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State v. Hall

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

July 8, 2019


          Session March 26, 2019

          Appeal from the Criminal Court for Knox County No. 109996 Steven Wayne Sword, Judge

         After a bifurcated jury trial, Defendant, Daron Hall, was found guilty of three counts of possession of a firearm by a felon, one count of aggravated assault, one count of attempted voluntary manslaughter, and two counts of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. Defendant received an effective sentence of twenty-five years. After the denial of a motion for new trial, Defendant appeals to this Court arguing: (1) that the trial court erred by instructing the jury on attempted voluntary manslaughter; (2) the trial court erred by admitting the 911 tapes into evidence; and (3) the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction for attempted voluntary manslaughter. After a review, we determine the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the 911 tapes into evidence, and the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction for attempted voluntary manslaughter. However, we remand the matter to the trial court for correction of the judgment forms to reflect the sentences as imposed by the trial court at the sentencing hearing.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Criminal Court Affirmed and Remanded

          Mark E. Stephens, District Public Defender; and David D. Skidmore, Assistant District Public Defender, for the appellant, Daron Keith Hall.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Charme P. Allen, District Attorney General; and Phil Morton, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Norma McGee Ogle and Camille R. McMullen, JJ., joined.



         Defendant was indicted by the Knox County Grand Jury for three variations of possession of a weapon by a convicted felon in Counts One through Three, aggravated assault in Count Four, attempted first degree murder in Count Five, and two variations of employing a firearm during a dangerous felony in Counts Six and Seven.

         Much of the proof establishing that Defendant assaulted the victim, John Webb, while using a deadly weapon on October 27, 2016, is not in dispute. The testimony at trial established that the victim and his wife, Leondria Webb, went to the home of Mrs. Webb's father, Merle Green, to gather with various family members prior to Mr. Green's funeral. The Webbs arrived at the house on Kim Lane in their car around 3:30 p.m. with their seventeen-year-old son. When they arrived, they parked in the front of the house. Defendant was on the porch with his brother, Tubbia Green, and another man named Benjamin Franklin Gash, Jr. Defendant is Mrs. Webb's brother. Mr. Gash had travelled from North Carolina to Tennessee for the funeral and had known the deceased Mr. Green for over twenty years.

         According to the victim, Defendant approached his vehicle and told him that he was not welcome and that he needed to leave. Both Mrs. Webb and Tubbia Green tried to diffuse the situation by telling Defendant that this was not the "time" for this discussion. According to the accounts of the victim and his wife, Defendant became increasingly agitated.

         The victim eventually told Defendant that he was "not gonna keep running from [him]" and that he was not "scared of [him]." As the victim's son walked around the vehicle and into the yard toward the house, Defendant ran toward the victim and pulled out a gun. As soon as the victim could see the gun, he started to run away. Defendant fired the gun. The victim heard at least five or six shots and was in fear for his life as well as the lives of his wife and son. The victim jumped a fence and ran to the next street over. The victim saw a woman outside her house and asked her to call 911 because someone was "trying to kill" him. The victim himself called 911 to report the shooting.

         Mr. Gash was seated on the porch at the time that the victim pulled up to the house. He had never met Defendant, whom he described as "[v]ery sociable." When the victim arrived, Defendant's "demeanor" changed. He "became very angry" and told the victim that he would "kill" him and told him to "get up out of here." Mr. Gash estimated that the men argued for "[m]aybe three to five minutes" before Mr. Gash saw Defendant approach the victim. Defendant took "a gun out from behind his - - his back," stepped off the porch, and "charge[d]" toward the victim. Defendant started firing shots and "continued to shoot at the victim while he was running." Mr. Gash heard "[f]our to five shots." The victim ran behind the house. Mr. Tubbia Green attempted to calm Defendant down after the gunfire. Mr. Gash saw Defendant a short time later in a car.

         Multiple 911 calls were placed that day to report shots fired at the house on Kim Lane. One of the callers, who identified herself as Renee Green, reported that Defendant fired shots. The next caller, who did not identify herself, reported that her brother, Defendant, was shooting at her husband. Another caller gave a description of a vehicle in which they saw Defendant leaving the scene of the incident.

         Sergeant Amanda Bunch of the Knoxville Police Department responded to the "shooting call." When she arrived, "there was a lot of yelling and screaming, people were holding each other back." According to Sergeant Bunch, it was "chaotic." Sergeant Bunch was able to determine that neither the suspect nor the victim were on the scene.

         After other officers arrived on the scene, the victim was located down the street. During his conversation with officers, the victim collapsed and lost consciousness. The victim, who suffered from sarcoidosis, [1] was not on oxygen at the time but was on oxygen as little as two months prior to the incident. He was transported to Fort Sanders, a nearby hospital, for evaluation and treatment. Because he was hospitalized, he was unable to attend the funeral.

         Three shell casings were initially recovered from the scene and a fourth shell casing was eventually discovered. A forensic examiner confirmed that the same gun fired all four casings. No weapon was discovered.

         The victim testified that this was not the first altercation between him and Defendant. In July of 2015, Defendant came to the victim's house with his "clothes and stuff." Defendant "was acting like he was gonna stay at the house" and told the victim that it was his sister's house and that [the victim] did not do anything at the house. The victim stood up and told him that he could not stay at the house and that he did not want to argue with him. The victim was required to use oxygen at the time because of his sarcoidosis. Defendant hit the victim. The victim "hit the ground." When he woke up, he was "covered in blood." The victim sustained a broken nose, dislocated eye socket, and a severe concussion. Defendant pled guilty to assault after the incident. The victim did not have contact with Defendant from the time he pled guilty to assault until the day of the funeral.

         Cynthia Catlett testified for Defendant. She lived nearby on the corner of Forestdale and Kim Lane. She heard shots and saw some people run by her house on the day of the incident. The man she saw running had on a red shirt. He was followed by two men "wearing white shirts like t-shirts." She did not see Defendant, who was six feet, eight inches tall, run by her house.

         Charles Brandon Smith, another resident of the area, testified that he lived about five houses away from Kim Lane. He heard shots fired and saw "four or five" people running through his yard. They were "pretty well dressed," and all of them seemed to be running away from the scene. He did not see Defendant.

         Defendant did not testify. At the conclusion of the proof, the jury found Defendant guilty of aggravated assault, the lesser included offense of attempted voluntary manslaughter, and two counts of employing a firearm during a dangerous felony. In a bifurcated hearing, the State introduced certified judgments indicating Defendant had three prior convictions for robbery and one prior conviction for ...

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