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State v. Mims

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

November 22, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
RAYMOND BANJARD MIMS [1]

          Session September 19, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Sullivan County No. S63705 R. Jerry Beck, Judge

         After being charged by presentment with three counts of the Class A felony, criminal conspiracy to commit first degree murder, as well as one count of criminal conspiracy to possess more than ten pounds of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver and one count of simple possession of marijuana, Defendant, Raymond Banjard Mims, entered a quite favorable plea agreement. Defendant pled guilty to greatly reduced counts of conspiracy to commit assault, Class B misdemeanors, in addition to conspiracy to possess over ten pounds of marijuana for sale or delivery and simple possession of marijuana in exchange for an effective sentence of two years. He reserved the right to seek an alternative sentence. The trial court denied alternative sentencing. Defendant appeals the denial of an alternative sentence. After a review, we determine that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering Defendant to serve his sentence in confinement. Accordingly, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

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

          James T. Bowman (at plea and on appeal), Johnson City, Tennessee, and C. Brad Sproles (on appeal), Kingsport, Tennessee, for the appellant, Raymond Banjard Mims.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Katherine C. Redding, Assistant Attorney General; Barry P. Staubus, District Attorney General; and Joseph Eugene Perrin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Norma McGee Ogle and Robert W. Wedemeyer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE.

         In April of 2015, Defendant and Bradley Joe Hirst were indicted by the Sullivan County Grand Jury for three counts of conspiracy to commit first degree murder, conspiracy to possess over ten pounds of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, and possession of marijuana.

         Prior to trial, Defendant pled guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit assault, a class B misdemeanor, in exchange for a sentence of six months with 75% release eligibility. Defendant also pled guilty to conspiracy to possess more than ten pounds of marijuana for sale or delivery and simple possession of marijuana, in exchange for sentences of two years and six months, respectively.[2] The plea agreement specified that Defendant could apply for probation.

         At the plea hearing, the State announced the evidence would establish that Tony Thomas, a small-time drug dealer, met Defendant through his supplier, "Rack." Mr. Thomas told Defendant that he could get large quantities of marijuana from an associate named T.J. Hamler in Houston, Texas. Defendant was willing to provide the money to secure the purchase of the marijuana but did not want to come in contact with the drugs. Arrangements were made for Codefendant Hirst and Mr. Thomas to go to Houston to purchase the marijuana. The ill-fated plan was for Mr. Thomas to take $20, 000 and purchase 50 pounds of marijuana directly from an associate in Texas. Before they left, Codefendant Hirst provided Mr. Thomas's wife, Kimberly, with his cell phone number so that the couple could communicate while Mr. Thomas was gone.

         Mr. Thomas and Codefendant Hirst arrived in Houston and checked in to a Residence Inn where Codefendant Hirst introduced Mr. Thomas to an individual with the street name of "Cowboy." Codefendant Hirst left with "Cowboy" and later returned by himself, telling Mr. Thomas that "Cowboy" was in the parking lot with the marijuana. Mr. Thomas went to the parking lot and got into a vehicle with "Cowboy." According to Mr. Thomas, "Cowboy" took the $20, 000 by gunpoint.

         At that point, Mr. Thomas was not sure if he had been set up by Codefendant Hirst or if he had actually been robbed, so he went to a Greyhound bus station and called his wife. His wife picked him up at the bus station in Atlanta. On the way to Atlanta, Mrs. Thomas was called several times by Codefendant Hirst. At first, Codefendant Hirst inquired about Mr. Thomas's whereabouts, but eventually Codefendant Hirst began to threaten Mr. Thomas, insinuating that he had ripped them off and stolen the money. At one point, Codefendant Hirst told Mrs. Thomas he would "get in [her] house and [he would] kill [her] and [her] family if we don't get this money back." Mr. and Mrs. Thomas made it back to Kingsport but fled to Virginia Beach shortly thereafter for safety concern.

         When Codefendant Hirst returned to Kingsport, he recruited several men to attempt to get the money back from Mr. Thomas. Four men, including Codefendant Hirst, went to Mr. Thomas's apartment. Codefendant Hirst was armed with a handgun and made statements to Mr. Thomas about the lengths he would go to in order to recover the money, including threatening the use of force and violence. The three men who had agreed to help Codefendant Hirst changed their minds at this point, withdrawing from their agreement to assist him in getting the money back from Mr. Thomas. One of the men, Megan Loggans, came forward to the police because he ...


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