Jones v. State, 118

CourtCourt of Special Appeals of Maryland
Writing for the CourtArgued before MURPHY; ANDERSON
Citation11 Md.App. 468,275 A.2d 508
PartiesWilliam Lee JONES, Jr. v. STATE of Maryland.
Docket NumberNo. 118,118
Decision Date29 March 1971

Page 468

11 Md.App. 468
275 A.2d 508
William Lee JONES, Jr.
STATE of Maryland.
No. 118.
Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.
March 29, 1971.
Certiorari Denied May 31, 1971.

Page 470

[275 A.2d 509] Raymond M. Faby, Baltimore with whom was Nathan Stern, Baltimore, on the brief for appellant.

T. Joseph Touhey, Asst. Atty. Gen., with whom were Francis B. Burch, Atty. Gen., Charles E. Moylan, Jr., State's Atty. for Baltimore City, and Joseph Kiel, Asst. State's Atty. for Baltimore City, on the brief, for appellee.

Argued before MURPHY, C. J., and ANDERSON and POWERS, JJ.

Page 471


Appellant, William Lee Jones, Jr., was tried in the Criminal Court of Baltimore in a court trial by Judge Joseph L. Carter upon seven indictments, same being Indictments #2385, #2386, #2387, #2388, #3259, #3260 and #3261. He was convicted of sodomy under Indictment #2385 (first count); kidnapping under Indictment #2386 (first count); forgery under Indictment #2387 (first count); possession of barbiturates under Indictment #2388 (first count); and forgery under Indictments #3259, #3260 and #3261 (first count). Appellant was given consecutive sentences under Indictment #2385, ten years; Indictment #2386, thirty years; Indictment #2387, ten years; and concurrent sentences under Indictment #2388, one year; Indictment #3259, ten years; Indictment #3260, ten years; and Indictment #3261, ten years, to run concurrently with the sentences imposed in Indictment #2387.

By agreement between the appellant and the State, and with the consent of the court, the three indictments charging sodomy, kidnapping and possession of barbiturates, together with the four separate indictments charging forgery, were consolidated for trial. It was further stipulated and agreed between the appellant and the State that the State would proceed on an agreed statement of facts as to the evidence to be produced under the forgery indictments.

On appeal the following questions are presented:

1) Did the court have sufficient evidence to convict the appellant of sodomy, kidnapping, violation of barbiturate laws, and forgery?

2) Did the court commit error in allowing the prosecuting witness to testify?

[275 A.2d 510] 3) Did the court commit error in allowing the State's Attorney to have a private conference with the prosecuting witness?

4) Did the court commit error in its failure to

Page 472

rule on appellant's motion for judgment of acquittal?

5) Did the court commit error by refusing to give appellant credit for time that appellant was in custody prior to his trial?

From the evidence adduced by the State, the lower court could find that on March 13, 1969, at approximately 10:00 p. m., as the victim, Michael Roy Crabtree, age 12, was leaving the Moonlight Restaurant at Baltimore and Broadway Streets he was accosted by appellant who forced Crabtree into his small white automobile, parked outside the restaurant. After making two stops, appellant drove to 4404 Penhurst Avenue where he maintained a bedroom. On the way, he gave the boy six capsules and whiskey. Upon arrival at 4404 Penhurst Avenue, appellant and the victim got out of the car and he took the boy to his bedroom on the second floor. After entering the room, appellant went out and locked the door. In a short time, he returned and made a phone call, during which time the victim Crabtree passed out and could remember nothing further.

Several hours later, at about 1:25 a. m., Officer Joseph R. Muller of the Northwestern District Police Station, together with Officer Joseph Downey, went to 4404 Penhurst Avenue to serve a warrant upon appellant, charging him with forgery. The officers were admitted by James Lester Hill, ostensibly a resident. Upon information from Hill, the two officers went to a third floor unfurnished room where they found appellant apparently asleep on a mattress on the floor. He denied his identity and claimed to be Charles Stokes. Appellant, who was not wearing shoes, was taken to the first floor. He asked for his shoes and Officer Muller returned to the room, but could not find them. Having received information that appellant had a room on the second floor, he went back to the second floor, but the room door was locked. He gained admittance with the assistance of Hill, who had an adjoining room, and found the victim Crabtree lying

Page 473

unconscious on a bare mattress, naked from the waist down with excrement on his posterior as well as the mattress, and a white shirt over his face. After the boy was found, Officer Downey brought appellant up to the room and asked him if this was his room and he said 'yes.' He denied knowing the boy on the bed and stated his room had been broken into. In the room were found appellant's shoes and other clothing as well as the boy's clothing, a jar of petroleum jelly, several pornographic magazines, letters addressed to the appellant, and check stubs with his name on them. An ambulance was called and when the ambulance crew arrived to take the boy to the hospital, appellant turned over to the officers some orange capsules, two of which he stated he had taken from the boy and the others he had found on the floor. The capsules were proven to be secobarbital, a narcotic drug.

