Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Session: May 30, 2019
from the Criminal Court for Sullivan County No. S67-410 James
F. Goodwin, Jr., Judge
a bench trial, the trial court convicted the Defendant,
Jonathan Addair, of child abuse and domestic assault. The
trial court merged the domestic assault conviction into the
child abuse conviction and sentenced the Defendant to serve
three years and six months in confinement. On appeal the
Defendant asserts the evidence is insufficient to support his
conviction for child abuse, and the trial court's
sentence is excessive. After review, we affirm the trial
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Criminal
Jonathan Sevier Cave, Greeneville, Tennessee, for the
appellant, Jonathan Wayne Addair.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Barry
P. Staubus, District Attorney General; and Emily M. Smith,
Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State
W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which John Everett Williams, P.J., and Robert L. Holloway,
Jr., J., joined.
W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE
case arises from a physical interaction related to discipline
between the Defendant and his three-year-old daughter,
Consequently, a Sullivan County grand jury indicted the
Defendant for child abuse and domestic assault. The Defendant
waived his right to a jury trial and elected to have a bench
trial. At the bench trial on the charges, the parties
presented the following evidence: Kasandra Berry testified
that she was in a "dating relationship" with the
Defendant in September 2016, and alternated her residence
between the Defendant's trailer and her aunt's home.
night of September 24, 2016, Ms. Berry was at the
Defendant's residence in Sullivan County with her two
minor children. Ms. Berry recalled that the Defendant's
two minor children were also present. The children had been
in "[t]he boys' room at the far end of the
trailer" jumping. The Defendant, who had been in his
bedroom, went into the room and told the children to stop
jumping. The Defendant returned to his bedroom where he could
observe the children through a video camera baby monitor. The
Defendant's daughter, M.A., continued jumping. Ms. Berry
was seated in the living room but followed the Defendant as
he "stormed" through the trailer to the boys'
room. The Defendant was "screaming" and then picked
M.A. up and held her against the wall by her throat. As he
held her by the throat, the Defendant continued
"scream[ing]" at M.A., demanding she stop jumping
on the bed. He then put M.A. in her bedroom.
Berry testified that she witnessed the entire interaction and
recorded a portion of it on her cell phone. She said that she
first made sure the flash was turned off on her camera phone
so that the Defendant would not know she was recording him.
According to Ms. Berry, after the Defendant carried M.A. to
her bedroom, he returned to the boys' room and
"yelled at the other three children" before going
back to his bedroom. Once the Defendant had returned to his
room, Ms. Berry went to M.A.'s bedroom to check on her.
She recalled that M.A. was crying and stated that she was
scared. Ms. Berry said that, while comforting M.A., she did
not notice any marks on M.A., but explained that it was dark
in the room.
Berry testified that her cell phone at the time was a DROID
Mini. While she no longer owned that phone, she had saved the
recording to a "Keepsafe app." Ms. Berry used the
password-protected app for storage and confirmed that she had
not shared the password for the account with anyone. Ms.
Berry explained her reasoning for moving the recording to a
secured location as follows:
Because [the Defendant] would go through my phone, look at
things, and we would argue. So when I was worried where there
was arguments that night, that [the Defendant] would go
through it and see the video and then it would just be worse.
So I put it in there so no one could see it.
Berry confirmed that she had not altered the recording in any
Berry testified that she did not report the incident to the
police for several days. She explained that she did not do so
immediately because she and all four children were at the
Defendant's trailer. The Defendant went to North Carolina
for work the day after the incident, and the children went to
other residences. Ms. Berry stated that, because of this
incident and other issues, she planned to leave the Defendant
but wanted to first retrieve her belongings from the trailer.
Additionally, she did not believe the police would go to
another state to retrieve the Defendant, so she waited until
he returned. On the night he called to tell her he was at
home, she notified the police of the incident with M.A.
Berry testified that she had reviewed a copy of the recording
she had given to the police and confirmed that it was an
accurate depiction of what had occurred. She stated that the
recording had not been altered. The State played the
recording for the trial court. Ms. Berry identified the man
in the video as the Defendant and the voice heard yelling and
cursing at the children as the Defendant's voice. The
video recording begins with the Defendant pinning M.A.,
approximately four to five feet above the ground, against the
wall by her neck while he yells at her. M.A.'s face is
bright red, she is crying loudly, and her face is pinched and
contorted. He then carries her down the hall and puts her in