ROGRICK ADWAY, JR. APPELLANT
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE
FROM THE JEFFERSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 35CR-17-353]
HONORABLE JODI RAINES DENNIS, JUDGE
Law Office, by: Gary W. Potts, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Chris R. Warthen, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
BRANDON J. HARRISON, JUDGE.
2017, Rogrick Adway, Jr., was charged with simultaneous
possession of drugs and firearms, possession of a Schedule VI
controlled substance with purpose to deliver, fleeing, and
use or possession of drug paraphernalia. After a jury trial,
Adway was found guilty of all counts and sentenced to an
aggregate term of fifteen years' imprisonment. On appeal,
he argues that the circuit court erred in (1) denying his
motion for directed verdict and (2) denying his request for a
mistrial. We affirm the circuit court. Specific facts
pertinent to each point on appeal will be discussed below.
jury trial on 17 September 2018, Detective Richard McCorvy
with the Pine Bluff Police Department testified that on 2
June 2017, he and Detective Matthew Pate were surveilling the
Piney Wood Apartments based on suspicion of drug activity.
McCorvy saw Adway exit an apartment carrying a backpack on
his shoulder and "looking from side to side suspiciously
. . . to make sure nobody was looking while he was messing
with the backpack." A second man, Jose Cirino, also left
the apartment, locked the door, and got into a green Toyota
Camry. Adway walked to the Camry, put the backpack inside the
car through the window, then walked to a different apartment
carrying some tissue paper. Adway returned a few minutes
later, got into the passenger side of the car, and the two
men left the apartment complex. McCorvy and Pate followed the
car and made a traffic stop a short time later. Cirino did
not stop the car immediately but instead drove slowly for
another one hundred feet before stopping near a back gate in
the apartment complex. As the car was still moving, McCorvy
observed both men "reaching down," and it appeared
that the men were "trying to hide something." When
the car stopped, Adway exited the passenger side with the
backpack and ran back into the apartment complex. McCorvy
chased him, and as he went around the corner of a building,
he saw Adway emerging from behind an AC unit-minus one
backpack. McCorvy saw the backpack next to the AC unit but
continued to chase Adway and took him into custody a short
time later. As they walked back toward the cars, Detective
Pate approached and continued to escort Adway while McCorvy
went back and retrieved the backpack. Detective Pate also
testified and corroborated McCorvy's account of what
happened before, during, and after the traffic stop.
Wells, a former employee of the Pine Bluff Police Department,
testified that on 2 June 2017, she was dispatched to the
Piney Wood Apartments and met Detective McCorvy, who gave her
the backpack to process. Wells prepared an evidence log of
all the items in the backpack, including Adway's
identification, phone chargers, and plastic sandwich bags.
The backpack contents also included two small mason jars
containing marijuana, a half-full box of Blazer 9mm
cartridges, a black digital scale, a Crown Royal bag
containing two types of 9mm cartridges, a .38 Smith &
Wesson revolver, and a 9mm handgun. Wells also identified
another small bag of marijuana that had been found in the
car's cup holder.
the State rested, Adway moved for a directed verdict as
We believe that the State has failed to show sufficient
evidence to go forward in this matter, that they have not
sufficiently proven their cases on these various four
charges. . . . The first one that I have is the simultaneous
possession of drugs and firearms. The second one is 5-64-436,
the purpose to deliver. And then the third charge is the
possession of drug paraphernalia with purpose to use or
manufacture. I'm not going to make the motion on the
fleeing charge-it's a misdemeanor-but I would on the-the
motion was denied.
defense presented the testimony of Ivy Alston, who rented the
apartment that Adway and Cirino had been in and who owned the
Toyota Camry driven by them on June 2. She said that she had
known Adway approximately two months at the time of this
incident, and she denied having ever seen Adway with guns,
drugs, or the backpack.
testified that he was eighteen years old when this incident
occurred and had just graduated from high school two weeks
prior. He said that his girlfriend lived at Piney Woods
Apartments and that he also visited Cirino at the apartments.
He admitted that the backpack belonged to him but denied ever
having firearms or illegal drugs in his possession. He
explained that when he and Cirino left the apartment that
day, the only things in his backpack were his identification,
phone chargers, his keys, and some tissue. According to
Adway, he put the backpack inside the car, took some tissue
to his girlfriend's cousin's apartment, and returned
approximately ten minutes later. He testified that after the
car was pulled over by the officers, he got out of the car,
"saw a gun," and became scared, so he "took
off running." He said he was wearing the backpack but
threw it off while running because it was slowing him down.
He said the backpack felt heavier, but he did not know what
was in it.
the defense rested, Adway renewed his motion for directed
verdict, again arguing that the State had failed to prove
beyond a reasonable doubt any of the offenses charged.
"The testimony, even taken in the light of the-to the
State, which is what the statutory-the requirements are-is
that there was a brief period of time in which my client had
a backpack and then it was gone." The renewed ...