State of Tennessee v. Davis Bradley Waldroup, Jr. ( 2013 )


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  •         IN THE COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS OF TENNESSEE
                             AT KNOXVILLE
                                     March 29, 2011 Session
    
          STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DAVIS BRADLEY WALDROUP, JR.
    
                         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Polk County
                               No. 08-101 Carroll L. Ross, Judge
    
    
    
                      No. E2012-00758-CCA-RM-CD - Filed August 15, 2013
    
    
    The Polk County Grand Jury indicted Appellant, Davis Bradley Waldroup, Jr., for two counts
    of especially aggravated kidnapping, one count of first degree murder, and one count of
    attempted first degree murder. These charges stemmed from an altercation Appellant had
    with his wife and her best friend at his trailer on Kimsey Mountain. A jury convicted
    Appellant of one count each of aggravated kidnapping, especially aggravated kidnapping,
    voluntary manslaughter, and attempted second degree murder. The trial court sentenced
    Appellant to an effective sentence of thirty-two years. On appeal, Appellant argued that the
    evidence was insufficient to support his conviction of aggravated kidnapping, that the trial
    court erred in denying his motion for change of venue, erred in allowing the introduction into
    evidence of a photograph of one of the victim’s injuries, and erred in denying his motion for
    judgment of acquittal. After a thorough review of the record on appeal, we affirmed the
    judgments of the trial court. Appellant filed a Rule 11 application, pursuant to the Tennessee
    Rules of Appellant Procedure requesting an appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court. On
    April 2, 2012, the Tennessee Supreme Court granted the application and remanded the case
    to this Court for reconsideration in light of the Tennessee Supreme Court’s decision in State
    v. White, 
    362 S.W.3d 559
     (Tenn. 2012). After reconsidering the facts and circumstances of
    the case at hand with regard to our supreme court’s decision in White, we conclude the we
    must reverse the convictions for aggravated kidnapping and especially aggravated
    kidnapping and remand for a retrial on these two counts. We affirm all other judgments of
    the trial court.
    
        Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Criminal Court are
                          Reversed in Part and Affirmed in Part.
    
    J ERRY L. S MITH, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which J AMES C URWOOD W ITT, JR.,
    J., joined. J. C. M CL IN, J., mortuus.
    
    Shari Tayloe Young, Cleveland, Tennesse, for the appellant, Davis Bradley Waldroup, Jr.
    Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney
    General; Steven Bebb, District Attorney General, and Drew Robinson, Assistant District
    Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
    
                                     OPINION ON REMAND
    
                                PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
    
           A jury trial was held March 17-21, 2009. At the conclusion of the trial, Appellant was
    convicted of one count each of aggravated kidnapping, especially aggravated kidnapping,
    voluntary manslaughter, and attempted second degree murder. The trial court held a
    sentencing hearing May 7, 2009, and sentenced Appellant to an effective sentence of thirty-
    two years. Appellant filed a timely notice of appeal.
    
            On direct appeal, Appellant argued that the trial court erred in its denial of his motion
    for a change of venue; that the trial court erred in allowing the introduction of photographs
    of one of the victims; that the trial court erred in denying his motion for judgment of
    acquittal; and that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions, in particular his
    conviction of aggravated kidnapping. State v. Davis Bradley Waldroup, No. E2010-01906-
    CCA-R3-CD, 
    2011 WL 5051677
    , at * 1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Knoxville, Oct. 20, 2011),
    perm. app. granted, (Tenn. Apr. 2, 2012). This Court determined that Appellant’s issues
    were not persuasive and affirmed his convictions. Id. at * 9.
    
           On March 9, 2012, the Tennessee Supreme Court issued State v. White, 
    362 S.W.3d 559
     (Tenn. 2012). In White, our supreme court revisited the requirements for a conviction
    of a form of kidnapping when there is an accompanying felony. 362 S.W.3d 576-581.
    Appellant requested permission to appeal this Court’s determination on direct appeal. The
    supreme court remanded the case to this Court on April 2, 2012, in light of its opinion in
    White.
    
                                   FACTUAL BACKGROUND
    
            Appellant and one of the victims, Penny Waldroup, had been married for several
    years. By October 2006, their relationship had become strained. On October 13, 2006,
    Appellant was staying in his trailer on Kimsey Mountain in Polk County. That day, Mrs.
    Waldroup brought their children to visit Appellant. She took her friend Leslie Bradshaw, the
    other victim in this case, with her. Before they left for Appellant’s trailer, Mrs. Waldroup
    told a neighbor to call the police if she and Ms. Bradshaw had not returned by 7:30 p.m.
    
            When the victims arrived at the cabin, Appellant walked around the trailer to meet
    them. He was carrying a .22 rifle at the time. The children were running in and out of the
    trailer. The victims began to unload the children’s belongings and the groceries they had
    brought with them.
    
