Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Assigned on Briefs February 23, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Morgan County No. 2014-CR-46
Jeffery H. Wicks, Judge
the Defendant's, Jeffery Dwight Ray's, guilty-pleaded
conviction for aggravated statutory rape, the trial court
imposed a sentence of three years' incarceration. The
Defendant appeals, arguing that he is a suitable candidate
for alternative sentencing pursuant to the statutory
considerations outlined in Tennessee Code Annotated section
40-35-103. Following our review, we affirm the trial
court's alternative sentencing decision.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Nelson, District Public Defender; and Harold D. Balcom, Jr.
and Walter B. Johnson II, Assistant District Public
Defenders, for the Appellant, Jeffery Dwight Ray.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Robert
W. Wilson, Assistant Attorney General; Russell Johnson,
District Attorney General; and Alyson Kennedy, Assistant
District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of
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
10, 2013, the sixteen-year-old victim reported that her
uncle, the forty-six-year-old Defendant, raped her.
Thereafter, a Morgan County grand jury charged the Defendant
with aggravated statutory rape, a Class D felony.
See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-506. He entered an
"open" guilty plea on February 24,
trial court originally set the Defendant's sentencing
hearing for May 23, 2016, but he failed to appear. After a
capias was issued for the Defendant's arrest, his
presence was secured, and a sentencing hearing was held on
June 24, 2016. At the hearing, the presentence report was
entered as an exhibit, the Defendant stipulating to its
the presentence report, we glean the following details
surrounding the events: On the evening of June 9, 2013, the
victim was visiting her aunt and uncle who lived next door.
The Defendant's friend, "Rusty, " was also present
in the home, and according to the victim, everyone present
was drinking and watching television. Sometime that evening,
the victim and Rusty went upstairs to the attic and started
"making out." She stated that she performed oral
sex on Rusty but that he did not want to go any further
because she was a minor. According to the victim, when the
Defendant came upstairs and saw what was going on between the
victim and Rusty, the Defendant "pulled his penis out
and told [the victim] he wanted what Rusty got." The
victim, however, told the Defendant "no, " and the
three of them went back downstairs and continued watching
television and drinking.
Rusty left the residence; the victim's aunt went to take
a shower; and the victim went back upstairs to listen to
music. The victim stated that the Defendant, thereafter, came
upstairs and sat beside her, again asking for sex. She once
more said "no, " but according to the victim, the
Defendant forced her to perform oral sex on him and then
raped her. After the Defendant "finished, " she
told him that she had to use the bathroom. Instead of going
to the bathroom, she ran home and told her grandmother that
the Defendant had raped her.
victim was taken to the hospital and examined, and while
there, a nurse administered a sexual assault kit. A saliva
sample was also taken form the Defendant. In a report from
the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, it was concluded that
the Defendant was a "major contributor" to DNA
profiles found in the victim's underwater.
questioned by the authorities, the Defendant denied any
sexual contact with the victim, and the Defendant provided a
vastly different story from the victim's. The Defendant
claimed that the victim "stalked" him and his wife
for six months prior to the offense, frequently stealing from
him and making sexual advances towards him and his wife.
According to the Defendant, on the evening of June 9, 2013,
the victim "busted in" on him, his wife, and Rusty.
When the victim was told to go home, she stole alcohol from
Rusty's truck. However, she later returned and would not
Defendant claimed that he found the victim and Rusty engaged
in sexual intercourse in his attic later that evening.
According to the Defendant, he cursed at them and instructed
the victim to put her clothes back on. The Defendant stated
that, while he continued uttering profanities at Rusty, he
pulled his pants down and told Rusty to "kiss [his] a-s,
" showing Rusty "[his] a-s to kiss." ...