Assigned on Briefs May 17, 2017, at Knoxville
from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 14-05232 James
M. Lammey, Judge
Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant, Christopher
Collier, of theft of property valued at $1, 000 or more but
less than $10, 000, and the trial court sentenced the
Defendant to twelve years of incarceration as a persistent
offender. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency
of the evidence. Upon reviewing the record and the applicable
law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Stephen C. Bush, District Public Defender; Harry E. Sayle III
(on appeal) and William Johnson (at trial), Assistant
District Public Defenders, for the appellant, Christopher
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Clark
B. Thornton, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District
Attorney General; and Chris Lareau, Assistant District
Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
Everett Williams, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and Robert W. Wedemeyer, J.,
EVERETT WILLIAMS, JUDGE
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Defendant and his co-defendants, Ephram Collier and Chester
Dickson, were indicted on theft of property valued at $1, 000
or more but less than $10, 000 for stealing a trailer and
lawn equipment belonging to Mr. Kenneth Knox, a landscape
contractor, during the early morning hours of May 15, 2014.
Mr. Ephram Collier also was charged with evading arrest. We
glean from the record that the co-defendants subsequently
entered guilty pleas regarding the charges. The Defendant,
however, chose to proceed with a trial.
the trial, Mr. Roderick Smith testified that at the time of
the offense, he was staying with his cousin, who lived next
door to Mr. Knox in Memphis. Mr. Smith had just put down his
infant son for the night when he heard dogs barking in the
backyard. He looked outside and saw two men walking around
Mr. Knox's trailer. Mr. Smith could not see the faces of
the men because it was dark outside. He said that both men
were African American, that one man was short and had a
"low" haircut, and that the other man was tall and
had small dread locks. Mr. Smith saw one man get into the
front passenger seat of a truck and another man get in the
back seat. Mr. Smith and his cousin went outside, and Mr.
Smith saw the truck with the two men inside driving away with
Mr. Knox's trailer. Mr. Smith notified Mr. Knox, who then
left in his truck to search for the trailer.
Smith testified that police officers arrived four to six
minutes later and took statements from the witnesses. A short
time later and after Mr. Knox returned to his home, an
officer reported that a trailer had been located a short
distance from Mr. Knox's home. The officer transported
Mr. Smith and Mr. Knox to the trailer, which was
approximately three to five minutes away from Mr. Knox's
home, and Mr. Knox identified his property.
cross-examination, Mr. Smith testified that the incident
occurred sometime after midnight. He said he was alerted by
the dogs, which generally did not bark unless someone was
walking around the backyard area. Mr. Smith stated that when
he looked outside, he saw a white Jeep backing into the
trailer and two men walking around the Jeep. He did not see
the men hooking the trailer up to the Jeep but said that he
saw one man jump into the back seat of the Jeep and another
man jump into the front passenger seat. Mr. Smith did not see
anyone enter the Jeep on the driver's side. He
subsequently saw the Jeep drive away and turn right down
North Watkins Street.
Kenneth Cox testified that in May 2014, he was a landscape
contractor in Memphis and lived on North Watkins Street. He
owned a trailer that he had purchased new for $700. He also
owned a Honda self-propelled push mower that he had purchased
for $1, 200 and a zero-turn riding mower that he had
purchased for $2, 500. He kept the trailer and mowers chained
to an oak tree between his carport and ...