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State v. Zickefoose

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

June 20, 2017


          Assigned on Briefs May 17, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Blount County No. C-24164 Tammy M. Harrington, Judge

         The Defendant, George Martin Zickefoose, pleaded guilty to vandalism valued between $1, 000 and $10, 000, theft of property valued between $1, 000 and $10, 000, and burglary, with the trial court to determine the sentences. At the sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered concurrent four-year sentences for each count for an effective four-year sentence in the Tennessee Department of Correction. The Defendant appeals, asserting that the trial court erred when it denied him an alternative sentence. After review, we affirm the trial court's judgments.

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

          Michael R. Tabler, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, George Martin Zickefoose.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Robert W. Wilson, Assistant Attorney General; Michael L. Flynn, District Attorney General; and Ashley J. Salem, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and John Everett Williams, J., joined.



         I. Facts

         This case arises from the Defendant's participation, along with two other men, in the burglary, theft, and vandalism of Porter Elementary School in December 2015. The Defendant waived his right to presentment to the grand jury and, in April 2016, entered a plea of guilty to theft, vandalism, and burglary, all Class D felonies. The parties agreed that the Defendant was to be sentenced as a Range I, standard offender with a sentencing range of two to four years for each count. The trial court was to determine the length and manner of service following a sentencing hearing.

         At the sentencing hearing, the parties stipulated that the restitution would be $8, 494.56 for the vandalism conviction and $5, 185.00 for the burglary conviction. The restitution was to be "joint and several with his co-defendant[s]." At the request of the State, the trial court entered into evidence the presentence report, a copy of a January 17, 2014 misdemeanor conviction, copies of two March 4, 2014 misdemeanor drug convictions, and a copy of a July 15, 2015 misdemeanor resisting arrest conviction. The trial court also entered certified copies of two July 15, 2015 violations of probation.

         Detective Joey Parton, a Blount County Sheriff's Department detective, testified that during the night of December 10, 2015, and into the morning hours of December 11, the Defendant participated in the vandalism, burglary and theft of Porter Elementary School. Detective Parton stated that the considerable damage to the school resulted in classes being cancelled on Friday, December 11, 2015. He said there was "extensive glass breakage" throughout the school buildings and described the school as looking like "a war zone" with glass scattered all over the hallways and classrooms. He said that there were televisions damaged and "the clinic" was "ransack[ed]." The school had been collecting stocking stuffers for underprivileged children and candy was strewn throughout one of the hallways. The investigation revealed empty wrappers and the consumption of food outside the cafeteria freezer and in the dining hall. Through Detective Parton, the State introduced photographs of the damage to Porter Elementary School.

         Detective Parton interviewed the Defendant about these crimes, and the Defendant admitted his involvement. The Defendant specifically admitted entering the school building and taking "[s]everal laptop computers, some Apple TV's, some food from the cafeteria" and additional electronic items. Detective Parton described the Defendant as cooperative during the interview, offering assistance in locating some of the stolen items. The Defendant admitted that he and his co-defendants had consumed "a large amount of alcohol" and expressed remorse for his involvement. Detective Parton confirmed that some of the stolen items were recovered. Detective Parton stated that initially one of the co-defendants was not forthcoming about the crimes; however, the Defendant spoke with this co-defendant and encouraged him to be honest with law enforcement.

         The Defendant testified that he was twenty-two years old at the time of these crimes. The Defendant said that he was adopted when he was two-years-old. He grew up in Walland, Tennessee where he was "the only minority for a great while." This caused him to feel that he did not "fit in, " and he began acting out. He first became involved in the juvenile system at age twelve based upon truancy issues. Later, he became involved with marijuana, which ultimately resulted in his placement in State custody when he was fourteen years old. From age fourteen to seventeen, the Defendant complied with his probation requirements ...

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