APPEAL FROM THE SALINE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. 63CR-13-161-4. HONORABLE ROBERT HERZFELD, JUDGE.
Digby Law Firm, by: Bobby R. Digby II, for appellant.
Dustin McDaniel, Att'y Gen., by: Laura K. Shue, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.
BART F. VIRDEN, Judge. GLADWIN, C.J., and HIXSON, J., agree.
BART F. VIRDEN, Judge
Appellant Johnathan Albretsen was charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault on a family or household member in the death of his stepfather, Joe Gonsalves. A Saline County jury convicted him of manslaughter, and he was sentenced to five years' imprisonment. Albretsen argues on appeal that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction and that the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury on negligent homicide. We affirm.
There was evidence that Albretsen, twenty-four years old at the time of the offense, lived with his mother, Teresa Gonsalves, the victim, and a younger half-brother, Grant Quick. There was testimony that on February 16, 2013, the director of 911 communications received a call from Teresa, who said that her son had stabbed her husband in the heart.
Quick testified that he was in his bedroom when he heard loud voices coming from Albretsen's bedroom. Albretsen was sitting on his bed, and their mother was telling him that he should have left some ice cream for others. According to Quick, there was a rule regarding how much ice cream they were permitted to have. Quick testified that Albretsen told their mother that he should be allowed to have as much as he wanted. Albretsen then began using foul language, at which point Joe told Albretsen that he could not speak to his mother in such a disrespectful manner. When Albretsen attempted to leave the room, Joe pushed Albretsen back down onto the bed and repeatedly told him to " calm down," but Albretsen resisted being restrained. Quick testified that Joe had both hands on Albretsen's shoulders, that Joe did not appear to be aggressive, and that Joe did not hit Albretsen. Quick saw Albretsen's right hand " come around in kind of an arc toward Joe's chest." Albretsen then kicked Joe, who fell against a wall. Quick stated that when Joe stood up and ran from the room, there was blood on the wall. Quick testified that Albretsen then grabbed their mother, threw her onto the bed, and said " something about cutting her up." Albretsen fled from the house and was sitting on the ground outside when police arrived.
Aaron Washington, the patrolman with the Bauxite Police Department who arrested Albretsen, testified that he saw no wounds or injuries on Albretsen. Likewise, Lieutenant Ron Parsons with the Saline County Sheriff's Office testified that he examined Albretsen's body for injuries but that he did not appear to be injured and had no redness or marks.
Daniel W. Dye, associate medical examiner at the Arkansas State Crime Lab, testified that Joe Gonsalves died from a stab wound that punctured his lung and nicked his pulmonary artery. In describing the wound, Dye said that it was triangular shaped, indicating that the knife was turned after it was inserted into the torso. Dye concluded that only a knife with a single-edged blade could have caused Joe's fatal wound.
The jury was instructed on first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and manslaughter, as well as aggravated and first-degree assault on a family or household member. The jury was also instructed on the defense of justification. Although Albretsen requested an instruction on negligent homicide, the trial court ...