Appellant was placed under arrest and taken to the Northwestern District Police Station where he was given the full Miranda warnings. He signed an explanation of rights which was witnessed by both Officers Downey and Muller, same being State's exhibit #9.

In the statement of facts regarding the four separate forgery indictments, agreed to by the defense, the State's witness, Elroy C. Wilson, would testify that he was the owner and operator of the Elroy C. Wilson Funeral Home; that in the latter part of January and early February 1969 four checks mailed from the Home Beneficial Life Insurance Company to the funeral home were missing, and that during this time appellant was employed as a substitute organist at the funeral home. In February, 1969, Mr. Wilson received a communication from Mrs. Nancy Fromm, Assistant Manager of the Maryland National Bank, [275 A.2d 511] 237 North Howard Street, that the bank had cashed a check on February 6, 1969, in amount of $1,000.00, identified as E68672, and that the check had come back to the bank bearing a forged endorsement. Had she testified she would give a description of the individual who cashed the check as a colored male, late twenties,

Page 474

slick hair, tall, well dressed, with feminine mannerisms. Were she in court she would identify the appellant, William Jones, as the individual who cashed the $1,000.00 check. Mr. Wilson would further testify that on February 21, 1969, having a description of William Jones, he obtained a warrant for appellant. With the warrant in his possession Officer Muller went to 4404 Penhurst Avenue, as previously testified to, and apprehended the appellant who was taken to the Northwestern Police Station. Before any questioning, he read to him an explanation of rights, which appellant then read and signed. Appellant admitted the forgery, but made no further statement.

On March 27, 1969, following the preliminary hearing, appellant was asked by Officer Muller if he would answer questions relating to the checks. Appellant agreed and was again taken to the Sergeant's room. Present in the room were Officer Downey, Officer Muller, Detective Meeks of the Check Squad, a member of the Postal authorities, and Mr. Wilson. Officer Downey again read to appellant a waiver of rights form and appellant was allowed to re-read it. Jones then placed his initials at the bottom of the form and the date March 27, 1969 thereon. The form was the same form he had previously signed on March 13, 1969. At this time he agreed to answer the questions of the officer, and in the course of questioning, which lasted forty-five minutes, appellant admitted that he had taken the four checks from the funeral home on Orleans Street and cashed them. He cashed the $1,000.00 check at the Maryland National Bank on February 6, 1969, the other three checks were cashed at the Union Trust Company, two of the checks on February 6, 1969, and the third check on February 18, 1969. The officers would further testify, from the time of his initial custody and through both interrogations, no promises or threats were made to appellant or his friends or relatives to make the statement or sign the waiver form. Officer Muller would testify that he received the $1,000.00 check from the Maryland National Bank and the other three checks for $2,000.80, $500.00 and $269.00 from the Union Trust

Page 475

Company. Mr. Wilson would testify that he did not receive the four checks, and upon examination he would testify none of the endorsements on the checks was his.


Under the law of this State the test to be applied by this Court in reaching a determination of the sufficiency of the evidence in a non-jury case is whether the evidence either shows directly or supports a rational inference of the facts to be proved, from which the lower court could fairly be convinced, beyond a reasonable doubt, of the defendant's guilt of the offense charged, Williams and McClelland v. State, 5 Md.App. 450, 247 A.2d 731; Jones v. State, 5 Md.App. 180, 245 A.2d 897; Roeder v. State, 4 Md.App. 705, 244 A.2d 895; and the judgment of the lower court will not be set aside unless clearly erroneous. Maryland Rule 1086.


If the trial court believed the testimony of the victim, there was evidence from which the trial court could find appellant guilty of kidnapping. Article 27, § 337, Maryland Code. According to the victim's testimony, he was accosted by appellant and forcibly compelled to travel with appellant to the Penhurst Avenue house where appellant maintained a bedroom. Upon arrival, he was forced into the house against his will and locked in appellant's bedroom. From the physical evidence he was taken there for the purpose...

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    ...however, a conflict to be determined by the jury which was free to disbelieve the appellant's version of the incident. Jones v. State, 11 Md.App. 468, 275 A.2d 508 (1971). Under the circumstances we find no error in the submission of the issue to the jury nor in the jury's conclusion that t......
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