Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs November 14, 2019
from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2016-D-2294,
2018-B-1305 Cheryl A. Blackburn, Judge.
defendant, Howard Hose Horton III, entered open pleas to one
count of aggravated assault and one count of felony
vandalism, and the trial court sentenced the defendant to an
effective sentence of eight years' incarceration in the
Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the defendant
argues the sentence imposed by the trial court was excessive.
After reviewing the record and considering the applicable
law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Criminal
Kelly, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Howard Hose
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee
W. Turner, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Glenn Funk,
District Attorney General; and Doug Thurman, Assistant
District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of
Ross Dyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
Norma McGee Ogle and Alan E. Glenn, JJ., joined.
ROSS DYER, JUDGE.
and Procedural History
defendant was charged with aggravated assault, felon in
possession of a handgun, and domestic assault. The defendant
subsequently agreed to plead guilty to aggravated assault
with sentencing to be determined by the trial
court. Prior to the defendant's sentencing
hearing, he was arrested for felony vandalism. The defendant
again agreed to a plea deal with sentencing to be determined
by the trial court. As part of the second plea, the State and
the defendant agreed the defendant's sentence for
vandalism would run consecutively to the aggravated assault
sentence. A sentencing hearing was held on January 11, 2019.
the sentencing hearing, the State introduced the presentence
report as well as the testimony of Lekeeshah Horton. Ms.
Horton, the defendant's wife, testified she was the
victim in the vandalism case. The defendant damaged three of
Ms. Horton's vehicles as he was leaving their house after
arguing with Ms. Horton's teenage daughter. The defendant
shattered the windows and windshields of the vehicles and
also damaged one vehicle's hood. Ms. Horton testified she
was able to get two of the vehicles repaired. However, one
vehicle's windows were still broken. The receipt for the
repairs totaled $819.38.
Horton testified this was not the first time she had been to
court on a case involving the defendant. Three domestic
assault charges were previously filed against the defendant
with Ms. Horton listed as the victim. However, two of those
charges were dismissed because Ms. Horton failed to testify
against her husband. Ms. Horton agreed the defendant had a
drug problem and had not maintained any long-term employment.
cross-examination, Ms. Horton agreed the defendant was
"a good person" and "a good dad" when he
was not using drugs. She believed the defendant began using
drugs because of stress and stated he was "[h]anging
around the wrong crowd of people." Ms. Horton also
testified the defendant's parents died when he was a
child. Ms. Horton agreed the defendant needed help for his
drug problem and stated he had never attended a drug
treatment program. Although the defendant apologized to Ms.
Horton once he was in jail, Ms. Horton did not know if the
apology was sincere because the defendant often
"apologize[d] to shut [her] up."
defendant testified on his own behalf, stating he began using
Percocet in 2003 due to stress. The petitioner also testified
he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder stemming from
his traumatic childhood. He agreed he had a long criminal
history but explained he often pled guilty to charges without
knowing how they would later affect his life. He also agreed
he was not successful on probation because he was not
"keeping [himself] busy." Although he went to
therapy as a child, the defendant had not taken anger
management classes or attended a drug treatment program. ...