Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs March 21, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Williamson County Nos.
I-CR058025-A, I-CR058025-B, I-CR058025-C Michael Binkley,
jury trial, the defendants, Lenardo Dewayne Spencer, Reginald
Tyrone Baxter, Jr., and Deandre Jajuan Dean, were convicted
of robbery and theft of property over $1000. On appeal, the
defendants assert the evidence was insufficient to support
their robbery convictions, arguing the alleged taking was not
accomplished by the use of violence or fear. The defendants
also claim prosecutorial misconduct in the State's
closing argument and challenge the State's expert witness
testimony. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of
the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Elizabeth Ann Russell, Franklin, Tennessee, for the
appellant, Lenardo DeWayne Spencer.
Matthew J. Crigger, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Reginald Tyrone Baxter, Jr.
K. McNeill, Thompson's Station, Tennessee, for the
appellant, Deandre Jajuan Dean.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Alexander C. Vey, Assistant Attorney General; Kim R. Helper,
District Attorney General; and Tammy Rettig, Assistant
District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of
Ross Dyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
John Everett Williams and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.
ROSS DYER, JUDGE
consolidated appeal concerns the October 25, 2012, robbery of
Platinum Jewelers in Williamson County by the three
defendants. For his involvement, each defendant was charged
with one count of robbery, elevated to a Class B felony as
the State alleged the defendants acted in concert with one
another, one count of theft of property greater than $1000
but less than $10, 000, a Class D felony, and one count of
conspiracy to commit robbery, a Class D felony.
trial, William Crawley, stated he was working at Platinum
Jewelers on October 25, 2012, when Baxter and Dean entered
the store "posed as customers." Mr. Crawley
described the defendants as "standoffish, " which
made him and fellow employee, Michael Brown, "real
cautious" of the pair. Though Baxter asked if Platinum
Jewelers made custom jewelry, Dean said nothing, and the two
left within minutes of entering the store. After Baxter and
Dean left, Mr. Brown placed a gun, normally kept in the
store, on the front desk.
an hour later, Mr. Crawley was alone in the store when he
noticed a silver Dodge Magnum enter the parking lot. Mr.
Crawley recognized Baxter as he entered the store for a
second time, asking for a quote on a diamond. Less than a
minute later, Dean and Spencer entered the store. Within
seconds, Mr. Crawley saw Dean and Spencer "prop
themselves up" on an open display case and reach inside.
Spencer grabbed "a whole tray of watches, Luminox
watches, and then  Dean, he grabbed tennis bracelets."
After the defendants began taking jewelry, Dean yelled:
"If you move, we'll beat your ass." At the time
of Dean's threat, Baxter was standing "within a
foot" of Mr. Crawley, while Dean and Spencer were
approximately twenty to twenty-five feet from his person.
Crawley was frightened. He ran to the back of the store,
pressed the panic button, and called 911. Mr. Crawley stated
"as soon as . . . [he] got to the back, [the defendants]
were already running out the door." Detailing his fear
further, Mr. Crawley explained: "I was by myself. I had
. . . three men that had threatened me and there was just a
lot going through my mind that . . . made me scared and I
didn't know what . . . could happen. I was just in fear
of harm." According to Mr. Crawley, the defendants ran
out of the store approximately five seconds after Dean made
the threat. Two to three seconds later, Mr. Crawley pushed
the panic button. He explained the entire episode happened
cross-examination, Mr. Crawley stated he believed the
defendants were going to steal from Platinum Jewelers
regardless of Dean's threat. He also assisted defense
counsel with a demonstration. Specifically, defense counsel
extended a yellow rope across the courtroom until it reached
a distance, which, according to Mr. Crawley, illustrated the
space between him and Dean when Dean made the threat. At the
end of the demonstration, the yellow rope reached
approximately twenty to twenty-five feet.
outside of the store, the defendants fled the scene in the
silver Dodge Magnum. Officer Matt Hughey, of the Brentwood
Police Department, spotted the defendants' vehicle on
Interstate 65 after a "be on the lookout, " or
"BOLO, " for the silver Dodge Magnum was issued.
Officer Hughey noticed the vehicle was driving slowly. He
pulled behind the silver Dodge Magnum and initiated his
lights and siren. The defendants' vehicle then sped ...