Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Session May 29, 2019
from the Circuit Court for Claiborne County No. 17-CR-2776 E.
Shayne Sexton, Judge.
Claiborne County jury convicted the Petitioner, Robert Andrew
Hawkins, of one count of aggravated kidnapping and two counts
of aggravated assault, and the trial court sentenced him to
an effective sentence of sixteen years in confinement. The
Petitioner appealed his convictions on the basis of a juror
issue and sentencing. This court affirmed his convictions and
sentence. State v. Robert Andrew Hawkins, No.
E2015-01542-CCA-R3-CD, 2016 WL 5210770 (Tenn. Crim. App, at
Knoxville, Sept. 19, 2016), perm. app. denied (Tenn.
Dec. 14, 2016). The Petitioner filed a timely petition for
post-conviction relief in which he alleged that: (1) the
State withheld evidence in violation of Brady v.
Maryland, 373 U.S. 93 (1965); (2) Counsel was
ineffective for failing to investigate or communicate
effectively with him; and (3) the cumulative effect of these
errors entitles him to a new trial. The post-conviction court
denied relief, and the Petitioner maintains his allegations
on appeal. After review, we affirm the post-conviction
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Chelsea C. Moore, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Robert Andrew Hawkins.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Jared R.
Effler, District Attorney General; and Graham E. Wilson,
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.
opinion affirming the Petitioner's convictions, we
case as follows:
Four days after the victim, Anna Falce, required her live-in
boyfriend, [the Petitioner], to vacate her home, he returned,
held her hostage for over three hours, and viciously attacked
her. As a result of the attack, the Claiborne County Grand
Jury indicted [the Petitioner] for aggravated burglary in
count one, especially aggravated kidnapping in count two,
aggravated domestic assault in counts three and four, and
coercion of a witness in count five. After a trial, [the
Petitioner] was acquitted in counts one and five, convicted
of the lesser included offense of aggravated kidnapping in
count two, and convicted of aggravated assault in counts
three and four.
Hawkins, 2016 WL 5210770, at *1. Because the
Petitioner had not appealed sufficiency of the evidence, our
summary did not include the facts presented at trial. Those
facts, however, are relevant herein based upon the
Petitioner's argument that Counsel's representation
prejudiced him at trial. Therefore, we turn to summarize the
facts as presented at trial.
the Petitioner's trial, the parties presented the
following evidence: The victim testified that she was living
in a home with her daughter on April 24, 2013, a home from
which she had recently asked the Petitioner to vacate. The
two had dated for four years, and she broke off their
relationship and asked him to move out. The Petitioner
refused, and the victim had to go to a friend's house,
hide her vehicle, and then threaten him with calling the
police before he would leave. The home was owned by the
victim's mother, where she had lived since 2001, and the
victim paid her $100 a month to live there. While the
Petitioner shared some expenses, he did not pay rent.
April 24, 2013, the day of the attack, the victim's
daughter, I.R., had a friend over. I.R.'s friend's
father, Tim Brantley, picked them up to drive them to school.
The victim said she was preparing for work as a supervising
nurse and was expecting a friend, Mindy Walker. When the
victim heard someone come in the door, she assumed it was Ms.
Walker, but it was the Petitioner. He said "I hope you
kissed your daughter goodbye because that's the last time
you're gonna see her."
victim said that the Petitioner grabbed her and threw her on
the ground and then punched her. The Petitioner called her a
"whore," dug through her bathroom trash looking for
dirty condoms, and told her that she did not deserve to live.
The Petitioner told her that he had been standing outside her
window waiting for I.R. to leave. The Petitioner then told
her that if she did not stay with him that he would kidnap,
torture, and kill her.
victim testified that the Petitioner then got on top of her
and strangled her until she could no longer breathe. He
repeatedly slammed her head onto the floor. As he loosened
his grip on her neck, she began screaming, and he told her
that she was not going to scream anymore. He put his fingers
in her throat, and made a large hole in the back of her gum
with his finger. The victim said that, at one point, she fled
and made it to her carport before the Petitioner grabbed her
by the hair and "jerked" her into the house.
victim said that she tried to hit the Petitioner with a vase,
but she had no strength. He said that he was going to tape
her up because she was not cooperating. He then got duct tape
from a toolbox, hit her in the head with the vase, and taped
her hands and feet. The Petitioner kept smacking her face and
told her that he had decided to kill himself but then he
decided that killing her would be more fun. The Petitioner
told her that his father was going to testify that the two
were together at the time of the murder so he would not be
caught. The victim said that the Petitioner told her that he
was going to put her in his car, go get I.R. from school, and
let I.R. watch while he tortured and killed the victim. He
also said he was going to call the victim's mother and
let her listen to the victim being killed.
victim said that the Petitioner began looking through her
work and personal cell phones. He kicked her any time he saw
something that he did not like on her phone, such as a text
message from someone who he assumed was a male. The
Petitioner sent and received text messages from the
victim's phone during this ordeal, but she did not have
access to her phones at this point. As the Petitioner looked
at her phones, he accused the victim of sleeping with other
men, put his face by her "lower area" and said that
she smelled like another man's "dick." The
victim said that she was in the process of changing when the
Petitioner arrived, so she did not have any pants or
underwear on during these events.
