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State v. Judkins

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

August 19, 2019

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
JEFFREY ALLEN JUDKINS

          Assigned on Briefs April 16, 2019

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Lawrence County No. 34363 Robert L. Jones, Judge

         The 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.

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

          M. 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.

          D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and Camille R. McMullen, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          D. KELLY THOMAS, JR., JUDGE.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         On 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.

         At 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.

         Ms. 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 woman.

         Ms. 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.

         Mr. 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. ...


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