Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Session September 19, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Sullivan County No. S63705 R.
Jerry Beck, Judge
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.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Criminal
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
Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Norma McGee Ogle and Robert W. Wedemeyer, JJ., joined.
TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE.
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.
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. The plea agreement specified
that Defendant could apply for probation.
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
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.
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
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 ...