CHRISTOPHER L. OWENS, JR. APPELLANT
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE
FROM THE GRANT COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 27CR-16-6] HONORABLE
EDDY R. EASLEY, JUDGE
C Wilson, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Kristen C. Green, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
F. VIRDEN, Judge
County jury convicted appellant Christopher Owens, Jr., of
residential burglary and theft of property and sentenced him
as a habitual offender to serve an aggregate term of fifty
years in prison. Owens argues that the trial court erred in
denying his directed-verdict motions because there was
insufficient evidence to support his convictions. We affirm.
Dodridge testified that on December 31, 2015, around 11:00
a.m., he arrived at his parents' house in Traskwood to
help move a dryer. He stated that he had known his
parents' neighbor, Curtis Rushing, who lived directly
across the way from his parents, for approximately fifteen
years. Dodridge stated that Rushing's vehicles were gone
and that no one appeared to be home. Dodridge testified that
"[w]hen you're in a small area, you know what people
drive and you know what is normal and what ain't."
Dodridge stated that he saw an unfamiliar car, which he
described as "dirty white" with no hubcaps, parked
halfway up Rushing's driveway. Dodridge then observed a
man walking from Rushing's carport to the car in the
driveway. Dodridge said that the man had "a look of
shock" when he looked up and saw Dodridge watching him.
Dodridge said that approximately thirty minutes later he saw
that the same car and the same man had been stopped by a
police officer in Haskell. Dodridge stopped and told the
officer what he had seen at the neighbor's house.
Russ Hansley with the Haskell Police Department testified
that on December 31, 2015, around 11:30 a.m., he stopped a
white car with expired tags. He noticed a very large
television and electronic equipment in the backseat of the
car and became suspicious because an extension cord and
drywall were still attached to the equipment. Hansley
identified Owens as the driver of the car. He placed Owens
under arrest and took inventory of the car. During the
inventory, Hansley found a bag of prescription-pill bottles
with the name "Curtis Rushing" on them. Hansley
contacted Rushing, who came to the scene and identified other
items belonging to him.
Rushing testified that he had left his residence around 7:45
a.m. on December 31, 2015, to go hunting. He was sitting in
his deer stand when he received a call from Hansley. Rushing
stated that, when he arrived at the scene where Owens had
been stopped, he saw his television, a DIRECTV box, the back
from his entertainment center, a box containing ammunition, a
Wii station, and his medicine bag. Rushing stated that he did
not know Owens and had not given Owens or anyone else
permission to take the items from his home. He said that he
had not left his door open and that the door facing had not
been broken when he left that morning.
Jason Teague with the Grant County Sheriffs Office testified
that he arrived at the traffic stop to assist Hansley. He
said that he accompanied Rushing back to his residence and
that they discovered a door that had been forced open. Teague
said that Rushing took him through the house, pointing to
areas from which the items found in Owens's car had been
stolen. Teague said that he later took a statement from
Owens, who claimed that he had found the items on the side of
statement was introduced into evidence. According to Owens,
he had been driving around trying to find a transmission shop
when he passed a wooded area and saw a television in a ditch.
Owens said, "I did not go in that man's house, I did
not take none of his belongings. I did not do that."
counsel moved for a directed verdict on both charges, but the
trial court denied those motions. The jury found Owens guilty
of residential burglary and theft of property. The State
introduced Owens's previous convictions for theft (two
counts) and residential burglary (four counts). The jury then
sentenced Owens to thirty-five years and fifteen years,
respectively, and recommended that the sentences be served
Standard of Review
appeal, Owens argues that the trial court erred in denying
his motions for directed verdict. We treat a motion for
directed verdict as a challenge to the sufficiency of the
evidence. Hubbard v. State,2017 Ark.App. 93, 513
S.W.3d 289. In reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of
the evidence, we view the evidence in a light most favorable
to the State and consider only the evidence that supports the
verdict. Id. 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. Id. The ...