Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Second Division
from the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri The
Honorable David Michael Byrn, Judge
Thomas H. Newton, P.J., James Edward Welsh, and Karen King
Edward Welsh, Judge.
McElroy appeals the trial court's judgment, following a
jury trial, convicting him of first-degree robbery (§
569.020, RSMo) and armed criminal action (§
571.015). We affirm.
evidence at McElroy's trial showed that two men entered a
Little Caesar's pizza restaurant on May 24, 2014, while
manager April Bell was counting the money in a cash register.
Bell saw that one of the men was carrying a gun, so she
quickly closed the register. Bell testified that she could
see both men's faces. She stated that the gunman, whom
she later identified as McElroy, had "a little bit"
of facial hair, and she particularly noticed "his eyes
and his size."
told the jury that McElroy jumped over the counter, put a gun
to the back of her head, and told her to open the register.
Bell complied. McElroy then pulled her to the other register,
demanded the money from it, and threatened to shove the gun
into her head harder unless she gave him the money
immediately. After Bell opened the second register, McElroy
ordered her to open the safe. She told him that it was on a
time lock and she could not open it. McElroy jumped back over
the counter, and the two men ran out the door. Bell called
Anthony Castelletto reviewed the store's surveillance
video. He saw that the robbers were not wearing
gloves and had touched certain areas that an ordinary
customer would not touch. Castelletto asked a crime scene
technician to dust those areas for fingerprints. Four of the
recovered prints were matched to McElroy: one was lifted from
the counter between the cash registers; the other three were
taken from the glass on the upper portion of a door.
next day, police arrested Charles Harris, who was riding in
the passenger seat of a vehicle that matched the description
of one used in the robbery. The police received information
from Harris about a suspect who went by "JJ."
Officer Johnathon Dawdy searched social media accounts and
found a Facebook page for someone named "JJ da
guy." He compared a picture of McElroy to pictures on
the Facebook page and confirmed that McElroy was "JJ da
guy." The photos on the Facebook page showed a tattoo
that said "RIP Kevin" and covered nearly the entire
top of McElroy's right hand. Dawdy testified that he had
seen the same tattoo on one of the robbers in the Little
Caesar's surveillance video. Detective Castelletto also
concluded that the same tattoo was depicted in both the video
and the Facebook photos.
arresting McElroy, Officer Dawdy could see that he was the
same person identified on Facebook as "JJ da guy."
Dawdy also noticed that McElroy had the same tattoo on his
right hand that he had seen on the Facebook page and on the
Bell identified both Harris and McElroy from photo line-ups.
She identified McElroy as the gunman, and she stated at trial
that she was absolutely sure of her identification. Bell also
made an in-court identification of McElroy. She told the jury
that there was no doubt in her mind that he was the man who
held a gun to her head.
did not present any evidence. During closing argument,
defense counsel reminded the jurors of McElroy's
"very large ornate and dark tattoo on his right
hand" that they had seen in one of the Facebook photos.
She urged the jury to ask to see everything that had been
admitted into evidence (which the jury did), and she proposed
that the video and the stills from it would not show
a tattoo on the gunman's hand. Counsel also asserted
that, if Bell's identification of McElroy was wrong, then
the State did not have any evidence.
jury found McElroy guilty of first-degree robbery and armed
criminal action. The court sentenced him to concurrent prison