in the Court of Appeals 7 June 2018.
by defendant from judgments entered 18 December 2014 by Judge
Robert F. Floyd in Cumberland County No. 10 CRS 63629
Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Special Deputy Attorney
General Amy Kunstling Irene, for the State.
Appellate Defender Glenn Gerding, by Assistant Appellate
Defender Sterling Rozear, for defendant-appellant.
Theodis Hobbs, Jr. ("Defendant") appeals from a
jury's guilty verdicts, convicting him of first-degree
murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, attempted robbery
with a dangerous weapon, and conspiracy to commit robbery
with a dangerous weapon. We find no error.
Burnett was murdered on 5 November 2010 in or around Thomson,
Georgia. Keon, Burnett's brother, testified that the last
time he had seen his brother alive was that afternoon when he
had left with Defendant, who was riding in Burnett's red
Suburban SUV. The next morning, Burnett's sister received
a call informing her that a body, later confirmed to be
Burnett, had been found. Burnett's red Suburban SUV was
not found with his body. A .380-caliber bullet was recovered
from Burnett's body during the autopsy.
morning of 6 November 2010, Kyle Harris and Demarshun
Sanders, were working at Cumberland Pawn Shop, located in a
small shopping center in Fayetteville, North Carolina. At
approximately 8:45 a.m., Sanders observed
and a woman sitting inside of a red SUV in the parking lot of
the center. Shortly thereafter, around 9:00 a.m., Defendant
entered the store to pawn a CD player. Harris told Defendant
he would not accept the CD player because it was not working.
Subsequently, Defendant returned to the store seeking to pawn
car speakers. He told Harris that his SUV was broken down and
he needed help. Upon hearing Defendant's reasoning,
Harris agreed to accept the speakers and paid Defendant
$45.00. The red SUV remained parked in the parking lot for
the rest of the day and was observed there by several
employees and customers.
that evening, Harris, Derrick Blackwell, and Sean Collins
were working inside the pawn shop when Defendant re-entered,
carrying a backpack. Defendant was accompanied by the woman
previously seen inside the red SUV, later identified as
Alexis Mattocks, who was carrying a suitcase. Defendant and
his companion casually browsed the store, while the employees
played video games on their laptops.
pulled a gun, identified as a silver-chromed Lorcin .380
caliber handgun, and pointed it at all three employees.
Defendant told the employees to empty their pockets, demanded
their phones, wallets, and keys, and for the cash register be
fulfill Defendant's request, Harris began walking toward
the cash register. Defendant pulled the trigger and shot
Harris in the upper chest. Defendant then walked behind the
counter, pointed the gun at Blackwell, and instructed him to
empty the cash register. After taking the money inside the
register, Defendant directed his attention to Collins, who
was instructed to empty his pockets. Collins complied, and
threw the contents of his pockets on the ground towards
Defendant. Defendant took money off the floor and proceeded
to grab the wounded Harris' car keys from his belt loop.
exited the store and moved some items from the red SUV, later
confirmed to be Burnett's stolen Suburban, and drove off
in Harris' silver colored Saturn Ion. When first
responders arrived on the scene, Harris was unresponsive.
Harris died from the injuries resulting from the gunshot
night of 6 November 2010, Washington, D.C. Police Officer
Jerry Reyes observed a Saturn Ion bearing a North Carolina
license plate. Officer Reyes checked the plate, learned the
vehicle was stolen, and began pursuit. When back-up officers
arrived, Officer Reyes executed a traffic stop. There were
three people inside the car: Defendant, who was driving,
Mattox, and their young child. Officer Reyes pulled Defendant
out of the car, handcuffed and arrested him.
Washington, D.C. Police learned an occupant of the stolen
Saturn was a "person of interest" in connection
with a robbery/homicide in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and
contacted the Fayetteville Police Department. After verifying
was the "person of interest" and seeing blood
located on Defendant's shoes, Washington D.C. Police
obtained a search warrant for the Saturn. The subsequent
search recovered a .380-caliber Lorcin handgun. The bullets
removed from the bodies of Rondriako Burnett and Kyle Harris
matched with a test shot later fired from the recovered
Lorcin .380-caliber handgun.
