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Cell Phone with 99 Year Term
by Ron Davis

The innocent plea by a man accused of the armed robbery of a Texas shopping center tenant has been judged “unconvincing.”

The robbery occurred at a strip shopping center in Fort Worth. And the robber, wearing a mask, entered the tenant’s store to steal a Samsung Galaxy S3 phone and the money in the cash register. The employee gave him the money as demanded, but, lacking the phone he requested, had to substitute a different phone brand.

The employee later described the robber as a Hispanic man who looked to be in his twenties and, he added, was wearing a gray hoodie, gray sweat pants, and a black mask. He was also carrying an automatic pistol, the employee said, and at one point aimed that gun at him. Then, apparently satisfied with the goods he received, the robber left.

By coincidence, however, the shopping center’s owner was driving by the center when the robber was making his escape. Suspecting wrongdoing, the owner followed the robber and then, he added, saw him take off his hoodie and throw it in the back of a car parked there.

While observing the suspected robber, the owner said he then saw him remove his hoodie, hop into a black car, described as “similar to a Firebird and with a spoiler on the back,” and drive away—but not before the center’s owner noted part of his license plate (information he later gave to police).

After telling police of his observations, the owner was also able to select, from several pictures of possible suspects shown him, the person he believed was the robber at his shopping center.

Local police had little problem connecting a suspect to the robbery at the shopping center. That suspect was arrested and tried in a court of law. At that trial, however, his lawyer argued that the evidence was “insufficient” to support a conviction of his client.

“Under the facts of the case,” the lawyer reasoned, “a rational fact finder could not have found beyond a reasonable doubt that (the suspect) committed the offense of aggravated robbery as alleged.” Therefore, the lawyer added, the court should reverse any conviction of the suspected individual.

A Texas court, however, convicted the suspect and the judge assessed his punishment at 99 years of prison confinement. The suspect appealed.

A Texas appellate court didn’t buy his defense argument either. The court explained, “Employing the appropriate standard of review, we hold that the evidence is sufficient to support…a verdict that the State had proved [the suspect’s] guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Any inconsistences in identification of [the suspect] were a matter for the jury to weigh in its determination of guilt and do not render the evidence irrational or insufficient. We therefore overrule [the suspect’s] sole point and affirm the trial court’s judgment.”

(Not Reported in S.W.3d, 2015 WL 1262948 [Tex.App.-Fort Worth])

Decision: March 2015
Published: March 2015



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