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State v. Sullivan

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

February 8, 2017


          Assigned on Briefs Date: May 10, 2016

          Direct Appeal from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2013-A-891 Steve R. Dozier, Judge

          The Appellant, Robreka Jay Quan Sullivan, was found guilty by a Davidson County Criminal Court Jury of aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary, and she received a total effective sentence of ten years. On appeal, the Appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence sustaining her convictions. Specifically, she contends that the victim's testimony was not credible and that the State proved, at most, that she was involved in the disposition of stolen property. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Criminal Court Affirmed

          William E. Griffith (on appeal) and Bryan Boyd (at trial), Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Robreka Jay Quan Sullivan.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Senior Counsel; Glenn R. Funk, District Attorney General; and J. Wesley King, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Norma McGee Ogle, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Robert W. Wedemeyer and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.



         I. Factual Background

         In March 2013, the Davidson County Grand Jury indicted the Appellant and Ladon Doak for the aggravated robbery of Ishabeka Williams, [1] the aggravated burglary of Williams's home, and the aggravated assaults of Shanelle Jones and Charmaine Peters. The defendants were tried jointly.

         At trial, Williams testified that at the time of the offenses, January 18, 2013, she was living at 1609 11th Avenue North in Nashville. Apartments A and B were in the front of the building, and apartments C and D were in the back of the building. Williams lived in apartment B. She said that the apartment had a "shotgun layout." She explained that the front door opened into the living room, a bedroom was located to the left, another bedroom was located down a hallway and to the left, and the kitchen and the bathroom were in the back of the apartment.

         Williams's aunt lived in apartment D. Sequoia, whose last name Williams did not know, and Charmaine Peters lived in apartment A. Williams became friends with the women because they were neighbors and talked each day. Williams also became friends with Shannelle Jones, who was Peters's friend and was often at Peters's apartment.

         Williams recalled that on the night of January 17, 2013, Jones and Ladon Doak came to Williams's apartment. Jones introduced Doak, whom Williams had not met before, as her brother. The trio sat in the living room and talked. Doak asked if Williams would give him a ride so he could "rob his girl friend baby daddy." Williams responded that she was not interested. They changed the subject and continued talking. Doak and Jones stayed at the apartment for approximately two hours then left.

         Later that night, Doak and Jones returned to the apartment. Doak asked Williams to drive him to "Dodge City." Williams, uncomfortable because of their earlier conversation about a robbery, asked her aunt to come with them. Williams drove Doak and Jones to "an alley-type road" in "Dodge City." After they got out of the car, Williams and her aunt returned home. Williams did not see Doak and Jones again until the next day.

         The next afternoon, Jones called Williams and asked if she was at home. Williams responded that she was at her aunt's apartment. Approximately thirty minutes later, Williams returned home, and Jones walked into Williams's apartment. They sat in the kitchen, and Jones said that after Williams "dropped them off" the previous night, she and Doak "had words." Jones explained to Williams that "whatever they tried to do over there where [you] took them didn't go right."

         Williams said that as they were talking, Doak and the Appellant, whom she identified in court, knocked on the front door of Williams's apartment. The Appellant, who "did all the talking, " asked for Jones. Williams saw the Appellant's hand on a gun and knew "whatever they was there for wasn't any good." Accordingly, she told them that Jones was not there and must have gone to the store.

          The Appellant and Doak left and walked down the street. A few minutes later, Williams asked Jones to get some dressing for her pizza from her aunt's apartment, and Jones left. When Jones returned, she did not lock the front door and did not act as if anything were wrong. Williams noticed that light was coming from the front of the apartment and realized that the front door was open. She saw the Appellant running down the hallway, carrying a chrome gun with a wooden handle. Doak was following the Appellant. Williams thought the Appellant and Doak were coming for Jones. Williams planned to move the piece of wood that was blocking her back door and go for help. Before she could leave, however, the Appellant struck her with the gun. Williams's forehead was bleeding, and she grabbed a towel from the stove. The Appellant demanded to know the location of "the money, " "the guns, " and "the dope." Williams responded that she did not have any of those items in her apartment. The Appellant told Doak to search the apartment and instructed Williams to sit on her bed.

         Williams said that during the robbery, the Appellant and Doak "passed" the gun between them "twice." Doak never hit Williams, but before he began searching the apartment, he pointed the gun at her to get her to tell him where to find the money, guns, and drugs. Williams watched Doak search the apartment, beginning in Williams's bedroom. As he searched, he "trashed" the apartment, pulling all of the pillows off the couch and taking everything out of the closet and dresser drawers. When he did not find money, guns, or drugs, he took two cellular telephones, two televisions, two laptop computers, and Williams's purse, which contained her wallet and approximately $200. Williams recalled that while she was sitting on her bed, she noticed that Peters and Jones had entered the apartment. As the robbery proceeded, Peters and Jones "[p]aced" through the apartment.

         During the robbery, the Appellant hit Williams with the gun five or six times, including twice on her head. The Appellant pointed the gun at Williams and remarked that she should kill Williams because she would call the police when the ...

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