State proved man forced his way into apartment, COA holds

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A man convicted of three crimes stemming from the robbery of an apartment could not convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that he did not force his way into the apartment because someone inside opened the door first.

Frankie Blackmon opened the door to his apartment after seeing Charles Holmes, the boyfriend of another person in the home, through the peephole. However, as soon as the door opened, Willie Jenkins and Terron Roby pushed Holmes to the side, hit Blackmon with a bottle and a pistol, and proceeded to steal items from Blackmon’s apartment.

Jenkins was convicted of Class B felony robbery with a deadly weapon, Class A felony burglary, and Class B felony criminal confinement. In Willie B. Jenkins v. State of Indiana, 20A04-1410-CR-489, he raised three arguments on appeal, including that the state did not prove that he broke into Blackmon’s apartment, thus his Class A felony burglary conviction could not stand.  

“While there was no conclusive evidence Jenkins used force to open the door, there existed sufficient evidence to prove he used physical force to move Holmes from the doorway and to subdue Blackmon,” Judge Melissa May wrote.

The judges also rejected Jenkins’ claim that Blackmon’s testimony indicating Jenkins was one of the men who broke into his apartment was incredibly dubious because two other victims later recanted their identification of Jenkins as a perpetrator.

Finally, the judges found the admission of a photograph taken from Roby’s Facebook page of Roby wearing a bandana and holding a gun was a harmless error based on the other evidence presented at Jenkins’ trial related to his guilt.

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