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State v. Harmon

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

July 3, 2017


          Assigned on Briefs June 27, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Knox County No. 104777 G. Scott Green, Judge

         Arzell A. Harmon ("the Defendant") pleaded guilty to attempted second degree murder and was sentenced pursuant to a plea agreement to ten years at thirty percent release eligibility with the manner of service to be determined by the trial court. At the sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered the Defendant to serve his ten-year sentence in confinement. The Defendant then filed a motion for reduction of sentence pursuant to Rule 35 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure, which the trial court summarily denied. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that the trial court abused its discretion by denying his Rule 35 motion. Alternatively, the Defendant contends that the trial court should have converted his Rule 35 motion into a petition for post-conviction relief. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the Knox County Criminal Court.

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

          Arzell A. Harmon, Hartsville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; Charme Allen, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert L. Holloway, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., and Camille R. McMullen, JJ., joined.



         Factual and Procedural Background

         On January 16, 2015, the Defendant was charged by information with attempted second degree murder, a Class B felony. The same day, the Defendant waived his right to a jury trial and entered a guilty plea to the charged offense. Pursuant to a plea agreement, the Defendant was sentenced, as a Range I, standard offender, to ten years with the trial court to determine the manner of service of the sentence.[1]

         At a subsequent sentencing hearing conducted November 13, 2015, the State offered into evidence without objection the Defendant's presentence report. The presentence report contained the following facts regarding the offense:[2]

On 10/19/14, a warrant was issued charging the [D]efendant with the offense of attempted first degree murder (premeditated and intentional). It alleges that on 10/18/14, deputies with the Knox County Sheriff's office responded to . . . Carter Road on reports of a victim with multiple gunshot wounds. The juvenile suspect contacted the victim (Eric Stevens) at the request of the suspects to speak with him about obtaining a tattoo. The juvenile suspect conveyed to the victim [his] desires, and the victim gave the juvenile suspect his address. The juvenile suspect and three other suspects drove to the victim's residence, and all suspects except for the juvenile exited the vehicle short of the victim's residence. The juvenile suspect picked up the victim from his residence and drove down the road and pulled in the driveway of 5005 Brown Gap Road (which is an abandoned house). [Co-defendant] Raymond Pryor . . . then approached the vehicle with [the Defendant], and [Co-defendant] Tonia Chaney . . . hit the victim about the head with a gun while he was seated in the vehicle, then demanded him to exit. As the victim was exiting, the Defendant took the gun from [Co-defendant] Pryor, and as [Co-defendant] Chaney was beginning to strike the victim with a closed fist, [the Defendant] shot the victim two times and as the victim was running away, [the Defendant] attempted to shoot the victim a third time though the firearm would not discharge again due to a weapon malfunction. All suspects then exited the scene and fled, throwing evidence of the robbery of the victim's property in a trash can at Walbrook studio apartments. The victim left some of his property and equipment in the car, which was then stolen by the defendants. Some of the property was recovered. Value of stolen property exceeds $1, 000.00.

         The State submitted evidence that the Defendant was not qualified for Enhanced Probation due to the nature of the offense and the Defendant's "lengthy misdemeanor record." However, the State acknowledged that the Defendant had been cooperative and truthful with investigators and that the Defendant's agreement to testify against Co-defendant Pryor led to Co-defendant Pryor's decision to plead guilty.

         In a victim impact statement, the victim explained that he suffered permanent injuries. He was shot in the leg and in the groin area, and one bullet almost hit his femoral artery. He lost a testicle as a result of the shooting. The victim further stated that the Defendant attempted to shoot him in the back of the head as the victim ran from the scene. The victim also recalled that, during various courtroom proceedings in the case, the Defendant "made gestures" and "had to be kicked out of courtrooms[.]" At the conclusion of the hearing, ...

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