Login | April 21, 2019

9th District rules that robbery defendant is no victim

Legal News Reporter

Published: June 4, 2018

The 9th District Court of Appeals recently affirmed the conviction of a robbery defendant who claimed he was actually a victim himself.

Wesley R. Hudson was sentenced to three years in prison by a Summit County Common Pleas Court judge after he and co-defendant Ronald Henry were found guilty on one count of robbery.

According to appellate records, the victim had been driving home from work late one night and stopped at a gas station. Hudson and Henry were outside the business when the victim arrived and followed him into the lobby.

The victim, a pizza shop manager, had been carrying a money bag in his pocket to make a work-related cash deposit the next morning. The bag contained $200.

Hudson and Henry – who had been wearing black hooded sweatshirts with the hoods up -- watched as the victim removed the bag to pay for his items at the register.

The victim claimed the two men confronted him outside, threatened him and demanded his money bag.

Hudson alleged that he and his friend never demanded any cash. Instead, he and Henry confronted the other man because they heard him say a racial slur when they walked into the lobby, according to the appellant.

Both parties agreed the incident ended after the victim pulled out a knife, backed away and returned to the lobby.

Hudson and Henry left in a car, and the gas station clerks called 911 to report and attempted robbery.

The men were arrested after police spotted a car matching the victim’s description at a local hotel.

On appeal, Hudson said the state presented insufficient evidence to support his conviction.

However, the appellate panel found the jury had enough evidence to side with the state’s version of events.

The victim testified Hudson and Henry refused to let him into his car after demanding his money bag.

“He then informed the men that the money bag only contained $200 and asked if they were `going to rob him for $200.’ In response, the shorter of the two men (Hudson) … stated: `Don’t make me pull the hammer. Don’t give us any problems,’ “ 9th District Judge Thomas Teodosio noted in his opinion.

“… Given the context surrounding Mr. Hudson’s statement, including that he had his hands in his pockets of his sweatshirt when he made it, the jury reasonably could have concluded that he threatened the victim with force in attempting to commit a theft offense.”

In addition, a gas station clerk testified he was in the lobby when the three men entered and never saw or heard them exchange any words. The clerk added that Henry and Hudson exited the store without buying anything after standing behind the victim as he paid for his items.

The clerk said the victim told him Hudson and Henry tried holding his door shut while he was trying to get in, claiming they had a gun.

Hudson testified in his own defense, denying demanding the victim’s money or threatening him with a gun.

The recording from the gas station also did not support Hudson’s account, Judge Teodosio stated.

“This court will not conclude that the jury lost its way simply because it chose to believe the state’s witnesses rather than (the appellant’s) version of events,” he added.

Appellate judges Donna Carr and Jennifer Hensal concurred.

The case is cited State v. Hudson, 2018-Ohio-1920.