Brantley returned from taking the girls to school, bringing
the victim breakfast. The Petitioner taped the victim's
mouth, told her that he would kill her if she made a sound,
and went outside and yelled at Mr. Brantley that the victim
was not there and that Mr. Brantley should leave. The victim
said that, when the Petitioner came back into the house, he
ripped the duct tape off of the victim's mouth. Her lip
ripped away from one side of her mouth. She said that there
was blood in her throat from where the Petitioner punctured
it with his finger and she could barely breathe when her
mouth and nose were taped.
victim said that she convinced the Petitioner to let her call
her work and inform them that she was unable to come to work.
When she did so, the person whom she called knew that there
was something wrong, so she had the victim's boss, Dana
Schaaf, call her to confirm her absence. When the Ms. Schaff
called her, the victim gave her a "code word,"
which let her Ms. Schaff know that there was something wrong.
victim said that the Petitioner began rocking in a chair and
asked her if he had fallen asleep. She told him no, but she
became aware that he was on drugs. The Petitioner told her
that he had taken "Mollie" that weekend and then
had gone to his night shift as a coal miner. The victim said
that she began talking to the Petitioner about his mother and
about how maybe the two of them could work things out in an
attempt to calm him down. The victim asked the Petitioner to
cut the tape on her hands, and he agreed. She then cut the
tape on her feet.
victim testified that, at that point, the Petitioner said
that he was going to take a brief rest but that if she tried
"anything" he would kill her. The victim said that,
as the Petitioner rested, she called Ms. Walker who arrived
shortly thereafter. The victim convinced the Petitioner to
let Ms. Walker in, saying if he did not that Ms. Walker would
call the police. When Ms. Walker saw the victim, she asked
the Petitioner what he had done to her and handed the victim
some pants from a clothing pile nearby. The Petitioner acted
remorseful. Ms. Walker repeatedly asked the Petitioner what
he had done, and he became incensed. He went to the back
bedroom, called the victim to him, and told her to "get
rid" of Ms. Walker. The victim reminded him that three
people had seen him there that day, Mr. Brantley, Ms. Walker,
and herself, and the Petitioner said he had time to kill all
three. The victim agreed to ask Ms. Walker to leave, and the
victim left the room, began running, told Ms. Walker to
leave, and then fled the house herself.
victim said that she ran to Jack Creech's garage and
called 911. From the garage, she saw the Petitioner leave her
driveway in his green Bravada SUV. The victim said that she
did not see the Petitioner again until his first court date
regarding these events. Before the Petitioner was
apprehended, however, the police asked her to keep texting
with the Petitioner because they were tracking his cell
phone. The Petitioner told the victim via text that he could
be behind her house again at any minute.
victim described her injuries from this attack, which the
police photographed. She said the pictures depicted her neck,
which was swollen and red from the strangulation; her hair,
which was ripped out; her injured lip, and her black eyes.
The victim also identified photographs of bruises to her
legs, arms, elbows, and kidney area from the Petitioner
kicking her. Not pictured were her punctured gum and the
injury from him smashing the vase on top of her head.
victim identified photographs taken of the text messages the
Petitioner sent from the victim's phone to Ms. Walker. In
one of the text messages, Ms. Walker asked if the victim was
alright, saying that Mr. Brantley was worried about her. The
Petitioner responded as the victim saying that she was fine
and was talking to the Petitioner who was upset. Ms. Walker
then asked the victim via text whether she was okay, and the
Petitioner responded as the victim that she was fine and just
arguing with the Petitioner.
victim also identified pictures of text messages between the
Petitioner and herself before he turned himself in to the
police. In those messages, the Petitioner told the victim
that he had heard that she said he was on "bath
salts" and had kidnapped her, both of which he stated
were untrue. He texted that he had lived with her for five
years, the two had argued, and so he went to stay with his
father for three days. He accused her of allowing another man
to stay with her during this time. He told her that the lies
she had said about him had caused him to lose his job and
leave town. Other text messages became more threatening, with
the Petitioner telling the victim that he was "closer to
[her] than [she] would ever think."
cross-examination, the victim testified that she and the
Petitioner had agreed that he would move out but that he
would sleep on the couch until he earned money to do so. The
victim agreed that the Petitioner knew that she kept a
firearm in ...