Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Session Date: March 14, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Jackson County No. 09-CR-20 Brody
N. Kane, Judge
2010, the Petitioner entered a "best interest" plea
to second degree murder and was sentenced to a term of
twenty-five years. On April 5, 2016, the Petitioner filed a
petition for a writ of error coram nobis, alleging
that newly discovered evidence exists. On May 5, 2016, the
trial court issued an order denying the petition as
time-barred. The Petitioner appeals, arguing that the trial
court erred by failing to toll the statute of limitations. We
affirm the trial court's judgment.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
Douglas A Trant, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Ronald Christopher Hayes.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent
C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; Tom P. Thompson, Jr.,
District Attorney General; and Ian D. Bratton, Assistant
District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of
W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Timothy L. Easter, J. joined. Camille R. McMullen, J.,
concurs in result only.
W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE
2009, a Jackson County grand jury indicted the Petitioner for
felony murder, second degree murder, and especially
aggravated child abuse for his role in the death of his
live-in girlfriend's infant child, the victim. On April
13, 2010, by agreement of the parties, the Petitioner entered
a "best interest" plea of guilty to second degree
murder and an agreed sentence of twenty-five years was
imposed. The remaining charges were dismissed.
April 2016, the Petitioner filed a petition for a writ of
error coram nobis, alleging newly discovered
evidence in the form of an affidavit containing
"substantial and credible information" that the
victim's mother, Brandi Castle, had inflicted injuries on
another child, M.R.C.,  born on May 15, 2012. The affidavit was
signed by Nicole Crockett. In the affidavit, Ms. Crockett
explains that, shortly after her marriage to "Pletz,
" she received a phone call from Ms. Castle demanding
child support for M.R.C., who Ms. Castle claimed was
"Pletz's" biological child. After DNA testing
confirmed the allegation, the Crocketts began visiting with
M.R.C. when allowed and paying child support. The affidavit
details numerous alleged lies Ms. Castle told, Ms.
Castle's evasive behavior, odd bruising on M.R.C., and
neglect of the children the Crocketts witnessed while in Ms.
Castle's home. The affidavit concludes with the following
After having a chance to reflect and review the information
as well as the new information and pictures from the past, my
husband and I are convinced there is a pattern of a child
abuse, lack of supervision, poor parental judgement [sic],
and we truly have doubts of [the Petitioner]'s
involvement in the case of [the victim]. With that being
said, our doubts of [the Petitioner] involvement resides on
facts of the past pictures before [the Petitioner] knew [Ms.
Castle] showing bruising and marks on [the victim] that are
extremely similar to [M.R.C.]'s marks. Sadly there are
the pictures of [the victim]'s autopsy pictures that were
able to be viewed and compared that measure the same size and
patterns of [M.R.C.]'s bruises/marks. It truly seems as
though [Ms. Castle] has slipped through another situation to
where the children are the victims.
25, 2016, the trial court issued an ordered denying the
petition as untimely. It is from this judgment that the
Petitioner now appeals.