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State v. Johnson

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Third Division

March 10, 2015

STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent,
v.
DANIELLE JOHNSON, Appellant

Appeal from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis. Honorable Elizabeth B. Hogan.

FOR APPELLANT: Jessica Hathaway, Assistant Public Defender, Office of the Missouri Public Defender, St. Louis, Missouri.

FOR RESPONDENT: Chris Koster, Attorney General, Robert J. Bartholomew, Assistant Attorney General, Jefferson City, Missouri.

Kurt S. Odenwald, Presiding Judge. Robert G. Dowd, Jr., J., Concurs. Gary M. Gaertner, Jr., J., Concurs.

OPINION

Kurt S. Odenwald, Presiding Judge

Introduction

Appellant Danielle Johnson (" Johnson" ) appeals from the judgment of the trial court entered upon a jury verdict finding him guilty of first-degree robbery. Johnson was convicted of violating Section 569.020[1]

Page 522

on a theory of accompl ice liability for acting with another to forcibly steal while displaying what appeared to be a deadly weapon. The trial court sentenced Johnson as a persistent offender to twenty-five years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. On appeal, Johnson alleges that insufficient evidence exists to support his conviction. Specifically, Johnson argues that there was no evidence that he intended to aid in a robbery committed with the use of a deadly weapon or that he was aware his accomplice was in possession of a deadly weapon. Because there was sufficient evidence from which a jury reasonable could have concluded that Johnson, acting with the purpose of promoting the commission of a robbery, aided the gunman in planning, committing, or attempting to commit the robbery, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Factual and Procedural History

The evidence viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict is as follows. Monsignor John McCarthy (" Monsignor McCarthy" ) is a priest at St. Mary of Victories Church. Monsignor McCarthy inherited a significant sum of money when his brother passed away. Almost every day, Monsignor McCarthy would withdraw cash from the bank, interview persons seeking help in the parish hall of his church, and distribute this money to people who needed financial assistance. Monsignor McCarthy also provided community members with bus passes and grocery store gift cards. Johnson received financial assistance from Monsignor McCarthy for about one year between 2011 and 2012. However, on or about February 11, 2012, Monsignor McCarthy told Johnson he would no longer provide him with financial assistance.

On February 13, 2012, Monsignor McCarthy was returning to the church with cash, four Schnucks gift cards, and four weekly Metro passes in his pockets. As Monsignor McCarthy opened the back door of his car to retrieve groceries, he felt something rubbing on his back. Monsignor McCarthy turned around and saw a man facing him wearing a black cap, a scarf over his face, and a black coat.[2] The man held a pistol to Monsignor McCarthy's chest and told him not to move. The gunman then proceeded to go through the pockets of Monsignor McCarthy's shirt and pants, taking a wallet containing more than $200, four Schnucks gift cards, and four Metro passes. During the robbery, Monsignor McCarthy's assistant, Steven Love (" Love" ), saw what was happening and began shouting at the gunman. The gunman called for Love to " come here," but Love continued to shout and refused to go to where the gunman was standing. When Love did not comply, the gunman took off running. Love chased after the gunman until he saw the gunman turn down an alley. Love then saw a Dodge Neon emerge from the alley with the gunman riding in the passenger seat. Love later identified the Dodge Neon to the police as belonging to Johnson.

Later that day, police officers went to Johnson's home and observed the Dodge Neon that Love had described. The officers told Johnson they were conducting an investigation. Johnson admitted that the Dodge Neon was his, but initially claimed he had been home all day with his mother. The ...


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