[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
FROM THE CLARK COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 10CR-17-101],
HONORABLE GREG VARDAMAN, JUDGE
Law Firm, by: Lee D. Short, Little Rock, for appellant.
Rutledge, Atty Gen., by: Joseph Karl Luebke, Asst Atty
Gen., for appellee.
D. VAUGHT, Judge.
Freddie Ezekiel appeals his conviction by the Clark County
Circuit Court of first-degree forgery as a habitual offender.
July 30, 2017, Arkadelphia police responded to two separate
calls from AutoZone and OReilly Auto Parts stores about a
woman purchasing items with counterfeit currency. Tiffany
Gwatney was arrested at Wal-Mart with counterfeit $100 bills
in her possession. Police were able to identify Gwatneys car
and locate it at McDonalds in Arkadelphia.
the police stopped the car, Ezekiel was one of three people
in the vehicle and the only passenger in the backseat. As the
officers approached the car, they observed him shoving what
was later revealed to be five counterfeit $100 bills into the
seat cushions. On the back floorboard next to his feet were
sacks containing the items purchased from AutoZone and
OReilly Auto Parts with counterfeit $100 bills.
Officer Aaron Abbott removed Ezekiel from the car and
searched him. During that search, Abbott located Ezekiels
wallet and tossed it into the back seat of the car. A
different officer who was searching the backseat of the car
looked in the wallet and found a credit card belonging to
Ezekiel, receipts from the purchases made with counterfeit
bills at AutoZone and OReilly Auto Parts, and currency that
was less than the change from the purchases.
State charged Ezekiel with first-degree forgery as a habitual
offender. Prior to trial, he moved to suppress his wallet and
its contents as the fruits of an illegal search. Ezekiel
waived his right to jury trial, and the parties agreed to
allow the court to consider and rule on the motion to
suppress during the bench trial.
trial, Gwatney testified for the State about the events of
July 30, 2017. She stated that when she and Ezekiel arrived
at each store, Ezekiel gave her the counterfeit $100 bills
and told her what to purchase. After she made the purchases
at AutoZone and OReilly Auto Parts, she gave Ezekiel the
change, the receipts, and the items she had purchased. On
cross-examination, Ezekiels counsel tried to question
Gwatney about purchases she allegedly made with counterfeit
bills in Garland County prior to July 30, 2017. Gwatney
invoked her Fifth Amendment rights in response to all the
questions about the Garland County ...