from Tuscaloosa Circuit Court (CC-14-603)
appellant, Christopher Terez Childs, was indicted for two
counts of burglary in the first degree, a violation of §
13A-7-5, Ala. Code 1975; one count of robbery in the first
degree, a violation of § 13A-8-41, Ala. Code 1975; and
one count of rape in the first degree, a violation of §
13A-6-61, Ala. Code 1975. Following a jury trial, Childs was
convicted of two counts of first-degree burglary and one
count of first-degree robbery. The circuit court sentenced
Childs to life imprisonment for each conviction and ordered
the sentences to run consecutively. Childs was ordered to pay
$50 to the crime victims compensation fund for each
conviction and court costs.
does not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence on appeal.
Therefore, a brief recitation of the facts is all that is
necessary in this case. During the early morning hours of
January 1, 2014, four men forcibly entered the mobile home
occupied by J.S., his sister A.B.S., her husband L.T.Z., and
A.B.S. and L.T.Z.'s child by kicking open the
door. J.S. and L.T.Z. were put in one room,
threatened with a gun, and assaulted while two of the
assailants demanded money. A.B.S. was kept in another bedroom
with a gun pointed at her baby's head while the two other
assailants demanded money. Childs, who was one of the
assailants, struck A.B.S. five times with his gun before
pulling her clothes off and raping her. Childs allegedly told
one of his accomplices that he had engaged in sexual
intercourse with a woman during the break-in.
both sides had rested and the circuit court had instructed
the jury on the applicable principles of law, the jury found
Childs guilty of two counts of burglary in the first degree
and one count of robbery in the first degree. The jury could
not reach a verdict on the rape charge, and the circuit court
declared a mistrial regarding that charge. This appeal
appeal, Childs contends that one of his two
first-degree-burglary convictions violates the Double
Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of
the United States. The State concedes that Childs's
second conviction for burglary in the first degree violates
double-jeopardy principles. We agree.
record indicates that Childs was indicted for two counts of
first-degree burglary -- one count of burglary alleged that
Childs was armed with a deadly weapon and the other count of
burglary alleged that Childs caused physical injury during
the incident. Childs was convicted of both counts of burglary
even though it appears that the counts were intended as
alternative methods of proving the same offense of burglary.
Alabama Supreme Court has held that "where there are two
different methods of proving the offense charged in one
statute, they [do not] constitute separate offenses."
Sisson v. State, 528 So.2d 1159, 1162 (Ala.
1988). In King v. State, 574 So.2d 921 (Ala. Crim.
App 1990), this Court discussed whether a defendant could be
convicted of two counts of first-degree rape arising out of a
single event. We stated:
"[W]e must determine whether an individual may be
convicted of two counts contained in the same statute. As our
Supreme Court stated in Sisson v. State, 528 So.2d
1159 (Ala. 1988), '[T]he two subsections of a similar
statute were merely alternative methods of proving the same
crime, and therefore, did not constitute separate
"...[W]e find that the [defendant] could not be
convicted of ... two counts of the same statute. 'The
Double Jeopardy Clause ... protects against multiple
punishments for the same offense. [citation omitted]. Where
consecutive sentences are imposed at a single criminal trial,
the role of the constitutional guarantee is limited to
assuring that the court does not exceed its legislative
authorization by imposing multiple punishments for the same
offense.' Brown v. Ohio, 432 U.S. 161, 165, 97
S.Ct. 2221, 2225, 53 L.Ed.2d 187 (1977)."
574 So.2d at 929-30.
13A-7-5, Ala. Code 1975, defines first-degree burglary as
"(a) A person commits the crime of burglary in the first
degree if he or she knowingly and unlawfully enters or
remains unlawfully in a dwelling with intent to commit a
crime therein, and, if, in effecting entry or while in
dwelling or in immediate flight ...