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Winkle v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division IV

October 29, 2014

DAVID VAN WINKLE, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS, APPELLEE

APPEAL FROM THE POLK COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. CR-2011-137. HONORABLE J.W. LOONEY, JUDGE.

James Law Firm, by: William O. " Bill" James, for appellant.

Dustin McDaniel, Att'y Gen., by: Brad Newman, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, Judge. HIXSON and BROWN, JJ., agree.

OPINION

Page 543

PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, Judge

Appellant David Van Winkle was charged by amended information with one count each of kidnapping, aggravated residential burglary, first-degree stalking, second-degree battery, aggravated assault, and terroristic threatening. A Polk County jury convicted him on all six counts (reducing the second-degree battery charge to third-degree battery), and he was sentenced to a total of fifty-two years in the Arkansas Department of Correction. On appeal, he contends that there was insufficient evidence to support four of those convictions. We find no error and affirm.

I. Standard of Review

Van Winkle argues that the trial court erred in denying his motions for directed verdict on the counts of kidnapping, first-degree stalking, third-degree battery, and aggravated residential burglary. A directed-verdict motion is a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. Populis v. State, 2011 Ark.App. 334; Draper v. State, 2010 Ark.App. 628, 378 S.W.3d 191. When reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, the appellate court will affirm the conviction if there is substantial evidence to support it, when viewed in the light most favorable to the State. Populis, supra. Substantial evidence is evidence that is of sufficient force and character that it will, with reasonable certainty, compel a conclusion one way or another without resort to speculation or conjecture. Id. With these standards in mind, we now examine the evidence presented to the jury.

II. Background Facts

Van Winkle was a dentist who had a practice in Mena for twenty-six years. The victim in this case, M.O., was one of his patients. M.O. had numerous dental problems and learned that Van Winkle offered free consultations and payment plans. When she went to see him, he recommended that she have her remaining teeth extracted and get dentures. M.O. had her first tooth extraction in August 2011, and Van Winkle gave her a prescription for hydrocodone. M.O. was participating in drug court at the time, however, and was concerned about the prescription.

The day after the extraction, Van Winkle sent M.O. a text message, asking how she was doing and if she had any pain. M.O. replied that she was having a little pain. Van Winkle texted her back to inform her that she could work in his office or clean his home as part of her payment plan. M.O. thought " it was a little bit strange," but she was interested in following up because she " really needed some work done on [her] teeth."

M.O. returned for a second tooth extraction about two weeks later. She described the procedure as " a little hasty" and said that it was " quite painful." M.O. then discussed her pain medication with Van Winkle. Van Winkle told M.O. that she could " double up" on her medication if she was in pain, but M.O. replied that she could not because she had to do a pill count with Terry Ford, her probation officer. M.O. and Van Winkle then began discussing how to hide her prescriptions from Ford. Through a series of conversations, including text messages, it was determined

Page 544

that M.O. should take the pain medications as needed. Van Winkle said he would give her a refill to make sure her pill count was okay. M.O., who said she was " already under the influence of pain medication," deceived Ford about the number of pills she was taking. M.O. even deleted her ...


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