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State v. Black

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

September 25, 2017


          Assigned on Briefs September 13, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Montgomery County No. 63CC1-2015-CR-487 Ross H. Hicks, Judge

         A Montgomery County jury convicted the Defendant, Joshua Glenn Black, of first degree premeditated murder, felony murder, and two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping. The trial court imposed an effective sentence of life imprisonment. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the trial court erred in allowing a trial exhibit, the front door from the victim's apartment, to remain in the courtroom for a period of time during the trial and (2) the State engaged in prosecutorial misconduct during closing arguments. Upon reviewing the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

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

          Roger E. Nell, District Public Defender; and Charles S. Bloodworth, Assistant District Public Defender, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joshua Glenn Black.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; M. Todd Ridley, Assistant Attorney General; John W. Carney, District Attorney General; and Robert Nash, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          John Everett Williams, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Robert L. Holloway, Jr., and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ., joined.




         The evidence presented at trial established that during the early morning hours of April 23, 2014, the Defendant killed Ms. Nancy Lowry, with whom he had been seeking a relationship, by stabbing her multiple times with a knife. The Defendant was convicted of first degree premeditated murder, felony murder during the perpetration of or attempt to perpetrate kidnapping, especially aggravated kidnapping with serious bodily injury, and especially aggravated kidnapping with the use of a deadly weapon. Because the Defendant does not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence relating to his convictions, we briefly summarize the evidence presented at trial.

         According to the evidence presented at trial, the victim viewed her relationship with the Defendant as simply a friendship, and she was dating other men. On several occasions, the victim informed her friend Mr. Eric Delgado that she was attempting to end her friendship with the Defendant. The Defendant, however, told his roommate on multiple occasions that he loved the victim, that he did not like her dating other men, and that "if he can't have her, no one can."

         In March 2014, the victim gave Mr. Delgado recordings of a conversation between the victim and the Defendant in which they discussed an incident that occurred on Valentine's Day of 2014. According to the recordings, the Defendant told the victim that he had purchased a bouquet of flowers and a ring and had hoped to give them to her. However, he discovered that the victim was at another man's home. The Defendant told the victim that he drove to the man's home and waited in a field for four hours. He acknowledged that he had a rifle while waiting outside the man's home and discussed wanting to kill the man. The Defendant initially denied that he would have hurt the victim. He stated that when he saw the victim's car pull up to the man's house, "anger seized through" him and he thought of how he should kill the victim and the man. He said:

Should I slit her throat…? Should I blow their god d**n cars up when they're in it or when they're standing next to it? Or should I just blow [th]em to hell with this rifle? Or should I just kick the d**n door in and go in with a handgun and take both of them out, one of [th]em out, one of [their] kneecap[s] out, one's face off? I didn't know what the hell I wanted to do. I didn't know if I wanted to stick someone's head in a thing of f*****g boiling water and pull their god d**n face right off.

         On April 23, 2014, at approximately 2:23 a.m., Ms. Vanessa Gross, who was staying at an apartment on the same floor as the victim's apartment, heard someone run loudly up the stairwell, pass by her apartment, and proceed toward the front of the building in the area where the victim's apartment was located. Ms. Gross then heard someone knock softly on the door of a nearby apartment and a male voice whispering. Ms. Gross looked through the peephole of her apartment but ...

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