Appeal from the 183rd District Court Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Case No. 1453117
consists of Justices Keyes, Bland, and Huddle.
V. KEYES, JUSTICE
convicted appellant, Jessy Rodriguez, of the first-degree
felony offense of aggravated robbery and assessed his
punishment at thirty-eight years' confinement plus a $5,
000 fine. In his sole issue, appellant contends that
the State failed to present sufficient evidence that he
committed the offense, either as the primary actor or under
the law of parties.
December 30, 2014, Marissa Alvarez, the complainant, lived
with her son and her parents in an apartment on Keefer Road
in Tomball, Texas. Keefer Road intersects with Highway 249
just north of the intersection of Highway 249 and FM 2920.
8:00 p.m., Alvarez left her apartment by herself to buy
groceries and started walking to her car. When she left her
apartment, she saw two men she had never seen before: a tall,
thin man, and a shorter, "normal-sized" man. She
turned a corner onto a sidewalk and heard the men running.
Alvarez turned around and saw the taller of the two men
pointing a gun at her. This man was wearing a bandana, but
Alvarez could see around his eyes and could tell that he was
"light-skinned." The other man had a slightly
darker complexion. In Spanish, the men told her not to move
and to give them her purse. She did so and "took off
running back to [her] apartment, " while the men
"took off running in another direction" toward a
fence at the southern end of the apartment complex. Alvarez
did not see the men get into a car, and she did not see a
third person with them.
ran back to her apartment and told her mother that she had
just been robbed. She and her mother then immediately called
9-1-1. The trial court admitted a recording of Alvarez's
9-1-1 call. Approximately five minutes after Alvarez started
speaking with dispatch, another woman called 9-1-1 and
reported an incident outside of a Shipley Do-Nuts shop
located on Highway 249, in which three men in a white Impala
attempted to rob a man. Alvarez could hear the other woman
report this incident, and the 9-1-1 recording admitted by the
trial court contained both Alvarez's call and the call
concerning the Shipley incident. Alvarez estimated that, by
car, the Shipley was a minute or two away from her apartment,
and she stated that it was within walking distance.
Police Department Officer K. Finney was dispatched to Keefer
Road to meet with Alvarez. While Officer Finney was driving
to Alvarez's apartment, he received another dispatch
directing him to the Shipley on Highway 249, which is located
just south of the intersection of Highway 249 and FM 2920.
Dispatch provided Officer Finney with the description of the
vehicle that the men were driving during the Shipley
incident, and, when he arrived at the Shipley, he was
informed that the vehicle had continued south down Highway
249. Officer Finney saw the vehicle at the drive-through of a
Whataburger located less than half a mile south of the
Shipley on Highway 249. He saw three people inside the car.
Officer Finney confirmed that the license plate number of the
vehicle matched the number provided by dispatch and turned on
his emergency lights.
vehicle fled the Whataburger and once again continued driving
south on Highway 249. Officer Finney followed the vehicle to
the parking lot of McCoy's Building Supply, located
approximately two-tenths of a mile south of the Whataburger
on Highway 249. Officer Finney saw two men jump out the car
and start running away. One of the men, later identified as
Kyle Mutters, ran towards the front of Molly's Pub,
located next to McCoy's. The officers placed Mutters in
custody and found bullets in his pocket.
D. Sparks was also first dispatched to Alvarez's
apartment before being re-routed to the Shipley Do-Nuts. By
the time he arrived at the Shipley, Officer Finney had found
the suspects' vehicle at Whataburger, and, just as
Officer Sparks reached the Whataburger, he saw the vehicle
pull out of the Whataburger and head south on Highway 249. He
saw two people in the car: the driver, whom he later
identified as appellant, and a passenger sitting behind the
Sparks followed appellant's car and Officer Finney to
McCoy's. By the time he arrived at McCoy's, the doors
on appellant's car were wide open, the car was still
running, and no one was inside. Officer Sparks heard yelling
coming from Molly's Pub, and he saw officers placing
Mutters under arrest. He knew from dispatch that there were
potentially three people involved, so he decided to search
the area for the other two suspects. During this search,
Officer Sparks received information that one of the suspects,
later identified as John Garcia, had gone back to the
Whataburger and was waiting for someone to pick him up.
Officer Sparks, along with other officers, placed Garcia
B. Patin was also originally dispatched to Alvarez's
apartment, and he joined the pursuit of the Impala at the
Whataburger. Corporal Patin and his canine partner searched
the area around McCoy's, but when his canine did not make
an alert he placed the canine in his patrol unit and
conducted a manual search. During this search, an officer
called out that he had found someone in a dumpster alongside
Molly's Pub, and Corporal Patin ran over to assist in
placing this individual, whom he identified in ...