APPEAL FROM THE MISSISSIPPI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. CR-11-307. HONORABLE CINDY THYER, JUDGE.
Kimberly Eden, for appellant.
Dustin McDaniel, Att'y Gen., by: Jake H. Jones, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.
BRANDON J. HARRISON, Judge. WALMSLEY and WHITEAKER, JJ., agree.
BRANDON J. HARRISON, Judge
Quintrell Richardson was charged and convicted of two counts of aggravated robbery (Cherrytree Gas Station and Dodge Store) and sentenced to two ten-year sentences by a Mississippi County Circuit Court. The issues here are whether the circuit court should have granted Richardson's motion to suppress and his motion for a directed verdict. We affirm the circuit court's decision to deny both motions.
I. The Directed Verdict
We first address Richardson's argument that the circuit court erred when it denied his motion for a directed verdict during trial. Arkansas law treats a motion for directed verdict as a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. Blockman v. State, 69 Ark.App. 192, 11 S.W.3d 562 (2000). A challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence is only reversed if there is no substantial evidence to support the verdict. Id. Circumstantial evidence may constitute substantial evidence to support a conviction. Brunson v. State, 368 Ark. 313, 245 S.W.3d 132 (2006) . Guilt can be established without direct evidence and evidence of guilt is not less because it is circumstantial. Id. Circumstantial evidence is substantial when it excludes every other reasonable hypothesis than that of guilt. Id. We will only disturb the jury's determination if evidence did not meet the required standards so that the jury had to speculate and conjecture to reach its verdict. Id.
Richardson was charged with participating in aggravated robberies at two convenience stores on 18 October 2011. At trial, the State presented testimony from three police officers; one was Sergeant Blake Lively, who recognized Richardson's car and initiated an investigatory stop near, and only a few minutes after, a second robbery had occurred. Lively testified that, as he approached the car, he observed the back-seat passenger taking off a black jacket, and the front-seat passenger had a white t-shirt in his lap and was not otherwise wearing a shirt. The sergeant also testified that the two men traveling with Richardson--Dameon Davis and Kennon Daniels--gave him false names and that " each of the individuals in
the car had large amounts of money on their persons." Sergeant Lively further said that some " ones and fives" were visibly " scattered on the floorboard" and that more money was seen " in the front passenger seat."
Detective Chris Lassley, who worked for the Blytheville Police Department on October 18, investigated the robbery and " immediately noticed money stuffed up under the front passenger side seat just hanging out into the floor board" in a manner that looked like " someone had just shoved it under there trying to hide it."
Sergeant James Harris testified that he recovered money from the floorboards of Richardson's car and from all three men who were inside the car. Sergeant Harris said, among other things related to the money, that the total amount recovered was $563, nearly the same amount taken from the convenience stores, and that some of the bills were paper-clipped together. The sergeant also testified, while watching a store-surveillance video, that ...