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Watkins v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, Fifth District

August 30, 2019



          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Flagler County, Terence R. Perkins, Judge.

          James S. Purdy, Public Defender, and Sean Kevin Gravel, Assistant Public Defender, Daytona Beach, for Appellant.

          Ashley Moody, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Andrea K. Totten, Assistant Attorney General, Daytona Beach, for Appellee.

          COHEN, J.

         M.M., the victim in this case, admittedly worked as a prostitute. She agreed to provide sexual services to Obtravies Andre Watkins at a negotiated price and pursuant to certain conditions, which included payment in advance and the use of condoms.

         M.M. and Watkins initially engaged in consensual sex in Watkins's car in the parking lot of a post office in Volusia County. Watkins then drove M.M. to a second location in Volusia County-James Ormond Park-where they engaged in consensual sex again. Afterwards, M.M. withdrew her consent to any further interactions because she had run out of condoms. Watkins became angry, punched M.M., and threatened to shoot her if she did not do as he demanded or tried to escape. Watkins then forced M.M. to perform unprotected oral sex.

         Subsequently, Watkins transported M.M. to a third location within Volusia County-an isolated, wooded area near High Bridge Road. Watkins pulled M.M. out of the car and forced her to engage in nonconsensual, unprotected oral and vaginal sex. M.M. testified that they reentered Watkins's car, and Watkins said he would let her live and take her back. However, M.M. described that instead, Watkins began "driving around kind of aimlessly." His driving became erratic as he attempted to locate his cell phone in the car. M.M. found the phone, which enraged Watkins because he believed M.M. used the phone to call for assistance. M.M. testified:

[W]e passed the, uh, the signs that said you're now leaving Daytona, entering Flagler, to which he then pulled off into, like, a quarry area. When he pulled off into the quarry area, he went down the dirt road all the way to the gate and pulled off into the field that was, um, next to that. When he pulled off, uh, towards the road, uh, the whole time that we're driving down and everything, I keep telling him no. I didn't touch your cell phone. I didn't do nothing to your cell phone. Um, I was trying to plead with-with him to not kill me.

         The quarry M.M. described is located off Old Kings Road in Flagler County. Watkins again became violent and forced M.M. to engage in unprotected vaginal sex. He choked M.M. with a belt and left her naked, injured, and unconscious in a field. When M.M. regained consciousness, she walked onto Old Kings Road, where she was discovered by passing motorists.[1]

         Watkins was charged and convicted in Volusia County of battery, sexual battery, and kidnapping.[2] In this subsequent Flagler County case, the State moved to transfer the evidence from Volusia County to Flagler County. The Flagler County court granted that motion, allowing the State to admit "testimony and evidence of the inextricably intertwined evidence of kidnapping and sexual battery that took place in Volusia County." The Flagler County court noted that the events that occurred in Volusia County were directly relevant to the crimes that arose in Flagler County and were necessary to provide the jury with the full context of the occurrence; specifically, the transformation of Watkins and M.M.'s interactions from consensual to nonconsensual.

         Watkins was convicted in Flagler County of attempted second-degree murder, kidnapping, and sexual battery. He raises multiple issues on appeal, only one of which has merit: Watkins argues that his kidnapping conviction violates the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy because he was previously convicted of kidnapping in Volusia County. We agree.

         In the Volusia County case, the State argued that the events at issue constituted a single act. It emphasized, "This is one continuous act. There's not a temporal break in any of the actions between Volusia County and Flagler County, especially the kidnapping."

         In this appeal, the State takes a completely different position: it asserts that Watkins committed two separate kidnappings, and thus, the Flagler County conviction is not precluded by double jeopardy. The State argues that the initial kidnapping ended at the third location-High Bridge Road-when Watkins ...

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