Roberts v. State

Decision Date21 June 1961
Docket NumberNo. 33404,33404
Citation360 S.W.2d 883,172 Tex.Crim. 500,83 S.Ct. 83
PartiesCurtis Ray ROBERTS, Appellant, v. STATE of Texas, Appellee.
CourtTexas Court of Criminal Appeals

Lucius Bunton, Odessa, Murray J. Howze, Monahans, for appellant.

Thomas L. White, former Dist. Atty., R. B. McGowen, Jr., Dist. Atty., Monahans, H. D. Glover, County Atty., Reeves County, Pecos, and Leon B. Douglas, State's Atty., Austin, for the State.

BELCHER, Commissioner.

The conviction is for robbery with firearms; the punishment, death.

The trial was had in Ward County on a change of venue from Reeves County.

The testimony of Kenny Richards, the assaulted party, that of Officer Gilbert who saw the appellant and his companion leaving a service station, and of Highway Patrolmen Blanchard and Martin, who apprehended appellant and his companion at a road-block, and appellant's written statement, show that appellant and his companion entered a service station where the assaulted party was on duty alone about 1:30 A.M.; that appellant, while pointing a pistol toward Richards, ordered him into the rest room and to lie on the floor and later said to Richards 'That's right, you better look at me good because you won't remember me'. Upon their failure to open the cash register, which according to the testimony of Richards contained 'between $40 and $50 * * * mostly in bills', the appellant ordered Richards to open it which he did and resumed his position on the floor in the rest room. Next, Richards heard the appellant say 'How much is in there?' which was followed by 'two shots'. At once, Richards realized he had been shot because he began 'quivering all over and I saw stars' and was bleeding from the back of the head. As appellant and his companion left Officer Gilbert drove into the station, observed Richard's condition and by radio notified other officers, and then pursued the two men he saw leaving the station but they soon evaded him and he returned to the station. An ambulance soon arrived and took Richards to a hospital.

In response to a call, two highway patrolmen shortly after 5 A.M. apprehended the appellant and his companion when they stopped a motorist with whom the appellant and his companion had obtained a ride a short time before. Upon searching the appellant, they found a .22 pistol containing two spent and 4 live shells in his right front pocket, and a search of the companion showed that he had $45 or $47 or $48 '* * * in bills' and some change.

Deputy Sheriff Briggs of Reeves County in which the robbery occurred, testified that Highway Patrolmen Blanchard and Martin delivered the appellant and his companion to him and Officer Ingram in Pecos, and also delivered to them a .22 pistol and two spent and four live shells and '43 --bills, 5 half-dollars, 3 quarters, 11 nickles, and 3 dimes'.

Appellant's written statement made to H. D. Glover, County Attorney, pertaining to the robbery of Kenny Richards and witnessed by Glover and Deputy Sheriff Gilbert was introduced in evidence by the state and omitting the formal parts reads:

'* * * My name is Curtis Roberts and I am 19 years of age; I was born in Hillsboro, Texas and at present I consider the following address my home: Midland, Texas.

'On the 12th of June, 1960, Bennie drove us to Pecos. When we got to Pecos, we pulled into a station and got some gas. We left the station and went over to another station to rob the old boy there. We parked the car behind the building and went inside to where the man was. When we got inside, I pulled a gun on the fellow and told him it was a hold-up. Then Bennie unlocked the cash register got the money. I was holding the gun on the man there. I then told the man to lay down on the floor and he did. The cash register was opened by the man there first and not by Bennie. The boy started to get up and I shot him three times. I do not know where I shot him. Bennie gave me the gun when we got ready to go into the station. Then we went out the door and started to go to the car and saw the police and then we started to run and went to the tracks and then went east till we got to a road side park and saw a man going to Alabama and he gave us a ride. We handn't been gone long when the highway patrol stopped us and arrested us.

'When I shot the man, I meant to kill him so that he could not identify us. I thought he was dead when we left the station. Just before I shot the man, Bennie said, 'Shoot him Curtis, Shoot him'.'

Testifying in the absence of the jury, the appellant admitted signing the statement introduced in evidence by the state, but said the statement is not true; that it was made through fear and promises and that at the time in question he was drunk due to the use of marihuana and he did not know whether he robbed or shot the boy.

Appellant called one witness who testified that he was in jail when appellant was first brought in; that appellant's face was bruised and swollen, and his skin had been peeled over his ribs, back and arms, and that his nose was bleeding.

The voluntary character of appellant's written statement was submitted to the jury in the court's charge.

The evidence sufficiently warrants the jury's finding that the appellant committed the offense of robbery with firearms as alleged in the indictment.

Appellant contends that the indictment is fatally defective because the property description: 'U. S. Currency' is insufficient. It complies with language of the robbery statute which prohibits in the ways therein described the taking from the possession of another any property with the intent to appropriate it to the use of the taker. The taking of any sum of U. S. currency by robbery is an offense. Art. 1408, Vernon's Ann.P.C.

It is insisted that the court erred in admitting in evidence the testimony of the physician who examined the injured party shortly after 2 A.M. over his objection to any evidence of his condition with reference to the bullet wounds in the head on the ground that it was not material to any issue in the case and was inflammatory and prejudicial.

The physician testified that his examination of the injured party showed he had been shot twice in the back of the head, that powder burns were found in the area, that one bullet passed out but left small metal fragments and the other lodged below the skull which he did not remove as it would cause excessive bleeding. By using an X-ray plate he pointed out the entry and location of the metal fragments and the bullet.

The indictment charged robbery by assault, violence, and putting in fear by use of a pistol. To which charge the appellant entered a plea of not guilty.

In Fields v. State, 160 Tex.Cr.R. 498, 272 S.W.2d 120, 121, we said:

'Appellant further contends that, since the 'State had abundantly and completely established every essential element of * * * the count charging Robbery with a Deadly Weapon,' then it constituted error for the court to admit evidence as to the injuries received by the injured party during the course of the robbery. He relies upon those authorities which hold that the exhibition to the jury of scars which tend to solve no disputed issue constitutes error but such authorities are not deemed applicable here.

'The indictment charged robbery by assault, violence, and putting in fear. The state had the right to prove all three. On the allegation of violence the State may prove the injuries sustained as the result of such violence. In fact, such is the best proof thereof.'

The admission of the testimony of the physician under the allegations of the indictment does not show error.

It is insisted that the trial court erred in overruling the motion for new trial in which the appellant alleged that one of the jurors was prejudiced against him and concealed this fact on his voir dire examination thereby preventing a fair and impartial trial. This allegation was not presented by an affidavit attached or referred to in the motion for new trial and said motion was not sworn to.

This complaint is not presented by a formal bill of exception. In order to preserve the...

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  • Wood v. State, 67486
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    ..."cattle" alone would be sufficient), Matthews v. State, 39 Tex.Cr.R. 553, 47 S.W. 647 (1898); and "U. S. Currency," Roberts v. State, 172 Tex.Cr.R. 500, 360 S.W.2d 883 (1961); (Not sufficient) "one dollar in Mexican money" (distinguishing U. S. versus foreign money), Wade v. State, 35 Tex.C......
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