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by Ron Davis

The armed robber who held up a tenant of a Kentucky shopping center has finally exhausted all legal claims of his innocence.

The shopping center is located in Fayette, and the robbery occurred in mid-morning on a summer day at the Versailles Road Cash Advance store. An employee of that store said she was working there alone when an “older man” entered the store and, at gunpoint, demanded that she give him the money in the cash drawer.

She complied with his demand, giving him just over $500. The robber then ordered her to lie on the floor, face down, and remain there until she had counted to 25. She complied with his command until she was sure that the robber had left, and then called local police and the shopping center’s manager.

The office of the center’s manager was nearby, and she quickly responded to the call. The police also soon arrived, and the employee gave them a description of the robber. The center’s manager added that she had noticed a possible suspect. She said he was an older man wearing a long-sleeved blue-and-maroon flannel shirt, which, she added, seemed to her was unusual dress for a very warm late summer morning. She also noted that he was driving a dual-cab Chevrolet pickup truck that he had “oddly parked well away from the shopping center.”

Of greater importance, the center’s manager said, she was able to provide police with security videos showing a man in a flannel shirt entering the Cash Advance store and 30 seconds later exiting and walking hurriedly to a white pickup truck, which he entered and drove away.

Another witness recognized the suspected robber from the videos and stated that she knew the suspect, adding that he “habitually wore long-sleeved flannel shirts.” Moreover, from a six-person photo array that included the photo of the suspect, both the Cash Advance employee and the center’s manager picked the suspect as the robber.

With such evidence, police were able to locate the suspect and arrest him. But at his trial, three witnesses (who were friends of the suspect) testified that on the day of the robbery, they had been with him at a site some 60 or 70 miles from the shopping center. And a psychologist who specializes in the study of human memory testified concerning the fallibility of eye-witness accounts of an occurrence.

A Kentucky jury rejected the testimony of the psychologist and the suspect’s friends and convicted the suspect of robbery in the first degree. Determining that he was a persistent felony offender, the judge sentenced him to a prison term of 30 years.

On appeal of that sentencing, a Kentucky appellate court agreed with the sentencing, explaining, “We have confidence in the jury’s verdict and the trial court’s (decision). There being no showing of attorney deficiency or resulting prejudice, we affirm.”

(Ky.App., 2015, Jacobsen v. Commonwealth of Kentucky)

Decision: March 2015
Published April 2015

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