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State v. Williams

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

November 12, 2019

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
RICHARD EARNEST WILLIAMS

          Assigned on Briefs April 23, 2019

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Lincoln County Nos. 17-CR-145, 17-CR-146, 17-CR-147 Forest A. Durard, Jr., Judge

         Defendant, Richard Earnest Williams, entered open pleas of guilty to the charges in three separate indictments. He pled guilty to three counts of aggravated burglary, a Class C felony, four counts of theft over $10, 000, a Class C felony, two counts of theft more than $2, 500 but less than $10, 000, a Class D felony, three counts of vandalism, a Class E felony, and one count of reckless aggravated assault, a Class D felony. In Case No. 17-CR-145, the trial court imposed a sentence of fifteen years as a persistent offender for aggravated burglary, fifteen years as a persistent offender for each count of theft over $10, 000, and twelve years as a career offender for vandalism, and twelve years as a career offender for reckless aggravated assault. In Case No. 17-CR-146, the trial court imposed a sentence of fifteen years for aggravated burglary as a persistent offender, twelve years for each count of theft more than $2, 500 but less than $10, 000 as a career offender, and six years for vandalism as a career offender. In Case No. 17-CR-147, the trial court imposed a sentence of fifteen years as a persistent offender for aggravated burglary, twelve years as a career offender for each count of theft more than $2, 500 but less than $10, 000, and six years as a career offender for vandalism. The trial court merged the two theft convictions in each case into one count because they involved alternate theories of committing the offense. The trial court ordered the counts in each case to run concurrently with each other but consecutively to the other cases for an effective forty-five-year sentence to be served in confinement. On appeal, Defendant challenges the length of his sentences. Upon reviewing the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

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

          Donna Orr Hargrove, District Public Defender; and William J. Harold, Assistant Public Defender, Lewisburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Richard Earnest Williams.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Robert James Carter, District Attorney General; and Ann Filer, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Thomas T. Woodall, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Robert W. Wedemeyer and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          THOMAS T. WOODALL, JUDGE

         Background

         The facts of Case Nos. 17-CR-145 and 17-CR-146 as set forth by the State at the guilty plea submission hearing are as follows:

[O]n July 20th, 2017, officers responded to 2633 Huntsville Highway. That is here in Lincoln County. The victim in this case is Peggy McAlister. She had reported that her back door had been kicked in. She went through and showed officers things that had been ransacked and things that were missing. She gave a detailed description of the property that was missing. It was about $8, 000 in stolen property. Damage was about $415.11. There was a dresser that was also damaged. She was very specific as far as the items of jewelry that had been taken.
About a week later, officers responded on July 27th to another residence. This was 45 Highland Rim Road. The victim here was Brenda Pierce. At this particular place, a neighbor confronted the defendant. Deputies responded, talked with James Ron Cantrell that lived next door to the 45 Highland Rim Road Address. He was able to identify the defendant and then indicated that he did drop some jewelry as he was leaving the residence.
The sheriff's department posted the pictures that the neighbor had been able to take of the defendant on the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department Facebook page and some community members were able to identify the defendant. He was later arrested and agreed to talk with investigators.
In this interview, after waiving his Miranda rights, he did admit to actually three burglaries and identified the jewelry that had been taken[.]

         The prosecutor noted that on Ms. McAlister's case, the total on the theft by Defendant was $8, 000, and the vandalism was $3, 317.73. On Ms. Pierce's case, the total on the theft by Defendant was $10, 650 and $3, 441.12 on the vandalism.

         The facts of Case No. 17-CR-147, as recited by the State at the guilty plea ...


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