State v. Nelson Gomez and Florinda Gomez
The Defendants, Nelson Aguilar Gomez and Florinda Lopez, were charged with: Count One, first degree felony murder during the perpetration of aggravated child abuse; Count Two, first degree felony murder during the perpetration of aggravated child neglect; Counts Three and Four, aggravated child abuse occurring on or about March 3, 2007; and Count Five, aggravated child abuse occurring in February 2007. Aggravated child abuse is a Class A felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-15-402(b). The defendants were tried jointly before a jury. Defendant Gomez was convicted of both counts of felony murder, Count One merging into Count Two, and sentenced to life with the possibility of parole. He was also convicted of all three counts of aggravated child abuse and sentenced as a violent offender to twenty-five years for each conviction. The trial court ordered him to serve his Count Three and Count Four aggravated child abuse sentences concurrently with each other and his life sentence, and ordered him to serve his Count Five aggravated child abuse sentence consecutively to his other sentences, for a total effective sentence of life plus twenty-five years in the Department of Correction. On her felony murder charges, Defendant Lopez was convicted of two counts of the lesser-included offense of facilitation of first degree murder, a Class A felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-11-403, -13-204(a). Count One was merged into Count Two. Defendant Lopez was also convicted of aggravated child abuse under Counts Three and Four. She was acquitted of aggravated child abuse as charged in Count Five. She was sentenced as a Range I, standard offender to twenty-five years for her facilitation of first degree murder conviction and sentenced as a violent offender to twenty-five years for each of her two aggravated child abuse convictions. The trial court ordered her to serve these sentences concurrently, for a total effective sentence of twenty-five years in the Department of Correction. In this direct appeal, Defendant Gomez contends that: (1) the trial court erred in admitting evidence of certain prior bad acts, in violation of Tennessee Rule of Evidence 404(b); (2) the State presented evidence insufficient to convict him and that the trial court therefore erred in failing to grant his motion for a judgment of acquittal; and (3) the trial court erred in ordering consecutive sentencing. Defendant Lopez contends that: (1) the trial court erred in denying her pre-trial motion to include non-citizens on the jury; (2) the trial court erred in preventing her from introducing an entire statement she made to police after the State impeached her using part of that statement; (3) the trial court erred in admitting evidence of Defendant Gomez’s prior bad acts; (4) the State presented evidence insufficient to convict her; and (5) the trial court erred in imposing the maximum sentence for each of her convictions. After our review, we reverse and dismiss Defendant Gomez’s Count Five conviction of aggravated child abuse. In all other respects, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.