Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia; (Hon. Harold L. Cushenberry, Jr., Trial Judge)
Before Ferren, Schwelb and Wagner, Associate Judges.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wagner
WAGNER, Associate Judge: Appellant was convicted following a jury trial of three counts of armed robbery (D.C. Code §§ 22-2901, -3209 (1981)), *fn1 four counts of second degree burglary (D.C. Code § 22-1801 (b)), one count of robbery (D.C. Code § 22-2901), one count of kidnapping, (D.C. Code § 22-2101), one count of first degree burglary (D.C. Code § 22-1801 (a)), one count of first degree theft (D.C. Code §§ 22-3811, -3812 (a)), one count of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle (UUV), (D.C. Code § 22-3815) and one count of carrying a dangerous weapon (CDW) (D.C. Code § 22-3204). The convictions arise out of four separate incidents and circumstances surrounding appellant's subsequent arrest during which police officers found a knife in his pocket. On appeal, appellant argues that the trial court erred in denying his motions to sever counts and to suppress tangible evidence. Appellant also argues that the CDW count was improperly joined with the remaining charges. Finding no reversible error, we affirm.
A. The Simplicio Incident
The first incident occurred on June 2, 1987 at about 6:40 p.m. in the 2700 block of Ordway Street, N.W. The victim, Nancy Simplicio, noticed a man on a bicycle next to the garage door of her apartment building as she waited for traffic to clear before entering. She activated the secured underground garage door and drove in, noticing that the man on the bike was still near the door. After parking, Ms. Simplicio, who was carrying several packages, used a key to enter a secured elevator area, and the same man entered after her just before the door closed. The man yoked her from behind, put a knife to her throat, and demanded her purse. When the elevator came, the man grabbed the purse, shoved his victim inside the elevator, and went on his way. Ms. Simplicio described her assailant as an approximately 20 year old muscular black male, about 200 pounds with a medium brown complexion, a short neat haircut, deep set shifting eyes, who was wearing a red shirt and blue trousers. At a pretrial lineup and at trial, Ms. Simplicio positively identified appellant as her assailant.
B. The Grudzinski Incident
The same night at about 9:00 p.m., Estella Grudzinski, a seventy-five year old woman, noticed a man crouched next to a bicycle near the secured garage of her apartment building at 29th Street near Woodley Road, N.W. She used her key to gain access to the garage, parked her car once inside, and walked to a door leading to the apartments. The man grabbed her from behind, put his arm around her neck, placed a sharp object in her back, told her he had a knife and would use it, and demanded $200.00. When the victim said she had only two or three dollars (which the man took), the assailant asked if she lived in the building. She answered affirmatively, and the man demanded that she unlock the door leading to the apartments. Ms. Grudzinski complied, and the assailant accompanied his victim to her apartment where she opened the door, threw her keys in a chair, and obtained money for the robber from a chest inside a dressing room. After taking the money, the man barricaded Ms. Grudzinski inside a clothes closet. *fn2 When the victim escaped from the closet, she discovered that her car keys and car were missing.
Ms. Grudzinski had avoided looking at her assailant's face during the encounter, but she did note that he was a black male, about 6 feet 2 inches tall, with closely cropped hair (like the figure outside the garage), and wearing a maroon shirt. Having gotten only a glimpse of her assailant, Ms. Grudzinski could not identify him. However, appellant's palm prints were found on the closet door in Ms. Grudzinski's apartment.
C. The McCullough Incident
At about 1:45 a.m. the following morning, June 3, 1987, Karris McCullough, arrived home in a taxicab carrying groceries. As she was about to enter her apartment building in the 2700 block of 29th Street, N.W., a man got out of a car, later identified as the one stolen from Ms. Grudzinski, and approached her. Somewhat alarmed, the woman yelled out to the man, asking whether she could help him. The man glanced over his shoulder and started fumbling with keys; then he continued toward his victim. Thinking that the man might be a resident of the building, Ms. McCullough started to go inside. The man grabbed two of Ms. McCullough's four grocery bags and entered the building as she did. She declined the man's offer to take the bags to her apartment. The man started toward the elevator, and the victim turned toward her apartment. Hearing quick movements behind her, Ms. McCullough turned and saw the same man approaching her with a knife. She backed against a wall, and the assailant put the knife next to her throat and demanded money. Ms. McCullough gave him $7.00 in cash from her pocket, but the man demanded her purse from which he obtained an additional forty-two dollars. Although she is not married, in an effort to discourage her attacker, Ms. McCullough told him her husband might have more money. The man left immediately.
The area where the crime occurred was well lit, and Ms. McCullough got a good look at her assailant. She described him as having a medium brown complexion, pock marked face, short curly hair, beady or demon looking eyes and wearing a red bowler shirt (short sleeved with a collar) and dark pants. Ms. McCullough identified appellant as her assailant from a photo array, again at a pretrial lineup, and at trial.
The fourth incident also occurred in the 2700 block of 29th Street, N.W. on the following night, June 4, 1987, at about 11:00 p.m. While driving into the garage of the apartment building where she lived, Ms. Ghada Mansur noticed a man on a bicycle heading toward the garage. After she gained access to the garage by use of a key, she entered and parked her auto. When she got out of her vehicle, she noticed the same man entering the garage on foot. At first the man walked in another direction, but he suddenly approached Ms. Mansur with a knife, backed her against the wall, grabbed her purse, and told her to open it. Excitedly, Ms. Mansur told him that she had lots of money, and she handed him approximately two hundred eighty dollars. The assailant hesitated momentarily, looked at his victim and the cash, and then left. The man had difficulty trying to exit the garage, and Ms. Mansur returned quickly to her car, drove to the front of the building and honked her horn until the attendant came out. Ms. Mansur described her assailant as a ...