Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs July 16, 2019
from the Circuit Court for Lawrence County No. 33355 Robert
L. Jones, Judge
Lawrence County Circuit Court Jury convicted the Appellant,
Larry Sexton, of aggravated statutory rape, a Class D felony,
and the trial court sentenced him as a Range III, career
offender to twelve years in confinement. On appeal, the
Appellant contends that the trial court erred by allowing the
State to reopen its proof after he moved for a judgment of
acquittal and by sentencing him as a career offender. Based
upon the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the
judgment of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Wallace Coleman, Jr., Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, for the
appellant, Larry Sexton.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee
W. Turner, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Brent A.
Cooper, District Attorney General; and Gary Howell and
Christie Thompson, Assistant District Attorneys General, for
the appellee, State of Tennessee.
McGee Ogle, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
Thomas T. Woodall and Alan E. Glenn, JJ., joined.
MCGEE OGLE, JUDGE
2015, the Lawrence County Grand Jury filed a two-count
indictment, charging the Appellant with rape and contributing
to the delinquency of a minor. The State later indicted him
for aggravated statutory rape and nolle prosequied the first
two counts. The Appellant went to trial for aggravated
statutory rape in November 2017.
trial, the victim's mother testified that in May 2015,
she was living in Loretto with her son and two daughters, one
of whom was the victim. The victim was born in April 1999 and
was sixteen years old. On the night of May 9, the
victim's mother and her children were at their home.
Jimmy Joyner and his son, Bryce, also were there. At some
point, the Appellant arrived in his new pickup truck. The
victim's mother said that she had known the Appellant for
two years, that he was a friend, and that his daughter was
about one year older than the victim. The victim and the
Appellant's daughter went to the same high school and
spent the night at each other's houses from time to time.
victim's mother testified that the Appellant offered to
take Bryce and the victim for a ride in his truck.
The three of them left in the truck and were gone fifteen to
twenty minutes. When they returned, the victim's mother,
Jimmy, and Bryce decided to go to The Cowpen in St. Joe's
to play pool. The Appellant was still at the house when they
left, but he was getting ready to leave.
victim's mother testified that she drove to The Cowpen.
However, no one was there, so she drove across the street to
Parker's bar. Only a few cars were in the bar's
parking lot, so she decided to show Bryce some land she owned
on Union Hill Road. The victim's mother and the Joyners
left Parker's bar about 11:20 p.m., and the drive to the
property took about twenty-five minutes. When they arrived at
the property, the victim's mother drove toward a shed
that she used as a cabin. The cabin had a deck on it. The
victim's mother saw the front of the Appellant's
truck turned toward the cabin, and the truck's headlights
were shining on the deck. The victim was lying on her back on
the deck, and the Appellant was on top of the victim. They
were not wearing any clothes. The victim's mother said
that the Appellant "spun off" the victim and headed
toward his truck and that she assumed he was going to get
some clothing. The victim's mother got out of her vehicle
and "took off after him." She said that she hit him
more than one time and that she "called him all kinds of
victim's mother testified that Bryce helped the victim
get into her mother's vehicle. The victim's mother
said that the victim was "somewhat incoherent" and
that "[y]ou could tell she was intoxicated and she just
wouldn't answer us." The victim was not intoxicated
when her mother and the Joyners left to go to The Cowpen.
victim's mother testified that the Appellant got dressed
and started saying he was sorry. He got into his truck, the
victim's mother got into her vehicle, and the
victim's mother called 911. The Appellant drove away, and
the victim's mother drove back to Union Hill Road to wait
for the police. She saw the Appellant's truck pull into a
driveway on Union Hill Road, so she blocked his truck with
her vehicle. She said she "tried to ...