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State v. Johnson

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

January 5, 2018

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
CURTIS JOHNSON, JR.

          Assigned on Briefs July 11, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Madison County No. 15-477 Donald H. Allen, Judge

         Following a bench trial, the Defendant, Curtis Johnson, Jr., was convicted of three counts of aggravated robbery, one count of aggravated burglary, and one count of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony and was sentenced to twenty-four years' imprisonment. The sole issue presented for our review is whether the trial court abused its discretion by imposing partially consecutive sentences. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

          Lloyd R. Tatum, Henderson, Tennessee (on appeal) and Scott Kirk, Jackson, Tennessee (at trial) for the Defendant-Appellant, Curtis Johnson, Jr.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Aaron J. Chaplin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Camille R. McMullen, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Norma McGee Ogle and D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          CAMILLE R. MCMULLEN, JUDGE.

         On November 2, 2015, a Madison County Grand Jury returned an eleven-count indictment against the Defendant for three counts of aggravated robbery, one count of especially aggravated kidnapping, one count of aggravated burglary, and one count of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. The Defendant was also indicted for five counts of violating the gang enhancement statute, which were subsequently dismissed. The Defendant waived his right to a jury trial and, as relevant to the issue raised by the Defendant in this appeal, the facts presented at the August 11, 2016 bench trial were as follows:

Investigator Nicholas Donald with the Jackson Police Department testified that, on August 8, 2015, he responded to a residential burglary call. The three victims, Robert Smith, Cynthia Smith, and their grandson T.A., [1] told Investigator Donald that a man had followed T.A. inside the apartment, held them at gunpoint, and taken several items, including various electronics and cell phones. Investigator Donald testified that, a few days later, one of the stolen cell phones was located in Memphis and officers determined that the Defendant was a suspect. The victims subsequently identified the Defendant in photographic lineups, and the Defendant was arrested.

         Investigator Donald interviewed the Defendant on August 15, 2015. After signing a waiver of his Miranda rights, the Defendant provided the following written statement:

I was with some partners from Memphis on Saturday and we came down to Jackson. My partner, KO, was driving. Me, Shawn Wright, Montrell Henry, Floyd Smith, and Levert were all in the truck. We were in a white SUV and we stopped at a gas station off of the interstate. We got to Jackson and were riding around. Montrell and Shawn jumped out on a guy in a parking lot and robbed him. It was in the evening time and it was about to get dark[, ] I believe. After that we went to Cherry Grove apartments. We were sitting in the car and everybody saw this young black male and a young female. Montrell was about to rob the young female but she drove off before he could. I got out of the car and walked toward the young black guy and Shawn, and Floyd followed me. I walked in the apartment behind the dude and saw an older dude in the house too. I locked the door behind me. I asked the young dude if he knew me and the old dude asked me if I wanted to play tennis. I pulled out a black handgun from my waist and I told them to put everything in the bag. The older guy dumped some boxes of bullets out of a bag. Everybody got on the ground. I was surprised when I seen [sic] the older lady and the little boy. I put the Xbox in the bag and the older guy put the cell phones and [i][P]ads in the bag. I took some keys too. I started going through the house and I saw a safe in the backroom. I saw a sticker on the safe that was a sheriff's department star or something. I didn't know what to think when I saw it. I got everything in the bag and left. I dropped the bags off by the dumpster and ran to jump in the truck. KO drove around and Shawn picked up the bags and put them in the truck. Montrell threw the car keys in the dumpster. We all got in the truck and got back on the highway and headed to Memphis. Montrell and me started going through bags and threw out bullets and the [i][P]ad on the highway. On Sunday I met a girl named Erica in east Memphis and gave her a ride to Northwood Hills and sold her one of the phones.

         Sixteen-year-old T.A. testified that, on the evening of August 8, 2015, he was walking home to the apartment he shared with his parents and four-year-old brother, A.A. At the time, T.A.'s grandparents, Robert and Cynthia Smith, were staying at the apartment while T.A.'s parents were on vacation. T.A. said that he noticed a group of men "looking at [him]" while he was walking back, but he did not think it was unusual. T.A.'s grandfather was standing outside the apartment and, once they both walked inside, T.A. noticed the Defendant standing in the doorway. The Defendant asked T.A. if he knew him, and T.A. told him he did not. The Defendant then pulled out a gun and told T.A., A.A., and their grandparents to get on the floor. T.A. testified that the Defendant began taking items from the apartment, including an iPad, cell phones, an Xbox, a watch, car keys, and cash. The Defendant saw some ammunition and demanded guns; however, the guns were locked in a safe that T.A. could not open. After the Defendant left, T.A. locked the door and called the police. T.A. confirmed giving a description of the Defendant and a written statement to Investigator Donald. T.A. also confirmed identifying the Defendant in a photographic lineup a few days later.

         T.A.'s grandparents testified similarly. Robert Smith said that the Defendant patted him down and began demanding guns. Smith said that the Defendant took his watch, cell phone, laptop, and his car and house keys. The Defendant also told the family to stay inside because he had friends waiting for them outside. Cynthia Smith ...


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