Where multiple eyewitnesses testified, a jury was entitled to interpret video surveillance of robberies as corroborating identification of the defendants.
The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a decision by Judge Sarah Evans Barker, of the Southern District of Indiana.
Christopher Davis met Deidre Orkman, an assistant manager at an Indianapolis Walmart, in early 2015 while he was shopping at the store. The pair soon began dating. During the course of their relationship, Orkman often discussed her job with Davis. Orkman revealed to Davis what she knew about Walmart’s policies and procedures for handling cash.
Armed with this information, Davis hatched a plan to rob the Indianapolis Walmart with two of his cousins - Maurice Greer and Darryl Williams. Before the first robbery, Orkman met with Davis and Greer to discuss logistics. Orkman suggested that a Sunday night or Monday morning would be the best time to rob the store because a large amount of cash would be on hand from the weekend. Davis took Orkman’s advice, and on the morning of Monday, June 8, 2015, Davis and Greer dropped Orkman off at the Walmart for her morning shift. Amanda Greene and Jana West were working alongside Orkman that morning at the store’s customer service area.
Greer entered the customer service area and pointed a gun at West and Orkman. The three then proceeded to the cash room. Greene, who was already in the cash room, and Orkman started loading cash into bags. Once the cash was in the bags, Greer used duct tape to restrain West, Greene, and Orkman. Greer then left the Walmart with the bags of cash and returned to the car where Davis was waiting. Hours later, Davis took photographs of a large amount of cash spread on a table. Davis gave Orkman $1,500 for her role in the robbery.
Davis then decided to rob the Walmart again. Davis discussed his plans with Williams and Orkman. Orkman told Davis that she wanted out. Davis informed Orkman that the robbers would kill her if she told anyone. Davis and Williams then moved forward with their plans for the second robbery. Williams found Orkman in the store and took her to the cash room at gunpoint. Williams gathered cash from the counter, and Orkman opened the safe and removed bundles of cash, which Williams placed into his bags. Williams then restrained Orkman and walked out of the store. Williams later met Davis at a nearby apartment parking lot. Later that day, Davis paid $8,000 in cash for a white Land Rover from a used car dealership.
Police suspected Orkman was involved in the robberies because she was present during both, though they occurred during different shifts. The police tailed Orkman and eventually discovered Davis’ Land Rover, which they soon obtained a court order to track via a GPS device. While the device was on the car, Davis and Greer robbed a different Walmart. The tracker allowed police to pinpoint the location of the Land Rover. Police arrested Davis, Greer, and another man during a traffic stop in Indianapolis. Davis and Greer were both indicted for multiple robberies and were convicted after a jury trial. They then appealed.
On appeal, Davis and Greer argued that there was insufficient evidence to support their convictions. The appellate panel began by noting that for all three robberies, Davis was charged as an aider and abettor, and his convictions required only that he contributed at least one act of affirmative assistance for each robbery. The panel determined that there was ample evidence to support the government’s case on each of the three charges. ]
The panel then addressed Greer’s arguments. Greer argued that his brother, Williams, was responsible for both robberies. The panel noted, however, that Williams was not the only witness to identify Greer, and that his co-conspirators also testified against him. The panel found that the jury was entitled to find that each video of the robbery corroborated the identifications. Finally, the panel noted that when the Land Rover was stopped and the occupants arrested, Greer had $8,205 in his pocket, and a bag containing $17,020 was at the floor of the front passenger seat where he had been sitting. The panel determined that sufficient evidence existed to support Greer’s convictions as well and it therefore affirmed the judgments of the district court.
United States v. Christopher Davis and Maurice Greer
Nos. 18-2634 & 18-3129
Writing for the court: Chief Judge Diane P. Wood
Concurring: Judges David F. Hamilton and Michael Y. Scudder Jr.
Released: March 20, 2020