Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Assigned on Briefs October 10, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Carter County No. 22378 Lisa D.
petitioner, Randy Wayne Johnson, appeals the denial of
post-conviction relief from his 2014 Carter County Criminal
Court convictions of especially aggravated kidnapping and
assault, for which he received a sentence of 25 years. In
this appeal, the petitioner contends only that he was denied
the effective assistance of counsel at trial. Discerning no
error, we affirm.
R. App. P. 3; Judgment of the Criminal Court
A. Sears II, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Randy Wayne Johnson.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia
S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Tony Clark, District
Attorney General; and Dennis Brooks, Assistant District
Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
Curwood Witt, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Camille R. McMullen and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., JJ.,
CURWOOD WITT, JR., JUDGE
Carter County Grand Jury charged the petitioner with one
count each of felony evading arrest and aggravated assault in
case number 22386 and, on the same date, charged the
petitioner with one count each of especially aggravated
kidnapping, aggravated assault, driving under the influence,
felony evading arrest, driving on a suspended license, and
simple possession in case number 22378. In case number 22386,
the State dismissed the charge of felony evading arrest, and
in case number 22378, the petitioner pleaded guilty to the
latter four charges. The petitioner waived his right to a
jury trial, and the trial court conducted a bench trial in
June 2014 on the charges of especially aggravated kidnapping
and the two separate counts of aggravated assault. The trial
court then found the defendant guilty as charged on all three
counts and sentenced the defendant to serve 25 years. On
appeal, the petitioner challenged only the sufficiency of the
convicting evidence of his especially aggravated kidnapping
conviction, and this court affirmed the conviction on direct
appeal. See State v. Randy Wayne Johnson, No.
E2014-01613-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn. Crim. App., Knoxville, June 12,
2015), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Sept. 17, 2015).
evidence adduced at the petitioner's trial established
that the victim, Brooke Thornburg, was the petitioner's
girlfriend and that, on the evening of March 19, 2013, the
victim and the petitioner's friend, Kevin Stover,
accompanied the petitioner in the cab of his truck for a
drive from Elizabethton to Jonesborough. Id., slip
op. at 2. Upon arriving in Jonesborough, Mr. Stover went
inside a residence while the petitioner and Ms. Thornburg
remained in the truck. Id. At some point, the
petitioner dropped his cigarette and he
"'yelled' at Ms. Thornburg to pick it up."
Id. When Ms. Thornburg refused, the petitioner
struck her in the face, fracturing her nose and causing
profuse bleeding. Id. Ms. Thornburg retrieved the
petitioner's cigarette, but he continued to strike her
and demand that she staunch the nasal bleeding. Id.
The petitioner threw his shirt at Ms. Thornburg, who then
used it to cover her nose. Id. Mr. Stover then
returned to the vehicle. Id. According to Ms.
Thornburg, Mr. Stover appeared to be stunned, but he took his
seat in the truck and did not involve himself in the
altercation. Id., slip op. at 2-3.
[The petitioner] began driving back to Elizabethton but
continued "screaming" at and hitting Ms. Thornburg.
She leaned into [Mr. Stover] to avoid [the petitioner], and
[Mr. Stover] told [the petitioner] to "calm down"
because Ms. Thornburg was "scared." Ms. Thornburg
"had bruises all over [her] ribs and down [her]
face" from the [petitioner's] blows.
Eventually, Ms. Thornburg surreptitiously retrieved her cell
phone from her purse, dialed 911, and returned the phone to
her purse. She instructed [the petitioner] to let her out of
the vehicle and continued to describe their location so that
the 911 dispatcher listening to the altercation through the
phone would know where to send the police. She told [the
petitioner] that she would not report the incident if he
would let her leave. . . .
Ms. Thornburg remembered [the petitioner's] threatening
her several times by saying, "I'm going to slit your
throat. I'm going to cut your throat and throw you out
here, bitch." The return ride from Jonesborough lasted
between twenty and twenty-five minutes, and ...