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State v. Walker

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

July 12, 2019

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
DAVID KEITH WALKER

          Assigned on Briefs February 26, 2019

          Appeal from the Criminal Court for Hamilton County Nos. 297341, 297464, 298582, and 298584 Tom Greenholtz, Judge

         The Defendant, David Keith Walker, pled guilty to aggravated burglary, theft of property valued at $500 or less, burglary, vandalism, and two counts of theft of property valued at $1, 000 or more. The trial court imposed a total effective sentence of fifteen years' incarceration. On appeal, the Defendant contends that he is a suitable candidate for alternative sentencing pursuant to the statutory considerations outlined in Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-103. Following our review, we affirm the trial court's denial of alternative sentencing.

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

          Michael L. Acuff, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellant, David Keith Walker.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zetner, Assistant Attorney General; M. Neal Pinkston, District Attorney General; and AnCharlene Davis, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Norma McGee Ogle, and James Curwood Witt, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          D. KELLY THOMAS, JR., JUDGE.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         The Defendant in this case was indicted on multiple offenses stemming from break-ins and thefts of several under-construction homes in Hamilton County. On January 27, 2016, the Defendant was indicted on one count each of aggravated burglary, theft of property valued at more than $500, burglary, vandalism valued at $500 or less, and two counts of theft of property valued at $1, 000 or more. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-14-105, -14-402, -14-403, -14-408. On October 10, 2017, the Defendant pled guilty on all charges. By agreement, the Defendant received concurrent sentences for his aggravated burglary and burglary convictions, concurrent sentences for his theft of property valued at $1, 000 or more convictions, and concurrent eleven-month and twenty-nine-day sentences for his vandalism and theft of property valued at $500 or less convictions. The Defendant's ten-year and five-year sentences were to run consecutively for an effective fifteen-year sentence. The Defendant's misdemeanor sentences were to run concurrently. The trial court was to determine the Defendant's manner of service.

         The sentencing hearing to determine the Defendant's manner of service proceeded as follows. At the beginning of the hearing, the trial court acknowledged the presentence report and the amended presentence report. Prior to the beginning of testimony, the prosecutor referred to the Defendant's plea agreement. As stipulated in the agreement, the Defendant pled guilty on the aforementioned charges with an effective sentence of fifteen years.

         At the sentencing hearing, the Defendant testified that upon his March 30, 2015 release from custody on parole, he had contacted multiple halfway homes but was unsuccessful finding a placement. In the alternative, the Defendant planned to live with his brother, stating that he wanted to "find a place to stay until [he] could save some money to be able to get [his] own place." The Defendant was unable to reach his brother via telephone. The Defendant contacted the co-defendant in this case, Harry Gilley, and asked him to pick him up from jail. The two men used drugs on the day of Defendant's release from custody. The Defendant was arrested on October 13, 2015 for the charges in this case.

         While on parole from March 2015 to October 2015, the Defendant worked odd jobs in construction and landscaping. During this time, the Defendant lived sporadically with co-defendant Gilley, a short time with his brother, and with a companion, Brenda Porter. The Defendant admitted that he had not been cooperative with law enforcement when approached in October 2015. The Defendant agreed that he had spent more than half of his adult life in custody, including convictions for twelve felonies and seventeen misdemeanors.

         As of the sentencing hearing, the Defendant testified that he had been in custody for two and a half years since his October 2015 arrest. During this time, the Defendant explained he had been active in the jail workforce, doing laundry and transporting supplies. The Defendant received several letters of support from various officers at the Hamilton County jail. The Defendant also described in detail his involvement with various study programs, including the Rock of Ages prison ministry study, Hope Bible Study, the House of Refuge program, and "Mayas" Walk. The Defendant stated he had obtained brochures and financial ...


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