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State v. Smith

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

February 23, 2018

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
ANGELA L. SMITH

         Assigned on Briefs January 4, 2018

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Gibson County No. H9317 Clayburn Peeples, Judge

         The Defendant, Angela Smith, appeals her conviction for aggravated arson and her resulting sentence of thirty-five years at 100% as a Range II, multiple offender. On appeal, the Defendant raises issues challenging the sufficiency of the evidence, the photographic line-up, and her sentence. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

          Harold R. Gunn, Humboldt, Tennessee, for the appellant, Angela L. Smith.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Jonathan H. Wardle, Assistant Attorney General; Garry Brown, District Attorney General; and Jason Scott and Jerald Campbell, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          John Everett Williams, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Alan E. Glenn and Camille R. McMullen, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          JOHN EVERETT WILLIAMS, JUDGE.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         The evidence presented at trial established that during the early morning hours of April 23, 2012, while four people who lived in an adjoining apartment were sleeping, the victim set fires on the front and back porches of a duplex in Humboldt, Tennessee, where she had been living. Mr. Anthony Burke lived behind the duplex with his backyard abutting the backyard of the duplex. During that time period, Mr. Burke worked until midnight and slept during the day. At approximately 4:20 a.m., Mr. Burke went outside to retrieve his cellular phone, which he had left in his car. He testified that he saw a light flicker and then saw the back porch of the duplex on fire. He also saw the Defendant "dousing" the fire with what appeared to be lighter fluid.

         Mr. Burke testified that he told the Defendant to come to him. The Defendant did not come directly to Mr. Burke but was standing ten to twelve feet away from him and underneath a street light. Mr. Burke asked the Defendant what she was doing, and she replied, "Don't worry about it." Mr. Burke stated that the Defendant attempted to conceal what appeared to be lighter fluid under her hoodie. When Mr. Burke approached her, she fled. Mr. Burke chased the Defendant toward the end of the street and then ran back to his home where he instructed his then girlfriend to call the police.

         Mr. Burke ran to the back porch of the duplex and saw that the Defendant had used a foosball table and pieces of scrap wood positioned against the duplex to start the fire. Mr. Burke beat on the door to wake anyone who might be inside the duplex, and two or more people exited the duplex. Mr. Burke returned to the back porch where he removed items and attempted to extinguish the fire. Once he saw the firefighters and police officers arriving, he ran to the street to flag them down.

         Later the same day, Mr. Burke provided the police officers with a written statement, and he identified the Defendant from a photographic line-up on the following day. He said he did not know the Defendant when he identified her in the line-up. He denied having a prior confrontation with the Defendant during which he called her children "N words" or previously following the Defendant around while in a supermarket.

         Ms. Sarah Woods testified that at the time of the fire, she was living in an apartment in the duplex with Mr. Freddie Parris, Ms. Samantha Callison, and Ms. Callison's young son. Ms. Woods stated that while the Defendant moved her belongings into the other apartment in the duplex, Ms. Woods did not know whether the Defendant ever spent the night there. Ms. Woods had seen the Defendant at ...


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