the State charges felony murder in a case in which several
individuals commit the inherently dangerous felony, it is
irrelevant which individual shot the victim. All participants
in an underlying felony are principals to felony murder when
a death occurs during the commission of, attempt to commit,
or flight from any inherently dangerous felony. As a result,
the State does not have to prove who committed the act that
resulted in a death-e.g., fired the gun or struck the lethal
operation of the felony-murder statute, a complaint or
information stating a defendant killed a victim during the
commission of an inherently dangerous felony does not
necessarily charge that a defendant personally committed the
act that resulted in a death.
trial court does not improperly broaden a charge when it
instructs the jury on the elements of felony murder by
stating the defendant or another killed the victim even
though the complaint or information stated the defendant
killed the victim. The law considers all who commit an
inherently dangerous felony to be a killer if the fatal blow
occurs during the commission of, attempt to commit, or flight
from any inherently dangerous felony, and the instruction
informs the jury a defendant may be guilty whether the
defendant or another committed the fatal act.
from Douglas District Court; Paula B. Martin, judge. Opinion
filed June 29, 2018. Affirmed.
Carver-Allmond, of Capital Appellate Defender Office, argued
the cause and was on the brief for appellant.
Duncan Butler, assistant district attorney, argued the cause,
and Charles E. Branson, district attorney, and Derek Schmidt,
attorney general, were with her on the brief for appellee.
Robinson appeals his conviction for felony murder. He argues
three different grounds for reversal: (1) Insufficient
evidence supports his conviction because the State charged
him as the killer, but the trial evidence established his
cousin fired the fatal shot; (2) the felony-murder
instruction impermissibly broadened the information filed by
the State against him; and (3) the felony-murder elements
instruction did not conform to the evidence presented at
trial. We reject Robinson's arguments and affirm.
and Procedural Background
early morning hours of March 8, 2014, Cousins Dustin Walker
and Archie Robinson broke into Marilyn Howard's
residence, where she lived with two sons and a grandson. One
of her sons, Patrick Roberts, sold marijuana from his
bedroom, and the cousins went directly to his room once
inside the residence. According to the testimony of the
surviving residents, one of the cousins demanded, "Where
is it?" Roberts responded, "I don't know what
you are talking about." One of the cousins then shot
Roberts, who died from his wounds. Roberts' brother
struggled with the shooter before the gun went off a second
time. Evidence at trial pointed to Walker as the shooter.
the altercation, Howard called 911. The first law enforcement
officer arrived at the apartment a little after 3 a.m., by
which time both Robinson and his cousin had fled.
Roberts' brother and son told the officer the shooter
wore a black shirt and the second man wore light clothes.
Shortly after, officers began searching the area and found
Walker and Robinson, who had separated, Walker wore a black
jacket and jeans, and Robinson wore a cream-colored shirt and
evidence introduced at trial implicated Robinson and Walker.
Surveillance video from a nearby gas station showed the two
men around 2:45 a.m., minutes before the shooting. Both men
wore the same clothes at the time of their arrests. Stains on
Robinson's pants and shirt matched Roberts' blood.
Robinson was not wearing shoes when arrested, but officers
found a size 9 shoe at the crime scene that did not belong to
the residents. An officer found a matching shoe, stained with
blood that matched Roberts', on the grounds of a nearby
apartment complex. Robinson requested size 9 jail footwear
during his police interview. The gun, which the intruders
left at the scene, belonged to the mother of Walker's
children. Finally, at trial, the mother of Robinson's
children testified she asked Robinson why he did it and he
said he "was being greedy and he said he fucked
jury convicted Robinson of both charges-aggravated burglary
and felony murder. The court sentenced Robinson to a
controlling hard 20 life sentence. Robinson appeals. This
court has ...