LONNIE HENRY HAMILTON, JR. APPELLANT
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE
FROM THE LAFAYETTE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NOS. 37CR-15-38,
37CR-15-40] HONORABLE BRENT HALTOM, JUDGE
Phillip A. McGough, P.A., by: Phillip A. McGough, for
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Kent G. Holt, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
KENNETH S. HIXSON, Judge.
Lonnie Henry Hamilton was convicted in a jury trial of
aggravated robbery and two counts of aggravated assault, and
he was sentenced as a habitual offender to a total of
eighty-five years in prison. Mr. Hamilton's convictions
arose from the robbery of Farmers Bank & Trust (the bank)
in Lewisville, Arkansas, on the afternoon of May 22, 2015. On
appeal, Mr. Hamilton argues that the trial court erred in
denying his motion to suppress his custodial statement, erred
in denying his motion for a second mental evaluation, and
erred in denying his motion for directed verdict. We find no
error and affirm.
day of the robbery, a man entered the bank disguised with a
scarf over his face and armed with a handgun. He pointed the
gun at one of the tellers and demanded money. While the
teller was loading money into a bag, the perpetrator pointed
the gun at a nearby bank customer demanding that he put his
hands up. During this confrontation, the robber fired a shot.
The teller handed over the money bag, and the robber took the
bag and left the bank. When the perpetrator reached his car
he saw a man who appeared to be trying to read his license
plate, and the perpetrator fired a shot in the man's
direction. The robber then drove off with the money.
following day, the police stopped a car matching the
description of the car used in the robbery. The car was being
driven by Mr. Hamilton's mother, and she gave the police
permission to search her vehicle. During the search of the
car, the police found a spent shell casing in the back seat
that had been fired from the same gun as the shell casing
recovered from the bank. Appellant's mother told the
police that Mr. Hamilton had been driving her car on the
previous day during the time frame of the robbery.
days after the robbery, Mr. Hamilton went to the police
station and turned himself in. Mr. Hamilton signed a
waiver-of-rights form and agreed to give a statement. At the
outset of the interview Mr. Hamilton was asked why he was
there, and he replied that he had robbed the bank. Mr.
Hamilton then went into detail about the bank robbery. He
stated that he was driving his mother's car and fired his
gun out the window to make sure it worked. Mr. Hamilton then
proceeded to the bank, parked the car, entered the bank, and
robbed the bank teller at gunpoint. He told the police that
he fired a shot in the air after a bank customer refused to
put his hands up. He also told the police that, after he fled
the bank with the money, he fired a warning shot in the
direction of a man in a truck who appeared to be trying to
look at his license plate. Mr. Hamilton stated that after he
committed the robbery he threw the gun in a river and
abandoned the scarf and other items of clothing on a road.
Mr. Hamilton indicated that he robbed the bank to buy drugs,
that he had been doing drugs since committing the robbery,
but that he had run out of money.
being charged with the crimes, Mr. Hamilton requested and was
given a mental evaluation, which was administered at the
state hospital by Dr. Samuel J. House. Dr. House based his
forensic report on an interview and mental-status examination
of Mr. Hamilton, as well as Mr. Hamilton's
mental-health-treatment records and the statement he gave to
the police. Dr. House diagnosed Mr. Hamilton with antisocial
personality disorder, mild alcohol-use disorder, and severe
cannabis- and cocaine-use disorder. However, Dr. House
concluded that at the time of the alleged offenses Mr.
Hamilton did not have a mental disease or defect that would
have rendered him incapable of purposeful conduct, that he
did not lack the capacity to appreciate the criminality of
his conduct, and that he did not lack the capacity to conform
his conduct to the requirements of the law. Dr. House further
determined that Mr. Hamilton had the capacity to understand
the proceedings against him and the capacity to effectively
assist his attorney in his own defense.
to trial, Mr. Hamilton filed a motion to suppress the
statement he made to the police. In his motion, he alleged
that due to his mental-health conditions he did not
understand his rights and did not make a knowledgeable
waiver. Mr. Hamilton also alleged that his constitutional
rights were violated because he requested an attorney and the
interview proceeded without an attorney being present.
pretrial suppression hearing, Officer John Rhone testified
that he interviewed Mr. Hamilton after reading him his
Miranda rights. Mr. Hamilton indicated that he
understood his rights and he signed a Miranda-rights
form, initialing each of his rights and confirming that he
understood them. According to Officer Rhone, Mr. Hamilton
never indicated that he wanted a lawyer or asked to stop the
interview. Officer Rhone testified that during the interview
Mr. Hamilton seemed cognizant and aware, and that he
described in coherent detail what had happened on the day of
the bank robbery. Sheriff Obie Simms also took part in the
interview, and he testified that Mr. Hamilton was very
coherent and spoke in complete sentences. Sheriff Simms
indicated that there was never any request for a lawyer
communicated to him, and that he did not remember Mr.
Hamilton requesting to do the interview on another day so he
could get some sleep.
Hamilton testified that, while he was in the sheriff's
office prior to the interview, he told the sheriff he wanted
an attorney. Mr. Hamilton further testified that he was
"high and tired, " having not slept in several
days, and that he told the sheriff he wanted to postpone the
interview until the next day. Mr. Hamilton acknowledged that
he signed the Miranda-rights form and that, during
the interview itself, he never requested an attorney or
complained about being high or needing sleep. Mr. Hamilton
testified that he understood what was being asked in the
interview and that he competently answered their questions
the best he could. At the conclusion of the suppression
hearing, the trial court denied Mr. Hamilton's motion to
suppress his statement.
case proceeded to a jury trial, and during jury selection Mr.
Hamilton's counsel requested a second mental evaluation.
Appellant's counsel advised the trial court that Mr.
Hamilton had stated that he wanted to die, that he had taken
a large quantity of his mental-health medications in an
attempt to kill himself, and that he had somehow cut his
wrists in front of the jury panel. Mr. Hamilton was
transported by ambulance to the hospital. The trial court
took testimony from the jail administrator, Theardis Early,
who had transported Mr. Hamilton to trial that day. Mr. Early
testified that Mr. Hamilton appeared fine before trial and
was talking with his attorney. Mr. Early stated that, after
Mr. Hamilton was taken to the hospital, the deputies observed
that he was coherent and talking and it appeared that there
were no major issues. The trial court ordered a recess.
court resumed, Mr. Hamilton's counsel renewed his motion
for a second mental evaluation on the grounds that Mr.
Hamilton stated he wanted to die and would not assist in his
defense. The trial court then took testimony from a jailer,
Jimmy Clark, who testified that he had been at the hospital
with appellant and that Mr. Hamilton was communicating with
the hospital staff. Mr. Hamilton was released from the
hospital. Mr. Early advised the trial court that, after
returning from the hospital, Mr. Hamilton told Mr. Early that
he wanted to continue with the trial, but would not
participate and would let his attorney represent him. The
trial court denied the motion for a second mental evaluation,
noting that after Mr. Hamilton was taken to the hospital he
was released without the need for significant treatment. The