On Appeal from the 195th Judicial District Court Dallas County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. F08-59764-N
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lana Myers Justice
Before Justices Moseley, Fillmore, and Myers
Appellant Tommy Edwards III appeals from an adjudication of guilt. In only one issue, he argues the trial court erred by admitting State's exhibit number four, which contained audio recordings of five telephone calls that appellant made from the jail. We affirm.
Background and Procedural History
Appellant pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon pursuant to a written plea agreement. He also signed a judicial confession. On June 8, 2009, the trial court deferred adjudication and, pursuant to the plea agreement, placed appellant on deferred adjudication probation for eight years and imposed a $2500 fine.
On March 1, 2010, the State filed a motion to revoke probation or proceed to an adjudication of guilt. On June 11, 2010, appellant pleaded true to all of the allegations in the motion except "q," which involved failing to stay away from the complainant. The trial court denied the motion to proceed with an adjudication of guilt, imposing a term of ninety days in jail. On September 9, 2010, the court modified appellant's probation to add two additional conditions: participation in a "Community Control Program/High Risk caseload" and a "Cognitive Behavioral Program."
On September 29, 2010, the State filed a second motion to revoke probation or proceed to an adjudication of guilt. The State alleged that, on June 8, 2009, during the term of his supervision, appellant violated condition "q" in that he "failed to stay away from [complainant] Natasha Edwards, having contact by telephone and internet/facebook." On June 17, 2011, appellant entered an open plea of true to the motion to revoke or adjudicate. By this point, appellant and the complainant, who had been married, were divorced. Appellant signed a judicial confession stating that he "committed these further violations" as alleged in the State's motion to revoke or adjudicate: "Contact by telephone and internet/facebook before filing of motion on 9/28/2010." After hearing the evidence, the court adjudicated appellant's guilt, sentenced him to twenty years in prison, and imposed a $2500 fine.
During the hearing on the State's second motion to revoke or adjudicate, after appellant pleaded true to a violation of a condition of his probation, the parties presented their evidence. Appellant's sister, Tomisha Edwards, testified that appellant had exhibited disturbing behavior even before their father had killed their mother in a church parking lot in 2006. Tomisha recalled that appellant had "always" threatened to kill her, their brother, their mother, and their mother's mother since Tomisha was twelve years old. Their mother was afraid of appellant, her son, saying he had "turned into his father" and that she could not trust him. Appellant told Tomisha that he hated the complainant and wanted to kill her, that he did not understand why he married her, and that "he just hates everything about her." He also told Tomisha that he understood why their father killed their mother, "and he said he was just like his dad." Tomisha did not doubt appellant would carry out his threat to kill the complainant, saying, "He will kill her. No doubt in my mind."
Other evidence presented at the hearing showed that, on September 25, 2010, appellant sent the complainant several threatening text messages. In one of those messages, appellant threatened to kill the complainant and another individual. Appellant also sent the complainant a photograph of a tattoo on his neck that contained the complainant's name, Tasha, followed by the letters "R.I.P." Later that day, the complainant filed a police report based on the text messages. The complainant spoke to a Dallas Police Officer, Felicia Malone, about the threatening text messages, and Malone recalled that the complainant "was very shaky" and "was looking around like she was paranoid like somebody was going to jump out and do something to her." The text messages were admitted into evidence as State's exhibits six through ten.
The trial court also admitted State's exhibit four, a CD containing audio recordings of five telephone calls that appellant made from the jail from October 2010 to March 2011, over appellant's relevance objections. Three of those calls were made to appellant's cousin; *fn1 two were to the complainant. When the State initially offered exhibit four, defense counsel objected that it was not relevant. The prosecutor told the court the evidence was relevant because the "calls also substantiate the allegations that he's accused of, and it goes to character and considerations that this Court needs to take into consideration when it plans the punishment of this defendant." The trial court replied that it "didn't see the relevance, to be honest with you. He pled true." The court admitted the exhibit for record purposes, at the prosecutor's request.
Towards the end of Tomisha's testimony, the State offered exhibit four for all purposes save for the two telephone calls that had been made to the complainant, which were not yet authenticated. Defense counsel again objected based on relevance, arguing that "[w]hatever calls are on this disk are not relevant to this proceeding." The trial court overruled the objection, explaining, "They will be admissible, and the objection is overruled. And the Court will determine what weight is to be given based on the circumstances, if any." Later, during the complainant's testimony, the State offered exhibit four in its entirety. Defense counsel lodged another relevance objection, which the court overruled. The telephone calls were played for the trial court during the complainant's testimony. In the ...