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State v. Greca

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

December 7, 2017


          Assigned on Briefs November 28, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Campbell County No. 16921 E. Shayne Sexton, Judge

         A Campbell County Criminal Court jury convicted the defendant, Dale Albert Greca, of especially aggravated kidnapping, robbery, unlawfully carrying a firearm in a public place, and driving on a suspended license - second offense. As a result of his convictions, the defendant received an effective sentence of twenty-four years in confinement. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain his conviction for especially aggravated kidnapping. He argues the confinement and removal of the victim did not substantially interfere with the victim's liberty and the confinement was simply incidental to the robbery. He also contends that the evidence is insufficient to support a finding that the kidnapping was accomplished with a deadly weapon because the jury found him guilty of the lesser-included offense of robbery rather than the indicted offense of aggravated robbery. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

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

          Wesley D. Stone (on appeal) and Keith Hatfield (at trial), Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Dale Albert Greca.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Jared R. Effler, District Attorney General; and Tom Barclay, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          J. Ross Dyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., joined.


          J. ROSS DYER, JUDGE

         Facts and Procedural History

         On May 6, 2015, the victim, Stanley Foust, was employed by the City of LaFollette within the Public Works Department and was tasked with mowing the right-of-way along Central and Jacksboro Pike. That day, the victim was working alone, driving a city owned, white Jeep Cherokee, and towing a trailer with a zero turn mower on it.

         At some point during his work day, the victim stopped at the West End Marathon gas station for a break and to purchase something drink. As he was exiting the gas station parking lot and waiting for traffic to clear, the victim noticed the defendant walking on the other side of the street. The defendant then started running towards the victim's vehicle. Before the victim realized it, the defendant opened the passenger door to the victim's vehicle, had one leg inside the vehicle, and was pointing a gun at the victim. After the defendant entered the vehicle and while pointing his gun at the victim, the defendant "told" the victim to drive him to Caryville. According to the victim, the defendant's gun was a stainless steel revolver. The victim also testified that he was "very scared."

         About ten minutes into the drive to Caryville, as they approached the Walmart in Jacksboro, the defendant informed the victim that he wanted to be taken to the Campbell County Sheriff's Department. The victim, in an attempt to comply with the defendant's newest demand, adjusted the route and drove towards the sheriff's department. However, as they approached the Jacksboro courthouse, the defendant asked where the Jacksboro Police Station was located. After the victim pointed to the police station, the defendant instructed the victim to "take [him] back to LaFollette." At no point during the incident did the defendant ever ask the victim to pull over or stop the vehicle. According to the victim, there were several places he could have safely pulled over or pulled off the road had the defendant instructed him to do so.

         While driving back to LaFollette, the victim, fearing "that [the defendant] was going to kill me or do something to me, " tried to figure out how he could exit the vehicle and safely escape from the defendant. When the victim came to a stop at a red light, he noticed the defendant was looking out the window and not holding the gun on him. The victim took advantage of this moment, jumped out of the vehicle, ran and hid behind an "18-wheeler, " and immediately called his supervisor, James Mullins, to inform Mr. Mullins the vehicle and lawnmower had been stolen. Mr. Mullins testified that the victim was "excited, gabbering, and talking real fast" when the victim called him. After speaking with the victim, Mr. Mullins called the police, reported the vehicle stolen, and then went to pick the victim up.

         Sergeant Pam Jarrett of the Jacksboro Police Department was on duty May 6, 2015, when dispatch informed officers to be on the lookout ("BOLO") for a stolen City of LaFollette vehicle hauling a trailer with a lawnmower. The BOLO also informed the officers that the individual in the vehicle was armed. Immediately upon receiving the BOLO, Sergeant Jarrett spotted the defendant and the stolen vehicle. Deputy Alan Shepard of the Campbell ...

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