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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Aug 29, 2013

Head Comment: With dissenting opinion.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Mike Whalen, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Josh L. Bowman.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and TaKisha Fitzgerald, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): OGLE

A Knox County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Josh L. Bowman, of three counts of first degree felony murder, one count of especially aggravated kidnapping, one count of especially aggravated robbery, two counts of aggravated burglary, and one count of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. After the jury announced its verdicts, the appellant pled guilty to one count of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony when, at the time of the offense, the appellant had a prior felony conviction. The trial court merged the murder convictions, merged the burglary convictions, merged the employing a firearm convictions, and sentenced the appellant to an effective sentence of life plus sixty years in confinement. On appeal, the appellant contends that the trial court erred by failing to suppress his statement to police, by allowing the State to show a transcript of his statement simultaneously with his video-recorded statement, and by failing to instruct the jury as provided by State v. White, 362 S.W.3d 559 (Tenn. 2012). Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we conclude that the trial court’s failing to instruct the jury properly pursuant to White constitutes reversible error. Therefore, the appellant’s conviction for especially aggravated kidnapping must be reversed and the case remanded to the trial court for a new trial as to that offense.