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State v. Puckett

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

March 27, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
MITCHELL BLAKE PUCKETT

          Session May 10, 2016.

         Direct Appeal from the Circuit Court for Cheatham County No. 17162 Larry Wallace, Judge

         A Cheatham County Circuit Court Jury convicted the Appellant, Mitchell Blake Puckett, of attempted first degree premeditated murder, a Class A felony, for which he received a sixteen-year sentence. On appeal, the Appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence sustaining his conviction. He concedes that the evidence established he committed attempted second degree murder but maintains that the State failed to adduce proof of premeditation to sustain a conviction of first degree murder. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

          James L. Baum, Burns, Tennessee (on appeal), and David W. Wyatt, Ashland City, Tennessee (at trial), for the Appellant, Mitchell Blake Puckett.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; Dan M. Alsobrooks, District Attorney General; and Robert S. Wilson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Norma McGee Ogle, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Robert W. Wedemeyer and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.

          OPINION.

          NORMA MCGEE OGLE, JUDGE.

         I. Factual Background

         At trial, the victim, James Jameson, testified that around 5:30 or 6:00 p.m. on December 17, 2013, he put a .22 caliber rifle in the backseat of his Chevrolet Tahoe, loaded his dog in the vehicle, and left his house to go hunting. As he was driving on Valley View Road toward Waynoe Road, he saw two young men, one of whom was the Appellant, walking in the middle of the road next to the double yellow line. The men lived in the victim's neighborhood.

         The victim drove up behind them, but they would not move. He "pulled around, " rolled his window halfway down, and asked them to get out of the road. The Appellant threw his arm up and said, "[Y]ou're f[***]ing with the wrong guy." The Appellant stepped back, pulled a black pistol out of his pants, and pointed the gun at the victim. The victim, fearing he would be shot, drove away. The victim recalled that when he pressed the accelerator, he heard two gunshots. A bullet struck the glass on the rear passenger door, and the glass fell out. The victim stopped on the side of the road and checked his vehicle. He saw a bullet lodged in the door jamb between the front passenger seat and the rear passenger seat. The victim said that his rifle was not close enough for him to reach it and return fire.

         The victim drove until he was certain he was out of range of the Appellant's gun. He parked on the side of the road, called his wife, then called 911. When the police arrived, the victim told the officers about the shooting.

         On cross-examination, the victim said that after the Appellant pulled out the pistol, the Appellant stood in place for thirty seconds or one minute while pointing the gun at the victim's head. The victim drove away just before the Appellant began shooting. The two shots were fired in quick succession. The victim did not look back as he drove away.

         Cheatham County Sheriff's Deputy Walter Bamman testified that he and Detective Jeffrey Landis were dispatched to the scene. The victim told Deputy Bamman that he saw two young men walking down the road, yelled at them to get out of the road, and they responded, "[Y]ou are f[***]ing with the wrong one." After the shooting, the victim drove away and called 911. Deputy Bamman examined the victim's vehicle and saw that a window had been shot out and that a "flattened" round had fallen onto the running board after it hit the door jamb. The victim showed the deputy ...


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