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State v. Brewer

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

June 8, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
RONNIE BREWER

          Assigned on Briefs February 23, 2017 at Knoxville

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Grundy County No. 4156 Thomas W. Graham, Judge

         The Defendant, Ronnie Brewer, was convicted by a Grundy County Circuit Court jury of reckless aggravated assault, a Class D felony. See T.C.A. § 39-13-102 (2003) (amended 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013). The trial court sentenced the Defendant to three years, which was suspended to probation after six months' confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction, (2) the trial court erred during jury instructions, and (3) the trial court erred during sentencing. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

          B. Jeffery Harmon, District Public Defender, and Robert G. Morgan, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Ronnie Brewer.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Alexander C. Vey, Assistant Attorney General; J. Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; and David McGovern and Steve Strain, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          ROBERT H. MONTGOMERY, JR., JUDGE

         This case relates to a 2005 altercation between the Defendant and Kevin Campbell during which the Defendant displayed a firearm and two knives. At the trial, Courtney Vanhooser testified that she was age sixteen at the time of the incident and that Mr. Campbell was her boyfriend. She said that on April 11, 2005, she and Mr. Campbell were high school students, that they left school early to obtain medicine for her headache, and that they planned to return to school. She said that Mr. Campbell drove her home, that she took medication, that her headache subsided, and that she and Mr. Campbell decided to pick up her cousin, Scotty Slatton, and to drive around in Mr. Campbell's truck. She recalled the truck had a bench seat, that she sat in the middle, and that Mr. Slatton sat to her right.

         Ms. Vanhooser testified that they drove on a mountain road, that they did not want to drive too far because the truck was low on gas, and that they intended to turn around on the Defendant's property, although she did not know at the time that the Defendant owned the property. She said that Mr. Campbell turned onto the Defendant's property and prepared to back up onto the road and that the Defendant motioned for Mr. Campbell to drive toward the Defendant. M s. Vanhooser said Mr. Campbell drove toward the Defendant. She denied that they had been "turning any donuts" on the Defendant's property, using drugs, or engaging in unlawful conduct. She said that they had not "parked or hung out" on the Defendant's property for at least six months before the incident and that she had never seen the Defendant previously.

         Ms. Vanhooser testified that the Defendant began "ranting and raving, " that he was angry, that he accused them of turning donuts and using drugs on his property, and that he asked for their names. She said that the Defendant did not have a weapon at this time, that Mr. Slatton provided his name, and that she provided her name. She said that Mr. Campbell refused to provide his name to the Defendant and that Mr. Campbell told the Defendant that they did not want any trouble and were leaving. She said that the Defendant struck Mr. Campbell's face with a fist, that Mr. Campbell put the truck in reverse, and that the Defendant pulled a small handgun from his pants pocket and pointed it at the truck's windshield. She said that Mr. Campbell stopped the truck, that they raised their hands, and that the Defendant walked to the truck and attempted to remove the keys from the ignition. She said that Mr. Campbell prevented the Defendant from taking the keys, that the Defendant struck Mr. Campbell's head with the gun, and that Mr. Campbell's head wound began to bleed. She said that the Defendant took two or three steps backward, "squared off, " and pointed the gun at Mr. Campbell's head. She thought the Defendant was going to kill Mr. Campbell and said she grabbed Mr. Campbell attempting to move him away from the gun. She recalled screaming and pleading for the Defendant not to kill them and said the Defendant lowered the gun and struck her face with his right hand. She said she sustained bruises but was otherwise unharmed.

         Ms. Vanhooser testified that the Defendant struck Mr. Campbell a couple more times and that the Defendant continued yelling they had "messed up" his property. She said that the Defendant threatened to kill them if they reported the incident to the police and that the Defendant said his friends and family worked for the police department. She said the Defendant placed the gun in his pants pocket, removed a knife from his pants pocket, "rubbed it all over" Mr. Campbell's face, and threatened to cut Mr. Campbell's throat and to cut off his nose. She said the Defendant removed a second knife from his pants pocket, rubbed both knives on Mr. Campbell's face, and threatened to cut off Mr. Campbell's head. She recalled that the Defendant's eyes were yellow and that he had an odd odor, although she said the odor was not alcohol. She said that eventually, the Defendant told them they could leave. She said she was "scared to death."

         Ms. Vanhooser testified that after they left, Mr. Campbell drove Mr. Slatton home and that she and Mr. Campbell went to a friend's home to obtain advice about whether to call the police. She recalled that the friend advised them to contact the police, that they called the police, and that they sought medical treatment for Mr. Campbell's head wound, which required staples.

         On cross-examination, Ms. Vanhooser testified that she had been on the Defendant's property twice previously but that she had not seen the Defendant those times. She s aid that on the day of the incident, she and Mr. Campbell left school around noon but conceded it could have been later. She said that her grandmother consented to her leaving school and that she intended to return, although school dismissed at 2:45 p.m. She said that Mr. Slatton lived across the street from her, that they decided to drive on the mountain road where the Defendant lived, and that they arrived on the Defendant's property between 12:30 and 1:00 p.m. She said that Mr. Campbell drove the truck eight to ten feet onto the gravels of the Defendant's property before attempting to back onto the road.

         Ms. Vanhooser testified that the Defendant's wife stood a few feet behind the Defendant during the incident. Ms. Vanhooser said that she was unaware the Defendant's property was marked with no trespassing signs and that she did not see any signs, although she did not dispute the signs were posted. She denied Mr. Campbell cursed the Defendant and said they were polite to the Defendant. She said that the police came to Mr. Campbell's house to talk to him after Mr. Campbell obtained medical treatment.

         Ms. Vanhooser testified that she did not speak to the Defendant's wife during the incident. Ms. Vanhooser denied stating that she had been on the Defendant's property the day before the incident. She said that she had seen people on the Defendant's property previously ...


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