The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

August 23, 2012

Video alibi clears defendant in robbery case

JOPLIN, Mo. — A defendant accused of participating in a home-invasion robbery a year ago in Joplin has been cleared of the crime by video that showed he was elsewhere.

Robey R. Patton, 35, was one of four people charged with robbing Meagan Wilson, 20, and Michael Smith Jr., 26, at gunpoint on April 14, 2011, inside their home in the 200 block of North Wall Avenue.

But the Jasper County prosecutor’s office dropped the charges of first-degree robbery and armed criminal action that Patton was facing at a hearing Thursday in Jasper County Circuit Court. Prosecutor Dean Dankelson said evidence had surfaced that revealed Patton is innocent.

“He had an alibi that checked out, and the witness subsequently recanted the identification,” Dankelson said.

He said video was brought to the attention of the prosecutor’s office that proved Patton was in another location at the time of the robbery. He declined to say where the video showed the defendant was, but he described it as “a public place.”

Dankelson said the exonerating video does not clear any of the other defendants in the case, including Tayvon D. Smith, 21, of Joplin, who pleaded guilty in February and was sentenced to prison.

Wilson testified at preliminary hearings in June and July of last year that her boyfriend, Michael Smith, thought he was buying a quarter-pound of marijuana from Tayvon Smith when Smith and three other men came to their home. One of the men stayed outside, while Tayvon Smith and the other two entered, she told the court.

Tayvon Smith at first kept trying to get Michael Smith to buy more than that from him, Wilson said. The pretense of a marijuana deal eventually was dropped. One of the men had a gun, and they made Wilson and Michael Smith get down on the floor as they went through their house looking for things to steal, she testified.

Tayvon Smith began encouraging the suspect with the gun to shoot or pistol-whip Wilson and her boyfriend, according to Wilson. When the accomplice with the gun did neither, Tayvon Smith kicked her in the face, Wilson testified.

The men left with $200 in cash, a video game system, some stereo speakers, an amplifier, the couple’s cellphones, a necklace, their personal identification and credit cards. A probable-cause affidavit alleged that Patton received the amplifier as his portion of the take.

Tayvon Smith was assessed 15 years in prison for the robbery, 15 years for a burglary earlier this year and seven years for stabbing Donnie Wilson, 24, of Joplin on Dec. 4, 2010. A judge ordered that the sentences run concurrently.

The cases of the other two defendants in the home-invasion robbery, Payton D. Harbin, 20, and Clayton J. Hackett, 27, remain pending in Jasper County Circuit Court.

Misidentification

MEAGAN WILSON TESTIFIED in 2011 that Payton Harbin, Clayton Hackett and “a guy named Rob from Pittsburg” were with Tayvon Smith when she and her boyfriend were robbed. Robey Patton, who was cleared of the crime on Thursday, is from Joplin.

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