Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Session: February 14, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2014-D-3138
J. Randall Wyatt, Jr., Judge
Christopher Lee Williams, was convicted of reckless
endangerment, aggravated kidnapping, and domestic assault.
Defendant raises the following issues on appeal: (1) whether
dual convictions for aggravated kidnapping resulting in
bodily injury and domestic assault based on bodily injury are
proper, and (2) whether the trial court failed to consider a
statutory mitigating factor in fashioning Defendant's
sentence. After a review, we affirm the judgments of the
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
L. Brand (on appeal), Jamaal L. Boykin and Kyle Parks (at
trial), Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christopher
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia
S. Lee, Senior Counsel; Glenn R. Funk, District Attorney
General; and Amy Hunter, Assistant District Attorney General,
for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and Robert W. Wedemeyer, J.,
TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE
was indicted by the Davidson County Grand Jury in October of
2014 for one count of aggravated assault by strangulation,
one count of especially aggravated kidnapping with serious
bodily injury, and one count of domestic assault with bodily
injury after Defendant and his live-in girlfriend, Jessica
Head, got into an argument on September 8, 2014.
trial, Ms. Head explained that she and Defendant started
dating approximately eight years prior to the incident. The
couple met at Nashville State College where they were taking
classes. Ms. Head moved in with Defendant and his parents
shortly after they started dating. A few months later, the
couple moved in to their own apartment, and they were living
together at the time of the incident. Ms. Head worked as a
server at Logan's Roadhouse Restaurant. Ms. Head
acknowledged that she had a prior conviction for theft and
that she was placed on probation as a result of that
morning prior to the incident, Ms. Head worked at Logan's
from approximately 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. After work, Ms.
Head went home and "collected laundry." She was at
the apartment for "about an hour and [a] half" and
left with her friend Cheryl Witherow to do laundry at another
location because she did not like the laundry facilities at
the apartment complex. Ms. Head was gone for between two to
two and a half hours before returning home to "drop the
laundry off around ten o'clock that night."
Defendant was at the apartment when she returned. Ms. Head
again left with Ms. Witherow "because she had to go pick
a friend up from [their] job and take her home and she
didn't want to ride by herself at night."
Head eventually made it back to the apartment around 1:00 or
1:30 a.m. Defendant was "very upset and hostile"
and accused Ms. Head "of cheating on him." He
called her a "whore and a slut." Ms. Head did not
want to fight with Defendant so she "sat down on the
couch and just agreed with him." When Ms. Head sat down,
she "stuffed the keys inside the couch" because she
did not want Defendant to take the car, which they shared. As
she did so, she felt something in the couch. She pulled a
letter "in a female's handwriting" out from
between the couch cushions. Ms. Head "started reading
the letter" and asked Defendant about who wrote the
letter. She called him a "Bitch." Defendant
"snapped and he grabbed [Ms. Head] by the hair on [her]
head." Defendant "grabbed [her] with two hands full
of [her] hair and threw [her] onto the ground, right in front
of the couch." Then he repeatedly slammed Ms. Head's
head onto the carpet, telling her to read the letter.
Defendant claimed that the letter was written for someone
else. Defendant eventually got on top of Ms. Head, kneeling
on top of her body and pushing he face into the carpet so
that she felt his entire body weight.
Head was unable to defend herself because she
"couldn't move" with Defendant on top of her.
At one point, she was in a fetal position and Defendant
"had his knees on [her] side and both of his hands on
top and on the side of [her] head pushing [her] into the
floor." Ms. Head was not able to breathe
"normally" and could not take a "full
breath" for approximately "3 to 5 minutes."
Defendant hit her in the left side of the head with his
finally allowed Ms. Head to get up from the floor. She went
upstairs "to look in the mirror to see what damage had
been done and [she] noticed that [her] eyes were swollen like
to the point where [she] could barely recognize [her]
nose." Ms. Head was spitting blood, had carpet burn on
her face, and had busted blood vessels in one of her eyes.
She thought that she needed to go to the hospital because she
suspected her nose was broken. Ms. Head stayed upstairs for
approximately fifteen minutes. When she went downstairs she
told Defendant that she wanted to go to the hospital.
Defendant told her she was "not going anywhere."
Ms. Head claimed that she tried to leave through the front
door six or seven times and the back door several times but
Defendant refused to let her leave, using force to "pull
[her] away from the doors." Ms. Head recounted the
episode as follows:
I got my hand on the doorknob I think maybe once, but every
[time] he would grab my shirt or he would grab my arm or he
would grab my shoulder, and he would throw me to the floor,
into the wall, or onto the couch or just to get ...