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State v. Darvin

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

September 17, 2019

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
CHARLES EUGENE DARVIN, JR.

          Session May 14, 2019

          Appeal from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2015-B-1456 Seth W. Norman, Judge

         Following a bench trial before the Davidson County Criminal Court, the Defendant-Appellant, Charles Eugene Darvin, Jr., was convicted as charged of especially aggravated robbery, see Tenn. Code Ann. §39-13-403, a Class A felony. The trial court later accepted the agreement of the parties to sentence the Defendant to a term of fifteen years' imprisonment, to be served at 100%. The sole issue presented for our review is whether the evidence is sufficient to support the element of serious bodily injury as required to establish the offense. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

          G. Kline Preston, IV, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Charles Eugene Darvin, Jr.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Glenn R. Funk, District Attorney General; and Emily R. Todoran, 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.

          OPINION

          CAMILLE R. McMULLEN, JUDGE

         On March 21, 2015, the Defendant forced his way into the apartment of Calvin Davis, the victim, and demanded the victim's money. When the victim refused, the Defendant brutally beat the victim with a gun and stole approximately $72 from him. As a result of the attack, the victim spent nearly three days in the hospital, had permanent scarring to his lip and atop his head, and had to receive eighteen staples to his head. The Defendant, a neighbor of the victim's, was later arrested and charged with the above offense. The following proof was adduced at the February 12, 2018, one-day trial in this matter.

         Prior to the offense, the victim had suffered a stroke, which affected his memory. The victim was nevertheless able to recall that on the day of the offense he went to a party at the apartment of his roommate's girlfriend. He had just gotten paid and took approximately $130 with him to the party. While at the party, the victim pulled out a "wad" of money from his pocket to give his roommate's girlfriend as a gift. He put the rest of his money back in his pocket and eventually left the party. The victim testified that he knew the Defendant prior to the offense, that the Defendant lived in the same apartment building, and that the Defendant was standing outside the apartment when the victim left the party. The victim walked back to his apartment, but he was unaware the Defendant had followed him. The victim said the Defendant knocked on the door and told the victim to open the door. The Defendant then forced his way into the apartment and demanded the victim's money. The victim testified that he told the Defendant he did not have any money and that the Defendant commenced to "beating [the victim] on the head with a pistol and kick[ing] [the victim] all in the face. [The Defendant] put the gun in [the victim's] mouth, busted [his] head, busted [his] lip, kick[ed] [the victim] hard in the back and everything. . . . [The victim] had eighteen staples in [his] head[.]" The victim said the gun was black, and the Defendant took approximately $72 from him. The victim explained that the Defendant continued to beat him with the gun even after he took his money and that the attack lasted approximately twenty minutes. When the victim's roommate returned to the apartment, he called the police.

         Regarding the victim's injuries, the victim said that he had difficulty walking without a cane and, at the time of trial, he still experienced extreme pain for which he took medication. The victim stayed in the hospital for two and a half days and had permanent scarring on the inside of his lip and atop his head. The victim "positive[ly]" identified the Defendant at trial as the perpetrator of the offense.

         The victim's roommate, John Paul Harper, testified consistently with the testimony of the victim. He was living with the victim at the time of the offense and confirmed that on that day he had gone to a party with the victim to celebrate his girlfriend's birthday. At that time, he knew the Defendant only by his first name and explained that, although the Defendant was at the same party, the Defendant had not been invited. After the party, Harper observed the Defendant "banging" on the victim's apartment door. He identified the Defendant at trial as the person he saw "banging" on the victim's door. He said the Defendant shut the wooden door, and he did not initially observe any commotion. He then heard a "big boom" and went to the victim's apartment after approximately twenty minutes. He said the door was blocked and difficult to open because the victim was "laying on the floor bloody and beaten to death. He looked like he was pistol whipped and chocked out." Harper said the victim was barely breathing, and he called the police. The 911 tape of his call was admitted into evidence and played for the jury.

         On cross-examination, Harper explained he was approximately ten to twenty feet away from the door at the time the Defendant barged into the victim's apartment. He said that as the Defendant entered the apartment, he heard the Defendant tell the victim to, "Sit you[r] ass down, n ----- ." The Defendant then shut the door. He heard a commotion after the Defendant entered the apartment, but he did not immediately interfere because he "would have got a piece of the rough-edge action too." He confirmed that he paid the victim rent to live with him; however, the amount had changed since the offense.

         Officer Michael Brooks of the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) testified that he was the first officer to respond to the instant offense. He spoke with the victim's roommate who showed him where the victim was located. Officer Brooks also confirmed that the victim's roommate provided him with the Defendant's first name and told him that the Defendant stayed with his sister in a nearby apartment. Officer Brooks confirmed that the victim had extensive injuries and called medical ...


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