Can A Person’s Arm Be Considered A “Deadly Weapon” In An Aggravated Robbery Case?
Under Texas law, robbery occurs when someone commits theft, and in doing so “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another,” or places someone in imminent fear of injury or death. Robbery is normally considered a second-degree felony. However, if the defendant “uses or exhibits a deadly weapon” to commit the robbery, then it is considered aggravated robbery, which is a first-degree felony.
The phrase “deadly weapon” is usually associated with a gun or a knife, i.e., an object specifically designed to cause bodily injury. However, there are many things that can be classified as a “deadly weapon” for purposes of proving an aggravated robbery charge. Indeed, even a person’s arm or first can meet the statutory definition in the proper context.
The Texas Third District Court of Appeals recently addressed such a case. In Davis-Grant v. State, an Austin woman was walking down the street one afternoon when she “felt someone punch her in the back of the head and behind her ears.” The woman fell forward and was then strangled around her neck. The assailant demanded the woman’s wallet and cell phone “and threatened to kill her if she did not comply.” The assailant then grabbed the wallet and drove away in a car.
The woman gave the car’s license plate number to police, who then tracked the vehicle to a nearby restaurant. The police eventually identified the man they believed to be the assailant–the defendant in this case–and placed him under arrest. Prosecutors later charged the defendant with aggravated robbery, arguing that the defendant’s arm qualified as a “deadly weapon.”
A jury convicted the defendant and the court sentenced him to 25 years in prison. On appeal, the defendant argued the evidence at trial failed “to support the jury’s determination that he used or exhibited his arm as a deadly weapon during the offense.” The Third District disagreed and affirmed the defendant’s conviction and sentence.
The appellate court noted that the aggravated robbery statute requires proof that the weapon in question “could cause death or serious bodily injury.” In this case, the accuser testified that “she sustained injuries to her neck from where the offender’s arm had been,” and that the defendant threatened to kill her, presumably by strangling her to death. A police officer also told the jury that “strangling someone or restricting the flow of oxygen or blood can result in serious bodily injury or death.” Given this, the Third District said the jury could reasonably conclude the defendant’s arm was, in fact, a deadly weapon used in the commission of a robbery.
Contact Pearland Criminal Defense Attorney Keith B. French Today
Anytime a weapon is involved–even an arm, as the case above illustrates–prosecutors will not hesitate to push for the maximum criminal charge against a defendant. That is why if you are accused of such a crime you need to work with an experienced Pearland criminal defense lawyer. Contact the Law Offices of Keith B. French, PLLC, today if you need legal representation today.