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Posted by: Chandra Williams on Nov 20, 2015

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Rob McKinney, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Randall T. Beaty.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; Lawrence Ray Whitley, District Attorney General; and Thomas Boone Dean and Jayson Criddle, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): HOLLOWAY

Defendant, Randall T. Beaty, was indicted for first degree felony murder and aggravated child abuse. After a jury trial, he was convicted of reckless homicide and aggravated assault, which were charged to the jury as lesser-included offenses. He received consecutive sentences of four years for reckless homicide and six years for aggravated assault, for an effective ten-year sentence to be served in the Department of Correction. On appeal, Defendant argues: (1) that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions; (2) that the trial court erred by allowing Detective Bachman to testify in violation of the rule of sequestration; (3) that the trial court erred by excluding a proffer by Amber Peveler; (4) that the trial court erred in failing to merge his convictions on double jeopardy grounds; and (5) that the trial court erred by ordering consecutive sentencing. As to the alleged violation of the rule of sequestration, we hold, pursuant to State v. Jordan, 325 S.W.3d 1, 40 (Tenn. 2010), that the State had the right under Tennessee Rule of Evidence 615 to designate an investigating officer as exempt from sequestration and the designated investigating officer can remain in the courtroom during the testimony of other witnesses. We further conclude that, because the jury was instructed that both knowing or intentional aggravated assault and reckless aggravated assault were lesser-included offenses of aggravated child abuse, but the verdict form listed only aggravated assault without specifying the mens rea with which Defendant acted, Defendant‘s conviction for aggravated assault must be reversed and the case remanded for a new trial on the offense of knowing aggravated assault. After a thorough review of the record, we determine that there was no error as to Defendant‘s remaining issues and affirm the conviction for reckless homicide and the judgment in all other respects.