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Campbell v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division I

May 29, 2019



          William R. Simpson, Jr., Public Defender, by: Clint Miller, Deputy Public Defender, for appellant.

          Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Adam Jackson, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.


         Appellant Tiffany Rena Campbell appeals her conviction for aggravated robbery. For reversal, she argues that the circuit court erred in denying her motion to dismiss the aggravated-robbery charge because the State failed to introduce substantial circumstantial evidence that Campbell shot Mark Caster in the head to facilitate the theft of his pickup truck. We disagree and affirm.

         Following a bench trial on January 10-12, and February 9, 2018, the Pulaski County Circuit Court found Campbell guilty of aggravated robbery, criminal attempt to commit capital murder, robbery, residential burglary, and terroristic act.[1] On March 27, 2018, Campbell was sentenced as a habitual offender to twenty years' imprisonment in the Arkansas Department of Correction for each offense, with the sentences to run concurrently. She was sentenced to an additional ten years' imprisonment pursuant to the firearm-enhancement statute for aggravated robbery, criminal attempt to commit capital murder, and terroristic act, with the enhancement to run consecutively to the twenty-year term. She filed a timely notice of appeal.

         Although Campbell was convicted of crimes against two people, Campbell's argument on appeal only challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support the conviction for the aggravated robbery of Mark Caster. Therefore, our recitation of the facts is limited to those related to this conviction and necessary to her argument on appeal.

         Caster testified at trial that he agreed to meet Campbell at the Exxon gas station on 65th Street in Little Rock on January 19, 2017. He thought she wanted to meet to borrow money because he had loaned her money in the past. Caster, who was driving a 1991 Chevrolet GMC extended-cab pickup truck, arrived about fifteen minutes before Campbell. When she arrived, she told him by phone to follow her but did not say where she was going. She led Caster to Benny Craig Park, where she backed into a parking space. He backed in beside her small white car so that his passenger door was next to her driver's door. When he first arrived at the park around 7:00-7:30 in the evening, he did not see anyone else there.

         Caster got out of his truck, went to the driver's door of her car, greeted her, and asked her what she needed. Campbell responded by asking him how her hair looked and commenting that he had a nice truck. She got out of her car and sat in the passenger seat of his truck. They had been talking for several minutes when Caster noticed a man carrying a backpack, who he thought was a "hobo" walking to go sleep in the woods. He started his engine and told Campbell he was not going to sit in the truck because he had heard about a killing at a park. He told Campbell to get in her car and go. Campbell initially stayed in Caster's truck, but then she got out of the truck and walked around to his driver's side door, at which time he got out of the truck because he was concerned about the man and did not want something to happen to her if he left. As he watched the man and Campbell out of the corner of his eye, he saw her right arm come up all of a sudden; he turned his head, heard a "boom," and fell to the ground. The boom he heard was a gunshot to the back of his head. The gunshot knocked him to the ground, but he jumped up and ran off. After running half a mile, he knocked on doors for help and called 911.

         Caster testified that he was wearing a black baseball cap the night of the shooting. He identified photos of his truck and stated they accurately depicted what his truck looked like when it was found. He said that one photo showed that the radio was missing with the wires coming out where the radio plugged in, and another showed that the seat had been burned. He said that his truck had a box speaker, an amplifier, and a car radio at the time of the shooting, and he identified the items introduced at trial as having been in his truck and belonging to him.

         Officer Nathan Dale Herpen arrived at Benny Craig Park about 7:49 p.m. to respond to a shooting that had just occurred. There were no vehicles in the parking lot or people in the park. He found a black baseball cap, bloody glasses, one live .45-caliber round, and a spent .45-caliber shell casing in the parking lot.

         Detective Roy Williams was assigned to the case involving Caster. He developed Campbell as a suspect, met with Caster, and showed him a photo line-up. Caster identified Campbell as the person who shot him. While he was not present when Caster's truck was recovered, Williams testified that it was located on January 21, 2017.

         Officer Ronnie Morgan, a patrolman with the Little Rock Police Department, investigated a call regarding a suspicious person and made contact with Campbell on January 23, 2017, in an alley. He testified that there was a white Honda in close proximity to her and that he noticed a speaker box and other stereo equipment around the vehicle near the trunk. In addition to the speaker box, Morgan stated that there was a car stereo and an amplifier. When presented with the car stereo and amplifier, Morgan stated they looked like the ones he found beside the white Honda. He identified the speaker box as being the one found near the vehicle, which was the same one identified by Caster as belonging to him.

         At the close of the State's case, Campbell moved to dismiss the aggravated-robbery charge involving Caster, arguing in part that there was no evidence of Campbell's intent to steal the ...

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