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State v. Blackmon

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

July 17, 2019


          Assigned on Briefs March 5, 2019

          Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 15-00959 Lee V. Coffee, Judge

         The Defendant, Tory Blackmon, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of attempted first degree murder, a Class A felony; employing a firearm during the commission or attempted commission of a dangerous felony, a Class C felony; and aggravated assault, a Class C felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-12-101(a)(1)-(3) (2018) (criminal attempt), 39-13-202(a) (2014) (subsequently amended) (first degree murder), 39-13-102(a) (2014) (subsequently amended) (aggravated assault), 39-17-1324(b)(2) (2014) (subsequently amended) (armed dangerous felonies). The court imposed a twenty-year sentence for attempted first degree murder, a six-year sentence for the employing a firearm conviction, and a four-year sentence for aggravated assault. The court merged the aggravated assault conviction with the attempted first degree murder conviction, and it ordered the firearm conviction to be served consecutively to the attempted murder conviction as required by Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-1324(e)(1) (2014) (subsequently amended). On appeal, the Defendant contends that the court erred in sentencing. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

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

          Gerald S. Green (on appeal), and Joseph McClusky (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Tory Blackmon.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Ruth Anne Thompson, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; Jeffrey D. Jones and Jamie Bowers Kidd, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Alan E. Glenn and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., JJ., joined.



         The Defendant's convictions relate to his September 25, 2014 shooting at the victim, who was his daughter's mother, as the victim left work. A juvenile court hearing was scheduled for the following day to establish the Defendant's obligation for child support for their daughter.

         At the trial, the victim testified that she and the Defendant had been coworkers and had been sexually involved. After the victim became pregnant, she and the Defendant remained on friendly terms until the Defendant learned in Summer 2013 that the baby was a girl. The victim said the Defendant stopped communicating with her, although they remained coworkers. She said the Defendant's learning the child was a girl was the reason the relationship ended. She said they had not fought or had a contentious breakup. She said that their daughter was born in September 2013. The victim said that the Defendant was not involved with their daughter and that the victim sought to establish paternity and child support through the juvenile court. She said that the Defendant initially did not appear for a paternity test but that he appeared after a warrant was issued. She said the paternity test showed that the Defendant was the child's father.

         The victim testified that she left work on the evening of September 25, 2014, around 11:00 p.m. She said that as she slowed at a stop sign, she saw the Defendant jump from behind a car and point a gun at her. She said she was able to see him in her headlights. She said the Defendant fired four or five shots at her, striking her car. She said she ducked and drove home. She said that until the shooting, she had not seen the Defendant for about one year and that they had known each other for about one and one-half years.

         The State offered testimony of police officers relative to consensual searches of the Defendant's and the Defendant's cousin's SUVs, which were conducted after the Defendant arrived at juvenile court the next day. The Defendant had arrived in his SUV and had entered his cousin's SUV after he arrived. The contents of the Defendant's cousin's SUV included a loaded .40-caliber handgun. The contents of the Defendant's SUV included latex gloves and a box of .38-caliber ammunition, an Arminius Titan Tiger .38-caliber revolver, two prescription medication bottles labeled with the Defendant's name, a camouflage backpack, and the Defendant's work identification badge. The .38-caliber revolver contained six cartridge casings. A firearms expert was unable to determine whether the cartridge casings collected as evidence had been fired from the .38-caliber revolver.

         The jury found the Defendant guilty of the charged offenses. At the sentencing hearing, the State offered a handwritten statement from the victim as evidence. In the statement, the victim stated that even though the Defendant had been in jail after the incident, she had been afraid someone else would harm her. She said that she had been unable to eat and sleep and that she had lost weight after the incident. She said she had psychological problems after the incident and described hearing noises and thinking someone was going to kill her. She said she was afraid the Defendant would kill her after he was released.

         The presentence report reflects that the Defendant was age thirty-one on the date of the sentencing hearing. He was a high school graduate and reported he had last worked for the same employer as the victim, although the presentence officer was unable to verify the past employment. The Defendant reported that he had one child and a brother and that he planned to live with his ...

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