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State v. Beauregard

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

January 16, 2018


          Assigned on Briefs November 7, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Madison County No. 16-451 Roy B. Morgan, Judge

         The defendant, Douglas Beauregard, appeals his Madison County Criminal Court jury conviction of vandalism of property valued at more than $500 but less than $1, 000, alleging an insufficiency of evidence and error in the sentencing and restitution decisions of the trial court. Because the record does not support either the denial of all forms of alternative sentencing or the amount of restitution ordered in this case, we reverse the imposition of a fully incarcerative sentence, vacate the restitution order, and remand the case to the trial court for a new sentencing hearing.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3; Judgment of the Criminal Court Reversed; Vacated; Remanded

          Jeremy B. Epperson, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Douglas Beauregard.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Andrew C. Coulam, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Jody S. Pickens, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          James Curwood Witt, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., JJ., joined.



         The Madison County Grand Jury charged the defendant with a single count of vandalism of property valued at more than $500 but less than $1, 000.

         At the defendant's January 2017 trial, Tammy Keller testified that she and the defendant were in a romantic relationship for 12 years and that they share a son. Following the end of their relationship, Ms. Keller continued to reside at 53 Tinker Hill Drive, but the defendant did not. Ms. Keller began a romantic relationship with the victim, Frank Newberry, and the victim was an occasional overnight guest at Ms. Keller's Tinker Hill Drive residence. On May 7, 2016, Mr. Newberry spent the night with Ms. Keller at her residence. At approximately 3:00 a.m., the couple heard a noise outside the residence and went to investigate. Mr. Newberry observed that the tires on his Aspen SUV "had been flattened." Ms. Keller noticed that the surveillance camera affixed to the corner of the house "had been tilted." She telephoned the police.

         Ms. Keller provided the defendant's name as a suspect based upon her interactions with the defendant during the previous day. Ms. Keller said that she maintained an "open policy" whereby she allowed the defendant to "come at any time" to see their son. After the police left, Ms. Keller and Mr. Newberry went back inside the house. A short time later, Mr. Newberry went back outside, saying that "he felt uneasy." Sometime later, Ms. Keller received a telephone call from Mr. Newberry telling her that the police were bringing him back to her house. Ms. Keller did not see the defendant, and, as far as she was concerned, the defendant had no reason to be hiding behind her house.

         Mr. Newberry testified that he dated Ms. Keller for approximately eight and a half months and that he was an occasional overnight visitor at her residence. Before May 7, 2016, Mr. Newberry did not know the defendant, but the two men had exchanged text messages in which the defendant told Mr. Newberry that the defendant and Ms. Keller were going to get back together. On May 7, 2016, Mr. Newberry drove to Ms. Keller's house in his Chrysler Aspen SUV after his shift ended at midnight. Mr. Newberry had just paid $1, 200 for a set of four new tires. Mr. Newberry and Ms. Keller went to bed and woke to a loud noise at approximately 3:00 a.m. When they went outside to investigate, Mr. Newberry saw that all four of his tires had been slashed. Ms. Keller telephoned the police.

         Mr. Newberry then sent a text message to the defendant telling the defendant "to bring his . . . back up there." The defendant did not respond. After the police left, Mr. Newberry went back inside for a short time before he went back outside to look around. As he walked in the back yard, Mr. Newberry "kept hearing a little rustling over here in the side of the house in some woods." When he turned his flashlight in the direction of the sound, he "saw something reflect off of something in the woods" and then saw a man go "running through the woods out behind the house." Mr. Newberry gave chase. When he got close enough, he recognized the man as the defendant. He then telephoned 9-1-1 "and asked them to get somebody back over there" because he "was chasing the person that cut" his tires. The police eventually stopped the men near Englewood Church.

         During cross-examination, Mr. Newberry testified that he paid $900 to replace the tires on his SUV. Mr. Newberry acknowledged that he was armed with a bat when he first encountered the defendant in the woods behind Ms. Keller's house. Mr. Newberry admitted that he chased the defendant with the bat.

         Jackson Police Department Officer Taylor Lawley testified that he responded to Ms. Keller's residence to take a property damage report. He observed that Mr. Newberry's vehicle had four flat tires. Ms. Keller pointed out that the surveillance camera on the corner of the house had been moved so that it no longer captured the driveway. After he left Ms. Keller's residence, Officer Lawley went to Old Hickory Mall, where he parked his patrol car. Shortly thereafter, he "got a call of a subject chasing another subject down North Highland towards the area of Englewood." Believing the call to be related to his earlier call, he drove in that direction hoping to see the two men. Another officer stopped the men near the church, and Officer Lawley was the second officer to arrive.

         Officer Lawley asked the defendant why he was out at that hour, and the defendant told Officer Lawley "that he'd just been out for a walk in the Tinker Hill area and then Mr. Newberry all of a sudden started chasing him and telling him to stop." The defendant said that "he didn't know who Mr. Newberry was" and "that he had no idea what was going on." The defendant's last known address was in Bolivar, and either Mr. Newberry or Ms. Keller told Officer Lawley that the defendant "was possibly living in the Smyrna or ...

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