FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SECOND DIVISION [NO.
60CR-14-824] HONORABLE CHRISTOPHER CHARLES PIAZZA, JUDGE.
William R. Sipson, Jr., Pub. Def., by: Clint Miller, Deputy
Pub. Def., for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Vada Berger, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
MARK KLAPPENBACH, Judge.
Jaylan Ealy challenges the sufficiency of the evidence
supporting his conviction for committing a terroristic act.
Appellant argues that his conduct did not meet the statutory
definition of a terroristic act. We affirm.
was charged with aggravated robbery, first-degree battery,
aggravated assault, and committing a terroristic act
following a shooting outside a party in North Little Rock.
Testimony at trial established that Jerod Crutchfield
attended the party with three other teenagers. When the four
were leaving the party, they walked past appellant, who asked
Crutchfield for marijuana and then for change. After
Crutchfield got in his vehicle, appellant approached the open
driver's door, pulled out a gun, and told Crutchfield to
give him "everything." Crutchfield testified that
after telling appellant that he did not have anything,
appellant got mad and attempted to hit him with the gun.
Crutchfield then pulled out his own gun, and appellant shot
four times, striking Crutchfield in the jaw, neck, shoulder,
time he was shot, Crutchfield was sitting in the driver's
seat of his vehicle with the door open, and appellant was
standing outside the vehicle. A detective testified that two
.380 casings were found inside the vehicle and one was found
outside the vehicle. The detective said that the gun was in
close proximity to the vehicle when it was discharged.
Appellant was convicted of all charges as well as firearm
enhancements and was sentenced to an aggregate of fifty-five
years' imprisonment. Appellant appeals only his
conviction for committing a terroristic act.
reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, we
view the evidence in the light most favorable to the State
and consider only the evidence that supports the verdict.
Hunt v. State, 354 Ark. 682, 128 S.W.3d 820 (2003).
We affirm a conviction if substantial evidence exists to
support it. Id. Substantial evidence is that which
is of sufficient force and character that it will, with
reasonable certainty, compel a conclusion one way or the
other, without resorting to speculation or conjecture.
person commits a terroristic act if, while not in the
commission of a lawful act, the person shoots at or in any
manner projects an object at a conveyance which is being
operated or which is occupied by another person with the
purpose to cause injury to another person or damage to
property. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-13-310(a)(1) (Repl. 2013).
Appellant bases his appeal on the interpretation of the
phrase "shoots at a conveyance."
review issues of statutory construction de novo. Thompson
v. State, 2014 Ark. 413, 464 S.W.3d 111. We construe
criminal statutes strictly, resolving any doubts in favor of
the defendant. Id. We also adhere to the basic rule
of statutory construction, which is to give effect to the
intent of the legislature. Id. We construe the
statute just as it reads, giving the words their ordinary and
usually accepted meaning in common language, and if the
language of the statute is plain and unambiguous, and conveys
a clear and definite meaning, there is no occasion to resort
to rules of statutory interpretation. Id. A statute
is ambiguous only where it is open to two or more
constructions, or where it is of such obscure or doubtful
meaning that reasonable minds might disagree or be uncertain
as to its meaning. Magness v. State, 2012 Ark. 16,
386 S.W.3d 390.
contends that the word "at" in the phrase
"shoots at a conveyance" has several meanings and
that we should apply its narrowest meaning-"that which
is the goal of an action or that toward which an action is
directed." He argues that his goal in firing the gun
from point blank range was to shoot the victim. Appellant
contends that he was standing so close to the open
driver's-side door that he shot directly at the victim
and did not shoot at a conveyance. The State argues that, when
reading the entire provision and not just the isolated
phrase, the statute clearly requires the defendant to have
the goal or purpose of causing injury to another person or
damage to property, not the goal or purpose of shooting the
conveyance. The State contends that appellant necessarily
shot at the vehicle when he shot at the victim seated in the
vehicle, thus committing the offense of a terroristic act.
agree with the State. The plain language of the statute
provides that the necessary intent, or goal of the action, is
the purpose to cause injury to another person or damage to
property, and that shooting at or projecting an object at a
conveyance is a secondary act. See Frost v. State,
2010 Ark.App. 163 (holding that intent to shoot at a vehicle
is not required). The legislative intent to protect against
injury or damage is evidenced by the plain language of the
statute. The appellant's goal to shoot and injure the
victim was the material element of the offense. Appellant had
the requisite mental purpose of injuring the victim, and to