Court of Appeals of Texas, First District, Houston
On Appeal from the 263rd District Court, Harris County, Texas. Trial Court Case No. 1281279.
For APPELLANT: Franklin G. Bynum, ASSISTANT PUBLIC DEFENDER, Houston, TX.
For STATE: Devon Anderson, District Attorney - Harris County, Houston, TX; Alan Curry, Assistant District Attorney, Houston, TX.
Panel consists of Keyes, Higley, and Massengale
Evelyn V. Keyes Justice.
A jury found appellant, Francisco Javier Sanchez, guilty of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon and assessed his punishment at seventeen years' confinement. In his sole issue on appeal, appellant argues that the evidence was legally insufficient because a reasonable doubt exists regarding
whether he used force against the complainant while in the course of committing theft.
Appellant was charged with the offense of aggravated robbery arising out events that transpired on October 12, 2010, when appellant went to the home of the complainant, Wsvaldo Rodriguez, wearing a bandana to conceal his face and carrying a club-like object wrapped in tape, a roll of duct tape, and an unloaded handgun. Rodriguez's wife, Herlinda Velasquez, was home at the time appellant arrived, and she called 9-1-1. Rodriguez returned to his home while appellant was in his driveway, and appellant threatened Rodriguez with the handgun, but he was quickly apprehended by officers responding to Velasquez's 9-1-1 call. Appellant was arrested and gave a custodial statement to the investigating officers.
At trial, the trial court suppressed appellant's custodial statement on the ground that his Miranda warnings were not properly translated.
Rodriguez and Velasquez both testified that they knew appellant because Velasquez and appellant's wife were friends but that they had only known appellant for a month or two prior to the underlying incident. Rodriguez testified that he had previously offered appellant the opportunity to do some landscaping work for him because he knew that appellant needed a job. However, Rodriguez stated that he could not afford to pay the amount appellant quoted as an estimate for completing the work, so he did not have appellant do any work for him after all. He saw appellant socially after he refused to have appellant do the landscaping work, and he thought they had a good relationship. He testified that he invited appellant to a barbecue at his car dealership, but he denied that anything happened between himself and appellant. Rodriguez testified that he had a gun at the dealership for security purposes and that, while appellant was present, Rodriguez showed the gun to the man who watched the car lot at night. He testified that he never pointed the gun at appellant or threatened appellant in any way. Rodriguez testified that he had never exchanged any angry words with appellant or had any type of dispute with him prior to October 12, 2010. Velasquez likewise testified that she had never seen her husband and appellant arguing at any time.
Velasquez testified that, on October 12, 2010, she made breakfast for her two oldest children before Rodriguez left to take them to school. After Rodriguez left, Velasquez went to the back door to lock it. She saw a man " who was coming, walking fast to the door where I was standing." When he reached the door, she " saw his hands holding a black weapon at the height of the doorknob." She also saw that he was carrying a club-like object and a roll of duct tape. Velasquez testified that the man attempted to open the door by pushing on the door handle and on the door ...