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State v. Roberts

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

February 28, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
DARNELL KEITH ROBERTS

          Assigned on Briefs February 7, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Weakley County No. 2016-CR-18 Jeff Parham, Judge

          The defendant, Darnell Keith Roberts, pled guilty to aggravated robbery. The trial court subsequently sentenced the defendant, a Range II, multiple offender, to fifteen years of imprisonment. On appeal, the defendant contends the trial court imposed an excessive sentence. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

          Langdon S. Unger, Jr., Martin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Darnell Keith Roberts.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Robert W. Wilson, Assistant Attorney General; Tommy A. Thomas, District Attorney General; and Kevin McAlpin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          J. Ross Dyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and Camille R. McMullen, J., joined.

          OPINION

          J. ROSS DYER, JUDGE

         Facts and Procedural History

         One morning around 6:30 a.m., the defendant entered a Q Mart convenience store in Weakley County, pointed a .45-caliber pistol in the store clerk's face, and stole approximately $300 in cash. The defendant subsequently got into a vehicle driven by Shaun Williams and left the scene. Both the defendant and Mr. Williams were indicted for aggravated robbery.

         The defendant pled guilty to aggravated robbery as a Range II, multiple offender, with a sentence to be determined at a later hearing. The defendant then testified at Mr. Williams' trial, during which he accepted responsibility for his actions and stated he did not inform Mr. Williams he had just robbed the convenience store when Mr. Williams picked him up that morning. A Weakley County jury acquitted Mr. Williams.

         Prior to the sentencing hearing, the State filed a statement of enhancement factors pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-202(b)(1), indicating the defendant has a previous history of criminal convictions or criminal behavior in addition to that necessary to establish the appropriate range, the defendant has previously failed to comply with conditions of a sentence involving release in the community, and the defendant was on parole at the time he committed the offense at issue. The defendant also filed a statement of mitigating factors pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-113, stating the defendant's criminal conduct neither caused nor threatened serious bodily injury, and the defendant was motivated by a desire to provide necessities for his family or self. At the start of the sentencing hearing, the State withdrew its intent to seek enhancement based on its prior assertion the defendant was on parole at the time of the commission of this offense.

         At the defendant's sentencing hearing, the State called Keven Sanderfer, a probation and parole manager with the Department of Corrections, and Steve Howe, an investigator with the Dresden Police Department, to testify. Mr. Sanderfer confirmed the defendant had three prior felony convictions for aggravated robbery, all in Shelby County, and the defendant had been on probation for the second offense at the time he committed the third. Investigator Howe testified that at the time he arrested the defendant following the robbery, the defendant did not appear to be under the influence of drugs. According to Investigator Howe, the defendant initially denied knowledge of the robbery and gave conflicting statements. Eventually, the defendant confessed and pled guilty.

         The defendant testified on his own behalf at the hearing. The defendant stated he had been at an unknown female's house all night prior to the robbery. He had been addicted to cocaine since the age of thirteen and thought he ingested cocaine the night preceding the robbery. Instead, he ingested methamphetamine, wanted more, and decided to rob Q Mart in order to obtain money to purchase more drugs. The defendant stated he called Mr. Williams on a cell phone belonging to the unknown female prior to robbing the store, and Mr. Williams picked him up after the robbery on a road behind the store. ...


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