Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs March 27, 2019
from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2013-D-3445
Mark J. Fishburn, Judge
Defendant-Appellant, Troy Jones, was convicted by a Davidson
County jury of three counts of aggravated burglary and one
count of sexual battery, for which he received an effective
sentence of five years' imprisonment. See Tenn.
Code Ann. §§ 39-14-403, 39-13-505. On appeal, the
Defendant argues that (1) the trial court erred in allowing
the State to introduce extrinsic evidence to impeach his
statement to police, (2) the evidence is insufficient to
support his convictions, and (3) the trial court improperly
sentenced him. Following our review, we affirm the judgments
of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Criminal
L. Brand, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant,
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie
E. Price, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Glenn Funk,
District Attorney General; and Janice A. Norman, Assistant
District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of
Camille R. McMullen, J., delivered the opinion of the court,
in which Alan E. Glenn and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.
CAMILLE R. McMULLEN, JUDGE
September 22, 2013, Miracle Holt was awakened by an intruder,
who was "hovering" over her and "feeling on
her buttocks." When she confronted the intruder, he ran
and hid behind a bathroom door. Holt alerted other family
members in the apartment and called her brother from a back
room for help. Holt's brother, G. D'Angelo Mason,
encountered the intruder inside the apartment and observed
him stuffing an alarm clock in his pants. Mason ran back to
his room, put on his shoes, and chased the intruder. Within
minutes, Mason apprehended the Defendant and physically
confronted him at a nearby basketball court. The Defendant
denied being the intruder and claimed that he had just
retrieved an alarm clock from a friend and was returning to
his dorm room at Fisk University. An investigation ensued,
and the Defendant was subsequently indicted for the above
charges. The following proof was adduced during the
April 17 through April 19, 2017 trial.
Holt lived with her mother, her sister, Prodeon Johnson, and
her brother, G. D'Angelo Mason, in the Herman Street
Apartments in Nashville, Tennessee. At trial, Holt narrated
the layout of their small apartment through several
photographs, which showed where she slept on the night of the
offense, the bathroom, the bathroom hallway, the kitchen, and
the living room area. On the night of the offense, Holt, her
brother and his girlfriend, Holt's sister, their cousin,
and two children were asleep in the apartment. Holt testified
that she awoke to an intruder with a shoulder length,
dreadlock hairstyle "hovering" over her and
"feeling on" her buttocks. The intruder
"grasp[ed] [her buttocks], trying to work his way around
. . . under the covers . . . like a . . . sexual
motion." She felt the intruder grab her buttocks at
least twice. Holt said the intruder's face was close to
hers. When she made eye contact with him, the intruder ran
and hid behind the bathroom door. The bathroom light was on,
and Holt was able to see "everything," including
the intruder's face, hair, clothes, and weight. Once Holt
realized she was not "dreaming," she woke up her
sister and cousin, who initially thought she was joking. Holt
then called her brother on the phone for him to come out of a
back room in the apartment. Holt said that when her brother
came out of the back room through the hallway, her sister
threw a baby car seat at the intruder, and the intruder ran
out the front door of the apartment.
brother and sister put on their shoes and ran after the
intruder. Holt eventually caught up with them at a nearby
basketball court, where they had confronted the Defendant.
She recalled that upon being questioned about the intrusion,
the Defendant said, "I was just going over to my
friend's house to get an alarm clock to wake up in the
morning." Holt said the Defendant pulled out an alarm
clock, which she confirmed was the same alarm clock that had
been taken from her apartment. During the confrontation,
Holt's brother hit the Defendant with a spoon, and Holt
struck the Defendant two or three times. Holt injured herself
by hitting her head on the door on the night of the offense;
however, she stressed it was not caused by the Defendant.
Holt said her aunt's cell phone was also taken from the
apartment, but she could not remember the exact description
of the phone. She further explained that "a lady in the
black car" apparently called the police, and Holt spoke
to a detective about the incident. Holt identified the
Defendant as the person who broke into her apartment at a
hearing shortly after the offense and at trial. Holt
explained that the Defendant looked differently at trial
because of "[t]he dreads, and his face was
cross-examination, Holt acknowledged that she muttered,
"What the F" upon seeing the Defendant in her
bedroom. She denied having consumed any alcohol or illegal
drugs on the night of the offense. She also did not observe
her brother and sister throw a chair down the stairwell at
the Defendant and did not observe the intruder leave the
apartment with the alarm clock in his hands. Holt confirmed
that she received a "cut" on her head, but she did
not believe that the injury came from the intruder. She did
not recall telling police officers or emergency responders
that the intruder had injured her. The Defendant later called
Detective Gilbert Mana to impeach Holt's testimony.
