FROM THE WHITE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. CR-2014-206.
HONORABLE ROBERT EDWARDS, JUDGE.
APPELLANT: WILLIAM OWEN JAMES JR.
APPELLEE: DAVID ROBERT RAUPP, RACHEL HURST KEMP, ATTORNEY
MICHAEL KINARD, Judge. VIRDEN and HARRISON, JJ., agree.
MICHAEL KINARD, Judge
Draft appeals from his conviction of second-degree murder,
for which he was sentenced to thirty years' imprisonment
plus a fifteen-year enhancement, due to his use of a firearm
in committing the offense, to be served consecutively. He
contends that the evidence is insufficient to support the
finding of guilt. We affirm.
18, 2014, appellant became angry at his wife and beat her
badly both with his hands and with the butt of a shotgun. She
managed to escape and drove approximately 200 yards up a
gravel driveway to her parents' home. Mrs. Draft's
mother then drove Mrs. Draft to the hospital emergency room.
Mrs. Draft's father, Douglas Cloyes, remained at his
home. Appellant then drove his truck, with a loaded
.223-caliber semi-automatic rifle, to the Cloyeses' home.
Mr. Cloyes was standing near the gravel driveway, and
appellant parked his truck in the grass between Mr. Cloyes
and the house. According to appellant, Mr. Cloyes began
shooting at him. Appellant testified that he then reached
back into his truck, grabbed his rifle, and began firing at
Mr. Cloyes. Mr. Cloyes was hit by five rounds from
appellant's rifle and died as a result. Appellant
returned to his home, gathered some money and a telephone,
disassembled the rifle and threw it in a river, and drove to
Michigan. A .22-caliber pistol was found under Mr.
Cloyes's body, and three spent .22 cartridges were found
nearby. At least thirteen spent .223 cartridges were found
approximately sixty-five feet from the body, at the site of
truck-tire tracks in Mr. Cloyes's yard.
was charged with first-degree murder in the death of his
father-in-law and second-degree battery in the beating of his
wife. After a jury trial, he was convicted of the
lesser-included offense of second-degree murder and
second-degree battery. As to second-degree murder, appellant
moved for a directed verdict of acquittal on the following
grounds: " [T]he State has failed again to provide any
evidence that [appellant] caused the death of Mr. Cloyes and,
if they did so, they did not prove that [appellant] did so
knowingly." The motion was denied both at the close of
the State's case and again at the close of all of the
appeal, appellant challenges only the murder conviction,
arguing that the trial court erred in denying his motion for
a directed verdict of acquittal. He has abandoned the
argument that he did not kill Mr. Cloyes. However, he
continues to argue that there is no substantial evidence to
support the finding that he " knowingly" caused the
motion for a directed verdict is a challenge to the
sufficiency of the evidence. Steele v. State, 2014
Ark.App. 257, 434 S.W.3d 424. Where sufficiency is challenged
on appeal from a criminal conviction, we consider only that
proof that supports the verdict. Davis v. State,
2015 Ark.App. 234, 459 S.W.3d 821. We view that evidence and
all reasonable inferences deducible therefrom in the light
most favorable to the State. Id. We will affirm if
the finding of guilt is supported by substantial evidence.
Id. Evidence is substantial if it is of sufficient
force and character that it will, with reasonable certainty,
compel a conclusion one way or the other without requiring
resort to speculation or conjecture. Id. While it is
true that circumstantial evidence is insufficient if it
leaves the jury solely to speculation and conjecture, the
fact that evidence is circumstantial does not necessarily
render it insubstantial. Simpkins v. State, 2010
Ark.App. 723. Circumstantial evidence is sufficient if it
excludes every other reasonable hypothesis consistent with
innocence. Id. Whether the circumstantial evidence
excludes every reasonable hypothesis consistent with
innocence is for the fact-finder to decide; on review, we
must determine whether the fact-finder had to resort to
speculation and conjecture to reach its decision. Davis,
supra. The weight of the evidence and credibility of the
witnesses are matters for the fact-finder, not for the trial
court on a directed-verdict motion or this court on appeal.
person commits murder in the second degree if he knowingly
causes the death of another person under circumstances
manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.
Ark. Code Ann. § 5-10-103(a)(1) (Repl. 2013). A person
acts " knowingly" with respect to his conduct when
he is aware that it is practically certain that his conduct
will cause the result. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-2-202(2)(B)
(Repl. 2013). A criminal defendant's intent or state of
mind is seldom capable of proof by direct evidence and must
usually be inferred from the circumstances of the crime.
Satterfield v. State, 2014 Ark.App. 633, 448 S.W.3d
211. Such circumstances can include the type of weapon used,
the manner of its use, and the nature, extent, and location
of the wounds inflicted. Id. Conduct of the accused
following the crime, such as flight or concealment or
destruction of evidence, is also relevant and properly
considered as evidence of consciousness of guilt.
Id. Moreover, because of the difficulty in
ascertaining one's intent or state of mind, a presumption
exists that a person intends the natural and probable
consequences of his acts. Id.
appellant admitted at trial that he had beaten his wife. He
then drove his truck, containing a loaded rifle, the short
distance to his in-laws' home. During a confrontation
with his father-in-law, appellant took the rifle and shot it
at his father-in-law from a distance of approximately
sixty-five feet. Appellant admitted that he pulled the
trigger at least thirteen times. He does not dispute that
five of those shots hit the victim and caused his death.
Thereafter, appellant returned to his house, gathered some
money and his phone, and fled to Michigan, taking the rifle
apart and throwing it in a river along the way. We conclude
that this evidence is more than adequate to support the
jury's finding that appellant knowingly caused the
extent that appellant argues that the evidence is
insufficient to negate the conclusion that he acted in
self-defense, we do not address the issue because it was not
preserved for appeal. In order to preserve for appeal any
argument pertaining to the sufficiency of the evidence to
support a jury verdict in a criminal case, the defendant must
make a specific motion for a directed verdict of acquittal at
the close of the evidence presented by the prosecution and
again at the close of all of the evidence. Ark. R. Crim. P.
33.1(a) & (c). The motion must advise the trial court of
the exact element that the defendant contends the State has
failed to prove. Rodriguez-Gonzalez v. State, 2014
Ark.App. 208. The failure to make the challenge at the times
and in the manner required by the rule will constitute a
waiver of any question pertaining to the sufficiency of the
evidence. Ark. R. Crim. P. 33.1(c).
general, a statutory justification is a defense to conduct
that would otherwise constitute an offense. See,
e.g., Ark. Code Ann. § § 5-4-602; -603(a);
-604(a); -605 (Repl. 2013). Arkansas Code Annotated section
5-2-607(a) (Repl. 2013) provides that the use of deadly
physical force in defense of a person is justified in certain
circumstances. Justification becomes a defense when any
evidence tending to support its existence is offered to
support it. Anderson v. State, 353 Ark. 384, 108
S.W.3d 592 (2003). By statute, a justification, such as
self-defense, is ...