Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Assigned on Briefs June 25, 2019
from the Criminal Court for Knox County Nos. 105481, 105636
Steven Wayne Sword, Judge.
Appellant, Ronald Turner, appeals the Knox County Criminal
Court's imposing a ten-year sentence for possession of
one-half gram or more of cocaine with intent to deliver in
case number 105636 and a twelve-year sentence for attempted
second degree murder in case number 105481. On appeal, he
contends that the trial court erred by not sentencing him to
the minimum punishment in the range, eight years, for the
offenses, Class B felonies. Based upon the record and the
parties' briefs, we affirm the sentences but remand the
case to the trial court for correction of judgments of
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Criminal
Court Affirmed, Case Remanded
Liddell Kirk (on appeal and at resentencing) and Michael A.
Graves (at trial), Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee
W. Turner, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Charme P.
Allen, District Attorney General; and Ta Kisha Monette
Fitzgerald, Assistant District Attorney General, for the
appellee, State of Tennessee.
McGee Ogle, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.
MCGEE OGLE, JUDGE.
December 10, 2014, the Appellant fired a gun through a glass
door toward three people: his three-year-old son; the
child's mother, Jahdaiah Cody; and the mother's
roommate, Bredaisha Walden. State v. Ronald Turner,
No. E2016-00651-CCA-R3-CD, 2017 WL 1830106, at *1 (Tenn.
Crim. App. at Knoxville, May 5, 2017), perm. app.
denied, (Tenn. Apr. 19, 2018). On January 3, 2015, a
police officer began following a Ford Crown Victoria in which
the Appellant was a passenger. State v. Ronald
Turner, No. E2016-00790-CCA-R3-CD, 2017 WL 1379999, at
*1 (Tenn. Crim. App. at Knoxville, Apr. 13, 2017), perm.
app. denied, (Tenn. Apr. 18, 2018).  The car passed by
a preschool, and the officer stopped the driver for speeding.
Id. at *1, 2. During the stop, a backup officer
arrived and found a loaded nine-millimeter semiautomatic
handgun and .87 grams of crack cocaine base on the
Appellant's person. Id.
2015, the Knox County Grand Jury indicted the Appellant in
case number 105481 for the attempted first degree
premeditated murders of Ms. Cody (count one), the
Appellant's son (count three), and Ms. Walden (count
five); three corresponding counts of employing a firearm
during the commission of a dangerous felony (counts two,
four, and six); and one count of unlawful possession of a
handgun while at a public place (count nine). The grand jury
also indicted the Appellant under the gang enhancement
statute for the three counts of attempted first degree murder
and the unlawful possession of a handgun. In June 2015, the
grand jury indicted the Appellant in case number 105636 for
one count of possession of one-half gram or more of cocaine
with intent to deliver within 1, 000 feet of a preschool
(count one), one count of possession of one-half gram or more
of cocaine with intent to sell within 1, 000 feet of a
preschool (count two), two corresponding counts of possession
of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony
(counts three and four), one count of theft of property
valued $500 or less (count five), and one count of unlawful
possession of a handgun while at a public place (count six).
The grand jury also indicted the Appellant under the gang
enhancement statute for the two drug charges and the unlawful
possession of a handgun.
Appellant was tried first in case number 105636, and the jury
found him guilty of the two drug charges and the three
weapons charges but not guilty of the theft charge. During
the second phase of the trial, the State presented evidence
that the Appellant was a member of the Vice Lords gang, and
the jury found that the gang enhancement applied to the three
underlying offenses. Id. at *2.
Appellant's January 2016 sentencing hearing in case
number 105636, the State introduced the Appellant's
presentence report into evidence. According to the report,
the Appellant was nineteen years old and left Austin-East
High School in 2014 for "disciplinary" reasons. The
Appellant claimed in the report that he obtained his high
school diploma while incarcerated at Mountain View Youth
Development Center, but the investigating officer was unable
to verify the claim. In the report, the Appellant described
his mental health as "fair" and said that he was
taking medication for anxiety and depression. He described
his physical health as "excellent" and did not
report any medical issues. The Appellant said in the report
that he began "heavy" use of alcohol when he was
sixteen years old, that he began "heavy" use of
marijuana when he was thirteen, and that he smoked eight
"blunts" per day. The report showed that he worked
at Red Lobster as a dishwasher for two months in 2014, that
he quit the job due to transportation problems, and that he
did not have any other employment. The report did not show
any adult criminal history for the Appellant. However, as a
juvenile, he was adjudicated delinquent of disorderly
conduct, resisting arrest, possession of a weapon with the
intent to go armed, and reckless endangerment.
trial court found that the Appellant was a Range I, standard
offender. The court noted that the Appellant did not have any
prior convictions but that he had "a rather lengthy
juvenile delinquent history." In mitigation, the trial
court found that the Appellant was entitled to some
consideration for his youth, because the drug offenses did
not involve "a huge amount of drugs," and because
the drug offenses in the school zone "occurred passing
through in a car." See Tenn. Code Ann. §
40-35-113(13). The trial court stated that it did not think
there was "any reason" to sentence the Appellant
above the minimum punishment in the range for the Class A
felonies. Accordingly, the trial court sentenced him to
fifteen years for the convictions of possession of cocaine
with intent to deliver and sell, which were elevated from
Class B to Class A felonies pursuant to the preschool zone
and the gang enhancements, and merged the convictions. The
trial court sentenced him to four years for the convictions
of possession of a firearm during the commission of a
dangerous felony, Class D felonies, and merged the
convictions. Finally, the court sentenced him to one year for
unlawful possession of a handgun, a Class A misdemeanor that
was elevated to a ...