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State v. Robinson

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

June 20, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
MONTREAL PORTIS ROBINSON

          Assigned on Briefs May 2, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Madison County No. 16-38 Kyle Atkins, Judge

         The Defendant, Montreal Portis Robinson, was convicted by a Madison County Circuit Court jury of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, and robbery, a Class C felony. He was sentenced to eight years for the aggravated robbery conviction and three years for the robbery conviction, to be served consecutively in the Tennessee Department of Correction for an effective term of eleven years. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence convicting him of aggravated robbery and the trial court's imposition of consecutive sentences. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

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

          Lee R. Sparks, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Montreal Portis Robinson.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; James G. (Jerry) Woodall, District Attorney General; and Aaron J. Chaplin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Alan E. Glenn, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Robert L. Holloway, Jr., and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          ALAN E. GLENN, JUDGE

         FACTS

         The Defendant, Montreal Portis Robinson, and a co-defendant, Corinthian Person, were charged with two counts of aggravated robbery stemming from the robberies of Matthew Leonard and Chad Roaten during a drug transaction.[1] The charge involving Mr. Roaten as the victim was amended to robbery before trial.

         At trial, Chad Roaten testified that on the evening of May 12, 2015, he went with Matthew Leonard to cash Mr. Leonard's paycheck. After cashing the check, they stopped at a gas station and, while there, saw the Defendant and co-defendant pull up in a white Jeep. Mr. Roaten knew the co-defendant from having attended elementary school together, and they started talking. The co-defendant offered to sell them some marijuana, and Mr. Leonard agreed. The co-defendant told them to follow him "to Bemis Park where there's no cameras."

         Mr. Roaten testified that Mr. Leonard drove to Bemis Park, following the Defendant and co-defendant. When they arrived, Mr. Leonard got out of his car and into the Defendant's and co-defendant's vehicle, and the co-defendant got into Mr. Leonard's car. Mr. Roaten and the co-defendant made small talk about school, and then the co-defendant went back to the other vehicle. The co-defendant then returned saying Mr. Leonard owed some money and that they should "give it up." Mr. Roaten said that he did not have any money and did not know what the co-defendant was talking about. The co-defendant went back to the other car and this time returned with the Defendant. The Defendant got into the driver's seat of Mr. Leonard's car, and the co-defendant blocked Mr. Roaten's door so that he could not exit. The Defendant informed Mr. Roaten, "'This guy knows what's happening. He knows he owes somebody some money. He told us it's in this car. Go ahead and give it up.'" Mr. Roaten got the money out of the glove box and handed it to the Defendant. The Defendant then patted down Mr. Roaten, taking his cell phone, knife, and car keys after making sure he had no money in his wallet. The Defendant told him that they would leave the phone and car keys by "the red building" but were taking the money. The co-defendant stood outside Mr. Roaten's car door the entire time. Mr. Roaten said that he was in fear during the encounter and did not feel he could leave.

         Mr. Roaten testified that Mr. Leonard returned to his car "freaking out, " saying that a gun had been held to his head. Mr. Roaten said that he could tell that a third person was in the Defendant's and co-defendant's vehicle, but he could not see the individual. After the robbers left, Mr. Roaten looked by the red building for his phone and car keys, but they were not there. Meanwhile, Mr. Leonard knocked on the door of a police officer who lived nearby. The police arrived, and Mr. Roaten told the officers who had robbed them. Mr. Roaten pulled up the co-defendant's profile on Facebook in order to recall his full name and later identified him from a photographic array. Sometime later, Mr. Roaten identified the Defendant from a photographic array as well.

         Mr. Leonard testified consistently with Mr. Roaten regarding the events leading up to and during the robbery. Mr. Leonard elaborated that, when he got into the Defendant's and co-defendant's vehicle, someone in the seat behind him put an arm around his neck and a gun to his head. The person demanded that Mr. Leonard hand over his money and said he knew that Mr. Leonard had just cashed his paycheck. Mr. Leonard eventually admitted to the robbers that he had about $360 in the glove box of his car. Mr. Leonard was unable to identify the Defendant from a photographic array, ...


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