultimately ending up at the bar. Inside the bar, an altercation arose between members of the defendant's group and members of the victim's group over a perceived slight. Bouncers, employed by the bar, removed the individuals responsible for the altercation to the parking lot outside. The scene outside the bar was chaotic, with multiple fights going on at various locations throughout the parking lot.

         To the left of the entrance to the bar, a fight broke out between female members of the two groups. To the right of the entrance to the bar, Marcus Harley and the victim were fighting and struggling on the ground. During the struggle, the victim was "jumped" and "beat up" by approximately five individuals. At this point, the defendant was standing alone ten to fifteen yards away observing the altercation. The defendant pulled a knife from his pocket and opened it. An unidentified female grabbed the defendant's arm, attempting to stop him. The defendant shrugged her off and walked quickly across the parking lot to where the victim was crouched defending himself. The defendant plunged his arm into the pile of people, stabbing the victim in the chest. The defendant stated, "This is what y'all motherf**kers wanted, " and "yeah motherf**ker." The victim fell backwards onto the pavement, and the defendant backed away in between the rows of parked cars. The defendant bent down and dropped the knife near a white sedan.

         Officer Matthew Ferrell of the Clarksville Police Department testified he responded to the disturbance at the bar. When he arrived, Officer Ferrell observed a large group of individuals fighting with one individual lying on the ground. Officer Ferrell first broke up the fights and then attempted to render aid to the victim. Officer Ferrell located ...


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