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State v. Doree

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

April 6, 2017


          Session April 19, 2016

         Direct Appeal from the Circuit Court for Perry County No. 2012-CR-81 James G. Martin, III, Judge.

         The Appellant, Wendall Curtis Doree, was convicted by a Perry County Circuit Court Jury of especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, unlawful employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous offense, theft over $1, 000, and facilitation of vandalism over $1, 000. The trial court merged the theft conviction with the aggravated robbery conviction and imposed a total effective sentence of twenty-two years. On appeal, the Appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence sustaining his especially aggravated kidnapping conviction, contending that in light of State v. White, 362 S.W.3d 559 (Tenn. 2012), the State failed to adduce sufficient proof that the confinement of the victim was not incidental to the aggravated robbery and was sufficient, standing alone, to sustain his conviction of especially aggravated kidnapping. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

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

          Vanessa Pettigrew Bryan and J. Gregory Burlison, Franklin, Tennessee (on appeal and at trial), and Douglas Bates, Centerville, Tennessee (at trial), for the Appellant, Wendall Curtis Doree.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Senior Counsel; Kim R. Helper, District Attorney General; and Jennifer Mason, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Norma McGee Ogle, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which John Everett Williams and Robert W. Wedemeyer, JJ., joined.



         I. Factual Background

         The Appellant's convictions stemmed from a break-in that occurred at the home of the victim, Karen Langer, on October 14, 2012. At trial, the victim testified that she lived at a "secluded" location on Carter Hollow Road in Linden. Around 2:00 p.m. on October 14, she was upstairs and heard her dogs bark. She looked outside, saw nothing, and went downstairs to prepare lunch. While slicing tomatoes in the kitchen, she heard a noise from the front of the house. She turned and saw two men, who were wearing masks and hoods and carrying black guns, walking toward her. One man, who was later identified as Joshua Gregg, told her to put down the tomato knife, and she complied. The other man, who was later identified as the Appellant, walked up to her. She looked at him and said, "[Y]ou're Greg Doree's son." The Appellant replied, "[N]o, I'm not." The Appellant did not speak further but "indicated" that Mr. Gregg should "hold [her] there." The Appellant searched through the cabinets and drawers and found an antique .410 rifle that the victim's father had given her.

         While Mr. Gregg stayed with the victim, the Appellant went to the office at the front of the house and cut the telephone lines. Mr. Gregg took the victim's cellular telephone, broke it in half, and put the pieces and the cordless house telephones into the toilet.

         The Appellant "indicated" that Mr. Gregg should stay with the victim while the Appellant went upstairs. Mr. Gregg told the victim that he was taking her laptop computer, which was on the kitchen table, to prevent her from contacting anyone. He unplugged the computer and the computer mouse. He told the Appellant that they needed to leave, then he instructed the victim to walk into the bathroom. She complied, and he shut the bathroom door. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Gregg told her to come out of the bathroom. She saw the Appellant walk downstairs carrying a flat-screen television, which he then carried outside.

         After the Appellant left the house, Mr. Gregg made the victim walk outside and told her that he was going to put her inside a shed. She asked him not to, explaining that she could not get out of the shed. He agreed not to put her inside the shed and asked for her car keys. She gave him two sets of keys for her GMC Terrain and one set of keys for her Ford. Afterward, Mr. Gregg instructed her to sit on her hands on the ground, and she complied. The perpetrators put the television into the back of the Terrain. The victim did not recall seeing them put the rifle into the car. The Appellant got into the front passenger seat, and Mr. Gregg got into the driver's seat. The victim told Mr. Gregg that the emergency brake was engaged. He disengaged the emergency brake and told the victim that they would leave the vehicle at the end of the road.

         "[A] while" after the perpetrators left, the victim walked to the kitchen. She remembered having an inexpensive telephone that the perpetrators did not find. She found the telephone and plugged it into a telephone jack. Before she made a call, however, she realized she did not want to stay at the house and began looking for a set of keys to the Ford that had been misplaced. She found the keys and drove to the house of her neighbor, Janet Jordan. After the victim told Ms. Jordan what had happened, Ms. Jordan called 911. An officer came to Ms. Jordan's residence and spoke with the victim. The officer and the victim went to the victim's residence.

         The victim testified she was certain that she recognized the Appellant by his eyes, noting that he had done some yard work and picked blueberries for her that summer or the previous summer. She identified the Appellant in the courtroom. She said that the Appellant pointed his gun at her when he first entered the house.

         The victim said the television was "a good size" Sanyo that she had bought for $500. She had bought the laptop computer for $500 a couple of years prior to the robbery. The rifle had sentimental value because it was a gift from her father, who had passed away. The victim said that she did not invite the men into her house and that she did not feel free to leave because Mr. Gregg kept a gun pointed at her. She acknowledged she had a computer in her office that the perpetrators did not take. She said that the computer was "closed, " that she hardly ever used it, and that she never thought about using it to summon help.

         The victim said that when she drove away from her house, she did not see the Terrain at the end of the driveway and that it was not returned to her until four or five months after the robbery. She paid $5, 000 for replacement keys and repairs to the vehicle. The stolen television was returned to her house. An officer took it upstairs to determine if it fit inside the "dust ring" left on the table when the television was taken.

         On cross-examination, the victim acknowledged she told Deputy Laura Leegan, the officer who responded to Ms. Jordan's house after the 911 call, that she was unsure of her identification of the Appellant. The victim explained that she was nervous when she spoke with ...

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