PAGE v. STATE

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Court of Appeals of Georgia.

PAGE v. The STATE.

No. A15A1256.

Decided: November 18, 2015

Travis Anton Williams, Virginia Rose Priddy, for Appellant. Juliet Aldridge, Lee Darragh, for Appellee.

Charles Monroe Page appeals his conviction for armed robbery,1 arguing that the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction because the act of taking was completed prior to the homeowner's entry into the room, and any use of force occurred after the taking of the homeowner's property was complete. For the reasons that follow, we reverse.2

Viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict,3 the evidence at trial showed that around mid-day on December 24, 2011, Johnny Ray Mangum was in the basement of his home when he heard someone run upstairs toward the bedrooms. Mangum expected his adult daughter to return home that day, so he was not surprised at the sound and went upstairs to meet her.

Instead of his daughter, Mangrum came upon Page, who was in Mangrum's bedroom, coming out of a closet and walking toward the bathroom. Page was holding Mangum's wife's jewelry box in one hand and carrying Mangrum's gun in the other hand. Page pointed the gun at Mangrum and told him to get out, at which point Mangrum first fled to another bedroom and then back to the basement and outside. From a neighbor's house, Mangrum called 911, and when police arrived at the scene, Mangrum saw pieces of jewelry scattered in the house along the route Page would have taken from the bedroom to escape via the kitchen.

Based on the foregoing, Page was convicted of multiple crimes, including armed robbery. He now appeals, and relying on the Supreme Court of Georgia's opinions in Fox,4 and Hicks v. State,5 Page contends that his taking of the property was complete prior to his coming into the immediate presence of Mangum.

Page was charged with committing armed robbery of Mangum by taking Mangum's firearm and jewelry box “by use of an offensive weapon ․ a handgun.” Thus, as in Fox, the State was required to establish “beyond a reasonable doubt that [Page's] use of a handgun occurred ‘prior to or contemporaneously with the taking .’ “6

The State, primarily citing Cantrell v. State,7 Dutton v. State,8 and Nuckles v. State,9 argues that the evidence was sufficient to convict Page for armed robbery because the taking did not occur until Page exercised dominion over the property by threatening Mangum with the gun. Those cases, however, are inapposite. In Dutton and Nuckles the defendants did not exercise dominion and control over the property at issue until they threatened the store clerks at the time payment would have been expected under normal circumstances.10 In Cantrell, the defendant did not exercise dominion and control over the stolen item until he used force because he previously acted as if he simply was borrowing the item.11

In this case, as in Hicks, Page had exercised control over the items (the gun and the jewelry box) prior to exerting any force against Mangum, who appeared after Page had obtained the items.12 Moreover, neither our review of the record nor the State's brief reveals evidence in the record to exclude the hypothesis that Page left the scene after confronting Mangum without taking additional property.13 Accordingly, his conviction for armed robbery is reversed.

Judgment reversed.

DOYLE, Chief Judge.

PHIPPS, P. J., and BOGGS, J., concur.