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State v. Garth

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

June 9, 2017


          Assigned on Briefs December 20, 2016

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Hamilton County No. 292042 Thomas C. Greenholtz, Judge

         Defendant, Adarius Dewayne Garth, was indicted by the Hamilton County Grand Jury for two counts of attempted first degree murder, domestic aggravated assault, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. Defendant entered an "open" guilty plea to the lesser-included offense of reckless aggravated assault, and the remaining charges were dismissed on motion by the State. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced Defendant to four years' incarceration as a Range I offender. Defendant appeals the length and manner of service of his sentence. Following a careful review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

          Steven E. Smith, District Public Defender; and Kevin L. Loper, Assistant Public Defender, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Adarius Dewayne Garth.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Senior Counsel; M. Neal Pinkston, District Attorney General; and Cameron Williams, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr. and John Everett Williams, JJ., joined.




         The State offered the following factual basis at Defendant's plea submission hearing:

Your Honor, if this case had gone to trial, the facts would have been as follows, that on or about March 17, 2014, here in Hamilton County, Tennessee, police were dispatched to a person shot at 3704 West Avenue. When they arrived and found Tanika Caldwell, she had been shot. She was laying [sic] in the kitchen. There were several witnesses there, including the defendant. Essentially all of the witnesses stated that there had been a car that had driven by and shots were fired into the home and Ms. Caldwell was struck. [Defendant] also[, ] as one of the witnesses[, ] indicated that to the police.
There was a 911 call placed by [Defendant] in which he indicated that as well. That she had been shot and there had been a car that had driven by.
As the investigation - Ms .Caldwell was taken to the hospital, she had a gunshot wound to her jaw. Apparently she was two months pregnant with the defendant's child at the time of the shooting. She was released at a later date. The investigation continued at that point. They spoke with Ms. Caldwell. She indicated that she wasn't really aware of what happened, that she just knew that she was shot. They re-interviewed some of the witnesses and one of the witnesses indicated that there had not been a drive-by shooting, that [Defendant] - that they heard a gunshot, looked in the kitchen, saw [Defendant] in the kitchen with a firearm, and [Defendant] had told this witness that he had better not say that he had done it, that he would take steps to make sure that they didn't say that he had done it. There was no firearm ever recovered in the incident.
They interviewed the victim again and she indicated that she saw [Defendant] standing beside her, that she saw [Defendant] point a gun at her and then fire the weapon. She did give testimony at a preliminary hearing and at that preliminary hearing her story changed a little bit again. She said she doesn't know who - she said she didn't know who shot her. That she was standing in the kitchen with two individuals, one of whom was [Defendant], and that the next thing she knew she had been shot and she was on the floor.
[Defendant] was not taken into custody the night of the shooting. After the officers re-interviewed the witnesses they charged - they swore out warrants for [Defendant] and he was taken into custody about a month after that. He did give a statement to the police. It was recorded after he waived his Miranda rights. He indicated that he did shoot Ms. Caldwell, that it was an accident. That she went outside, got a gun from the outside that she had found near the trash can, came in, that she handed him the gun and that while she was handing him the gun the gun went off and shot her in the jaw. That was the defendant's statement. It doesn't really fit with the proof. But the State has had limited cooperation from the victim in this case and also the witnesses. The State feels that there would be the possibility that Ms. Caldwell would be declared unavailable and that her prior sworn testimony would be introduced at trial. There's no guarantee that that would happen, but that would be something that the State - a possibility for the State of Tennessee in that proof. And along with the ...

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