Assigned on Briefs December 5, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Dyer County No. 16-CR-68 R. Lee
Moore, Jr., Judge.
Defendant, Laylon Ward, Jr., was convicted by a Dyer County
jury of reckless aggravated assault. The trial court
sentenced the Defendant as a Range II, multiple offender to
eight years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On
appeal, the Defendant challenges his classification as a
Range II offender, arguing that the trial court erred in
considering two previous convictions as felonies. After a
review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the
judgment of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
E. Lanier, District Public Defender; and Patrick McGill,
Assistant District Public Defender, for the appellant, Laylon
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Andrew
C. Coulam, Assistant Attorney General; and Phillip Bivens,
District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of
Everett Williams, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Alan E. Glenn and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.
EVERETT WILLIAMS, JUDGE
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
the trial transcript is not included in the appellate record,
we glean from the record that the Defendant and the victim,
Mr. Tim Nicolson, were involved in an altercation during
which the Defendant employed the use of a firearm. The victim
was injured during the altercation, resulting in the loss of
his left arm. The Defendant was indicted on attempted first
degree premeditated murder on Count 1, aggravated assault
with serious bodily injury on Count 2, and aggravated assault
with a deadly weapon on Count 3. The jury returned a verdict
of guilty for the lesser included offense of reckless
aggravated assault on Count 2 and verdicts of not guilty on
Counts 1 and 3.
subsequent sentencing hearing, the State asked that the
Defendant be sentenced as a Range II, multiple offender based
on the Defendant's 2004 South Carolina conviction for
harboring a fugitive and 2003 South Carolina conviction for
assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. Defense
counsel conceded that the assault and battery conviction
would constitute a felony under Tennessee law.
fifty-nine-year-old victim testified that he was unarmed when
the altercation with the Defendant began but that he armed
himself with a shovel at some point during the altercation.
The victim sustained an injury that resulted in the loss of
his left arm. He testified that he could no longer ride a
motorcycle and that daily tasks were difficult to accomplish.
The victim asked that the Defendant receive the maximum
Defendant testified that during the altercation, the victim
almost broke the Defendant's arm with a shovel. The
Defendant voiced his frustration that a photograph depicting
a bruise to his arm was not admitted during the trial or
sentencing hearing. The trial court informed the Defendant
that both the State and defense counsel agreed that the
Defendant suffered a bruise to his arm, and the Defendant
merely responded that "a picture is worth a thousand
words." The Defendant acknowledged that his arm never
bled, that he never went to the hospital, and that he told
medical personnel that his arm was not broken.
Defendant also testified that he had only pleaded guilty to
misdemeanors and never any felonies. On cross examination,
the Defendant acknowledged that he entered a guilty plea to
assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature in South
Carolina, but he maintained that the conviction was a
misdemeanor. He agreed that he was sentenced to three years
of probation for the conviction and that his probation was
revoked twice. On redirect examination, defense counsel asked
the Defendant if he remembered a discussion he had with
defense counsel wherein the Defendant was informed that the
assault and battery ...