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State v. Hardy

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

July 13, 2017


          Assigned on Briefs April 19, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Montgomery County No. 41400478 Ross Hicks, Judge

         The defendant, Willie Hardy, Jr., appeals his Montgomery County Circuit Court jury conviction of aggravated robbery, claiming that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction and that the sentence imposed was excessive. Because the trial court failed to make the requisite findings, we vacate the trial court's imposition of consecutive sentencing and remand for the limited purpose of making the appropriate findings on this issue. In all other respects, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed in Part; Vacated in Part; Remanded

          Joshua W. Etson (on appeal) and Chase Smith (at trial), Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Willie Hardy, Jr.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Ruth Anne Thompson, Assistant Attorney General; John W. Carney, District Attorney General; and C. Daniel Brollier, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          James Curwood Witt, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Camille R. McMullen, J., joined.



         The Montgomery County Grand Jury charged the defendant with one count each of aggravated robbery, being a felon in possession of a handgun, misdemeanor evading arrest, misdemeanor assault, and resisting arrest.[1] Before trial, the defendant pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a handgun, evading arrest, assault, and resisting arrest. The trial court conducted a jury trial on the sole remaining charge of aggravated robbery in March 2015.

         The State's proof at trial established that Ricardo Carter, the victim, met Danielle Vineyard in January 2014 on a social media website, and the two arranged to get together at a local Econolodge to smoke marijuana. The victim admitted that he also sold some marijuana to Ms. Vineyard on this occasion. Approximately two days later, the victim again met with Ms. Vineyard at the Econolodge, and he again sold marijuana to her. On both of these occasions, Ms. Vineyard was alone at the motel.

         On January 30, the victim made arrangements to meet Ms. Vineyard at the Econolodge a third time. On this occasion, the two, through text messages, agreed to split the $1, 200 cost of a quarter-pound of marijuana. When the victim arrived at the motel, he had $380 in cash on his person, and he explained to the jury that the remaining money was in his vehicle. When the victim approached the motel room door, Ms. Vineyard was waiting outside and asked the victim to enter the room. As soon as the victim entered the room, the defendant stepped from behind the door, pointed a pistol at the victim's head, and demanded that the victim surrender his money and "everything [he] had." The victim described the weapon as a black and silver automatic handgun, and the victim testified that he had never seen the defendant before this instance.

         The victim immediately tried "to rush" the defendant, and the two began to tussle. The victim attempted to leave the room, but Ms. Vineyard grabbed the victim's leg, causing him to fall, and the defendant struck the victim in the mouth with the handgun. At this point, the victim "just gave up." While the defendant continued to aim the handgun at the victim, Ms. Vineyard took the victim's wallet, cellular telephone, and cash from his pockets. The defendant then directed Ms. Vineyard to "meet [him] at Wal-Mart, " and Ms. Vineyard left the room. The defendant instructed the victim to remove his clothing, and when the victim was clad in nothing but boxer shorts, he took the opportunity to flee to the bathroom and lock the door behind him.

         After waiting approximately 10 minutes, the victim emerged from the bathroom and found the motel room empty. The victim redressed and proceeded directly to the motel manager's office, where he informed the manager of what had transpired and asked him to call the police. The victim admitted that he was not initially scared of the handgun.

         Nilesh Shaw, the manager of the Econolodge, was working on the night of January 30 when the victim arrived in the lobby and claimed that he had been robbed. At the victim's request, Mr. Shaw contacted the police. Mr. Shaw testified that the Econolodge was equipped with electronic surveillance ...

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