State of Tennessee v. Tabitha Gentry (AKA ABKA RE BAY)

State of Tennessee v. Tabitha Gentry (AKA ABKA RE BAY)
W2015-01745-SC-R11-CD

The primary issue in this appeal is whether Tennessee’s theft statute, Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-14-103, encompasses theft of real property. The defendant physically entered and occupied for over a week a vacant East Memphis house valued at more than two million dollars and filed documents with the Shelby County Register of Deeds Office purporting to reflect her ownership of the property. A jury convicted the defendant of theft of property valued at over $250,000 and aggravated burglary. The defendant challenges her convictions, arguing that Tennessee’s theft statute does not encompass theft of real property. We conclude that our theft statute applies to theft of real property by occupation, seizure, and the filing of a deed to the property and that the evidence is sufficient to support the defendant’s convictions. We also reject the defendant’s arguments that the trial court improperly limited her cross-examination of a prosecution witness and her closing argument. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals upholding the defendant’s convictions and remanding to the trial court for resentencing.

Authoring Judge: 
Justice Cornelia A. Clark
Originating Judge: 
Judge James M. Lammey
Date Filed: 
Wednesday, November 29, 2017