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Posted by: Landry Butler on Apr 2, 2018

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Bryan R. Huffman, Covington, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jason Levi Butts.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Andrew C. Coulam, Assistant Attorney General; Mark E. Davidson, District Attorney General; and Walter Freeland, Jr. (at motion hearings and sentencing) and Sean Hord (at trial), Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): WILLIAMS

The Defendant, Jason Levi Butts, fired a shot from a rifle toward a home, and the bullet penetrated the wall and hit the sleeping victim in the hip. The trial court ruled that all three statements which the Defendant made to law enforcement during the investigation of the shooting were admissible. The Defendant was convicted after a bench trial of reckless endangerment, a Class C felony, and reckless aggravated assault, a Class D felony, and the trial court sentenced him to concurrent sentences of three and two years, respectively. The Defendant appeals, asserting that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress his statements and that the evidence is insufficient to support the verdicts. We conclude that the trial court erred in admitting the Defendant’s initial statement to police, which he made without being advised of his rights and after law enforcement twice told him he could not leave the police station. However, we conclude that the error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, and we affirm the convictions.