Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs February 23, 2017 at Knoxville
from the Circuit Court for Grundy County No. 4156 Thomas W.
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.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Jeffery Harmon, District Public Defender, and Robert G.
Morgan, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Ronnie
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.
H. Montgomery, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court,
in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.,
H. MONTGOMERY, JR., JUDGE
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
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.
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.
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."
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
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.
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.
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 ...