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State v. Gant

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

October 5, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
JAMARIUS DEON GANT

          Assigned on Briefs July 25, 2017 at Knoxville

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Madison County No. 15-487 Kyle C. Atkins, Judge

         The Defendant, Jamarius Deon Gant, was convicted by a Madison County Circuit Court jury of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, aggravated kidnapping, a Class B felony, and facilitation of burglary of a vehicle, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-402 (2014) (aggravated robbery), 39-13-304 (2014) (aggravated kidnapping), 39-11-403 (2014) (facilitation of a felony), 39-14-402 (2014) (burglary of a vehicle). The Defendant also pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a handgun by a convicted felon. See T.C.A. §§ 39-17-1307 (2014) (amended 2017). The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range I, standard offender to consecutive nine-year terms for the aggravated robbery and aggravated kidnapping convictions. The Defendant received concurrent sentences of four years for the firearm convictions and eleven months, twenty-nine days for the facilitation of burglary of a vehicle, for an effective eighteen years' confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support a conviction for aggravated kidnapping, and (2) the trial court erred during sentencing. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

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

          John D. Hamilton (on appeal) and Susan D. Korsnes (at trial), Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jamarius Deon Gant.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Jonathan H. Wardle, Assistant Attorney General; Jody S. Pickens, District Attorney General; and Aaron A. Chaplin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Alan E. Glenn and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          ROBERT H. MONTGOMERY, JR., JUDGE

         This case arises from an incident at Jessica Spencer's apartment in Jackson, Tennessee, on the night of March 30, 2015. Ezikeal Scott testified that he and Ms. Spencer went to dinner that night and returned to her apartment. Mr. Scott stated that he sat on the couch in the living room and that Ms. Spencer went to her bedroom. Mr. Scott said that a man, later identified as the Defendant, came into the living room from the back of the apartment and sat down on the couch. Mr. Scott stated that the Defendant inquired about Mr. Scott's Ford Mustang, which was parked outside, and that Mr. Scott told the Defendant the Mustang was for sale. Mr. Scott said that the Defendant told him he had a gun for sale and showed Mr. Scott a revolver.

         Mr. Scott testified that he heard a knock at the door, that Ms. Spencer told the Defendant to answer the door, and that a man, who was unknown to Mr. Scott, came into the apartment. Mr. Scott said that Ms. Spencer was in the bathroom when the man arrived. Mr. Scott stated that the man sat down on the couch beside him and that the Defendant stood behind the couch. Mr. Scott said that a second man, also unknown to Mr. Scott, entered the apartment. The man wore a ski mask that covered his face and held a handgun. Mr. Scott said that the masked man attempted to load the handgun with a bullet and that another bullet fell from the handgun's chamber onto the floor.

         Mr. Scott testified that the Defendant ordered Mr. Scott to the back of the apartment and that the first unknown man escorted Mr. Scott. Mr. Scott stated that the Defendant came into the back room and told the first unknown man to "check him for anything that [he] had" and that the first unknown man began searching Mr. Scott's shirt and pants.

         Mr. Scott testified that they escorted him to the living room and that the Defendant and the man wearing a mask ordered Mr. Scott to remove his clothing, his wallet and money, and to lie face-down on the floor. Mr. Scott stated that the masked man pointed a gun at him as he undressed and that he felt threatened. Mr. Scott said that he lay face down on the floor when the men brought Ms. Spencer into the living room. Mr. Scott stated that he and Ms. Spencer were ordered to sit on the couch.

         Mr. Scott testified that the Defendant told the other two unknown men to go to Mr. Scott's Mustang and that the Defendant stayed with Mr. Scott and Ms. Spencer inside the apartment. Mr. Scott said that the unknown men returned with three televisions, cologne, and cell phones, which they had retrieved from Mr. Scott's Mustang. Mr. Scott stated that the Defendant and the men took his wallet, money, and another cell phone from Mr. Scott's pants pocket. Mr. Scott said that the masked man asked him if he wanted to see Ms. Spencer raped and that Mr. Scott replied, "No." Mr. Scott stated that the unknown men left the apartment and that the Defendant told the men to "call . . . when you get to where you're going."

          Mr. Scott testified that the Defendant remained in the living room with the revolver. Mr. Scott stated that the Defendant told him that he could not leave until the unknown men "got to where they were going." Mr. Scott said that the Defendant instructed him not to report the incident to the police. Mr. Scott stated that the Defendant allowed him to leave after approximately five minutes but that Ms. Spencer remained in the apartment. Mr. Scott stated that he drove his Mustang home. He said that his mother contacted the police, that he gave the police a statement, and that he gave the police a description of the Defendant, who was wearing red clothing. Mr. Scott stated that he identified the Defendant in a photograph lineup.

         On cross-examination, Mr. Scott testified that during the preliminary hearing, he mistakenly stated that no one other than the masked man was armed. He said the Defendant had a gun. On redirect examination, Mr. Scott stated that he "was being held like [he] couldn't move." He stated that before the Defendant allowed him to leave the ...


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