FROM THE LONOKE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 43CR-14-138]
HONORABLE SANDY HUCKABEE, JUDGE
M. "Robby" Golden, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Adam Jackson, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
JOSEPHINE LINKER HART, Associate Justice.
found appellant, Detric Deshun Wilson, guilty of one count of
aggravated robbery, and the circuit court sentenced him to a
statutorily mandated sentence of life imprisonment as a
defendant convicted of a Y felony involving violence who had
previously been convicted of two felonies involving violence.
Ark. Code Ann. § 5-4-501(d)(1)(A), (d)(2)(A)(iv) (Supp.
2015). The jury also convicted Williams of one count of
robbery with the circuit court sentencing him to twenty
years' imprisonment to run consecutively to the
aggravated-robbery sentence; a second robbery count with the
circuit court sentencing him to twenty-years'
imprisonment to run consecutively to the sentences for both
the aggravated-robbery and the robbery; three counts of theft
of property with the circuit court sentencing him to three
10-year sentences to run concurrently with the
aggravated-robbery sentence; and one count of commercial
burglary with the circuit court sentencing him to fifteen
years' imprisonment to run concurrently with the
appeal, Wilson does not challenge the sufficiency of the
evidence to support the theft or burglary convictions.
Wilson, however, argues that because the evidence was
insufficient to support his convictions for aggravated
robbery and two counts of robbery, the circuit court erred in
denying his directed-verdict motions on all three counts.
Further, he argues that because his habitual-offender status
was established by proof of convictions for crimes that he
committed while he was a juvenile, it was unconstitutional to
impose a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment for the
aggravated-robbery conviction. We affirm.
first consider Wilson's arguments that the circuit court
erred in denying his motions for a directed verdict on the
aggravated robbery and two robbery counts. A person commits
robbery if, with the purpose of committing a theft or
"resisting apprehension immediately after
committing" the theft, he employs or threatens to
immediately employ physical force upon another person. Ark.
Code Ann. § 5-12-102(a) (Repl. 2013). A person commits
aggravated robbery if he or she commits a robbery and is
armed with a deadly weapon or represents by word or conduct
that he is armed with a deadly weapon. Ark. Code Ann. §
appeal, Wilson does not argue that he was misidentified as
the perpetrator of the aggravated robbery or the two counts
of robbery, that he did not employ or threaten to immediately
employ physical force upon another person, or that he did not
represent by word or conduct that he was armed with a deadly
weapon. Rather, he argues that the circuit court erred in
denying his directed-verdict motions on the three counts
because there was insufficient evidence that he made threats
to persons with the purpose of committing a theft or
resisting apprehension immediately after committing the
theft. Wilson contends that when he made threats in three
separate instances to three different persons, he was neither
committing a theft nor "resisting apprehension
immediately after committing" the theft, and thus the
circuit court erred in denying his directed-verdict motions.
directed-verdict motion is a challenge to the sufficiency of
the evidence. See, e.g., Hinton v. State,
2015 Ark. 479, at 2, 477 S.W.3d 517, 520. When reviewing a
challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, this court
assesses the evidence in the light most favorable to the
State and considers only the evidence that supports the
verdict. Id., 477 S.W.3d at 520. We will affirm a
judgment of conviction if substantial evidence exists to
support it. Id., 477 S.W.3d at 520. Substantial
evidence is evidence which is of sufficient force and
character that will, with reasonable certainty, compel a
conclusion one way or the other, without resorting to
speculation or conjecture. Id., 477 S.W.3d at 520.
trial, Earl Vaughan testified that on November 17, 2013, he
worked in a K-Mart store in Cabot, Arkansas. Before the store
opened for the day, Vaughan saw a man, Wilson, beating and
cutting the locks on the jewelry cabinets with bolt cutters.
Vaughan testified that the man was holding a bag and reaching
down into the jewelry counter but that he did not see the man
holding any jewelry. Vaughan went to the front of the jewelry
counter and asked the man, "Dude, what are you
doing?" The man turned and looked at him and said,
"Don't be a hero. I have a pistol." The man
then reached into his coveralls. Vaughan testified that he
saw Christopher Price, another store employee, coming toward
them, and told Price, "He has a gun, back up."
Vaughan then walked away from the counter. On
cross-examination, Vaughan acknowledged that he did not take
any measures to stop or apprehend the man.
Price testified that before the store opened, an alarm
sounded in the jewelry department. Price observed Vaughan
speaking to another man who was behind the jewelry counter,
Wilson. As Price approached them, the man turned around,
reached into his jacket, and said, "Don't be a
hero." Price testified that he thought the man was
reaching for a firearm or a weapon. Price, in fear for his
life, walked away. Price further testified that the man had a
trash bag in his hand but that he did not remember the man
taking anything or handling either the jewelry or the jewelry
counters. On cross-examination, Price acknowledged that he
did not attempt to apprehend the man.
store employee, Donna Cathey, testified that she noticed a
man in the store who was not an employee. She ran to a
telephone at her desk in the stockroom to page Price. The
swinging doors to the stockroom flew open and the man,
Wilson, ran through the doors carrying a plastic sack. Cathey
started chasing after the man and was about three feet behind
him, saying, "Hey, hey, hey, " to try and stop him.
The man said to her, "I've got a pistol, " so
she stopped her pursuit. According to Cathey, she believed he
had a pistol or gun and was in fear for her life.
addressing Wilson's argument, even assuming for the sake
of argument that Wilson's threats to employ physical
force against Vaughan, Price, and Cathey were not made for
the purpose of committing the theft, there was substantial
evidence that Wilson's threats to employ physical force
on Vaughan, Price, and Cathey were made for the purpose of
"resisting apprehension immediately after"
committing a theft. Under the statutory language, it is not
dispositive whether the three employees attempted to
apprehend Wilson. Rather, our focus is on Wilson's
purpose. A criminal defendant's intent or state of mind
is seldom capable of proof by direct evidence and must
usually be inferred from the circumstances of the crime.
Watson v. State, 358 Ark. 212, 219, 188 S.W.3d 921,
925 (2004). Because intent cannot be proven by direct
evidence, the jurors can draw upon their common knowledge and
experience to infer it from the circumstances. Id.,
188 S.W.3d at 925. From the evidence presented, a jury could
infer that the purpose of Wilson's threats to employ
physical force against Vaughan, Price, and Cathey was to
forestall them from attempting to apprehend him, thus
allowing Wilson to resist apprehension immediately after
committing the theft. Moreover, after Wilson made his
threats, both Vaughan and Price walked away from Wilson, and
Cathey ceased her efforts to stop Wilson. This testimony
additionally supports the conclusion that Wilson's
purpose in making the threats of physical force was to resist
apprehension immediately after committing the theft.
Accordingly, we hold that substantial evidence supported the
three convictions and that the circuit court did not err in
denying Wilson's motions for directed verdicts.
sentencing, the State proved that in 1993, when Wilson was
sixteen years old, he pleaded guilty to two counts of
criminal conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, which he
committed when he was fifteen years old. Wilson was sentenced
on each conviction to five years' imprisonment with a
five-year suspended imposition of sentence. Based on this
proof, the circuit court imposed a statutorily mandated
sentence of life imprisonment for committing the aggravated
robbery as a defendant convicted of a Class Y felony