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State v. Scott

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

January 17, 2018

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
BRANDON CHRISTOPHER SCOTT

          Assigned on Briefs August 8, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2015-B-1238 Cheryl A. Blackburn, Judge

         The Defendant, Brandon Christopher Scott, was sentenced to an effective twenty-five-year sentence for his guilty-pleaded convictions to attempted first degree murder and reckless endangerment. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court failed to provide adequate analysis in support of its decision to enhance his sentence to the maximum within the range for a Class A felony, failed to assign enough weight to the one mitigating factor it found applicable, and failed to apply two additional mitigating factors. Additionally, the Defendant submits that his enhanced sentence does not comport with the purposes and principles of our Sentencing Act. Following our review, we find no abuse of discretion in the trial court's sentencing decision.

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

          Michael A. Colavecchio, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Brandon Christopher Scott.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Glenn R. Funk, District Attorney General; and Pamela S. Anderson, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Robert W. Wedemeyer and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          D. KELLY THOMAS, JR., JUDGE

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         In May 2015, the Davidson County Grand Jury indicted the Defendant on three counts each of attempted first degree murder, employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony (with a previous dangerous felony conviction), and reckless endangerment. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-11-106, -12-101, -13-103, -13-202, -17-1324. The Defendant was charged along with three co-defendants-Jamar D. Medaries, Porcha J. Medaries, and Vadra L. Jackson. In addition, the attempted murder and firearm charges named three different victims-one victim being an eleven-year-old boy, K.M., [1] and the reckless endangerment charges listed three separate residences.

         Thereafter, the Defendant entered a guilty plea to one count of attempted first degree murder involving serious bodily injury of the eleven-year-old boy[2] and one count of reckless endangerment. At the guilty plea hearing, the State recited the facts it would have presented at trial as follows:

[O]n March the 22nd of 2015 a co-defendant, Porscha Medaries, and Vadra Jackson, had an altercation at a residence on Fern Avenue that resulted in the two of them leaving that location and making contact with other persons who included Robert Meadries as well as Jamar Medaries. Jamar Medaries is a friend of the [D]efendant['s] . . . . A short time later the group appeared back in separate vehicles to the location at Fern Avenue. Jamar Medaries was armed with a .40 caliber weapon. [The Defendant] arrived in his own vehicle and was in possession of a .380 caliber pistol. The two women made statements about shooting up the residence, and Jamar Medaries and the [D]efendant . . . both fired their weapons. There were three separate residences that were struck by gunfire. Based on witness descriptions of the two shooters and the location where they were each standing police were able to determine that the shell casings from the gun fired by [the Defendant] was, in fact, the .380 weapon. One of those bullets penetrated the residence at 126C Fern Avenue. . . . [K.M.], who was eleven-years old at the time[, ] . . . was inside the home when the bullet penetrated the home and struck [K.M.] in the back of his head. The bullet penetrated his skull and caused severe brain damage. Miraculously he did survive, though, he has permanent life altering injuries both physically and mentally.
The proof in this case would be based upon witness descriptions of what [the Defendant] was wearing, what he was driving, as well as a co-defendant's testimony and cell phone record-call details recording confirming the communication between [the Defendant] and [Jamar Medaries] as well as cell tower information that tracked and showed [the Defendant's] telephone at a different location in arriving to the Fern Avenue location, leaving from that location, and going to an apartment where the other codefendants also arrived. Gwenester Calloway, . . . was the girlfriend of Robert Medaries, and she told police about the group of individuals that arrived at her home shortly after the shooting. And she did, in fact, pick out [the Defendant] as being one of those individuals as well as Porscha Medaries and Jamar Medaries.

         The Defendant agreed to the State's factual stipulation.

         Pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement, the Defendant was classified as a Range I, standard offender, and he received a six-year sentence for the reckless endangerment conviction, which was to be served concurrently with the sentence to be imposed for the attempted first degree murder conviction. The length of the attempted first degree murder sentence was left to the trial court's discretion.

         At the subsequent sentencing hearing, [3] Detective John Grubbs with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, Youth Services Division, testified that he investigated the Fern Avenue shooting, including viewing the crime scene and the location of "projectile strikes and casings." Detective Grubbs confirmed that three different residences were struck by gunfire on March 22, 2015-address numbers 124, 126B, and 126C. According to Detective Grubbs, the eleven-year-old victim lived in unit 126C, and the "prelude event involving an altercation a little bit earlier in the day" occurred at 126B. Detective Grubbs testified that the eleven-year-old boy was standing in the doorway of his residence when he was shot, and a photograph reflected that a bullet pierced the door's glass window before striking the boy.

         "[B]ased upon witness interviews and the projectile evidence and casing evidence[, ]" Detective Grubbs was able to determine that there were two shooters, one using a .40 caliber weapon and the other shooting a .380 caliber weapon. Detective Grubbs verified that a .380 caliber bullet was recovered from the eleven-year-old victim's skull. Detective Grubbs further testified that there were other children present in the immediate area just prior to the shooting.

         On cross-examination, Detective Grubbs agreed that the Defendant "was not present at the prelude event" that involved Porscha Medaries and the residents of 126B. Detective Grubbs further verified that the Defendant communicated with Jamar Medaires by phone just prior to the shooting but that the Defendant did not communicate with anyone else involved.

         Detective Grubbs also described the "prelude altercation." He explained that "it was an argument over a relationship between three females there at the residence[, ]" that the argument "turned physical[, ]" and that "one of the people inside that residence end[ed] up shooting a gun during the altercation[.]" Additionally, Detective Grubbs received information that, when Porscha Medaries returned to the Fern Avenue location, accompanied at that time by the Defendant and Jamar Medaries, she made "threats [to the 126B occupants . . . that the house was about to be lit up[.]"

         On redirect, Detective Grubbs testified that, as a result of his investigation, it was "learned through cell tower information and defendants' statements that all of the parties except Vadra Jackson convened . . . after the shooting over at an apartment complex[.]"

         Sharnessa Sparks testified that she considered the eleven-year-old victim, K.M., her nephew because she was engaged to K.M.'s uncle, that K.M. was visiting his grandmother at 126C on the day he was shot, and that K.M.'s siblings were also there that day. Ms. Sparks described K.M. as "always active, fun, happy, very independent, just a happy little boy[, ]" prior to the shooting.

         Ms. Sparks received a call to go to Vanderbilt Hospital after K.M. was shot in the back of the head. When Ms. Sparks arrived at the hospital, "[t]hey didn't think he was going to make it." According to Ms. Sparks, K.M.'s parents were told to call out-of-town family members and make funeral arrangements; K.M. was comatose for several ...


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