Appeal from the County Court at Law No. 4 Fort Bend County,
Texas Trial Court Cause No. 17-CJV-021351
consists of Justices Christopher, Hassan, and Poissant.
J.K., a juvenile, appeals from the trial court's
adjudication order finding that he engaged in delinquent
conduct by committing aggravated robbery.Appellant argues
(1) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress,
and (2) the trial court's findings are not supported by
legally sufficient evidence. For the reasons below, we
was arrested for aggravated robbery in connection with a
stolen Xbox. Appellant pleaded "not true" to the
allegations and proceeded to a bench trial.
E.T., a seven-year-old girl, testified at Appellant's
trial. E.T. was home alone at her family's
apartment the afternoon of August 19, 2017, when an intruder
"knocked a lot of times" on the apartment door
before breaking in. E.T. testified the intruder was carrying
a long black gun with "a little red on the top of the
gun." E.T. said the intruder told her something in a
"mean voice" before walking into her
seventeen-year-old brother's bedroom and stealing her
brother's Xbox. The intruder left the apartment shortly
the intruder, E.T. testified he was wearing black, blue, and
red clothing, carrying a blue bag, and covering part of his
face with a bandana. E.T. stated the intruder's skin was
"kind of dark, but . . . a little light," and said
his skin color was "peach, but darker."
the intruder broke into the apartment, E.T. was on the phone
with her mother, Tina, who was at work. Testifying at
Appellant's trial, Tina stated she could hear someone
knocking on the door while she was on the phone with E.T.
Tina then heard a "loud noise" and "a louder
voice like someone broke in." E.T. ended the phone call
and Tina called the apartment office, letting them know
someone had broken into the apartment. Tina left her job and
drove to the apartment.
Grice, an employee at the apartment complex, answered
Tina's phone call and ran to the family's apartment.
When Grice got to the apartment, the front door was cracked
open and the door's locking mechanism was broken. Grice
called out but no one responded. Grice walked away from the
apartment building towards the complex's fence line and
observed a "younger black man" with a black and
blue backpack walking away from the complex. Grice testified
the individual was wearing a black shirt and black shorts and
that a "bat or stick" was protruding out of the
walked back to the family's apartment and found E.T.
hiding underneath a blanket in the master bedroom. E.T. told
Grice that a man entered the apartment carrying a gun and
repeatedly asked E.T., "Where is my weed?" E.T.
told Grice the man was wearing all black and covering his
face. Grice called 911 and two police officers, Deputy
Christopher Arias and Detective Jessip Murphy, arrived at the
the officers' arrival, Tina picked up E.T. from the
apartment and left to get her son, V.T., from his
friend's house. Tina, E.T., and V.T. returned to the
apartment approximately ten minutes after the officers'
arrival. Tina and V.T. spoke to the officers and, at
Appellant's trial, acknowledged they initially lied to
the officers because they did not want to admit E.T. was home
alone. Tina and V.T. testified that they eventually told the
officers the "true version" of where they were when
the apartment was broken into: Tina was at work and V.T. was
staying at a friend's house.
at Appellant's trial, Deputy Arias stated that E.T. told
him "a bad man had entered or came into the
resident's apartment." Deputy Arias asked E.T.
whether the intruder was carrying a weapon and E.T. indicated
the intruder was carrying a gun "like the duty weapon
[Deputy Arias] had on [his] hip at the time." Describing
E.T.'s demeanor, Deputy Arias stated she "appeared
as if a traumatic event had just occurred."
officers also spoke to V.T. and asked him if he knew who may
have been responsible for breaking into the apartment and
taking the Xbox. V.T. told the officers about an incident
several weeks before during which he and a friend were
smoking marijuana in the apartment complex parking lot when
they were approached by a young, African-American man. The
young man identified himself as Appellant and the boys
exchanged information about the high schools they attended.
V.T. testified that he and Appellant attended the same
school. V.T. said Appellant was acting "suspicious"
that evening and was "just walking around in
circles" at the apartment complex.
speaking with the family, Detective Murphy contacted the Fort
Bend school district to get Appellant's information and
address. At 9:45 p.m. that evening, Detective Murphy and
another detective arrived at Appellant's address. The
detectives knocked at Appellant's front door for about
5-10 minutes before Appellant answered. Appellant said he was
home alone and the detectives called Appellant's mother
and "gave her a rundown of what was happening."
Appellant's mother came home and gave the detectives
consent to search the house. In an upstairs room, the
detectives found marijuana and an Xbox with a serial number
matching the system stolen from V.T.'s room. The
detectives questioned Appellant about the Xbox and, according
to Detective Murphy, Appellant gave different accounts for
how he came to possess the Xbox before eventually admitting
that he took it.
was the last witness to testify at his trial and stated that,
the day before the robbery, V.T. had messaged him about
buying marijuana. Appellant arrived at V.T.'s apartment
on August 17, 2019, and knocked for 5-10 minutes. After
nobody answered, Appellant testified that he kicked in the
door and entered the apartment. Appellant said he carried a
baseball bat in his bag but left the bat outside of the
apartment when he entered.
saw E.T. on the phone when he entered the apartment and said
he did not speak to her. Appellant walked into V.T.'s
bedroom and took marijuana and an Xbox. Appellant left the
apartment and walked away from the apartment complex.
Appellant testified that he "probably" was the
person Grice saw walking away from the complex.
his testimony, Appellant did not deny that he entered the
apartment. He stated his intent was to steal marijuana.
Appellant said he did not carry a gun when he entered the
apartment. Appellant stated he did not talk to E.T. or make
any threats toward her. Appellant said he was wearing dark
clothing and a bandana over his face when he entered the
closing statements, the trial court found beyond a reasonable
doubt the following allegation of aggravated robbery:
That [Appellant], on or about August 9, 2017, in Fort Bend
County, Texas, did then and there while in the course of
committing theft of property owned by [E.T.] and with intent
to obtain and maintain control of the property, intentionally
and knowingly threaten or place [E.T.] in fear of imminent
bodily injury or death, and the [Appellant] did then and
there use and exhibit a deadly weapon, to-wit: a firearm; and
that this act is a violation of section 29.03 of the Penal
trial court made the following finding in response to a
special issue submitted as to the use or exhibition of a
That [Appellant], while in the course of committing the
delinquent conduct of AGGRAVATED ROBBERY, did then and there
personally use or exhibit a deadly weapon, to wit: a firearm,
in the commission of the Aggravated Robbery.