Assigned on Briefs January 4, 2018
from the Circuit Court for Chester County No. 15-CR-61 Roy B.
Morgan, Jr., Judge
Defendant, Jamie Crowell, was convicted by a Chester County
Circuit Court jury of aggravated kidnapping, a Class B
felony; facilitation of aggravated assault, a Class D felony;
possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell, a Class B
felony; possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver,
a Class B felony; possession of a Schedule II controlled
substance, oxymorphone, a Class A misdemeanor; and possession
of drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor. The trial court
merged the methamphetamine convictions into one conviction
and sentenced the Defendant to a total effective term of
seventeen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On
appeal, the Defendant argues that: (1) the evidence is
insufficient to sustain his convictions; (2) the State's
questioning about the prior methamphetamine use of defense
witnesses denied him a fair trial; and (3) the trial court
imposed an excessive sentence. After review, we affirm the
judgments of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Circuit
Lee Dicus, Jr., Savannah, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jamie
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Zachary T. Hinkle, Assistant Attorney General; Jody S.
Pickens, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State
E. Glenn, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
John Everett Williams and Camille R. McMullen, JJ., joined.
E. GLENN, JUDGE.
Defendant and two co-defendants, Daryl Gatley and Dustin
McCollum, were indicted for especially aggravated kidnapping;
aggravated assault; possession of a prohibited
weapon; possession of methamphetamine with intent
to sell or deliver; possession of a Schedule II controlled
substance, oxymorphone; and possession of drug paraphernalia.
trial, the victim, Gail Pearson, testified that she had known
the Defendant "[a]ll his life." In early July 2015,
Ms. Pearson loaned her car to her son, co-defendant Dustin
McCollum, and the Defendant, who was with Mr. McCollum at the
time. The two were gone with her car for "[a]t least
four, maybe more" days, even though she had only loaned
it to them to get oil for the Defendant's truck. Ms.
Pearson admitted that she initially wrote a statement
suggesting that they had the car for two days but maintained
they had it for at least four days.
Pearson recalled that on July 9, 2015, while Mr. McCollum and
the Defendant were still gone with her car, Mr. McCollum
called her and asked if she would fix him and the Defendant
something to eat. The two men arrived to her house around
6:30 that night and again asked if she would fix them
something to eat. The Defendant had "a long gun . . .
[that] [h]ad a stand" with him. While Ms. Pearson was
preparing the food, Mr. McCollum and the Defendant napped on
the couch. At that time, the Defendant's gun was seven or
eight feet away from him, but Mr. McCollum had a pistol
tucked in the waistband of his pants. When she was finished
preparing the food, Ms. Pearson woke the men up and they ate.
The Defendant had asked Ms. Pearson to take him home, but he
ended up eating the food she had prepared instead of going
McCollum asked to use Ms. Pearson's phone and
"started going through" it. He asked her about a
"special agent so-and-so" in her contact list, and
she tried to explain that it referred to her son-in-law who
was a "Sergeant First Class" in the Army. Mr.
McCollum then accused Ms. Pearson, his ex-wife Maley, and a
person named Derrick Maness of conspiring against him to get
him into trouble, which Ms. Pearson denied.
Pearson acknowledged that in her statement to police, she
told the officers that, during his rant, Mr. McCollum accused
the Defendant of "do[ing] him wrong." She said that
she was traumatized at the time and not sure why she said
that because Mr. McCollum and the Defendant "came in as
friendly as they always had been." However, she recalled
that Mr. McCollum told her that he had to drive an "old
rattletrap" back from Alabama and the Defendant
"drove the good vehicle, " which Mr. McCollum said
"was just wrong."
McCollum put a pistol to Ms. Pearson's head, saying he
would help her remember the conspiracy against him and
"clicked" the trigger. Mr. McCollum ordered Ms.
Pearson onto the couch in the living room, but she was able
to grab her "Safe Link" phone without him noticing.
At this point, the Defendant was sitting on the couch in the
living room and his gun was by the couch.
McCollum told Ms. Pearson she "better start
remembering" the conspiracy against him or he would
"shoot [her] kneecaps off." The Defendant laughed
when Ms. Pearson began to beg Mr. McCollum not to shoot her.