           After they finished unloading the van, Mrs. Waldroup tried to get in the van to leave,
    but Appellant told her that they needed to talk. Mrs. Waldroup replied that she had to get to
    work, and they could talk when she returned to pick up the children. Appellant grabbed Mrs.
    Waldroup’s van keys and threw them into the woods. Mrs. Waldroup pleaded with
    Appellant to let her and Ms. Bradshaw leave. Appellant, while in possession of the rifle,
    began to verbally abuse Mrs. Waldroup and Ms. Bradshaw. Mrs. Waldroup was sitting in
    the driver’s seat and Ms. Bradshaw was standing near the passenger-side door. Appellant
    was standing by the driver’s side of the van. Appellant began to yell at Ms. Bradshaw and
    blamed her for the demise of his marriage to Mrs. Waldroup.
    
           Appellant, while standing by the driver’s side door, raised the rifle and began to fire.
    Mrs. Waldroup pushed the butt of the gun up and attempted to escape behind the passenger-
    side seat and out of the rear, sliding van door. Mrs. Waldroup found Ms. Bradshaw lying on
    the ground. As Appellant continued to fire the rifle, Mrs. Waldroup lingered over Ms.
    Bradshaw and told her they needed to escape. Ms. Bradshaw did not respond.
    
             As she lingered by Ms. Bradshaw, Mrs. Waldroup realized that Appellant was
    walking around the van. She left Ms. Bradshaw and attempted to run up the side of the
    mountain. As she ran up the mountain, Appellant shot her in the back. She fell, and
    Appellant caught up with her. He pushed her back to the ground on her back and aimed the
    rifle at her head. Mrs. Waldroup kicked the rifle with her foot, and it slid down the side of
    the mountain. At that point, Appellant got out a pocketknife and began to cut her with the
    knife. She was able to get the knife from him and threw it as hard as she could away from
    Appellant. Appellant and Mrs. Waldroup both got up from the ground and ran. She ran
    toward the driveway to try to get to a neighbor’s house. The nearest neighbor was a quarter
    of a mile away. Appellant ran to get a square shovel and began to hit Mrs. Waldroup in the
    head with it.
    
           The couple’s dog began to growl at Appellant and diverted his attention away from
    Mrs. Waldroup. Mrs. Waldroup was able to run around the trailer in an attempt to escape
    Appellant. However, Appellant caught up with her and began to hit her with a machete in
    the back of the head. Mrs. Waldroup turned around and held her arms up to protect herself.
    She begged Appellant to stop hitting her with the machete, but he hit her several more times.
    At some point in the attack, Mrs. Waldroup lost her pinkie finger on her left hand. When he
    stopped hitting Mrs. Waldroup with the machete, he grabbed her by her hair and dragged her
    over to Ms. Bradshaw’s body. He threw Mrs. Waldroup on the ground next to Ms.
    Bradshaw’s body, and he began to kick Ms. Bradshaw’s body, as well as hit the body with
    the machete.
    
          Appellant jerked Mrs. Waldroup up and led her into the trailer where the children
    were. Mrs. Waldroup asked one of her daughters to bring her some water to drink and a
    towel in which to wrap her arms. At this point, Mrs. Waldroup was covered in blood. She
    was also feeling very weak from loss of blood and felt too weak to stand. Her daughter
    found a sheet which they used to wrap up her arms. At this point, Appellant decided he
    wanted to have sexual intercourse with Mrs. Waldroup. He told the children to tell Mrs.
    Waldroup goodbye because that was the last time they would see her. She said goodbye to
    each of her children and told them that she loved them.
    
            Appellant took Mrs. Waldroup into the bedroom and became upset because she was
    too messy to have intercourse. He wanted her to shower, but she refused because she did not
    want to make it easy for him to clean up the blood. She cleaned up some at the sink, and
    Appellant pulled her shirt off and threw her onto the bed. Appellant had just gotten on top
    of her when her daughter yelled into the bedroom that she saw headlights in the driveway.
    Appellant walked into the living room to look out of the window. A police officer was
    driving up the driveway. Mrs. Waldroup ran out of the front door of the trailer without her
    shirt or bra and jumped into the back of the police car. When he began to back out of the
    driveway, she begged him to stay to protect her children.
    
            The officer got out of his car and approached Appellant, who had come out of the
    trailer. Appellant told the officer that he had killed Ms. Bradshaw and showed the officer her
    body. After being taken to an ambulance, Mrs. Waldroup was airlifted to Erlanger Medical
    Center where she remained for at least two weeks. The officer arrested Appellant.
    
           In August 2008, the Polk County Grand Jury indicted Appellant for two counts of
    especially aggravated kidnapping, one count of first degree murder, and one count of
    attempted first degree murder. Following a jury trial, Appellant was convicted of aggravated
    kidnapping, especially aggravated kidnapping, voluntary manslaughter, and attempted second
    degree murder. The trial court held a sentencing hearing on May 7, 2009, and sentenced
    Appellant to an effective sentence of thirty-two years.
    
