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Cobb v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division III

October 2, 2019

Robert COBB, Appellant
v.
STATE of Arkansas, Appellee

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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          APPEAL FROM THE MARION COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 45CR-17-102], HONORABLE GORDON WEBB, JUDGE

         Potts Law Office, by: Gary W. Potts, Monticello, for appellant.

         Leslie Rutledge, Att’y Gen., by: Jacob H. Jones, Ass’t Att’y Gen., for appellee.

         OPINION

         MEREDITH B. SWITZER, Judge

          Appellant Robert Cobb was convicted by a Marion County Circuit Court jury of one count each of residential burglary, attempted breaking or entering, criminal mischief in the first degree, theft of a firearm, and theft of property, and two counts of breaking or entering. Cobb was sentenced as a habitual offender. The circuit court ordered that the convictions for residential burglary, attempted breaking or entering, theft of a firearm, and theft of property be served consecutively, with the first-degree-criminal-mischief and the two breaking-or-entering convictions to be served concurrently with the other convictions, for a total of fifty-five years’ incarceration. On appeal, Cobb argues the circuit court erred in denying his motions for directed verdict on all seven counts. We affirm.

          I. Facts

          At trial, testimony established that on November 18, 2017, William Wood discovered that Robert Barron’s residence and outbuildings in Summit, Arkansas, had been broken into. Wood, a friend of Barron’s, knew Barron was out of state for an extended period, and he was checking on Barron’s property, which was marked with no trespassing signs. Wood explained that Barron’s driveway had a locked gate, so he had entered the property using the power-line right-of-way. Wood noticed some items strewn about the property, and he knew that when he had been to the property less than a month before to read the water meter, the property was in "perfect" condition. Wood called the Marion County Sheriff’s Office to report the break-in.

          The officers who responded also had to access the property using the power-line easement due to the lock on the gate across the driveway, and they reported numerous items strewn up and down the road, including bags and boxes of tools and a trash can filled with tools located at the bottom of the power-line easement. Doors on two sheds were open and the buildings had been rummaged through, and the sliding glass door to Barron’s house had been broken. Officers observed that a camper trailer on the property had pry marks on the door; it appeared an attempt had been made to enter the camper, but the door was locked. When Wood received permission from Barron for the officers to enter the house, they discovered the power had been shut off. Barron told them that the power was on when he left. Officers described the house as "completely destroyed"; every room had been ransacked, items were gathered in piles throughout the house as though someone was coming back to remove the remaining items, televisions were missing, and the hinges and door of a heavy-duty fireproof gun safe

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had been removed. Barron informed the officers that he had guns in the safe; all the guns were missing.

          While investigating the break-in, officers observed two males walking down the road from the locked, gated driveway at the front of the property. As the two men initially approached the house they were walking normally, but then they were described by officers as beginning to walk "suspiciously" in a crouched, sneaking position the closer they got to the house, and one man began walking to the front of the residence while the other man headed toward the rear of the residence. The men were later identified as Cobb and Anthony Contreras. When officers told the two men to freeze, Cobb began to run from the scene, but he eventually obeyed orders to halt. When apprehended, Cobb had a gray backpack and a ratchet in his hand. When asked why he was on the property, Cobb stated they were going to Allen’s Grocery and this was a shortcut; however, one officer testified Allen’s ...


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