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Robber’s mere threat of having a handgun permits felony firearm conviction

Northern Virginia criminal defense lawyer addressing using a firearm in the commission of a felony

Jun 21, 2017 Robber’s mere threat of having a handgun permits felony firearm conviction

Fairfax Northern Virginia criminal lawyer/DWI attorney pursuing best defense

People need to be careful of their words, lest they end up eating those words. Randell Linlaw learned that the hard way.

Kinlaw entered a tanning salon, and passed the employee a note proclaiming  words along the lines of “I have a gun. I don’t want to
hurt you. Give me the money . . . .” Kinlaw v. Virginia, Record No. 0761-16-1 (Va. App. June 20, 2017) (unpublished).

No witnesses ever saw a gun. Nonetheless, Kinlaw got convicted not only of robbery, but also the felony of using a firearm in the commission of a felony, in violation of Va. Code § 18.2-53.1

Kinlaw received a substantial sentence. The trial court “sentenced the appellant to fifty years in prison, with thirty-five years suspended, for the robbery conviction. For the use of a firearm, it sentenced him to three years, with none of the time suspended.”

In an unpublished opinion, the Virginia Court of Appeals affirmed Kinlaw’s conviction on both counts. The Court of Appeals in part said: “We hold that the circumstantial evidence, including a note that the appellant gave to his robbery victim stating that he had a gun and that he did not want to hurt her, was sufficient to prove that he used a firearm in the commission of a felony.”

Even if Kinlaw was merely lying that he had a handgun when he robbed the tanning salon, his lie boomeranged back at him. One needs to be ready to own their own lies.

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