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Robinson v. Commonwealth

Court of Appeals of Virginia

April 29, 2014

LAROD NAYQUAN ROBINSON
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE CITY OF HAMPTON. Christopher W. Hutton, Judge.

Christina E. James for appellant.

Kathleen B. Martin, Senior Assistant Attorney General (Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, II,[1] Attorney General, on brief), for appellee.

Present: Frank, Kelsey and Alston Judges.

OPINION

Page 925

[63 Va.App. 306] ROSSIE D. ALSTON, JR., JUDGE.

Larod Nayquan Robinson (appellant) appeals his convictions of robbery, two counts of use of a firearm, possession of a firearm as a juvenile, and aggravated maiming. On appeal, appellant alleges that the trial court (i) " erred in denying appellant's motion to suppress despite Detective Rodey's refusal of appellant's multiple requests to speak to his mother during his custodial interrogation, rendering the subsequent statements involuntary," and (ii) " erred in denying appellant's motion to suppress despite Detective Rodey's misrepresentation to appellant of his legal status as a juvenile and

Page 926

the consequences of failing to make a statement to the police in violation of his Fifth Amendment rights." Finding no error, we affirm.

I. Background

On November 6, 2010, appellant, fifteen years old at the time, and two friends approached Nathaniel Gleaton outside a Miller Mart in Hampton, Virginia. During the encounter, [63 Va.App. 307] appellant pointed a silver handgun at Gleaton and demanded he hand over a distinctive gold necklace he was wearing. Appellant and Gleaton struggled, and appellant fired two gunshots, one of which hit Gleaton in his abdomen and the other in his chest. Gleaton fell to the ground, and his necklace was taken. At that time, a witness driving by saw appellant running from the Miller Mart while putting a gun in his pocket. A black knit hoody sweatshirt was found at the scene and tested for DNA, which later came back as a match for appellant.

At some point after the attack, appellant let Ronald Lee wear Gleaton's necklace. Lee took pictures of himself wearing the necklace, which Diamond Johnson later posted on Facebook. Detective Steven Rodey of the Hampton Police Department became aware of the Facebook postings and questioned Ms. Johnson, who identified Lee as the person in the photographs wearing Gleaton's necklace. Detective Rodey obtained a search warrant for Lee's home, where he found a silver handgun. Forensic ballistics testing determined that the silver handgun found at Lee's home was the gun used to shoot Gleaton. Lee informed Detective Rodey that appellant gave him the handgun to hold at his house and Lee left it there when they went to a game.

In late May/early June of 2011, Detective Rodey, armed with warrants for appellant's arrest, picked up appellant at Newport News Detention Center[2] and transported him to the Hampton Police Department for questioning regarding Gleaton's shooting. Appellant was placed in an interview room, given a drink, and left alone for approximately six minutes [63 Va.App. 308] before Detective Rodey commenced the interview.[3] Detective Rodey conducted the interview, sitting across from appellant, and Detective Gainer was also present for much of it. At the beginning of the interview, Detective Rodey presented appellant with a Miranda waiver form and read his rights out loud to appellant. Appellant initialed the form on each line and signed the waiver. Detective Rodey advised appellant that he wanted to talk to him about an incident that occurred outside a Miller Mart in November 2010. Initially, appellant denied any involvement.

Approximately sixteen minutes into questioning, appellant asked for his mother. In response to appellant's first request, Detective Rodey told him he could call his mother when he went over to " lock up" and that, due to his certification as an adult in his prior convictions, appellant was " a man" and therefore considered an adult. Appellant proceeded to ask for his mother five more times over the course of the next ten minutes. Detective Rodey responded that appellant could talk to his mother but would have to speak to him (Detective Rodey) first. Detective Rodey also told appellant that his mother would ...


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