THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE CITY OF FREDERICKSBURG Sarah L.
Christopher M. Reyes (Spencer, Meyer, Koch & Cornick,
PLC, on brief), for appellant.
E. Jeffrey, III, Senior Assistant Attorney General (Mark R.
Herring, Attorney General, on brief), for appellee.
Present: Judges Humphreys, Beales and Alston Argued at
RANDOLPH A. BEALES, JUDGE
conclusion of a bench trial, Andrew Vojuan Burrous
("appellant") was convicted of two counts of
robbery, one count of attempted robbery, and one count of
wearing a mask in public. On appeal, appellant argues that
the evidence was insufficient "to find Appellant guilty
when the only identification of Appellant was through the use
of DNA evidence." We disagree with appellant's
argument and characterization of the evidence, and we affirm
appellant's convictions for the following reasons.
the evidence in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth,
as we must since it was the prevailing party in the trial
court, Riner v. Commonwealth, 268 Va. 296, 330, 601
S.E.2d 555, 574 (2004), the evidence at trial established
that Karen Moore was a store manager at a Dollar Tree store
in Fredericksburg, Virginia. On September 5, 2015, at around
10:20 or 10:30 p.m., Moore was walking out of the Dollar Tree
with a coworker and the coworker's boyfriend, when two
men came running out of the woods toward her. She managed to
get into her car and shut the door. One of the men wrestled
the door open before she could lock it, but Moore was able to
push him back and then close and lock the door, securing
herself and her belongings inside her vehicle.
point, the men walked toward Moore's coworker, April
Brown, and her boyfriend, Jerome Barnes. One of the robbers
wrestled with Brown as he ripped off her backpack. The
robbers were also successful in taking Barnes's wallet
and a Dollar Tree bag containing some food and sodas. One of
the assailants came back to Moore's car, and attempted to
break the window. He hit it forcefully enough to break the
plastic rain guard. Ultimately, the two men ran away toward a
pond and a wooded area, in the direction of a Sport and
Health fitness center.
the incident, the police were called out to the Dollar Tree.
A police canine, who was "trained to track narcotics and
scent apprehension, " was used in an attempt to locate
evidence. Deputy Sheriff William Wright, the canine handler,
testified that the dog was "looking for the freshest
stream of odor." Wright testified that the dog led him
around the retention pond and around a dumpster at the back
side of the Sport and Health. Within fifteen feet of the
dumpster, the dog located a black and white cloth bandana.
The dog also located a white Dollar Tree plastic bag behind
the Sport and Health, and a grey sweatshirt in the pond. The
police also recovered a black face mask on the brick ledge
encompassing the dumpster.
Commonwealth produced certificates of analysis from the
Department of Forensic Science, the accuracy of which
appellant did not dispute. On the certificate of analysis of
the bandana, the results stated, "A DNA profile was
developed from the bandana. This profile was searched against
the Virginia DNA Data Bank and found to be consistent with
the following individual: Name: Andrew V. Burrous." In
contrast, the analysis of the mask resulted in the
development of a major profile and a minor profile. It
stated, "A DNA mixture profile was developed from the
interior face area of the mask. The major profile developed
from this mixture was searched against the Virginia DNA Data
Bank and no DNA profile consistent with this profile was
found." The certificate also noted that the minor
profile was not suitable for comparison against the National
or the Virginia DNA Data Bank. Another certificate of
analysis analyzed buccal swabs from appellant and noted that
cannot be eliminated as a contributor of the DNA profile
previously developed from the bandana . . . . The probability
of selecting an unrelated individual with a DNA profile
matching that developed from the bandana at the
PowerPlex® 16 loci is 1 in greater than 7.2 billion
(which is approximately the world population) in the
Caucasian, Black and Hispanic populations.
trial, Barnes testified that one of the robbers was wearing a
bandana while the other was wearing "a ski mask or
something." The Commonwealth introduced a photograph of
the bandana the police canine found at the scene and asked
Barnes, "Is that the bandana you saw that night?"
to which Barnes responded, "Yes." The same
photograph was shown to Brown, and she also testified that
the bandana in the photograph was the one worn by the
individual who grabbed her backpack. Brown repeated her
testimony on cross-examination. Defense counsel asked,
"Are you sure this is the bandana that was worn?"
to which Brown responded, "It was worn across his
face." Sergeant Mary Mason, the primary detective
assigned to the robbery, was also shown this photograph of
the bandana, and she confirmed it was the bandana the police
found on the night of the robbery.
introduced were photographs of appellant printed from a
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