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Robinson v. Commonwealth

Court of Appeals of Virginia

September 16, 2014

MICHAEL ALONZO ROBINSON, JR.
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE CITY OF RICHMOND. Beverly W. Snukals, Judge.

Jennifer M. Newman for appellant.

Susan Baumgartner, Assistant Attorney General (Mark R. Herring, Attorney General, on brief), for appellee.

Present: Judges Humphreys, Alston and Decker.

Page 807

[63 Va.App. 717] OPINION

ROSSIE D. ALSTON, JR. JUDGE

Michael Alonzo Robinson, Jr. (appellant) appeals his convictions of one count of first-degree murder in violation of Code § 18.2-32, one count of robbery in violation of Code § 18.2-58, two counts of abduction for pecuniary benefit in violation of Code § 18.2-48, and four counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in violation of Code § 18.2-53.1. On appeal, appellant alleges that the trial court " erred in failing to dismiss the multi-jurisdictional grand jury indictments for murder and use of a firearm due to the violation of . . . Code § 19.2-215.9, which violated [appellant]'s rights to due process and to prepare his best defense." We disagree and therefore affirm appellant's convictions.

I. Background

The evidence established that on March 16, 2012, Jerrod Oliver was shot and killed in his house in the City of Richmond. Appellant, armed with a firearm, entered Oliver's house and threatened Oliver and a friend, Chaquetta Bowles, demanding money and a gun from Oliver. On March 21, 2012, the Richmond Metropolitan Multi-Jurisdictional Grand Jury returned indictments against appellant for the first-degree murder of Oliver in violation of Code § 18.2-32 and the use of a firearm in the commission of that murder in violation of Code § 18.2-53.1. On May 3, 2012, appellant moved to review the multi-jurisdictional grand jury evidence pursuant to Code § 19.2-215.9,[1] [63 Va.App. 718] or in the alternative,

Page 808

to dismiss the indictments if a transcript was unavailable.

The trial court held a hearing on appellant's motion to dismiss the multi-jurisdictional grand jury indictments on May 11, 2012. The Commonwealth proffered to the trial court that a court reporter did not attend or record evidence presented during the proceedings before the multi-jurisdictional grand jury. The Commonwealth further represented that only Detective Goldman presented evidence at the hearing before the multi-jurisdictional grand jury and that " Detective Goldman's presentation of that evidence is not the same as a witness being called in to testify, thus not requiring a transcript." The trial court denied appellant's motion stating in part that the " remedy of dismissal of the charge is [not] part of [Virginia's] statute, and the [c]ourt would have to find some prejudice [63 Va.App. 719] to the defense, and have to find that it was some act of the Commonwealth that was not generally by malfeasance or something." The trial court did, however, order a bill of particulars concerning the charges certified by the multi-jurisdictional grand jury against appellant.

On June 4, 2012, a City of Richmond grand jury indicted appellant on two counts of abduction for pecuniary benefit in violation of Code § 18.2-48, one count of robbery in violation of Code § 18.2-58, and three counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in violation of Code § 18.2-53.1. The indictments from both grand juries were consolidated for trial and a jury trial on all of the charges was held on October 9, 2012.

At trial, Chaquetta Bowles testified that around 9:30-10:00 p.m. on March 16, 2012, Oliver brought her to his home on the south side of the City of Richmond. Bowles testified that while she was upstairs, Oliver asked her if she was hungry and offered to get her food. A few minutes later, Oliver backed into the bedroom, in which Bowles was sitting, with his hands in the air saying " don't shoot." Bowles testified that she then saw appellant holding a gun and appellant told her " bitch, drop the phone and walk over to me." Appellant then demanded money and a " chopper" from Oliver.[2] Oliver retrieved money from his closet and gave it to appellant and told him that the " chopper" was downstairs in the oven. Appellant grabbed Bowles by the back of ...


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