FROM THE JEFFERSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 35CR-14-225]
HONORABLE BERLIN C. JONES, JUDGE
Law Office, by: Gary W. Potts, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Kathryn Henry, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, Judge
Sterling Armour was found guilty of one count of aggravated
residential burglary and one count of terroristic threatening
by a Jefferson County jury and sentenced to an aggregate
sentence, including a firearm enhancement, of thirty-five
years in the Arkansas Department of Correction. Armour appeals,
arguing that the circuit court erred in denying his motion
for directed verdict. We affirm.
appeal, we treat a motion for directed verdict as a challenge
to the sufficiency of the evidence. Paschal v.
State, 2012 Ark. 127, 388 S.W.3d 429; Harris v.
State, 2014 Ark.App. 264. This court views the evidence
in the light most favorable to the verdict, and only evidence
supporting the verdict will be considered. Id. In
reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence,
this court determines whether the verdict is supported by
substantial evidence, direct or circumstantial.
Castrellon v. State, 2013 Ark.App. 408, 428 S.W.3d
607. Substantial evidence is evidence forceful enough to
compel a conclusion one way or the other beyond suspicion or
conjecture. Harris, supra. With these
standards in mind, we will now consider the evidence
submitted to the trial court.
and another man (who was never identified at trial) were
seeking to locate Ravern Charles, who had allegedly run into
the other man's car. At approximately 2:00 a.m., Armour
and the other man went to the home of Dennis Butler to find
Ravern. Butler escorted the two to Ravern's
home. On arriving at Ravern's home, Armour
and the other man entered the residence. Ravern was not at
home, but the home was occupied by Ravern's wife, Lakesha
Charles, as well as her five children. Lakesha was awakened
by Armour tapping her on the forehead with a gun. Armour
grabbed Lakesha and threatened to kill her. He then dragged
her out of the house and asked Butler, who had been waiting
in the car, whether she was Ravern's wife. With all of
this commotion, the children were awakened. The other man
pleaded with Armour not to kill Lakesha while the children
were watching. Subsequently, the two men left with Butler,
and Lakesha called the police.
first challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support
his conviction for aggravated residential burglary. A person
commits the offense of aggravated residential burglary if he
or she commits residential burglary, as defined in Arkansas
Code Annotated section 5-39-201 (Repl. 2013), of a
residential occupiable structure occupied by any person, and
he or she is armed with a deadly weapon or represents by word
or conduct that he or she is armed with a deadly weapon. Ark.
Code Ann. § 5-39-204(a)(1). A person commits residential
burglary if he or she enters or remains unlawfully in a
residential occupiable structure of another person with the
purpose of committing in the residential occupiable structure
any offense punishable by imprisonment. Ark. Code Ann. §
apparently concedes that he was armed with a deadly weapon.
He contends, however, that the evidence was insufficient to
show that he committed the offense of residential burglary.
He argues that the evidence presented at trial was
insufficient to prove that he entered the Charleses' home
with the "purpose of committing an offense punishable by
imprisonment." He suggests that it was "just as
likely" that he was there "to make verbal demands
on Mr. Charles regarding money for a car repair as he was to
commit any violent act." We disagree.
a criminal defendant's intent can seldom be proved by
direct evidence, it must usually be inferred from the
circumstances surrounding the crime. Davis v. State,
2012 Ark.App. 362, at 3-4; Feuget v. State, 2012
Ark.App. 182, 394 S.W.3d 310. The supreme court has further
the facts must show circumstances of such probative force as
to reasonably warrant the inference of the purpose on the
part of the accused to commit an offense punishable by
imprisonment, other than the entry itself. Purpose can be
established by circumstantial evidence, but that evidence
must be such that the requisite purpose can be reasonably
inferred, and the evidence must be consistent with the guilt
of the accused and inconsistent with any other reasonable
Booker v. State, 335 Ark. 316, 321-22, 984 S.W.2d
16, 19-20 (1998) (internal citations omitted).
the facts showed that Armour entered the Charleses' home
without permission in the middle of the night, armed with a
gun that he brandished at Lakesha, and threatened to kill
Lakesha. From this evidence, the jury could reasonably have
found that Armour entered the home with the intent to commit
a felony, whether murder, aggravated assault, theft, or some