Detective Mana testified, in relevant part, that on the night
of the offense, Holt did in fact attribute her injury to the
Defendant "punch[ing] her in the forehead."
D'Angelo Mason, Holt's brother, testified
consistently with the testimony of Holt. On the night of the
offense, Mason awoke to his phone ringing. He answered the
phone, but he went back to sleep because there was no verbal
response from the caller. After his phone rang again, Mason
heard his sisters and cousin yell his name. He jumped up and
stopped by the bathroom to investigate. He initially thought
they were joking, until one of his sisters told him an
intruder was in the apartment. As Mason turned around, his
sister, Prodeon Johnson, screamed, "someone's behind
you." Mason jumped back as the intruder walked in front
of him. At that point, Mason was in the kitchen, which was
close to the bathroom, and the intruder was approximately
three or four feet in front of him. Mason explained that
light was emanating from his and his mother's bedroom, so
the apartment was "bright." He was able to see the
intruder's face and described him as black, heavy set, a
little over six feet tall, with a dreadlock hairstyle,
wearing a striped shirt.
testified that as the intruder was leaving, he observed the
intruder "acting like he [was] on the phone, but [he
was] stuffing something in his pants." Mason said he saw
the intruder stuffing his sister's alarm clock into his
pants. Mason was unable to describe the phone the intruder
was using, but he said the intruder was not talking to
anyone. At that point, Mason ran to his room, grabbed his
shoes, and began to leave the apartment. Mason then observed
the intruder "jingling on the bottom door to try to get
into the next apartment." He said as he saw the intruder
attempting to access another apartment at the bottom of the
staircase, he picked up a chair and threw it toward the
intruder. He recalled one of his sisters and his girlfriend
being with him when the chair was thrown. Within two minutes
of throwing the chair, Mason encountered the Defendant
walking on the sidewalk.
point, Mason was alone with the Defendant and confronted him
about entering his apartment and touching his sister. Mason
testified that the Defendant said, "Man, I don't
know what you're talking about, I wasn't in your
house, I was coming from a friend's house to get an alarm
clock." The Defendant continued to explain, "I [go]
to Fisk University. I can show you my [identification]
badge[, ]" but Mason said he was never shown any such
badge. Mason admitted that he was frustrated because he did
not believe the Defendant, and he began to yell at him. Mason
acknowledged that he punched the Defendant while still
questioning him about being inside his apartment. Asked how
he was so certain the Defendant was the intruder he had seen
in his apartment, Mason testified, "I recognized his
hair, his shirt and the clock[.]" Mason confirmed that
from the time he discovered the intruder in his apartment to
the time he confronted the Defendant on Herman Street, Mason
had not spoken with his sister, Miracle Holt.
testified that the Defendant had his sister's alarm clock
in his hands when he encountered him on the street. Mason
stood in front of the Defendant in an effort to give security
guards time to respond and to prevent the Defendant from
getting away. Mason explained that the confrontation
eventually reached a nearby basketball court, which was close
to Fisk University. Mason testified that the Defendant never
hit him and continued to explain that he attended Fisk
University and had just left campus to get an alarm clock
from his friend's house. Eventually, Mason's sisters,
his girlfriend, and his cousin arrived at the basketball
court. His sister, Prodeon Johnson, brought his mother's
antique spoon, and Mason struck the Defendant with it. Two
security guards and the police later responded to the
incident, and Mason briefly spoke with them. He identified
the alarm clock, admitted as an exhibit at trial, as the same
alarm clock taken from his apartment on the night of the
cross-examination, Mason confirmed that his mother was not
present at the apartment on the night of the offense and that
everyone who was at the apartment, except for his
sister's child, went outside to the basketball court.
Mason agreed that Holt also punched the Defendant while at
the basketball court and that he did not see the intruder
pick up anything in the living room of the apartment. He
insisted, however, that he observed the intruder holding a
cell phone up to his ear with his left hand. Mason specified
that he encountered the intruder at the corner of Herman
Street and 17th Avenue, walking towards the basketball court.
Mason testified that there were several other houses and
another apartment complex located between Herman Street
Apartments and Fisk University. On redirect, Mason said that
he knew the alarm clock the Defendant had was the same alarm
clock taken from his apartment because it was no longer in
their apartment where his sister had left it.