Mr. McCollum continued to argue with Ms. Pearson, eventually
telling her that he was going to have to kill her. However,
Mr. McCollum said that he would do it in "a little
bit" and walked into the kitchen to call co-defendant
Daryl Gatley. He told the Defendant not to let Ms. Pearson
"do anything stupid." The Defendant did not say
anything but remained sitting on the couch with his gun.
Pearson recalled that Mr. Gatley arrived a short while later
and gave Mr. McCollum a knife. Mr. McCollum told Ms. Pearson
that he should cut out her tongue and then put the knife to
her ear, saying he was "gonna cut through [her] jawbone
and [her] teeth and scar [her] face." After she begged
him not to do that, he put the knife away.
Pearson tried to call 911 from her "Safe Link"
phone but could not get a signal out. At some point, she was
able to call her sister, Elizabeth Ann Pugh, while she was
"praying . . . [and] all curled up" under a
comforter. She left Ms. Pugh a voicemail asking her to call
the police and explaining that the defendants were
"fixing to kill [her]." She did not know if the
Defendant did not hear her or was ignoring her. She called
Ms. Pugh again and left the line open.
Pearson recalled that the defendants had a conversation about
how to kill her and what to do with her body. The Defendant
urged Mr. McCollum to "[h]urry up and . . . get this
done" because they had "places to go and things to
do." Mr. Gatley and the Defendant asked Mr. McCollum
what he was going to do, inquiring "You gonna cut her
up? You gonna cut her head off? We gonna burn her in the
house or what?" The men noted that there were items in
the house they could use to set it on fire. All three of the
men were armed. Ms. Pearson said that the Defendant actually
pointed his gun at her at some point during the ordeal,
although in her statement to the police and at the
preliminary hearing she had not mentioned the Defendant doing
point, officers from the sheriff's department arrived and
ordered that the defendants come out with their hands raised.
The Defendant and Mr. Gatley grabbed their guns and went to
the back room, but Mr. McCollum stayed with Ms. Pearson in
the living room. Ms. Pearson convinced Mr. McCollum to let
her go outside and tell the officers that everything was
okay. Once Ms. Pearson was outside, the officers called the
defendants out one-by-one.
officers searched Ms. Pearson's vehicle at the scene and
found various drugs. Ms. Pearson said that the items did not
belong to her and reiterated that Mr. McCollum and the
Defendant had been in possession of her car the four days
leading up to the offense. She denied that she had been back
in the car before the officers searched it.
Pearson said that the duffle bag found in her car that
contained women's and men's clothing, makeup, a tin
can, and other items did not belong to her. She said that it
also did not belong to Mr. McCollum because she knew what his
clothes looked like. Mr. McCollum told her that the drugs
found in the car did not belong to him.
Ann Pugh, Ms. Pearson's sister and Mr. McCollum's
aunt, testified that she had known the Defendant
"[s]ince he was baby, " as he and Mr. McCollum had
always been friends. Around 11:30 p.m. on July 9, 2015, she
was asleep in bed when she received a series of phone calls
from her sister. Ms. Pugh let the first call go to voicemail
but answered the second call. Ms. Pearson did not say
anything during the call; however, she left the line open and
Ms. Pugh could hear the background conversation. Ms. Pugh
heard "a lot of commotion between two guys"
discussing what they were going to do to Ms. Pearson. She
recognized the voices as Mr. McCollum's and Mr.
Gatley's, and then she heard a third voice at the end of
the call that she recognized as the Defendant's. She
recalled that Mr. McCollum and Mr. Gatley discussed setting
the house on fire and then she specifically recalled hearing
the Defendant say, "Yes, we've got to get this done
right now. We've got to get this over with." Ms.
Pugh called 911.
Celinda Davidson, Nathan Daniel, and Kyle Connor with the
Chester County Sheriff's Department arrived to the scene
between midnight and 1:00 a.m. on July 10, 2015, in response
to a call that Ms. Pearson was being held against her will.
The officers demanded that the victim be sent outside. Ms.
Pearson walked out with her hands raised, and the officers