Hilton v. State, 030519 MDSCA, 192-2018

Docket Nº:192-2018
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM.
Judge Panel:Graeff, Arthur, Moylan, Charles E., Jr. (Senior Judge, Specially Assigned), JJ.
Case Date:March 05, 2019
Court:Court of Special Appeals of Maryland




No. 192-2018

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland

March 5, 2019

Circuit Court for Prince George County Case No.: CT-17-0246B

Graeff, Arthur, Moylan, Charles E., Jr. (Senior Judge, Specially Assigned), JJ.



A jury sitting in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County convicted Robert Berris Hilton, appellant, of illegal possession of a firearm and two counts each of armed robbery, first degree assault, use of a firearm in a crime of violence, and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. The court sentenced him to a total term of twenty years of incarceration, the first five years to be served without the possibility of parole. He appeals and argues that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions, that the court erred in sentencing him for both counts of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, and that the court erred in failing to merge the convictions for first-degree assault and robbery with a dangerous weapon for sentencing purposes. We agree that one of his two sentences for conspiracy to commit armed robbery must be vacated and that his sentences for first-degree assault and armed robbery must merge. Otherwise we affirm.


About 11:00 p.m. on January 17, 2017, Clifton Koonce and Davon McDuffie were parked on the street in front of a friend's home near Woodstock Drive and Rheims Court in Upper Marlboro. The vehicle's engine was off, and both the driver's side window and the front passenger side window were down. As the two men sat, preparing to leave, they observed a silver Toyota Prius drive by with its high beams on. The Prius passed their location, drove a short distance, turned around, and then drove slowly past their car again. Both men lost sight of the Prius after it passed a second time. But shortly thereafter two men, wearing ski masks, walked up to their car. One of the masked men approached the driver's side of the vehicle where Mr. Koonce was seated, and the other approached the passenger side of the vehicle where Mr. McDuffie was seated. The man who approached Mr. Koonce wore a camouflage print ski mask which covered the bottom half of his face. The man who approached Mr. McDuffie wore a black ski mask which covered his entire face. Both men pulled out guns as they approached the vehicle. The man with the camouflage print ski mask placed his gun through the driver's side open window and placed it on Mr. Koonce's chest. With his other hand he rummaged through Mr. Koonce's pants' pockets. When finished, the man opened the car door and told Mr. Koonce to "stand up." After Mr. Koonce complied, the assailant placed his gun to Mr. Koonce's back as he went through his pockets again.

On the other side of the car, the second assailant held a gun to Mr. McDuffie and told him that he wanted "everything." When Mr. McDuffie replied that they didn't have anything, the second assailant took Mr. McDuffie's headphones and jacket. The second assailant then told Mr. McDuffie to get out of the car.

The assailants then instructed both victims to lay on the grass next to the car. While on the ground, the man in the camouflage print ski mask went through Mr. Koonce's car while the man in the black ski mask held a gun over the victims. In addition to Mr. McDuffie's jacket and headphones, the assailants took both men's phones, Mr. Koonce's watch, and the key to Mr. Koonce's car. When Mr. Koonce asked the assailant wearing the black ski mask if he could have his phone back, the assailant said, "I should shoot y'all because y'all are broke." As they laid on the ground, Mr. Koonce and Mr. McDuffie observed a car drive down the street, pass their location, and then make a u-turn. When this car then turned off its bright lights and paused for a moment, the two assailants ran, entered a silver Prius, and fled the scene.


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