FROM FAYETTE CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE THOMAS L. TRAVIS, JUDGE
ACTION NO. 16-CR-00723
FOR APPELLANT: Steven J. Buck Assistant Public Advocate
FOR APPELLEE: Andy Beshear Attorney General of Kentucky
Stephen F. Wilson Assistant Attorney General Frankfort,
BEFORE: COMBS, JOHNSON, AND J. LAMBERT, JUDGES.
LAMBERT, J., JUDGE.
Tyler Sykes has directly appealed from the portion of the
Fayette Circuit Court's judgment convicting him of
carrying a concealed deadly weapon. He contends that the
Commonwealth failed in its burden to prove that the weapon
was concealed. We affirm.
was arrested by Lexington Police Officer Blake Leathers on
May 7, 2016, and charged with carrying a concealed deadly
weapon, trafficking in marijuana less than 8 ounces second
offense, resisting arrest, and possession of drug
paraphernalia. The officer described the circumstances
preceding the arrest as follows:
Officers were dispatched to listed area [Robertson Street at
Speigle Street] in reference to a shots fired call. On
arrival I observed the listed vehicle [a 2009 white Impala]
running on the side of the road. I approached the vehicle
& the subj rolled down the window & I smelled a very
strong odor of burnt marijuana coming from inside the
vehicle. I ordered the subj out of the vehicle. Once out of
the vehicle the subject raised his arms & ofcs observed a
concealed firearm in his waistband. While attempting to
arrest the subj he began resisting & pulling away. Ofcs
searched the veh. and located approximately 3.273 ounces of
susp marijuana. Ofcs also located a cigarillo & a blunt
roller. An additional firearm was located in the trunk. Subj
had over $3, 000 in cash on his person & the marijuana
was in industrial sealed packaging.
Fayette County grand jury indicted him on the same charges in
a four-count indictment in August 2016, and Sykes entered a
plea of not guilty.
matter was tried before a jury in March 2017. Detective
Leathers of the Lexington Police Department testified that in
May 2016, he was serving as a patrol officer on the west side
of Lexington in the Versailles Road area. On the evening of
May 7, 2016, he was dispatched with his beat partner, Officer
(now Detective) Matt Laney, to 400 Robertson Street. He
described seeing and approaching Sykes' vehicle, his
attempts to get Sykes' attention, the marijuana odor
emanating from the vehicle once Sykes opened the window, and
getting Sykes to exit the vehicle. Once he exited the
vehicle, Sykes became angry and started yelling. Sykes raised
both of his hands in the air, at which time Detective Laney
observed a firearm in his waistband and reached out to
retrieve it. Later, Detective Leathers confirmed that
"once his shirt came up over the gun, " the firearm
Leathers grabbed Sykes' hands to handcuff him, and Sykes
began to resist. Sykes was not compliant as they were trying
to handcuff him and retrieve the firearm. Once the firearm
was secured, and the officers had handcuffed Sykes, they
informed Sykes of his rights and performed a search.
Detective Leathers found in excess of $3, 000.00 in cash in
different denominations in Sykes' pocket. The
semi-automatic handgun the officers retrieved from Sykes'
waistband had nine live rounds in it, with one in the
chamber. Other items Detective Leathers seized included
multiple cell phones, suspected marijuana, a blunt, and a
Laney testified in conformity with Detective Leathers'
version of the events. He saw the firearm in Sykes'
waistband when he raised his second arm after he had exited
the car (he was still talking on his cell phone with his
other hand). Detective Laney immediately retrieved the weapon
and removed the ammunition, and he seized several items of
evidence from his search of the interior and trunk of
conclusion of the testimony, the court denied Sykes'
motion for a directed verdict, and the matter proceeded to
the jury after closing arguments. The jury returned a verdict
finding Sykes guilty of carrying a concealed deadly weapon
under Count 2, not guilty of resisting arrest under Count 3,
and guilty of possession of drug paraphernalia under Count 4.
The jury was hung on the trafficking in marijuana charge
under Count 1, and the parties reached an agreement related
to that charge. Pursuant to that agreement, Sykes moved to
enter an Alford plea on an amended charge of criminal
attempt to trafficking in marijuana, less than 8 ounces,
second offense. Sykes waived sentencing by the jury, and the
court fixed his sentences at twelve months on Counts 1 and 2,
and seven days on Count 4. The court ordered the forfeiture
of items seized. By agreement of the parties, the forfeited
items included the firearms, ammunition, drugs, and drug
paraphernalia. The cash was to be returned to Sykes.
court held a sentencing hearing the following month and
entered a final judgment and sentence of probation on May 2,
2017. The court imposed a twelve-month concurrent sentence
for the charges on which Sykes was convicted and placed him