APPEAL FROM THE HEMPSTEAD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. No. 29CR-13-65. HONORABLE RANDY WRIGHT, JUDGE.
Scholl Law Firm, P.L.L.C., by: Scott A. Scholl, for appellant.
Dustin McDaniel, Att'y Gen., by: Nicana C. Sherman, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.
LARRY D. VAUGHT, Judge. WHITEAKER and HOOFMAN, JJ., agree.
LARRY D. VAUGHT, Judge
Appellant John Everett Block appeals his convictions of possession of marijuana and simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms. He challenges whether the State presented sufficient evidence of his possession of marijuana to support both convictions. We affirm.
Block was tried by a jury in the Circuit Court of Hempstead County over two days in July 2013. John Weaver, an officer with the Hope Police Department, testified that on December 22, 2012, at approximately 7:00 p.m., he responded to a dispatch call reporting shots fired on North Walker Street in Hope. While proceeding toward North Walker Street, he received another call saying that someone needed assistance on Dairy Street. He was passing Dairy Street at the time and was able to reach the location near the intersection of Dairy Street and Graham Street less than a minute after the call. Weaver testified that upon his arrival at the location he observed a vehicle in a ditch with several bullet holes in the windshield. He initially did not see any people at the scene. He testified that after exiting his patrol car and approaching the scene, a man he later identified as Block came out from behind a shed to Weaver's left. Weaver testified that the shed is approximately fifteen to twenty yards from the road. There were no houses or other buildings around it.
Weaver testified that within a minute of his arrival at the scene, two other officers arrived. They began looking for evidence and made contact with Block. Weaver testified that Block initially stated that someone had shot at him several times and that Block had taken off running. Sergeant Daniel Oiler testified that Block later said he had been traveling southbound on Graham Street when an off-white car began driving erratically, threatening to hit him. He said he activated his car's horn, and the off-white car stopped on Hickory Street. Block told Oiler that someone got out of the car, slipped down into a ditch, fired one shot in the air, then stood up and began firing at Block's car. Oiler testified that Block said he backed his car down Graham Street until it stopped in the ditch. When Oiler told Block about his observation that the evidence at the scene indicated that some of the shots were fired from inside the car, Block admitted that he had a firearm and had returned fire. He indicated that he had thrown the gun in the bushes near a fence row directly across the street from the shed.
The officers testified that they then began searching for the gun. When they could not locate it in the bushes near the fence, Oiler asked Block if he was sure he had thrown the gun there. The officers began expanding their search. Oiler testified that Block then began to act nervous. Block made spontaneous, unprovoked utterances about how he was going to spend Christmas in jail. Oiler testified that
Block's behavior made Oiler nervous, especially since the officers had not recovered the firearm. For the officers' safety, Oiler placed Block in handcuffs and performed a Terry frisk to check for weapons. During the frisk, Oiler felt a large bulge in Block's clothing, which Block stated was approximately seventeen hundred dollars in cash.
The officers expanded their search for the weapon to the area behind the shed where Weaver had first observed Block. Oiler testified that he discovered a white plastic trashbag behind the shed. Oiler testified that, although it had been raining earlier that day and the ground was wet and muddy, the plastic bag was clean and dry. He testified that leaves near the bag held standing water, but there was no water on the bag. Inside the bag, he found seven Ziploc bags filled with a leafy green substance that was later confirmed to be marijuana. The officers collected the evidence and ...