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State v. Jackson

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

August 30, 2019


          Session May 14, 2019

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Montgomery County No. 63CC1-2015-CR-834 William R. Goodman, III, Judge

         A Montgomery County Grand Jury indicted the Defendant with second degree murder (count one), vehicular homicide (count two), aggravated assault (count three), failure to complete boating safety certification (count four), and operating a motorboat without a valid identification number (count five). Pursuant to a plea agreement, the Defendant entered a guilty plea to reckless homicide, a lesser included offense of second degree murder (count one). The plea agreement further provided that the Defendant plead guilty as a Range II, multiple offender pursuant to Hicks v. State, 945 S.W.2d 706, 709 (Tenn. 1997) (holding that a knowing and voluntary guilty plea waives any irregularity as to offender classification or release eligibility), with the trial court to determine the length and manner of service of his sentence. In exchange for the Defendant's plea of guilty, the State agreed to dismiss the remaining counts in the indictment. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed a sentence of five-years' imprisonment. Ten days later, the Defendant filed a motion to modify his sentence pursuant to Rule 35 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure. Following a second hearing, the trial court denied relief and imposed the same sentence. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant argues that the trial court erred in sentencing the Defendant and in failing to grant his Rule 35 motion to modify the sentence.[1] Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed

          Michael Meise, Dickson, Tennessee, (on appeal), Chase Smith, Clarksville, Tennessee, (at trial) and John Maher, Clarksville, Tennessee (Rule 35 hearing) for the Defendant-Appellant, Douglas Wayne Jackson.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Senior Assistant Attorney General; John W. Carney, Jr., District Attorney General; and Robert J. Nash, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Camille R. MCMULLEN, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Norma McGee Ogle and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ., joined.



         In this case, the Defendant was the driver of a boat that accidently ran over Stephanie Burns, the primary victim, and injured his brother. The victim died as a result of the injuries sustained in the accident. On May 8, 2017, the Defendant entered a guilty plea to reckless homicide, and stipulated to the following factual basis supporting the offense:

June 29[, ] 2013, [the Defendant], Amber Bradley, Bobbi Meadows, [the victim], and [the Defendant's brother] went boating together on [the Defendant's] boat that was owned by his family. This was in the afternoon of the 29th of June. There was some alcohol purchased by, I believe, Ms. Burns. It was placed in a blue and white cooler on the boat.
All indications are things are going fine until the 911 call was made by Amber Bradley at about 5:12 that afternoon, stating that one of her friends were caught in the boat prop.
Civilians arrived to render aid and the T.W.R.A. Agents - civilian and the agents did notice a blue and white cooler in the water along the bank.
[The victim] was in the water being held above the water by Bobbie Meadows, who was in the boat. [The victim] was in distress from chopping injuries to her arms and torso.
[The Defendant's brother] was struck in the head by the boat. He was bleeding. He was being rendered aid by other civilians. He was later taken to Gateway.
[The victim] was pronounced dead at the scene by the paramedics.
T.W.R.A. had [the Defendant], Bradley, and Meadows, who were the last three on the boat, drive to the marina.
[The Defendant] and Meadows, at the time, were on probation. [The Defendant] was on probation, county probation. Mr. Meadows was on state probation.
During the ride upon the scene of [the victim's] death to the marina, where T.W.R.A. instructed them to go, there was some discussion about an agreement, in which they would get their stories straight about what happened to [the victim].
The story that was told to the T.W.R.A. Agents, on that day, was that there was a tubing accident and that's how [the victim] suffered her injuries or that she just fell off the back of the boat onto the prop.
Neither one of those turned out to be true. Mr. Meadows came forward a couple of days after this.
Mr. Meadows was in a relationship with [the victim]. And I believe [the Defendant] and Ms. Bradley were in a relationship. They all appeared to be friends at the time.
Mr. Meadows came forward and told T.W.R.A. Agents that [the Defendant's brother] had picked [the victim] up. I think [the victim] indicated that she needed to use the bathroom. He picked her up. [The Defendant] pushed both of them in the water.
Now, [the victim] could not swim and that was known. She wore . . . some sort of lifejacket when she did go in.
[The Defendant] then pushed them in the water and took off in the boat. I suppose that's when Mr. Meadows says, "She can't swim. You ...

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