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State v. Gonzalez

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

October 21, 2019

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
RUDOLFO VALENTIN GONZALEZ II

          Assigned on Briefs July 16, 2019

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Montgomery County No. 63CC1-2018-CR-152 Jill Bartee Ayers, Judge

         On August 1, 2018, the Defendant, Rudolfo Valentin Gonzalez II, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and aggravated burglary. The trial court sentenced him as a Range I, standard offender to concurrent three-year sentences, and the Defendant was released on supervised probation. The Defendant argues on appeal that the trial court erred in denying his request for judicial diversion. After thorough review, we affirm the sentencing decision of the trial court.

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

          Edward E. Dewerff (at hearing), and Greg Smith (on appeal), Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Rudolfo Valentin Gonzalez II.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Caitlin Smith, Assistant Attorney General; Brett Ligon, District Attorney General; and Robert Nash, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Alan E. Glenn, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Thomas T. Woodall and Norma McGee Ogle, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          ALAN E. GLENN, JUDGE

         FACTS

         On February 6, 2018, the Montgomery County Grand jury indicted the Defendant for aggravated assault and aggravated burglary. According to the record, police responded to the hospital on October 9, 2017, after a domestic aggravated assault was reported. The victim, Crystal Townsend, informed police that the Defendant had assaulted her at his home. The victim told police that the Defendant had become angry and began yelling after she walked away from him at his home. After the victim told the Defendant not to speak to her like that, he "grabbed her by the legs, dragged her off the bed, causing her head to hit the floor hard. He then picked her up by the neck and carried her by the throat into the bathroom and sat her on the vanity." The victim said that the Defendant "squeezed her throat so that she could not breathe" and only released her after she shook her head "no" in response to his question, "[A]re you going to walk away from me again?"

         After the Defendant released her, the victim asked him if this was "the way he normally treats women[.]" He "became enraged" and started "punching her in the abdomen and in the back of her head repeatedly." She then told him she hated him and asked to go to the hospital. In response, the Defendant "picked her up by the neck and again" and "began to squeeze and put his weight on her throat." The victim lost consciousness, and after she came to, the Defendant "apologized but refused to take her to the hospital." After the Defendant fell asleep, the victim returned to her home and called a friend to transport her to the hospital, where police took her statement. While the victim was in the hospital, she was also able to show police "feed and security cameras" from her home on her phone, showing the Defendant "in her residence" with "audio of him yelling out looking for her." To get inside the victim's home, he kicked the door in, breaking the door and part of the door jam. After police contacted the Defendant, he "made some admissions" and "admitted to holding [the victim] during the altercation." The Defendant pled guilty to the indicted offenses.

         The victim testified at the Defendant's sentencing hearing. She stated that she and the Defendant had been dating for two months at the time of the assault and reiterated what she told police while she was in the hospital. After the assault, the Defendant refused to take the victim to the hospital, and she started throwing up "for about two hours" because she "had a concussion." The victim managed to leave the Defendant's home "around 3:30, 4:00 in the morning" and called her children's father to ask him to come to her house because she thought that the Defendant "was going to come back over there, once he found out I was gone, because he was so mad." Her children's father agreed to take the victim to the hospital because she was "still throwing up" and "couldn't drive there[.]" She also reiterated that her security cameras had footage of the Defendant kicking down her door and entering her home while she was in the hospital. The victim testified that the assault caused her to be "scared of men" and to have nightmares. When asked how she felt about the Defendant potentially receiving judicial diversion, the victim stated that she was "very against it." Though the Defendant apparently claimed that the victim had pointed a gun at him at the time of the assault, she denied such an assertion.

         Hache Ferreira, who had served in the military with the Defendant, testified at the sentencing hearing that the Defendant told him he had to defend himself from the victim. Eric Betancourt, who had also served in the military with the Defendant, testified that the Defendant told him he had "choked" and "punched" the victim. He stated he still thought of the Defendant as "a good soldier" and still trusted him.

         At the close of the sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range I, standard offender to concurrent three-year sentences, and the ...


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