Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs April 16, 2019
from the Circuit Court for Lawrence County No. 34363 Robert
L. Jones, Judge
Defendant, Jeffrey Allen Judkins, appeals his jury conviction
for aggravated robbery, for which he received a sentence of
twenty-two years' incarceration. In this direct appeal,
the Defendant alleges that the evidence was insufficient to
establish his participation in the robbery. Following our
review of the record and the applicable authorities, we
affirm the judgment of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Wallace Coleman, Jr., Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, for the
appellant, Jeffrey Allen Judkins.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia
S. Lee, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Brent A. Cooper,
District Attorney General; and Gary M. Howell and Christi L.
Thompson, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the
appellee, State of Tennessee.
Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and Camille R. McMullen, JJ.,
KELLY THOMAS, JR., JUDGE.
March 23, 2017, the Lawrence County Grand Jury indicted the
Defendant for aggravated robbery, a Class B felony.
See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-402. He proceeded
to a jury trial.
trial, Melody Denton testified that, on the evening of
October 18, 2017, she was working alone at the Fall River
Market in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. It was already dark
outside when a man wearing a ski-mask entered the store with
a "sawed-off" shotgun, pointed it at her, and
demanded that she give him the "big bag" of money
kept behind the store counter. Ms. Denton believed that she
was being pranked until she asked the man, "Are you
messing with me?" and he replied by "jabbing"
the shotgun at her and demanding, "[N]o, I've got
[the gun] cocked, give me the f--king bag." Ms. Denton
complied and gave the man the bag with several checks and
approximately $300 cash inside. After the man grabbed the bag
and ran out of the store, Ms. Denton hit the "panic
button" to alert the authorities, who received the call
at 7:46 p.m. Ms. Denton saw a white Nissan Frontier exiting
the parking lot and the man chasing after it. She locked the
front door so that the man could not re-enter. Ms. Denton
relayed that the incident was very quick, lasting "less
than a minute," and that she felt "[n]ervous"
and "[s]cared" while it occurred.
Denton indicated that the man was wearing gloves and a
dark-colored "hoodie." Although the hoodie had a
picture and writing on it, Ms. Denton could not recall the
details. Ms. Denton did not recognize the man, and the
ski-mask covered his face except for his eyes. Ms. Denton
described the man as "scrawny" and stated that he
was taller than she, relaying that she was five feet, four
inches tall. She was confident that it was a man and not a
Denton unlocked the door when a store neighbor, Jeffrey
Smith, arrived. Mr. Smith lived on Marable Road directly
behind the Fall River Market, and Mr. Smith knew Ms. Denton
because he frequently shopped at the store. When Mr. Smith
asked Ms. Denton if she was alright, she informed him that
the store had just been robbed.
Smith explained that he and his family had just arrived home
around 8:00 p.m. on the evening of October 18 when a small
white truck with "a camper shell" covering the bed
seemed like it was going to pull into his driveway behind
him. However, the truck eventually parked behind Fall River
Market and turned off its headlights with the parking lights
still illuminated. According to Mr. Smith, the front
passenger's side parking light on the truck was not
working. Mr. Smith found the situation odd, so he remained
outside to observe. Mr. Smith saw an individual exit from the
passenger's side and slam the door before heading towards
the front of the store. Mr. Smith first thought maybe it was
a couple having an argument because the person who exited the
truck was similar in stature to Mr. ...