Session November 7, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Obion County No. CC-16-CR-125
Jeffrey W. Parham, Judge
Defendant, Michael Edward Roberts, was indicted on one count
of aggravated burglary, a Class C felony; one count of
aggravated kidnapping, a Class B felony; seven counts of
rape, a Class B felony; and one count of aggravated assault,
a Class C felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§
39-13-102, -13-304, -13-503, -14-403. The State ultimately
dismissed five of the rape charges. Following a bench trial,
the trial court convicted the Defendant of aggravated assault
and the lesser-included offenses of aggravated criminal
trespass of a habitation, a Class A misdemeanor, and two
counts of assault, a Class B misdemeanor. See Tenn.
Code Ann. §§ 39-13-301(a)(3), -14-406. The trial
court acquitted the Defendant of the aggravated kidnapping
charge. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed a
total effective sentence of three years to be served on
supervised probation. On appeal, the Defendant contends (1)
that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions
and (2) that the trial court erred in admitting fresh
complaint evidence. Discerning no error, we affirm the
judgments of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Circuit
Charles S. Kelly, Sr., Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the
appellant, Michael Edward Roberts.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Jonathan H. Wardle, Assistant Attorney General; Thomas A.
Thomas, District Attorney General; and James T. Cannon,
Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State
Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Camille R. McMullen and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., JJ.,
KELLY THOMAS, JR., JUDGE
victim, E.M.,  testified that she and the Defendant were
coworkers and had engaged in a lengthy sexual relationship.
The victim testified that during the course of their
relationship, the Defendant began to regularly beat her
buttocks until she bled when they had sex. The victim
explained that the Defendant first used his hand but later
switched to using a belt. It was around this time that the
victim decided to end her relationship with the Defendant.
However, the victim testified that the Defendant "would
not take no for an answer."
she was attempting to end her relationship with the
Defendant, the victim began a second relationship with
another coworker, Mark Sering. The victim testified that the
Defendant became suspicious of the victim and Mr. Sering and
started "going ballistic" after seeing a picture
that Mr. Sering posted on Facebook of the victim in her car.
This eventually led to an altercation between Mr. Sering and
the Defendant at their workplace on January 14, 2016.
victim testified that she texted both Mr. Sering and the
Defendant after their altercation to reveal that she had been
seeing both of them and to end her relationship with each of
them. According to the victim, she was on her way to work the
next morning, January 15, 2016, when she received a phone
call from the Defendant. The victim testified that the
Defendant told her that if she did not turn around and go
back to her trailer, "there was gonna be really big
problems at work."
to the victim, the Defendant met her at a nearby exit and
followed her to her trailer. The victim testified that she
agreed to the Defendant's demands. She said that she was
scared of the Defendant because even though he had never
"put his hands on" her, he had threatened her and
Mr. Sering. The victim further testified that she planned to
talk to the Defendant in her yard and to go back to work.
they were at the victim's trailer, the Defendant got out
of his car and punched the hood of the victim's car. The
victim testified that the Defendant then threatened to punch
the window of her car if she did not get out. The victim
believed that the Defendant was intoxicated. According to the
victim, she got out of her car and the Defendant told her to
go into the trailer.
victim testified that she had not planned to let the
Defendant into her trailer that morning and that she never
gave the Defendant permission to enter the trailer. The
victim further testified that after she got out of her car,
the Defendant "had [her] by the throat [and was] trying
to push [her] in the house." According to the victim,
the Defendant pushed her so hard it bent her door key as she
attempted to unlock the door.
victim testified that once they were inside the trailer, the
Defendant "threw [her] towards [the] kitchen, "
then grabbed her by her hair, and pulled her to the bedroom.
Inside the bedroom, the Defendant told the victim to undress
and threatened to rip her clothes off when she hesitated. The
victim testified that she took off her shirt while the
Defendant undressed and that the Defendant then removed her
pants and underwear.
to the victim, the Defendant grabbed her by her hair and
threw her "on the bed face down and started . . . to
rape [her]." The victim explained that the Defendant
held her down "by the back of [her] neck" and
penetrated her vagina with his penis. According to the
victim, the Defendant asked her if "this [was] how [Mr.
Sering] [did] this" while the Defendant penetrated her.
The victim testified that this lasted for approximately
fifteen minutes until the Defendant ejaculated.
victim testified that the Defendant raped her five or six
times during the course of the day. The victim further
testified that she repeatedly tried to leave the trailer, but
that the Defendant prevented her from doing so by taking her
keys, hiding her pants, and physically restraining her.
According to the victim, the Defendant choked her until she
blacked out ...