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State v. Mofield

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

October 10, 2017


          Assigned on Briefs September 13, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2015-C-2248 Steve R. Dozier, Judge

         The Defendant, Scottie Lee Mofield, was found guilty by a Davidson County Criminal Court jury of aggravated assault, a Class C felony. See T.C.A. § 39-13-102 (2014) (amended 2015, 2016, 2017). The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range II, multiple offender to eight years' confinement and ordered his sentence to be served consecutively to a sentence in an unrelated case. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred (1) during sentencing and (2) by denying his motion for a new trial on the basis of newly discovered evidence. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

          Frank E. Mondelli, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Scottie Lee Mofield.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Ruth Ann Thompson, Senior Counsel; Glenn Funk, District Attorney General; and J. Wesley King, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

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



         This case relates to a June 2015 physical altercation involving Robert Vaughn, Maria Flowers, Ricky Palmer, and the Defendant. The Defendant and Ms. Flowers were involved in a romantic relationship at the time of the incident, and Mr. Palmer and Ms. Flowers were siblings. The Defendant, Ms. Flowers, and Mr. Palmer were indicted for the aggravated assault of Mr. Vaughn and were convicted at a joint trial.

         At the trial, Robert Vaughn testified that in June 2015, he was homeless, lived at a "camp" near an apartment complex, and earned a small income selling The Faith Unity newspaper. He said he was age sixty, was 6'1" tall, and weighed between 165 and 180 pounds. He said that on June 5, at 10:00 p.m., he left his camp to walk to a nearby convenience store to purchase a drink and cigarettes. He said that he purchased the items, left the store, placed his drink on the sidewalk, and opened his pack of cigarettes. He said that he was approached by codefendant Flowers outside the store, that codefendant Flowers wanted to know if he could spare a cigarette and a portion of his drink, and that he declined to share. H e said that codefendant Flowers pushed him, that she picked up, threw, and broke his drink on the ground, and that he was attacked from the back and side by the Defendant and codefendant Palmer. Mr. Vaughn noted that the three were standing outside the store when he arrived. He said that did not know the Defendant and codefendant Flowers personally but that he had spoken to codefendant Palmer previously.

         Mr. Vaughn testified that "they got [him] on the ground, " that the Defendant and his codefendants kicked and punched him with fists repeatedly, and that he attempted to cover his body during the attack. He said that they kicked his face, skull, chest, back, abdomen, and legs, that he attempted to stand twice during the incident, and that he fell on the ground. He said that the Defendant and his codefendants abruptly stopped attacking him and left the area. He said that he attempted to compose himself and return to his camp quickly because he feared for his life. He said that his eye was swollen closed before he left the parking lot. He said that although he had a pocket knife, he never removed it from his pants pocket.

         Mr. Vaughn testified that Dane McPeak lived at the camp with him, that Mr. McPeak attempted to treat his wounds, and that the bleeding continued. Mr. Vaughn said that Mr. McPeak talked to him all night to ensure he did not have a concussion and that he was in pain all night. He said that the next morning, Mr. McPeak spoke with Pauline Spalding, the manager of the nearby apartment complex, and that she called the police. He said that he feared what would happen if he told the police about the incident and that as a result, he initially refused to go to the hospital and to identify the Defendant and the codefendants.

         Mr. Vaughn testified that after the police and the paramedics left, Ms. Spalding convinced him to go to the emergency room and that an ambulance took him to the hospital. He learned at the hospital that he had skull fractures, a broken nose, four jaw fractures, a "shattered" eye socket, and a dislodged optic nerve. He suffered permanent blindness in his right eye, and he reported having no sight issues before the incident. He said that he had difficulty concentrating, that his depth perception was impaired, and that he fell frequently. He said that he had jaw surgery and that his other injuries healed without surgery. He said that he told Ms. Spalding who had attacked him, that he later spoke to the police about the incident, and that he identified the Defendant and the codefendants from p hotograph lineups. He said that during the incident, the Defendant kicked and "stomped" him and struck him with a fist.

         On cross-examination, Mr. Vaughn testified that the Defendant and codefendant Palmer never spoke during the incident and that Mr. Vaughn and the Defendant had no personal issues before the incident. Mr. Vaughn said that codefendant Flowers only stated that nobody was going to have the drink before she threw it on the ground. Mr. Vaughn did not know why the Defendant and his codefendants attacked him and denied grabbing codefendant Flowers's neck after she threw his drink. He said he did not have time to become upset about his drink because the Defendant and codefendant Palmer began assaulting him immediately. Mr. Vaughn agreed that his wallet, pocket knife, and cigarettes were not taken during the incident and said that he did not see anyone in the parking lot after the incident.

         Mr. Vaughn testified that his initial medical treatment was limited to the emergency room and that he was not admitted to the hospital. He agreed he was provided with medication by the emergency room physicians but said he did not receive prescriptions to obtain at a pharmacy. H e said that his ribs were bruised during the incident, that the defense should have photographs of the bruises, and that boot prints were visible in the bruises. He said that he walked to the bus stop after his release from the hospital. He said that his upper denture plate was broken during the incident. He agreed he had a history of seizures before the incident but denied any of his injuries were the result of a seizure or had been sustained during a previous seizure.

         Mr. Vaughn testified that he drank one forty-ounce bottle of beer after working on the day of the incident and that he purchased another bottle before the incident. He said the Defendant and codefendant Palmer stood about two feet from him and codefendant Flowers. Mr. Vaughn did not know if the Defendant or codefendant Palmer struck him first. Mr. Vaughn said that although he saw the Defendant and codefendant Palmer striking and kicking him, he thought ...

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