Johnson testified consistently with the testimony of Holt and
Mason. She was the last person to go to sleep on the night of
the offense. Holt woke Johnson up and told her that an
intruder was inside the apartment. Although Johnson did not
initially believe Holt, Johnson later observed the intruder
behind the bathroom door. Johnson said she was lying on the
couch facing the bathroom, kitchen, and her sister's
room, approximately fifteen to twenty feet away from the
bathroom. She confirmed that the bathroom light was on and
described the intruder as wearing a shirt and some pants.
Although Johnson could not see the intruder's face, she
said that the intruder's hair was in "dreads"
and that he was holding something in his hands. When she saw
the intruder, she threw her child's car seat at him. She
went into her mother's room with Holt, her cousin, and
her child, and called her brother. Johnson said the intruder
was "speed walking" out of the bathroom, towards
the living room, and out the front door.
intruder was leaving the apartment, Johnson saw him pick up
something in the living room and stuff it into his pants.
Johnson said she and Mason threw a chair down the stairs and
began following the intruder to a parking lot at Fisk
University. Johnson recalled taking her mother's golden,
antique spoon with her. Johnson said she, Mason, and Holt
next encountered "the guy that had left out the
house" at "the big field right . . . behind Fisk
University." When they confronted the intruder, he said,
"he didn't touch nobody, he didn't rape
nobody," and he was swinging her alarm clock by the
cord. She identified the alarm clock at trial as the same
alarm clock taken from her apartment on the night of the
offense. Johnson said the intruder took the alarm clock from
the table where the television was in the living room and
that she had not given him permission to take the clock.
Johnson sustained a black eye from the intruder swinging the
alarm clock, which broke. Johnson said police officers
eventually responded to the scene, that she spoke with a
detective, and that she was never asked about the alarm
clock. At trial, Johnson was unable to identify the intruder
who broke into her apartment on the night of the offense.
cross-examination, Johnson admitted that she was involved in
a fight with the Defendant but did not recall hitting him
with the spoon. Johnson said the fight ensued after the
Defendant denied being in their apartment, touching Holt, and
taking her alarm clock. Johnson testified that she did not
take the spoon from the apartment to the basketball court and
could not remember how the spoon got to the basketball court.
Johnson also did not recall how the spoon broke and said she
never saw the Defendant being hit with the spoon. Johnson did
not remember Mason's girlfriend being present at the
basketball court. Johnson admitted to a prior theft
conviction; however, she explained that she "pled guilty
for a charge for my friends." Johnson said that prior to
the burglary, the alarm clock was sitting on a table in the
living room unplugged from the wall because she was in the
process of moving her belongings from her mother's
apartment to her new home. The alarm clock had a green and
white back that was broken on the night of the offense;
however, none of the broken pieces were recovered. On
redirect examination, Johnson again said that the intruder
she saw in her apartment was the same person she encountered
later at the basketball court and that the alarm clock that
that person had in his possession was hers. She again
admitted to a prior theft conviction but said that her
testimony at trial was truthful.
Gilbert Mana of the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD)
testified that in the early morning hours of September 22,
2013, he responded to a call at a basketball court near
Herman Street. Initially, the call was reported as a fight in
progress and later changed to a burglary. When he arrived at
the scene, Detective Mana encountered several victims and the
Defendant. After speaking with the individuals, Detective
Mana learned of an incident that had occurred earlier at the
Herman Street Apartments. Detective Mana described the
victims' demeanor as "quite shocked and upset."
He spoke with the Defendant, who claimed he had been
"attacked by a group of males and females."
Additional officers responded to the scene, and the crime
scene unit was called to photograph the area. Upon canvassing
the area, the crime scene unit recovered an alarm clock,
which Detective Mana submitted to the police department's
property room. Detective Mana identified the alarm clock,
admitted as an exhibit at trial, and noted that the alarm
cord was detached from the clock.
cross-examination, Detective Mana confirmed that as the
reporting officer, he completed an incident report, arrest
report, and a property sheet for the instant offense.
Detective Mana testified that other officers were already on
the scene when he arrived, but he was responsible for
changing the call from a fight in progress to a burglary.
