Mitzy J. Romero, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff
from the Elkhart Circuit Court The Honorable Michael A.
Christofeno, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 20C01-1801-F3-6
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Peter C. Soldato Goshen, Indiana
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
Evan Matthew Comer Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis,
Mitzy J. Romero appeals her conviction for level 3 felony
robbery while armed with a deadly weapon. She asserts that
the trial court erred in denying her motion for judgment on
the evidence because the State failed to prove that she took
property from the victim. Because robbery may be proven with
evidence establishing that a defendant took property from
another person or from the presence of another person, we
conclude that the evidence is sufficient to support her
conviction, and therefore we affirm.
and Procedural History
On October 10, 2017, seventeen-year-old C.M. saw a Facebook
post authored by her friend Lashi Lewis, advertising that
Lewis wanted to sell an iPhone for $180.00. C.M. commented on
the post that she was interested in buying the phone. Lewis
contacted C.M. through a private Facebook message, and the
two agreed to meet at the Life School in Elkhart after C.M.
got off work. During their communication, Lewis asked whether
C.M. would be coming by herself or with another person. C.M.
told Lewis that she would be alone. Shortly before the
meeting was to take place, Lewis telephoned C.M. to change
the meeting location to Studebaker Park in Elkhart.
When C.M. arrived at the park, she parked next to Lewis's
car. C.M. Observed Lewis and a passenger in Lewis's car.
C.M. and Lewis exited their vehicles. Lewis told C.M. that
she did not have the phone with her but that her boyfriend
had it and he wanted a picture of the money. C.M. thought
that was strange and initially declined to give Lewis the
money. About five minutes passed, and Lewis said, "[M]y
boyfriend's not coming unless I send him a picture of the
money." Tr. Vol. 2 at 79. C.M. gave Lewis $180.00 in
cash so that Lewis could take a picture of it. Lewis placed
the money on the hood of her car. Lewis took out her phone to
take a picture, but it seemed to C.M. that Lewis was just
pretending to take the picture.
C.M. began to consider how she was going to get her money
back from Lewis. Lewis grabbed the money off the car hood and
Lewis's passenger exited the vehicle. The passenger
pointed a handgun at Lewis, and said, "[G]ive me the
money, bro." Id. at 80. The passenger was
wearing a hoodie, and although the hood obscured the
person's face, C.M. recognized the voice as Romero's.
Romero attended the same school as C.M. and Lewis, and C.M.
knew that Lewis and Romero were friends. By that time, C.M.
realized that "something was gonna happen" and
thought, "you guys gotta be kidding me right now."
Id. at 80. C.M. was "really mad" because
she knew she was "about to get robbed."
Id. at 81. Lewis asked Romero, "[A]re you
serious, bro?" Id. Lewis handed Romero the
money, and Romero ran toward a nearby elementary school.
Lewis told C.M. that she was going after Romero and to wait
for her. However, C.M. thought it best to leave. As she was
driving home, she phoned her mother and told her that she had
been robbed. Id. at 83. C.M.'s mother called the
Police interviewed C.M. and Lewis. Sometime after Lewis was
interviewed, her mother contacted C.M.'s mother and paid
her $180.00, all without C.M.'s knowledge.
On January 8, 2018, the State charged Romero with level 3
felony robbery while armed with a deadly weapon, alleging
that she "did knowingly take property, to wit: U.S.
currency, from another person, to wit: C.M., by using or
threatening the use of force on any person, while [Romero]
was armed with a deadly weapon, to wit: a gun."
Appellant's App. Vol. 2 at 16. On May 24, 2018, Romero
filed a notice of alibi claiming that at the time the crime
occurred she was with her boyfriend.
At trial, Lewis testified for the State about her involvement
in three similar thefts following the incident with C.M.
After the State rested, Romero's boyfriend and his mother
testified that Romero had been with them at their residence
at the time C.M. was robbed. Tr. Vol. 3 at 31-34, 51-53. The
following morning, outside the presence of the jury, Romero
moved for a directed verdict, arguing that the State failed
to introduce evidence establishing that Romero took money
from C.M. The State moved to amend the charging
information. After hearing argument, the trial court denied
Romero's motion and granted the State's. The amended
information alleges in relevant part that "Romero did
knowingly take property, to wit: U.S. currency, from another
person or the presence of another person, to wit:
C.M." Appellant's App. Vol. 2 at 49 (emphasis
added); Tr. Vol. 3 at 86. Trial ...