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State v. Clay

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

January 6, 2020

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
DEDDRICK CLAY

          Assigned on Briefs June 5, 2019

          Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 15-01597 Lee V. Coffee, Judge

         Defendant, Deddrick Clay, was indicted by the Shelby County Grand Jury for especially aggravated robbery and for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. Following a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of especially aggravated robbery and found not guilty of the firearm possession charge. Following a sentencing hearing, Defendant was sentenced to serve 22 years incarcerated. Defendant's sole issue on appeal is whether the evidence was sufficient to support his conviction. Having reviewed the entire record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal Court Affirmed

          Jason M. Matthews, Memphis, Tennessee (on appeal) and Stephen C. Bush, District Public Defender; and Jennifer Johnson Mitchell, Assistant Public Defender, Memphis, Tennessee (at trial) for the appellant, Deddrick Clay.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Ruth Anne Thompson, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Kevin McAlpin and Leslie Byrd, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Thomas T. Woodall, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Alan E. Glenn and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          THOMAS T. WOODALL, JUDGE

         Evidence presented at trial

         On October 31, 2014, Joshua Hearn was working as an assistant manager at the Family Dollar store on Park Avenue in Memphis. He testified that Defendant, who had been waiting in the checkout line, approached the counter with a box of laundry detergent and demanded that Mr. Hearn give him money from the store's safe. Mr. Hearn testified that he "thought it was a joke at first," but he noticed that Defendant was sweating, and he realized Defendant was serious. Mr. Hearn noticed that Defendant's hand was in his pocket, which made him believe that Defendant was armed. Instead of entering the code to open the safe, Mr. Hearn entered the code to call police. He testified that Defendant became impatient and "came around the corner [and] hit [him] with . . . something in his hand." Mr. Hearn was able to get out of the store. From outside the store, Mr. Hearn saw Defendant "slam[ ] the cash register and [take] all of the money out."

         Mr. Hearn did not know exactly what the object was that Defendant hit him with. He testified that "[i]t looked like the bottom of a gun, like the handle part." He testified that Defendant hit him more than once. He testified that part of his face was "shattered" and that he "had to wait a couple of months [to] let it heal on its own." He testified that the injury was "most definitely painful" and that he wore a patch over his eye for one month. At the time of trial, almost four years after the incident, Mr. Hearn still could not fully open the eye as much as it opened prior to the assault. Mr. Hearn testified that Defendant "didn't just str[i]ke [him] with [his] hand. He had something in his hand." Mr. Hearn estimated that Defendant took around $200 from two registers.

         Shanara Vester was also working at the store. Ms. Vester was unaware that anything was happening until another employee, Nicole Taylor, squatted down beside her. Ms. Vester saw Defendant hit Mr. Hearn "more than once." Ms. Vester estimated that there was $150 in her register. Ms. Taylor testified that she heard Defendant tell Mr. Hearn that he was going to rob the store, and she called the police. Ms. Taylor also saw Defendant hit Mr. Hearn. On cross-examination, Ms. Taylor acknowledged that she did not see a weapon.

         Officer Rufus Potts, of the Memphis Police Department, responded to a robbery call at the store. Officer Potts obtained security video of the incident. The video was admitted as an exhibit and shown to the jury. Officer Sam Blue, of the Memphis Police Department's Crime Scene Investigation Unit, took photographs and collected evidence from the crime scene. He lifted fingerprints from the box of laundry detergent. Nathan Gathright, ...


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