Fayetteville Police Department obtained North Carolina
warrants, and Detective Sondergaard traveled to Washington
D.C. to interview Defendant. Defendant stated his purpose for
the robbery was to get "[m]oney and guns" and he
had fired his weapon to "scare" the employees of
the pawn shop, but he "wasn't trying to shoot"
August 2014, Defendant was indicted for first-degree murder,
first-degree kidnapping, two counts of second-degree
kidnapping, two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon,
two counts of attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, and
conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon.
Defendant gave notice to assert the defenses of mental
infirmity, diminished capacity, and automatism.
capital first-degree murder trial and for the other related
charges commenced against Defendant. At the close of the
State's evidence, Defendant moved to dismiss all charges.
The court dismissed the three kidnapping charges, but denied
Defendant's motion to dismiss any of the remaining
did not testify at trial, but presented evidence of his
background though the testimony of various family members,
and evidence of his mental health through expert witnesses.
The testimony of his family members stated Defendant had
survived a troubled childhood. He had lived in bad
neighborhoods where drive-by shootings were frequent, and
drug use and violence were present. His father abused alcohol
and drugs during Defendant's childhood and adolescence.
His mother abused Defendant by spanking him repeatedly.
Defendant's mother was described as "different"
and "real strange" by Defendant's aunts.
by his parents, Defendant went to live with his aunt and
uncle, who suffered through many evictions and also lived in
crime-ridden neighborhoods. Even though Defendant was
described as a bright student, his behavior and performance
began to change drastically in high school. In 1997,
Defendant was arrested for armed robbery and was placed into
a drug treatment program. Defendant lost interest in the
marching band, his grades began to drop, and his absences
from school increased. His probation was revoked and he
served time in prison. After meeting Alexis Mattocks, and
after the birth of their daughter, Defendant was described as
beginning to turn his life around.
returned to Georgia in August 2010 after residing in
Washington, D.C. for several years, when his family was
evicted from their home. A couple of months after moving back
to Georgia, Defendant relapsed into drug use and bought drugs
from Rondriako Burnett.
Ginger Calloway, a psychologist, testified regarding
Defendant's and his parents' prior mental health
diagnoses and Defendant's substance abuse. Dr. Calloway
asserted Defendant's background and experiences were all
influential on Defendant's actions at the time of the
told Dr. Calloway he had routinely carried a gun when he
lived in D.C. because of the violence, began committing
robberies in 1997 to obtain money, and he had used and sold
drugs. He also stated to Dr. Calloway he had not intended to
George Corvin, a psychiatrist, testified about his diagnoses
of Defendant, which included persistent depressive disorder,
post-traumatic stress disorder, multiple substance abuse
disorder, and characteristics of borderline personality
disorder and paranoid personality disorder. Dr. Corvin opined
that Defendant's mental abilities were affected by mental
illness at the time of the offenses.
Defendant told Dr. Corvin he had relapsed and began using
cocaine again approximately two weeks before the offenses.
Defendant also told Dr. Corvin that the day before he shot
Burnett, he and Burnett had engaged in an altercation over
money. Burnett had shot a gun into the air, which startled
Defendant, upset Mattocks, and made their baby cry. Defendant
shot Burnett the next day and stated he was mad at Burnett
and wanted to kill him.
Corvin testified that he understood Defendant had taken
Mattocks and their baby out of Georgia, because
Defendant's family had been talking about taking the baby
away from them. They hid Burnett's SUV until after dark,
then drove to Fayetteville, North Carolina, to the Cumberland
there, the vehicle would not start, and they came up with a
plan to rob the pawn shop. They bought duct tape and planned
to have Defendant hold the gun. Mattocks was to restrain the
employees with the duct tape, take money and guns from the
pawn shop, steal Harris' Saturn, and then they would
drive to Washington, D.C. to sell the guns.
Corvin stated Defendant had told him that he did not intend
to hurt anyone during the robbery, and displayed remorse for
killing Harris, but not for killing Burnett, who Defendant
thought was a "very bad person." Dr. Corvin opined
Defendant's ability to think, reason, and make judgments
was compromised at the time of the robbery. Dr. Corvin stated