May 6, 2009, Cesar Lopez was dispatched from Dominoes Pizza for a delivery. When he arrived at the delivery address things did not look right. However, as a good employee, Cesar proceeded to attempt to make the delivery. Instead he was escorted to the back of the house by the supposed customers where he was confronted by two more. One of the customer/assailants grabbed Cesar in a headlock, choking Cesar as he guided Cesar to the back of the house. The other two assailants were trying to punish Cesar into submission by beating him with a metal pipe all the while reaching into Cesar’s pockets for the company money. The assailants were able to take $20.00 from Cesar’s pocket before they lost control of the situation. Cesar was not going to go easily. He continued to resist. Cesar managed to squirm out of his shirt bolting for his vehicle and leaving his shirt in the hands of the assailants.
Four days later Cesar spotted one of his assailants. With his wife driving, he had her circle around the block and call 911. He caught sight of the assailant he had recognized at the same time the assailant caught sight of Cesar. The assailant ran. And Cesar ran after him. Cesar caught the assailant that had robbed him four days earlier and held onto him. There would be no squirming out of his shirt for the assailant. The police arrived and arrested Michael Long. A short time into the interview Michael Long coughed up his two confederates. Markus Matthews was arrested and decided to go to trial. Although Michael Long choose to deny involvement at trial claiming he did not remember his confession, he had already confessed to his former fiancée, Jeannine Labossiere, and she did testify. Matthews was convicted and sentenced to twenty years. He appealed his conviction on several grounds including double jeopardy.
The indictment had charged the robbery offense as two counts with differing elements. The jury returned the guilty verdict on one count. The Appellant, Markus Matthews, did not preserve the issue for appeal and the Rhode Island Supreme Court recognized this. However, the Court also recognized the significance of the issue and provided guidance in its opinion for the future. Indictments should consider one count with finding of specific facts. The Court specifically stated: ”
An indictment or criminal information that charges one offense having been committed by multiple means is a fair solution for both the state and the defendant. It lessens, or eliminates, any potential double jeopardy concerns, because it ensures that the accused is charged with a single offense, and thus, can only be convicted and sentenced on a single count. It also addresses duplicity issues because the jury would have to state which theory or theories were proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
This is probably in keeping with rulings coming out of the Supreme Court since Apprendi v. New Jersey. The math just did not work out for Long or Matthews. See the entire opinion at: State v. Markus Matthews