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State v. Brooks

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

September 8, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
MARCUS JERMAINE BROOKS

          Assigned on Briefs June 6, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Madison County No. 16-93 Roy B. Morgan, Jr., Judge

         A Madison County Circuit Court Jury convicted the Appellant, Marcus Jermaine Brooks, of aggravated assault by strangulation, a Class C felony, and the trial court sentenced him as a Range II, multiple offender to eight years in confinement. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction. Based upon the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

          George D. Norton, Jr., Selmer, Tennessee, for the appellant, Marcus Jermaine Brooks.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Ruth Ann Thompson, Senior Counsel; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and Rolf Hazlehurst, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Norma McGee Ogle, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., joined.

          OPINION

          NORMA MCGEE OGLE, JUDGE

         I. Factual Background

         In February 2016, the Madison County Grand Jury indicted the Appellant for aggravated assault by strangulation and misdemeanor assault of his then-girlfriend, Nicole Hewitt Anderson. On the morning of trial, the trial court announced that the State was dismissing the misdemeanor assault charge via nolle prosequi.

         At trial, the victim testified that she was a history professor at Lane College and that she and the Appellant, a student at the college, were in a relationship for two and one-half years. On September 30, 2015, the victim, who was also a certified lifeguard, had been hired to work as a lifeguard at a student pool party. The Appellant was going to the party, so the victim and the Appellant went to the party together in the victim's car. The Appellant asked her for a ride home from the party, and the victim agreed.

         The victim testified that after the party, a male student approached her to talk about missing class. The Appellant asked the student why he was talking to the victim "after hours" and ordered the victim into her car. The Appellant and the student "exchanged words, " and the victim, who was sitting in the passenger seat of her car, tried to get out to calm the Appellant. However, the Appellant pushed on the door so that she could not get out. The Appellant got into the driver's seat and asked the victim about the student and if she was having a sexual relationship with him.

         The victim testified that the Appellant drove to his house on Davidfield Cove, that they argued during the drive, and that she told him she did not want to be in a relationship with him anymore. When they arrived at the Appellant's home, they were still arguing. The victim got out of her car and sat in the driver's seat so she could leave, but the Appellant blocked the driver's door so she could not close it. He then grabbed her hair, pulled her out of her car, and pulled her onto the ground in his front yard. The victim said that the Appellant put his knees on her chest, that he began strangling and hitting her, and that she was screaming. She stated,

He's hitting me in the face. I can remember him hitting me in the face. I was trying to block the punches. But the main thing that he was -- he was strangling me and I was trying to tell him to stop and I was trying to scream in between.

         The Appellant had both of his hands around the victim's neck in a "tight choke hold." The victim could not breathe and was becoming very weak. She stated that "he would stop every now and then and say some words to [her]" and that he told her, "'I don't have any problems with going to jail for you.'" He also told her, "'My face is the last thing that you'll ever see[.]'" At that point, the victim thought the ...


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