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State v. Jones

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

November 7, 2017

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERT LEVON JONES, Defendant.

          Heard in the Court of Appeals 6 September 2017.

         Appeal by defendant from judgments entered 23 September 2016 by Judge R. Stuart Albright in Guilford County Superior Court No. 13 CRS 75269.

          Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Special Deputy Attorney General Olga E. Vysotskaya de Brito, for the State.

          Anne Bleyman for defendant-appellant.

          ZACHARY, JUDGE.

         Robert Levon Jones (defendant) appeals from judgments entered upon his convictions of misdemeanor assault inflicting serious injury and robbery with a dangerous weapon. On appeal, defendant argues that his convictions were obtained "based upon evidence that was unfairly prejudicial and [was] admitted in violation of the principle[s] of double jeopardy [and] collateral estoppel." We have carefully considered defendant's argument in light of the record on appeal and the applicable law, and conclude that defendant is not entitled to relief on the basis of this argument.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         On 9 December 2013, defendant was indicted for the offenses of armed robbery and felony assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. The charges against defendant were tried before the trial court and a jury beginning on 19 September 2016. Defendant did not testify or present evidence at trial. The State's evidence is summarized, in relevant part, as follows.

         James Kelly testified that he was 69 years old and owned the Small Luxuries jewelry store in High Point, North Carolina. A Biscuitville restaurant was located approximately 150 to 200 yards from his store. On 27 March 2013, Mr. Kelly noticed a gold car without a license plate in the parking lot, with two African-American men in the car. At approximately 10:00 a.m., "three black men" entered the store wearing hooded sweatshirts. The men, all of whom were armed with handguns, hit Mr. Kelly on the head with metal objects that he assumed were their weapons. The men fled from the store after stealing jewelry that Mr. Kelly estimated to have a value of $30, 000. Some of the stolen jewelry was later returned by the police. Mr. Kelly was treated for injuries sustained in the robbery, including stitches over one eye and a fractured skull. When law enforcement officers showed Mr. Kelly a photographic lineup, he was unable to identify any of the men who had robbed his store.

         Emily Kelley testified that on 27 March 2013 she worked at the Biscuitville restaurant near Mr. Kelly's store. Law enforcement officers questioned her shortly after the jewelry store was robbed, and she told them that three African-American men had eaten at Biscuitville that morning, and that one of the men had paid with a debit card. At trial Ms. Kelley testified that she did not recognize defendant. John Griffiths, the regional vice-president for Wood Forest National Bank, identified bank documents showing a transaction in defendant's checking account for a purchase at Biscuitville on 27 or 28 March 2013.

         Kristy Riojas testified that on 27 March 2013 she worked at a pawn shop named Got Gold, that purchased gold, silver, and jewelry. Ms. Riojas described the general business practices of Got Gold as follows:

[MS. RIOJAS]: So, a customer would come in and show us what they wanted to sell. We would test it, make sure if it was real silver, gold. We would then weigh it, give them a price. If they accepted the price, we would ask for their ID, make a photocopy of it, write down the description of the gold that was sold, ask for their signature. And then we would just put the - the jewelry in a Ziploc bag and staple it onto the paper and file it. And then we would then put it in the computer, send it off to the police department.

         Ms. Riojas identified a receipt, which was introduced over defendant's objection, for a transaction that took place on 27 March 2013, in which a customer sold coins and jewelry. This exhibit included a list of the pawned items and a copy of a driver's license issued to defendant.

         High Point Police Detective Eric Berrier identified a stolen property receipt that the Police Department provided to Got Gold upon seizure of stolen property. Winston-Salem Police Detective Richard Workman testified that in 2013 he investigated crimes involving pawn shops and dealers in precious metals. On 28 March 2013, Detective Workman reviewed a sales receipt from Got Gold and noted certain items of jewelry that had been sold, including a coin stolen from Small Luxuries. High Point Police Detective Christopher Walainin testified that he took a statement from Mr. Kelly that generally ...


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