                                            ANALYSIS
    
            Appellant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for
    aggravated kidnapping, the charge for which Ms. Bradshaw was the victim. The State argues
    that the evidence was sufficient.
    
           When a defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, this Court is obliged to
    review that claim according to certain well-settled principles. A verdict of guilty, rendered
    by a jury and “approved by the trial judge, accredits the testimony of the” State’s witnesses
    and resolves all conflicts in the testimony in favor of the State. State v. Cazes, 
    875 S.W.2d 253
    , 259 (Tenn. 1994); State v. Harris, 
    839 S.W.2d 54
    , 75 (Tenn. 1992). Thus, although the
    accused is originally cloaked with a presumption of innocence, the jury verdict of guilty
    removes this presumption “and replaces it with one of guilt.” State v. Tuggle, 
    639 S.W.2d 913
    , 914 (Tenn. 1982). Hence, on appeal, the burden of proof rests with the defendant to
    demonstrate the insufficiency of the convicting evidence. Id. The relevant question the
    reviewing court must answer is whether any rational trier of fact could have found the
    accused guilty of every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. See Tenn. R. App.
    P. 13(e); Harris, 839 S .W.2d at 75. In making this decision, we are to accord the State “the
    strongest legitimate view of the evidence as well as all reasonable and legitimate inferences
    that may be drawn therefrom.” See Tuggle, 639 S.W.2d at 914. As such, this Court is
    precluded from re-weighing or reconsidering the evidence when evaluating the convicting
    proof. State v. Morgan, 
    929 S.W.2d 380
    , 383 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1996); State v. Matthews,
    
    805 S.W.2d 776
    , 779 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1990). Moreover, we may not substitute our own
    “inferences for those drawn by the trier of fact from circumstantial evidence.” Matthews,
    805 S.W.2d at 779. Further, questions concerning the credibility of the witnesses and the
    weight and value to be given to evidence, as well as all factual issues raised by such
    evidence, are resolved by the trier of fact and not the appellate courts. State v. Prat, 
    788 S.W.2d 559
    , 561 (Tenn. 1990). “The standard of review ‘is the same whether the conviction
    is based upon direct or circumstantial evidence.’” State v. Dorantes, 
    331 S.W.3d 370
    , 379
    (Tenn. 2011) (quoting State v. Hanson, 
    279 S.W.3d 265
    , 275 (Tenn. 2009)).
    
            Appellant argues that the evidence is not sufficient to support his conviction of
    aggravated kidnapping based upon the language contained in the bill of particulars. The bill
    of particulars stated the following:
    
           [Appellant] did while armed with a rifle, remove the keys from the ignition of
           the vehicle of Penny Waldroup in which Leslie Bradshaw was a passenger.
           That act interfered with the substantial liberty of Leslie Bradshaw. [Appellant]
           at that time inflicted bodily injuries which resulted in the death of Leslie
           Bradshaw.
    
    Appellant argues that the State did not present proof to the jury that his taking of the van keys
    “removed or confined” the victim. He argues that the victim “was moving freely and
    smoking a cigarette while Appellant and Penny Waldroup argued . . . .”
    
    
           Aggravated kidnapping is defined in the following manner:
    
           (a) Aggravated kidnapping is false imprisonment, as defined in § 39-13-302,
           committed:
           (1) To facilitate the commission of any felony or flight thereafter;
           (2) To interfere with the performance of any governmental or political
           function;
           (3) With the intent to inflict serious bodily injury on or to terrorize the victim
           or another;
           (4) Where the victim suffers bodily injury; or
           (5) While the defendant is in possession of a deadly weapon or threatens the
           use of a deadly weapon.
    
    False imprisonment is defined as, “A person commits the offense of false imprisonment who
    knowingly removes or confines another unlawfully so as to interfere substantially with the
    other’s liberty.” T.C.A. § 39-13-302(a).
    
            The statutory elements of aggravated kidnapping do not require a finding that
    Appellant moved the victim any specific distance or restrained her for any particular length
    of time in order for Appellant’s actions to substantially interfere with the victim’s liberty.
    See State v. Turner, 
    41 S.W.3d 663
    , 670 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2000) (stating that especially
    aggravated kidnapping does not require the above-listed elements); State v. Dixon, 
    957 S.W.2d 532
    , 535 (Tenn. 1997). In our original opinion, we concluded that a reasonable trier
    of fact could conclude that Appellant confined Ms. Bradshaw so that it substantially
    interfered with her liberty.
    
