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State v. Robinson

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Fifth Division

December 5, 2017

STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent,
v.
KEENAN ROBINSON, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis Honorable Michael F. Stelzer

          LAWRENCE E. MOONEY, JUDGE.

         A jury convicted Keenan Robinson of unlawfully using a weapon, in violation of Section 571.030.1(4), for exhibiting a firearm in an angry or threatening manner in the presence of Elizabeth Cooper.[1] Ms. Cooper invoked her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and refused to testify at trial. In her absence, the trial court permitted the State to introduce a tape of Ms. Cooper's 911 call, as well as officers' testimony relating Ms. Cooper's statements made at the scene. The trial court admitted the evidence under the excited-utterance exception to the rule against hearsay evidence. On appeal, Mr. Robinson challenges the trial court's ruling. Because the trial court abused its discretion in admitting the hearsay evidence, we reverse Mr. Robinson's conviction. We remand the cause to the trial court.

         Factual Background

         On April 19, 2015, Elizabeth Cooper placed a call to 911. She immediately noted that she had called the prior day about Mr. Robinson and then relayed that he had just brandished a revolver at her, as she was walking to the store. Let us closely consider the exact conversation between Ms. Cooper and the 911 dispatcher as revealed by the tape recording in the record on appeal:

D [Dispatcher]: 911 Sanchez
C [Ms. Cooper]: Um, yes, I'm Elizabeth Cooper, I called yesterday about Keenan Robinson. He just upped a gun on me with a red dot on it, as I was walking to the store.
D: Tell me where you're at.
C: I'm, uh, I'm uh, uh Miami and Compton. Now I told them yesterday that if they don't lock his ass up everything goes cuz he just upped a gun on me ... [keeps talking, indiscernible]
D: (interrupts) Ok. Is he a white or a black male?
C: He's black, [keeps talking, indiscernible]
D: (interrupts) What's his name?
C: ... [indiscernible] And I'm not fucking ...[keeps talking, indiscernible]
D: (interrupts) What's his name?
C: Keenan Robinson.
D: Keenan Robinson?
C: Yes.
D: How old is he, ...

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