Detective Mana confirmed that he spoke with four victims on
the night of the offense and that the information contained
in his reports would have "been probably taken directly
from the victims." He did not recall if the area was
canvassed for any additional suspects. He confirmed that he
was the only person who came in physical contact with the
alarm clock, but he admitted that he did not attempt to
collect any fingerprints from it.
night of the offense, Sergeant Jason Pierpoint with MNPD
responded to the scene and was briefed by other officers. He
determined that a "possible sexual assault had occurred
during a possible burglary." Sergeant Pierpoint called
Detective Ben Ward, a sex abuse detective, to report to the
scene as well as additional crime scene officers to collect
evidence. Officer Douglas Belcher, a crime scene investigator
with MNPD, testified that he responded to a basketball court
located near Herman Street, where he recovered several items
including pieces of a plastic decorative spoon, pieces of an
alarm clock, and a cell phone. Officer Belcher met with
Sergeant Pierpoint and learned of an incident that had
occurred earlier at one of the apartments in the Herman
Street Apartment complex, which was nearby. Officer Belcher
took photographs of the apartment and the basketball court
and collected a cell phone from Detective Ward. He testified
that all other property was collected by patrol officers.
Officer Belcher testified the he took three pieces of the
decorative spoon and a cell phone from Detective Ward to the
property room, all of which were identified at trial and
admitted as exhibits. He said a cell phone and alarm clock
found on the basketball court were turned over to Detective
cross-examination, Officer Belcher confirmed that a cell
phone was given to him by Detective Ward. To his knowledge,
that cell phone had been in the police department's
property room since the offense occurred. He said a second
cell phone was collected from the basketball court and given
to Detective Mana. Officer Belcher had no other contact with
that phone. He said the cell phone found on the ground at the
basketball court was believed to be the victim's phone.
Officer Belcher confirmed that he generated a report of his
investigation which provided, in relevant part, that the
phone found on the ground was located in three pieces,
photographed, and believed to belong to the Defendant. He
explained that originally, that phone was believed to belong
to the Defendant, but by the end of the investigation,
officers believed the phone belonged to one of the victims.
Officer Belcher said he never had any contact with the alarm
clock, and he was not aware of any fingerprint analysis
performed on it.
Detective Ben Ward responded to the scene based upon a report
of an alleged sexual assault that occurred during a burglary
of an apartment in the Herman Street Apartment complex. Upon
arrival, Detective Ward spoke with Holt, Johnson, and Mason.
The Defendant also agreed to talk to Detective Ward at his
office, which was about five minutes away. Prior to talking
to Detective Ward, the Defendant was given an advice of
rights form, which advised him of his rights under
Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602
(1966). The Defendant acknowledged that he understood his
rights, signed the advice of rights form waiving said rights,
and agreed to speak with Detective Ward. The advice of rights
form was admitted as an exhibit at trial. The Defendant's
statement to Detective Ward was audio and video recorded, the
DVD of which was played for the jury and admitted into
evidence. Although the jury was provided a transcript of the
recording, the transcript was offered for identification
purposes only. During the recorded statement, the Defendant
stated, in relevant part, as follows:
DETECTIVE: Are you working anywhere?
DEFENDANT: No[, ] I'm a full, I'm a student.
DETECTIVE: Full time student?
DEFENDANT: Yeah. Fisk University.
DETECTIVE: . . . I know some of the basics just from what
they have told me, but I want to hear it from you [, ] kind
of how this all transpired.
DEFENDANT: I was coming back from walking by Burger King,
because I had went to Burger king 'cause . . .
DETECTIVE: Down on Charlotte?
DEFENDANT: Down on Charlotte.
DEFENDANT: So I was walking up from uh, walking up from
Charlotte on 17th. As I crossed by Jackson, no
Herman Street, as I crossed Herman Street and get to where my
school is almost by my dorm I hear some people, well I
don't hear people but I sort of you know how you just see
people moving from you, the corner of your eye and
everything. And then the next thing I know I started hearing
some oh that's him, there he is, there he is, there he
is. So I slowed down 'cause I'm thinking like alright
if I run that's just gone make them chase after me. So I
slowed down and when I slowed down they started walking up
and they were already walking up in a threatening manner.
They saying, um, they said, they was saying like "yeah
that's him, that's him right there. That's you,
what you was doing over there? What you was doing"?
I'm like what are you guys talking about. Where, I'm
trying to talk to them the whole time. Trying to talk to them
and then they just started attacking me. They just started
attacking me like, you can see I'm bruised up from that.
I got a knot, I got uh, uh, bump on my noggin and . . .
they're going back and forth with me and everything.
Hitting me and saying that "oh you, you came in, you
came in you came in here. . . . How did you get into our