Marlon Meacham is serving nine years in a Tennessee prison for a 2004 armed robbery that involved ordering his victim to log on to an Internet bank account.
Meacham was convicted by a jury of one count of aggravated robbery and one count of aggravated burglary for invading Kelvin Martin's home and holding him at gunpoint. He appealed on grounds of insufficient evidence and improper trial procedures.
Here are some excerpts from the Tennessee state criminal appeals court's decision on April 19, which upheld Meacham's conviction. Note that it was a computer glitch (we suspect Microsoft Windows) that kept his online banking ploy from succeeding:
On the evening of April 13, 2004, the victim, Kelvin Martin, was home alone watching television when Javonta Charles knocked on the door to his apartment. Mr. Charles asked Mr. Martin if he had food stamps to sell. Mr. Martin said that he did not have any food stamps. Mr. Charles then asked to use his telephone. Mr. Martin allowed Mr. Charles to use his telephone. After using the telephone, Mr. Charles left the apartment.
Shortly after Mr. Charles departed, Mr. Martin heard another knock at the door. He answered the door, and it was Mr. Charles asking to use the telephone a second time. Mr. Martin agreed to let him use the telephone. As Mr. Charles stepped inside the door, two individuals, in addition to Mr. Charles, forced their way into the apartment. The intruders were carrying guns. Mr. Martin identified Defendant as one of the intruders. Defendant was carrying a nine millimeter handgun. Mr. Martin recognized Defendant because they were roommates for approximately two months in 2002. At the time of the incident, both Defendant and Mr. Charles were staying with a friend of Mr. Martin's, Damien Baker. Mr. Martin did not recognize the third individual, but said he was carrying a shotgun.
Defendant and the man with the shotgun instructed Mr. Martin to "strip down" and get down on the living room floor. Mr. Martin was scared and afraid that the intruders were going to shoot him. Both men had their guns pointed at Mr. Martin. Defendant instructed Mr. Charles to go and look around the bedroom. Mr. Charles did as told and returned to the living room carrying a duffle bag, a shotgun, and some duct tape. Mr. Charles attempted to tape Mr. Martin into a chair. Defendant continued to stand in front of Mr. Martin, pointing his gun at him throughout this process. Mr. Martin struggled, but allowed Mr. Charles to tape his hands "to a certain extent ... just to keep [the assailants] from shooting [him]." Defendant placed Mr. Martin's laptop computer on his lap and instructed Mr. Martin to pull up his bank account on the computer and plug in the password. Mr. Martin was not able to comply because the computer was improperly turned on and was showing an error message.
The intruders were in the apartment for approximately twenty minutes. Mr. Martin sustained injuries during the intrusion. Defendant struck Mr. Martin in the face with his pistol injuring the bridge of his nose. Mr. Martin was also kicked in the face which caused injuries to his left eye. When the intruders left the house, Mr. Martin saw them carrying his black backpack which contained several of Mr. Martin's personal belongings. Those belongings included Mr. Martin's wallet, car keys, including the key fob for his car alarm, house keys, cell phone, clothes, compact discs, and his laptop computer. Mr. Martin estimated that the items had a value of $500.00.