Assigned on Briefs September 4, 2019
from the Circuit Court for Hardeman County No. 17-CR-22 J.
Weber McCraw, Judge
William Prichard, was convicted by a jury of aggravated
assault resulting in death. The trial court sentenced
Defendant to a term of fifteen years. On appeal, Defendant
argues that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his
conviction of aggravated assault and that Defendant should be
granted a new trial because the finding of the jury is
against the weight of the evidence presented, and the trial
judge failed to act as the thirteenth juror. After conducting
a full review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Circuit
Mitchell, Savannah, Tennessee, for the appellant, William
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent
C. Cherry, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Mark E.
Davidson, District Attorney General; and Joe Van Dyke,
Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State
Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Alan E. Glenn and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., JJ., joined
TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE.
and Procedural Background
was indicted by the Hardeman County Grand Jury of one count
of aggravated assault resulting in death. At trial, which
commenced on January 9, 2018, the following facts were
August 26, 2016, Defendant and the victim, William Hancock,
were inmates at the Hardeman County Correctional Facility.
Steve Young, also an inmate, testified that he and Mr.
Hancock were standing near the microwaves in their pod.
Defendant came down the stairs yelling "I'm going to
get you." Mr. Young stated that he took notice and
stepped in between Defendant and Mr. Hancock, facing
Defendant. Defendant put his hand on Mr. Young's left
shoulder, jumped over Mr. Young, and punched Mr. Hancock in
the face with his right hand. Mr. Young testified that when
he turned around, Mr. Hancock was lying on the floor. Mr.
Young gave a statement to the correctional facility officials
at the time and identified Defendant as the person who hit
Mr. Hancock. Mr. Young did not recognize Defendant in the
courtroom but was able to recognize him from a photograph
taken closer to the time of the offense.
Gallady, another inmate, testified that he witnessed Mr.
Young jumping in between Mr. Hancock and Defendant. Mr.
Gallady stated that he saw Defendant hit Mr. Hancock in the
face and that Mr. Hancock "fell straight back, [and]
smacked his head right on the floor." Mr. Gallady
testified that Mr. Hancock had not been acting strangely or
depressed in the days leading up to the incident, that
"[h]e seemed like the same old guy we was used to being
around." Mr. Gallady stated that it was a matter of
moments before the correctional officer arrived and directed
all inmates to their cells. The inmates were placed on
lockdown. A nurse arrived a couple of minutes later. Mr.
Gallady also testified that prior to the incident, the floor
was dry and did not have any puddles of water. Mr. Gallady
identified Defendant in the courtroom as the individual who
hit Mr. Hancock.
Officer Cassie Graham testified that she was in the "JDF
Sally Port" when the attack occurred and that she was on
the scene of the incident within thirty seconds. Officer
Graham did not witness Defendant hit Mr. Hancock. Officer
Graham found Mr. Hancock lying on the ground and then
proceeded to lockdown the other inmates to assess the
situation. While getting the inmates into their cells,
Officer Graham testified that Defendant told her that
"[he] done [sic] it." Officer Graham testified that
there were cameras in the pod, but she did not know if there
was any video footage of the incident.
Gates, an investigator at the Hardeman County Correctional
Facility, testified that she became involved in the
investigation because it was likely that an inmate was going
to die as a result of injuries sustained in an incident.
Officer Gates developed Defendant as a suspect during her