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State v. Sowell

Court of Appeals of Maryland
728 A.2d 712 (1999)


Brian Sowell (defendant) worked for Recycling Incorporated. One morning when employees were to be paid, Sowell telephoned the company’s office manager to inquire when the payroll would be ready and how employees would be paid. The manager responded that the pay would be ready around noon and that employees would be paid in cash. Around 12:30 p.m., Sowell picked up his pay in cash. About an hour later, three men wearing dark clothing and carrying guns entered the company’s office and threatened the office manager and a vice president to hand over the cash. The office manager complied and placed about $14,600 in a bag provided by one of the men. The men quickly left the office. Sowell and others were charged with armed robbery, robbery, two counts of use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence, and first-degree assault. At trial, co-defendant Anthony Williams testified that Sowell was the “mastermind” behind the robbery and had it all planned out. Williams further testified that Sowell had a map of the recycling center detailing where employees were located, who should be grabbed, and who might have a gun. During the robbery, Sowell was on his route for the company. Williams, Sowell, and the others met later to split up the money. Sowell was convicted on all counts and appealed. The court of special appeals reversed the convictions, holding that the evidence presented to the jury was not sufficient to show that Sowell was present at the scene of the crime, either constructively or actually.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Cathell, J.)

Concurrence (Raker, J.)

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