Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs March 20, 2019
from the Circuit Court for Bedford County No. 17832-PC Forest
A. Durard, Jr., Judge
2014, the Petitioner, Paul Brent Baxter, was convicted of
aggravated assault and aggravated kidnapping, and the trial
court sentenced him to serve thirty-five years. The Defendant
appealed his convictions to this court, and we affirmed the
judgments. State v. Paul Brent Baxter, No.
M2015-00939-CCA-R3-CD, 2016 WL 2928266 (Tenn. Crim. App., at
Nashville, May 16, 2016), perm. app. denied (Tenn.
Sept. 23, 2016). Subsequently, the Petitioner filed a
petition for post-conviction relief, which the
post-conviction court denied after a hearing. After review,
we affirm the post-conviction court's judgment.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
D. Layne, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Paul
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Clark
B. Thornton, Senior Counsel; Robert J. Carter, District
Attorney General; and Michael Randles, Assistant District
Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in
which Norma McGee Ogle and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.
W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE
Facts and Background
case originates from the Petitioner's assault and
kidnapping of the victim, who was his girlfriend and
roommate. Based on this incident, a Bedford County grand jury
indicted the Petitioner for aggravated assault and aggravated
following is a summary by this court of the facts presented
The victim and the [Petitioner] began dating in early 2013
and got an apartment together in Shelbyville in October 2013.
The victim described their relationship as
"[t]errible" and stated that the [Petitioner] was
"very controlling" and beat her "all the
The victim testified that, on the evening of November 1,
2013, she and the [Petitioner] argued over money when she
discovered that money was missing from her account where she
received her social security disability payments. The
[Petitioner] admitted to taking all of the money out of the
victim's account and buying crack cocaine with it.
According to the victim, she was the only one with any
income, and she, therefore, kept asking the [Petitioner] how
he proposed to pay their bills, which were due. According to
the victim, the verbal disagreement, which began around 7:00
or 8:00 p.m., continued past midnight into November 2.
The [Petitioner] was sitting on the couch smoking crack
cocaine when the argument started up again. According to the
victim, it turned physical when he got up and punched her in
the face. The victim testified that, after this hit, she ran
away from the [Petitioner] and started beating on the walls
yelling "help" in an attempt to grab a
neighbor's attention. When she moved for the front door,
the [Petitioner] grabbed her by the neck with both hands and
pressed his thumbs on the center of her throat. The victim,
who had previously had "a [metal] plate, two screws[, ]
and [a] donor bone[, ]" surgically implanted in her neck
as the result of a car accident when she was a teenager,
believed that the [Petitioner] was trying to paralyze her-she
stated that he was applying pressure "really hard"
to the scar on her neck where he knew she had the plate and
screws. The victim also testified that she suffered from
degenerative disk disease and spinal stenosis. According to
the victim, the [Petitioner's] grip on her neck was very
painful and caused her to have difficulty breathing.
When the [Petitioner] finally let go of the victim, he
punched her hard in the eye, causing her to go "flying
back" onto the kitchen floor. The victim said that she
was "crying and hollering" because the hit to her
eye caused "[a] lot of pain" and that her back
"was in excruciating pain" from hitting the floor.
The [Petitioner] then dragged the victim into the bathroom of
their bedroom where he placed his foot on her head, trying to
her hold her down while she screamed. She stated that she was
unable to breathe as a result. According to the victim, the
[Petitioner] then began "jerking" her head, which
pulled some of her hair out. When she was able to turn her
head to the side, she begged the [Petitioner] to stop. When
he finally stopped, the victim asked to leave, even offering
the [Petitioner] money to let her go; however, the
[Petitioner] refused to let her go until the bruising on her
face subsided. She agreed to stay so the beating would ...