Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Towns v. State

Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals

May 24, 2019

Manuel Ali TOWNS,
v.
STATE of Alabama.

Page 976

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 977

         Appeal from Jefferson Circuit Court (CC-17-1672; CC-17-1673; CC-17-1674; and CC-17-1675).

         Christopher H. Daniel, Birmingham, for appellant.

          Steve Marshall, atty. gen., and Michael A. Nunnelley, asst. atty. gen., for appellee.

         KELLUM, Judge.

         Manuel Ali Towns was convicted of one count of robbery in the first degree, see § 13A-8-41(a)(1), Ala. Code 1975, one count of kidnapping in the first degree, see § 13A-6-43(a)(3), Ala. Code 1975, and two counts of fraudulent use of a credit or debit card, see § 13A-9-14(b)(1), Ala. Code 1975. He was sentenced, as a habitual offender with seven prior felony convictions, to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for the robbery conviction and for the kidnapping conviction and to 15 years' imprisonment for each of the fraudulent-use-of-a-credit-or-debit-card convictions.

         I.

         Towns contends that the trial court erred in denying his motion for a new trial because, he says, the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions for robbery and kidnapping and because, he says, the verdicts finding him guilty of those offenses were against the great weight of the evidence.[1] Specifically, as to both his sufficiency and weight-of-the-evidence arguments, Towns contends that the victim's identification of him as the perpetrator was unreliable in light of the circumstances of the crimes, her prior inconsistent

Page 978

statements, and the testimony of his expert on eyewitness identification.

         The evidence adduced at trial indicated the following. At approximately 10:00 p.m. the night of March 14, 2017, Brittany Diggs was walking from her Nissan automobile to her apartment when she was approached by a man brandishing a gun who demanded "anything that [she had] that's valuable." (R. 377.) Diggs said that the man was wearing jeans and a striped hoodie. In both a pretrial photographic lineup and at trial, Diggs identified Towns as the man who accosted her that night. When Diggs informed Towns that the only thing she had of value was her cellular telephone, Towns forced Diggs to drive him around Birmingham in her vehicle to help him rob other people. After two failed robbery attempts, Towns ordered Diggs to pull over, at which point he forced Diggs into the trunk of her vehicle. Towns then began driving. At some point while Diggs was in the trunk, Towns discovered Diggs's wallet in the passenger compartment of the vehicle and asked Diggs for the personal identification number ("PIN") associated with her debit card, which Diggs gave him.

         According to Diggs, Towns stopped a total of three times while she was in the trunk, each time getting out of the vehicle and then returning. After one stop, Towns told her that the PIN number did not work, and after another stop, Towns told her that he had obtained $80. Before the third stop, Diggs said, Towns told her that if the PIN number did not work, he would rape her and kill her. Diggs testified that the whole time she was in the trunk, she was trying to find a way to escape, and that, just before the third stop, she was able to find the trunk latch using the backlight on her insulin pump. Diggs waited, and when Towns started driving away after the third stop, Diggs used the latch and jumped out of the trunk. She immediately ran inside the gasoline station/convenience store where they had stopped and informed the clerk, Yosef Alsabah, that she needed help.

         Alsabah testified that he was working at the gasoline station/convenience store located at 1800 Bessemer Road the night of March 14, 2017, when, at approximately 11:30 p.m., a man entered the store and tried to use the automated teller machine ("the ATM"). Alsabah positively identified Towns as the man who had entered the store. Alsabah testified that he tried to help Towns use the ATM but that Towns was unable to withdraw any money. According to Alsabah, Towns left the store briefly but then came back inside the store and tried to use the ATM a second time, again without success. As Towns was driving away, Alsabah said, he saw Diggs jump out of the trunk of the vehicle Towns was driving and run toward the store. He allowed Diggs into the enclosed area behind the counter for her safety and telephoned emergency 911. Diggs spoke with the 911 dispatcher and police responded to the scene.

         The State introduced into evidence surveillance video from the store at which Diggs escaped and from another gasoline station/convenience store located at 2301 Ensley Avenue, as well as the recording of the 911 call. Testimony from James Vildibill, a patrol officer with the Birmingham Police Department, indicated that, the night of the crimes, $102.80 had been withdrawn from Diggs's bank account using an ATM located at 1801 Avenue V and $82.80 had been withdrawn from Diggs's bank account using an ATM located at 2301 Ensley Avenue. The State presented evidence indicating that Diggs's vehicle ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.