Man accused of Layton robbery proclaims innocence

Nov 30 2011 - 7:45am

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Raymond Joseph Emmett, 32, seen here recently at a friend’s Roy home, was arrested for a crime he says he did not commit. He was picked out of a photo lineup by a pair of robbery victims who claim he threatened them with a knife. However, Emmett’s attorney says the police showed the Layton victims six photos of suspects on one page instead of each photo individually, which he says is the best way to conduct the procedure. Emmett says he was in Clearfield and had no transportation the day of the robbery. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Raymond Joseph Emmett gives his testimony during a meeting of Reformers Unanimous at the Faith Baptist Church in Layton in December 2005. (ROBERT JOHNSON/Standard-Examiner)
Raymond Joseph Emmett, 32, seen here recently at a friend’s Roy home, was arrested for a crime he says he did not commit. He was picked out of a photo lineup by a pair of robbery victims who claim he threatened them with a knife. However, Emmett’s attorney says the police showed the Layton victims six photos of suspects on one page instead of each photo individually, which he says is the best way to conduct the procedure. Emmett says he was in Clearfield and had no transportation the day of the robbery. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Raymond Joseph Emmett gives his testimony during a meeting of Reformers Unanimous at the Faith Baptist Church in Layton in December 2005. (ROBERT JOHNSON/Standard-Examiner)

LAYTON -- Raymond Joseph Emmett is putting his future in God's hands.

He is charged with first-degree felony aggravated robbery, third-degree felony possession of a dangerous weapon and class A misdemeanor burglary of a vehicle.

"God has really got my attention," Emmett said.

If convicted of the first-degree felony, he faces a prison term of 10 years to life.

Emmett was identified by a witness, through a photo lineup, as the suspect involved in a vehicle burglary.

Emmett's public defender, Michael Edwards, has hired Dr. David Dodd, a retired University of Utah psychology professor who is known as an expert in the field of eyewitness identification.

Dodd reviewed the procedure Layton police used to identify Emmett, and now prosecutors have hired their own expert.

Davis County Deputy Attorney Nathan Lyon said his office has hired Dr. John Yuille, professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia, who also is known as an expert in the field of eyewitness identification.

"We are still waiting for his report," Lyon said.

Lyon said he cannot comment on the photo lineup procedure police used in this case.

Edwards said in a court hearing in September that the police showed the witness six photographs on one page instead of showing him one photo at a time. Research has shown the latter to be the better way to do a photo lineup, he said.

Emmett, 32, called the Standard-Examiner and asked to tell his side of the story. He posted $5,000 bail and was released from Davis County Jail following a court hearing Nov. 14. He is staying at a friend's home in Roy.

The charges stem from a March 31 vehicle burglary in Layton in which police said a couple was awakened at 4:30 a.m. by the honk of a car horn. When the couple went outside to investigate, they found a man they described as Hispanic and wearing glasses inside their car with the driver's side door open.

They pushed the door shut, and the man threatened the couple with a knife. The man eventually got out of the car and escaped before police arrived.

The couple described the man as about 5 feet 8 inches tall, stocky and wearing glasses.

Police issued a news release with Emmett's photo shortly after the incident.

Emmett said he turned himself in to police after he saw the news stories in April.

"I figured it would all clear up quickly, because I didn't do it," Emmett said.

But then Emmett, who says he was not wearing glasses in March because they were broken, and who stands 6 feet 1 inch tall and is slender, found himself behind bars, charged with the crime.

He ended up serving 90 days in Box Elder County Jail on a misdemeanor that was unrelated to the case, and then he was held in Davis County Jail until his bail was reduced.

He thought when the preliminary hearing took place in June, there would be enough evidence to show he wasn't guilty. But that didn't happen either.

"I broke down crying when (the witness) said it was me," Emmett said.

Emmett, who has had trouble holding down a job and also is a recovering drug addict, says he was not in Layton that night, but in a Clearfield motel with his girlfriend.

He also said he did not have access to any transportation, so he could not leave the motel and go to Layton.

However, Lyon said, "We believe there is evidence to suggest otherwise."

Emmett acknowledges his criminal record may not show him in a good light if his case goes before a jury.

He said he regrets his past as much as he regrets the tattoos that cover his arms.

Emmett's criminal record began long before he was an adult.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of armed robbery in 1994, when he was 15 years old. He was sentenced to serve one to 15 years on each count in Utah State Prison.

Since then, he has been in and out of prison, with the latest stint ending in 2009.

Emmett said he has asked to take a lie detector test, but no one has agreed to it.

"I really didn't do this crime," he said.

"I don't want to go back (to prison), but I'm really scared I'm going to be there again for something I didn't do."

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