            However, since the filing of the original opinion from the direct appeal, our supreme
    court decided White. In White, our supreme court set out a new analysis to be undertaken by
    the judiciary when faced with a situation where a defendant is indicted for both a form of
    kidnapping as well as another felony, such as rape or robbery. The question is whether the
    kidnapping was incidental to the other felony. Our supreme court held that the previous rule
    set out in State v. Anthony, 
    817 S.W.2d 299
     (Tenn. 1991), and State v. Dixon, 
    957 S.W.2d 535
     (Tenn. 1997), requiring a due process analysis is overruled. White, 362 S.W.3d at 578.
    The court subsequently stated that in doing so it was not creating a new rule, but instead
    defining “the element of the offense requiring that the removal or confinement constitute a
    substantial interference with the victim’s liberty.” Id. Because a new law was not created,
    retroactive application is not required. Id.
    
           Our supreme court also stated the following:
    
    
                     Under the standard we adopt today, trial courts have the obligation to
            provide clear guidance to the jury with regard to the statutory language.
            Specifically, trial courts must ensure that juries return kidnapping convictions
            only in those instances in which the victim’s removal or confinement exceeds
            that which is necessary to accomplish the accompanying felony. Instructions
            should be designed to effectuate the intent of the General Assembly to
            criminalize only those instances in which the removal or confinement of a
            victim is independently significant from an accompanying felony, such as
            rape or robbery. When jurors are called upon to determine whether the State
            has proven beyond a reasonable doubt the elements of kidnapping, aggravated
            kidnapping, or especially aggravated kidnapping, trial courts should
            specifically require a determination of whether the removal or confinement
            is, in essence, incidental to the accompanying felony or, in the alternative, is
            significant enough, standing alone, to support a conviction. In our view, an
            instruction of this nature is necessary in order to assure that juries properly
            afford constitutional due process protections to those on trial for kidnapping
            and an accompanying felony.
    
    
    Id. Thereafter, our supreme court set out a suggestion of appropriate instructions in such a
    case. Id. at 580-81.
    
            Our supreme court went on to analyze the facts of the case under review in White.
    The court stated that the facts in question could have been interpreted in different ways as
    to the question of whether the confinement of the victim exceeded what was necessary to
    complete the accompanying felonies of burglary and aggravated robbery. Id. at 579. The
    supreme court determined that the issue was, therefore, a jury question. Our supreme court
    set out the jury instructions given by the trial court for especially aggravated kidnapping. Id.
    at 579-80. These instructions tracked the statutory language, but did not define the element
    of statutory interference. Id. at 580. Our supreme court determined that these instructions
    were not sufficient to instruct the jury as to the need to determine whether the “confinement
    was not essentially incidental to the accompanying felony offense.” Id. For this reason, the
    supreme court held that the defendant was entitled to a new trial on his especially aggravated
    kidnapping charge. Id.
    
            On remand, we have reviewed the supreme court’s opinion in White as well as the trial
    record in the case on appeal. The instruction given to the jury in Appellant’s case is
    substantially similar to that given to the jury in White. Therefore, we must conclude under
    White, that these instructions were not adequate. The question now becomes whether the
    members of the jury could have interpreted the facts of the case either way as far as whether
    or not the “confinement was not essentially incidental to” the murder of Ms. Bradshaw and
    the attempted murder of Mrs. Waldroup.
    
            The facts in the case sub judice showed that shortly after Appellant and Mrs.
    Waldroup began to argue, Appellant took the keys out of the ignition of the van and threw
    them into the woods. Mrs. Waldroup and Ms. Bradshaw were unable to leave Appellant’s
    driveway because they could not start the car. In addition, as alleged in both the indictment
    and the bill of particulars, Appellant was aiming a gun at the two victims. Mrs. Waldroup
    testified that she feared for her life and felt like she was not free to leave because she
    believed that Appellant would shoot her if she attempted to do so. The nearest neighbor,
    according to the evidence at trial, lived about a quarter of a mile away from Appellant.
    Therefore, running to a neighboring house for help was not feasible. It is clear from the
    testimony that Appellant’s trailer was located in a remote, rural area. While it is true that the
    victims had no means of escape from Appellant’s property other than on foot and no safe
    place to go to within walking distance, we must conclude that it is possible to interpret the
    throwing of the keys as being either incidental to the murder and attempted murder or as not
    being incidental to the murder and attempted murder. Therefore, it is a jury question, and the
    case must be remanded to the trial court for a new trial with regard to Appellant’s charges
    for the two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping that resulted in the convictions of one
    count of aggravated kidnapping and one count of especially aggravated kidnapping. During
    the trial on remand, the trial court should take note of the jury instructions set out by our
    supreme court in White and instruct the jury in such a manner.
    
                                          CONCLUSION
    
          For the foregoing reasons, we affirm in part and reverse and remand in part the
    judgments of the trial court.
    
    
                                               __________________________
                                               JERRY L. SMITH, JUDGE