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Wilson v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division IV

April 20, 2016



Terry Goodwin Jones, for appellant.

Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Evelyn D. Gomez, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.


The Craighead County Circuit Court convicted appellant Kerry Wilson of aggravated residential burglary[1] in a bench trial; also, the circuit court revoked her suspended sentences for two counts of forgery.[2] She was sentenced to a total of five years' incarceration, with an additional five-year suspended imposition of sentence. On appeal, Wilson argues the State presented insufficient evidence to support the conviction and the revocation of her suspended sentences. We affirm.

Aggravated-Residential-Burglary Conviction

At trial, the evidence revealed that on October 11, 2013, Nathaniel Kent awoke to find a man, later identified as Bryan Redden, inside his home. Redden unplugged Kent's television, picked it up, and ran out the front door. Kent testified he grabbed Redden; Redden dropped the television on the porch; the two of them continued to struggle with each other all the way to the driveway; Kent yelled to his girlfriend, who was holding their son; and he then saw a girl, later identified as Wilson, coming out of a ditch approximately one hundred meters from the house holding a knife and running toward him. Kent stated that when Wilson saw his son was crying, she began to apologize, said they had the wrong house, and asked to hold Kent's son, which Kent's girlfriend did not allow. Kent testified that although he did not sustain any injuries from the knife Wilson was holding, he feared for his life when he saw her with the knife. He added that both Wilson and Redden appeared incoherent, and Redden smelled of alcohol.

Jonesboro police officer Josh Landreth that testified he located the suspects; Redden talked to him more than Wilson did; Wilson was very intoxicated, had difficulty walking, and lay down on the ground and cried; he found a pocket knife in Wilson's pocket; and he found several other pocket knives, three Arkansas IDs that did not belong to Wilson, and two watches in her purse. Officer Landreth stated Wilson was unable to describe the contents of her purse but said she found the IDs at a carwash.

Jonesboro police officer Brandon King testified that on October 14, 2013, he conducted a taped interview with Wilson about the incident; he did not recall Wilson being under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of her interview; and he read Wilson her rights, which she waived. In the interview, Wilson stated she and Redden were walking after leaving Plato's Closet on Stadium Drive in Jonesboro; they were drunk and she had been "eating pills" and was not thinking straight; she heard someone screaming for help; when she came across the ditch, she saw a woman holding a toddler, and there was a television on the ground; she was concerned because the baby was crying; and she hugged the woman and talked to her. Wilson admitted she was holding a cell phone and a knife when she approached the woman, but she denied she would ever use a knife to harm anyone. Wilson also denied she and Redden has been looking for a house to break into or to stab someone. Wilson stated she knew Redden had entered a house, dragged a television outside, and ended up fighting with the man who lived there; she said she knew witnesses believed they heard Redden scream to "stab him, " but she denied she would ever hurt anyone. Wilson stated that although she had earlier said she had a knife in her hand, she would never charge at anyone with a knife in her hand because she was not a violent person. Wilson asserted the witnesses knew that she was no threat, and that she stood there and apologized and talked to the woman and tried to calm her child. Wilson stated Redden told everyone she was not involved.

Bryan Redden testified on Wilson's behalf. At the time of Wilson's trial, he had already pleaded guilty in this incident. Redden stated that at no time had he asked Wilson to commit residential burglary; she was not with him when he entered the home; he did not ask her to stab anyone; she was not close to the home when the incident occurred; and she had no idea that he was going to steal that television. On cross-examination, Redden admitted he and

Wilson were both drunk and high on the night in question, he had been taking methamphetamine that night as well, and it was possible he did not know what happened that night.

Wilson testified in her own defense. She admitted she and Redden were "messed up" on pills; she was under the influence; she had knives in her purse that she had stolen from a friend two days earlier, but the knives were for drug use only, not to hurt anyone; she did not know what Redden was doing because she was on the phone with her sister trying to get her sister to come pick her up; she heard the "scariest, most violent" screams; she ran to the victims and tried to calm them down; she did not have a knife on her at that time (she claimed the knife the police found was the one in her purse); she turned around and saw the flat-screen TV and Redden looking at it; and she asked him what he had done. Wilson admitted she told the police that they were looking for "Julio's, " Redden's boss's house, because Redden told her Julio owed him $5, 000; however, she also admitted she knew Julio lived in Brookland, not Jonesboro.

At the close of all the evidence, Wilson moved for dismissal, arguing she was nowhere near the incident when it occurred; the testimony was conflicting as to what she did after Redden had committed residential burglary; and she only had a knife because she needed protection in that neighborhood. The State pointed out that Kent testified he saw Wilson come toward him with a knife after Redden had entered the house and attempted to take the television. The trial court found that Wilson and Redden acted in concert to take the property from someone named Julio, mistook Kent's home for Julio's, and Wilson was armed with a knife during the incident.

When a defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain a conviction, the evidence is viewed in the light most favorable to the State, and only evidence supporting the verdict is considered. Porter v. State, 2010 Ark.App. 657, 379 S.W.3d 528. The test for determining the sufficiency of the evidence is whether the verdict is supported by substantial evidence, direct or circumstantial; it must be of sufficient force and character to compel reasonable minds to reach a conclusion and pass beyond ...

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