Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs October 16, 2019
from the Circuit Court for Cheatham County No. 18134 Larry J.
Cheatham County Grand Jury indicted Nicholas Tyler Beckham,
Defendant, on twenty-three counts of aggravated sexual
exploitation of a minor. Pursuant to a plea agreement,
Defendant pled guilty to counts one through five, with an
agreed sentence of five years on each count, counts one
through four to be served consecutively, with count five to
run concurrently to count four, for an effective sentence of
twenty years at thirty percent, with the manner of service to
be determined by the court. The remainder of the counts were
dismissed. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court
ordered Defendant to serve his sentence in the Tennessee
Department of Correction. On appeal, Defendant claims the
trial court abused its discretion when it denied alternative
sentencing for Defendant. After a thorough review of the
record and applicable case law, we affirm the judgments of
the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Circuit
William B. Lockhart, III, District Public Defender, and
Matthew T. Mitchell, Assistant District Public Defender,
Ashland City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Nicholas Tyler
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Ruth
Anne Thompson, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Ray Crouch,
District Attorney General; and Margaret F. Sagi and David
Wyatt, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the
appellee, State of Tennessee.
L. Holloway, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.,
L. HOLLOWAY, JR., JUDGE.
Geas testified that she was employed with the Tennessee
Department of Correction Board of Probation and Parole and
that she prepared a presentence report for Defendant. The
report provided no information asserted by the parties
relating to mitigating factors or enhancement factors. Ms.
Geas stated that she received the State's enhancement
factors after she had prepared her presentence report.. On
cross- examination, Ms. Geas testified that Defendant was
eighteen years old at the time of the offenses and that,
based on his risk assessment, Defendant had a moderate risk
of re-offending. Ms. Geas agreed that she did not know why
Defendant was placed in the moderate category when all but
one of the risk assessment sub-categories presented as low
risk. On redirect examination, Ms. Geas stated that the risk
assessment did not take into consideration Defendant's
possible depression, pedophilia, or access to small children.
Timothy Palchak testified as an expert in the investigation
of child exploitation. Detective Palchak said he was a member
of the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force at the
Washington, D.C. Field Office. He stated that he began
specialized law enforcement training in the year 2000 when he
began working with the FBI's child abuse unit.
Palchak testified that, while working as an undercover task
force officer, he came into contact with Defendant online.
Defendant saw Detective Palchak's posts online, on a
mobile application called "KiK," in group forums
about pedophilia and incest. Defendant contacted Detective
Palchak online using Defendant's KiK screen name
"abbissupergirl." Defendant told Detective Palchak
that he was an eighteen-year-old male who lived in Indiana
and that he liked to "play with [his] younger
sisters[.]" Defendant told Detective Palchak that he
"do[es] anal" with his five-year-old sister.
asked Detective Palchak if he would like to see pictures, and
Detective Palchak answered affirmatively. Defendant sent
Detective Palchak three pictures via KiK, as detailed in the
1. An image of a nude prepubescent female child with her legs
spread exposing her bare vagina. Defendant told Detective
Palchak that this picture was of an eight-year-old girl.
2. An image of a nude prepubescent female with a penis
inserted into the child's anus. Defendant told Detective
Palchak that this picture was of a five-year-old girl.
3. An image of a nude prepubescent female from the vagina
down to her anus, legs spread, with a penis inserted into the
Palchak then gave Defendant his undercover cell phone number,
and Defendant contacted Detective Palchak via text message.
Defendant sent eleven additional pictures to Detective
Palchak's undercover cell phone, as detailed in the
1. An image of a prepubescent child lying on a burgundy sheet
with her legs spread exposing her bare vagina. An erect penis
is near the child's vagina but not touching it. The image
focuses on the child's vagina, and no face is visible.
2. An image depicting a prepubescent child spreading her bare
3. An image of a prepubescent child on all fours exposing her
bare buttocks and vagina.
4. An image of a prepubescent child spreading her legs open
and exposing her bare vagina. The image is taken from the
5. An image of a female child wearing a multi-colored shirt
and no panties. The child's hand and fingers are on her
6. The same child as the previous (photo 5). The child is
touching her bare vagina with her fingers, and a penis ...