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State v. Tiller

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

October 9, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
MONTREKUS LAMON TILLER

          Assigned on Briefs August 1, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Hardeman County No. 16-CR-30 J. Weber McCraw, Judge

         Defendant, Montrekus Lamon Tiller, was convicted of aggravated assault. He received a sentence of six years' incarceration to be suspended after 350 days. On appeal, he argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. After review, we find that the evidence was sufficient to support his conviction. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

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

          Billy G. Burk, District Public Defender; Periann Houghton (on appeal), Assistant Public Defender; and George D. Norton, Jr. (at trial), Selmer, Tennessee, for the appellant, Montrekus Lamon Tiller.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Senior Counsel; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Joe Van Dyke, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and Robert W. Wedemeyer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE

         Factual and Procedural History

         A Hardeman County grand jury indicted Defendant with one count of aggravated assault. The following facts were adduced at trial.

         On April 26, 2014, Troy Turner, the victim, drove to a BP gas station in Whiteville, Tennessee, with his friend, Jerron Warren, and the victim's son as passengers. Once at the gas station, the victim got out of the vehicle and began filling it with gas. Mr. Warren went inside the gas station to pay for the gas. During this time, Defendant, his two sons, and a man named "Jerome" approached the victim. The victim is married to the mother of Defendant's two sons, and it appears that one of Defendant's sons was the topic of a discussion between Defendant and the victim. After a brief exchange of words, Defendant punched the victim in the face.

         Mr. Warren witnessed Defendant punch the victim, and Mr. Warren retrieved his Glock 17 pistol from the glove compartment of the car. According to Mr. Warren, he was unable to cock the pistol or point it at anyone before he received a strike to the temple and fought with one of the men who had approached the victim. During this tussle, Mr. Warren received a second strike to the temple and lost consciousness. Once Defendant emerged with possession of the Glock 17, Defendant returned to his truck, and the victim returned to the vehicle that he was filling with gas. As they left the gas station in their respective vehicles, the victim turned and headed west while Defendant turned and headed east. When their paths crossed, the victim claims Defendant had the gun in his hand, held the gun out the window of the vehicle, and fired a shot. Even though the shot did not hit the victim or his vehicle, he feared for both his life and the life of his child.

         Upon regaining consciousness, Mr. Warren stood up and attempted to get away, but he was hit by a pick-up truck in the parking lot of the gas station. After getting hit by a truck and picking himself up from the ground for a second time, Mr. Warren heard a gunshot as he ran to safety. Eventually, he was able to run across the highway in front of the gas station and hide in the woods until the police arrived. While waiting in the woods, Mr. Warren heard a second gunshot.

         Defendant gave inconsistent statements to police. Defendant's first statement depicted the events as resulting from a harshly worded conversation between Defendant and the victim. As that conversation progressed, the victim approached one of Defendant's sons with "his hand down like he was finna [sic] hit him." At this point, Defendant hit the victim. Subsequently, Defendant heard one of his sons say, "[D]on't shoot me." Then, Defendant fought Mr. Warren for possession of the Glock 17. As Defendant made his way back to his vehicle with the Glock 17, the victim "ran ...


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