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A person charged with multiple conspiracies cannot be convicted of more than a single conspiracy if he has with the necessary intent entered into a single agreement to commit a crime even if multiple overt acts are committed in furtherance of that agreement. However, a person charged with multiple conspiracies can be convicted of those multiple conspiracies if, with the necessary intent, he entered into multiple, although partially overlapping agreements to commit crimes so long as overt acts are committed in furtherance of those agreements.
The facts pertinent to this appeal are reflected in the trial testimony of Charles Edward Burleson’s alleged co-conspirator, Bruce Brown. Brown testified that he and Burleson agreed to rob the Middletown State Bank. Pursuant to that agreement, the two "cased" the bank on September 11, 1975. They decided to use two cars in the robbery. One would be left on a rural road near Middletown with a change of clothing for each conspirator. From that location, the two would proceed to the bank wearing nylon stockings and stocking caps over their heads. Burleson agreed to secure a shotgun for use in the robbery and Brown agreed to secure the disguises and a container for the money they expected to remove from the bank. They also decided to commit the crime on Saturday, September 13, 1975. On September 13, 1975, the conspirators initiated their plan, but decided not to rob the bank on that day because they noticed too many people in town and around the bank. Instead, they made a practice run of their approach to and escape from the bank after agreeing that they would try again on Tuesday, September 16, 1975. On September 16, 1975, Burleson and Brown again parked their cars along a rural road, changed clothing and drove into the town of Middletown in a single car with a white suitcase, shotgun and disguises consisting of the nylon stockings and stocking caps. When they arrived in town, they drove to the Middletown State Bank, exited from the car and approached the bank's front door. Brown carried the suitcase and the defendant carried the shotgun. As the duo neared the front door, however, a man bolted the door from the inside. Thereafter, the defendant and Brown scrambled back into the car and returned to their second car which was still parked along the rural road where they had commenced their escapade. Within minutes, Brown was arrested after being chased by the police. Burleson was arrested a few days later. The circuit court entered Burleson’s convictions for conspiracy to commit armed robbery and attempted armed robbery on the same date, a conviction for conspiracy to commit armed robbery on another date, and a sentence order consisting of a one- to five-year sentence for the attempt conviction, to run concurrently with a one- to three-year sentence for the conspiracy convictions.
Should Burleson’s second conviction for conspiracy to commit armed robbery on a separate date be vacated because the alleged conspiracy arose from the same course of conduct that formed the basis for his attempted armed robbery conviction?
The court affirmed the convictions and sentence for the attempted armed robbery, but reversed the conviction for conspiracy to commit armed robbery on that same date because the court found that it was a lesser included offense of attempt. The court affirmed the conviction and sentence for conspiracy to commit armed robbery on the separate date because it found that the conspirators' actions originated in separate agreements or impulses to rob the bank on separate dates. The court held that Burleson could have been charged with multiple conspiracies because he, with the necessary intent, entered into multiple although partially overlapping agreements to commit crimes and overt acts were committed in furtherance of those agreements. The court concluded that Burleson’s failure to complete the armed robbery scheme did not prevent his conviction for inchoate offenses arising from that conduct.