Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
KENNETH J. CRADIC
STATE OF TENNESSEE
Assigned on Briefs January 18, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Sullivan County No. S48157 R.
Jerry Beck, Judge
Petitioner, Kenneth J. Cradic, appeals as of right from the
Sullivan County Criminal Court's denial of his petition
for writ of error coram nobis relief. The Petitioner contends
that the coram nobis court erred in denying his petition
because he presented newly discovered evidence of his actual
innocence through a new witness who would discredit the
victim's trial testimony and evidence that the victim
recanted her trial testimony on numerous occasions since the
trial. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the
coram nobis court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
S. Barnette, Jr., Kingsport, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Kenneth J. Cradic.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Jonathan H. Wardle, Assistant Attorney General; Barry
Staubus, District Attorney General; and Andrea Black,
Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State
Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.,
KELLY THOMAS, JR., JUDGE.
Petitioner is currently serving a total effective sentence of
forty years' incarceration as a result of his 2006
convictions for three counts of rape of a child and three
counts of incest. See State v. Kenneth J. Cradic,
No. E2006-01975-CCA-R3-CD, 2008 WL 2937882, at *1 (Tenn.
Crim. App. July 31, 2008), perm. app. denied (Tenn.
Jan. 20, 2009). The evidence at trial established that the
Petitioner admitted to police investigators that he had sex
with the victim, his daughter, on at least one occasion.
Id. At *1-2. The victim testified that the
Petitioner vaginally penetrated her on three occasions at his
home and a motel. Id. at *2.
pertinent to our review, the victim admitted during
cross-examination at trial that she told the Petitioner's
wife, "that . . . the [Petitioner] did these things to
her because she was afraid of the actual perpetrator."
Cradic, 2008 WL 2937882, at *2. The victim also
admitted "that she told two other people that the
[Petitioner] was not the person who touched her."
Id. On redirect examination, the victim testified
that her mother's boyfriend, Larry Ritchie, "also
touched her but that he did so after the [Petitioner] had
touched her." Id. The victim also testified
that the Petitioner's wife promised to "buy her
gifts if she would tell the authorities that the [Petitioner]
did not do anything." Id. One of the
victim's cousins testified on the Petitioner's behalf
that the victim had said that Larry Ritchie, "not the
[Petitioner], 'did it.'" Id.
Petitioner filed a motion for new trial alleging newly
discovered evidence of his innocence in the form of an
affidavit from his stepmother stating that "the victim
had informed her that the Petitioner did not commit the
alleged offenses and that Larry Ritchie had threatened the
victim and forced her to testify that the Petitioner
committed the alleged offenses." Kenneth J. Cradic
v. State, No. E2010-00140-CCA-R3-PC, 2010 WL 2612736, at
*6 (Tenn. Crim. App. June 30, 2010). Specifically, the
affidavit alleged that Larry Ritchie had threatened to harm
the victim, her grandmother, and her brother if she did not
testify that the Petitioner had raped her. The trial court
denied the Petitioner's motion for new trial on August
16, 2006. This court affirmed the Petitioner's
convictions on direct appeal. Cradic, 2008 WL
2937882, at *8.
8, 2015, the Petitioner filed a pro se petition for writ of
error coram nobis relief. The essence of the petition was
that the Petitioner had recently received a copy of a letter
his son, Charles Cradic, had written to the governor as part
of the Petitioner's application for clemency. A copy of
the letter was attached to the petition. Mr. Cradic alleged
in the letter that he knew the Petitioner had not raped the
victim because he was always with the victim when she visited
the Petitioner, that he had actually witnessed Larry Ritchie
rape the victim, that Larry Ritchie threatened him and the
victim by threating to "kill [their] family, " and
that he wanted to testify at trial about these matters, but
he was prevented from doing so by his mother and grandmother.
attorney was appointed to represent the Petitioner in this
matter, and an amended petition was filed along with
affidavits from the Petitioner, Mr. Cradic, and Mr.
Cradic's ex-girlfriend, Amber Keys. The Petitioner's
affidavit alleged that he was unaware of the facts alleged in
Mr. Cradic's letter until he received a copy of it in
July 2014. Mr. Cradic's affidavit made the same
allegations as those raised in his letter and also claimed
that the victim had "informed [him] years after the
trial that [the Petitioner] did not rape her." Ms.
Keys's affidavit alleged that the victim had told her