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Brown v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division I

September 27, 2017

KOREY K. BROWN APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE

         APPEAL FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST DIVISION [NO. 60CR-14-2410] HONORABLE LEON JOHNSON, JUDGE

          William R. Simpson, Jr., Public Defender, by: Clint Miller, Deputy Public Defender, for appellant.

          Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Karen Virginia Wallace, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

          ROBERT J. GLADWIN, JUDGE

         Appellant, Korey Brown, appeals his conviction by the Pulaski County Circuit Court on a charge of committing theft of automobile by threat, for which he was sentenced as a habitual offender to eighteen years' imprisonment. Appellant's sole point on appeal is that the trial court erred in denying his motion for a directed verdict. We affirm.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         On April 6, 2016, the State filed an amended three-count felony information alleging that on or about January 22, 2014, appellant committed three felony offenses against J.L. The three felony offenses were (1) rape; (2) kidnapping; and (3) theft of J.L.'s automobile by threat of serious physical injury. In the information, the State also alleged that appellant was a habitual offender with four or more prior felony convictions.

         At appellant's jury trial held on May 10-12, 2016, the State offered proof through J.L.'s testimony that appellant allegedly threatened J.L. in order to obtain her automobile. She testified as to the events that occurred early on the morning of January 22, 2014, involving her encounter with appellant that resulted in the above-described charges.

         Appellant preserved at trial the issue now on appeal at trial by complying with Arkansas Rule of Criminal Procedure 33.1(a) (2016) when, at the close of the State's presentation of its case-in-chief, appellant's trial counsel moved for a directed verdict on theft by threat as a lesser offense of theft by threat of serious physical injury, based on the State's failure to prove that appellant made any kind of threat to J.L. in order to obtain her automobile. The trial court denied this directed-verdict motion. At the close of presentation of all the evidence, appellant's counsel renewed the earlier motion for a directed verdict, which the trial court also denied.

         The jury was unable to reach a verdict on the rape charge but found appellant (1) not guilty of kidnapping and (2) guilty of having committed theft of J.L.'s automobile by threat. The jury sentenced appellant, as a habitual offender, to eighteen years' imprisonment pursuant to a sentencing order filed on May 24, 2016, and an amended sentencing order filed on June 2, 2016. Appellant filed a timely notice of appeal on June 20, 2016.

         II. Standard of Review

         The denial of a motion for directed verdict is treated as a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. Petty v. State, 2017 Ark.App. 347, S.W.3d . When the sufficiency of the evidence is challenged on appeal, the evidence is viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict. Id. The appellate court considers only the evidence that supports the verdict. Id. The verdict will be affirmed if it is supported by substantial evidence. Id. Evidence is substantial if it is of sufficient force and character to compel reasonable minds to reach a conclusion and pass beyond suspicion and conjecture. Id. This court does not weigh the evidence presented at trial nor does this court assess the credibility of witnesses. Fronterhouse v. State, 2015 Ark.App. 211, 463 S.W.3d 312. The fact-finder is free to believe all or part of a witness's testimony and may resolve all questions of conflicting testimony and inconsistent evidence. Id. Inconsistent testimony does not render proof insufficient as a matter of law. Harmon v. State, 340 Ark. 18, 8 S.W.3d 472 (2000). Criminal intent can be inferred from one's behavior under the circumstances. Id. It is presumed that a person intends the natural and probable consequences of his or her acts. Id.

         III. Discussion

         Appellant argues that the State failed to introduce substantial evidence that he obtained J.L.'s automobile by threat. Appellant submits that J.L.'s testimony established that, while his conduct showed an intention to inflict harm toward her, the State failed to introduce substantial evidence that appellant's menacing behavior was specifically directed toward obtaining J.L.'s automobile. He notes that J.L. never specifically testified that she let appellant obtain her automobile because she believed he would harm her. Appellant submits that the jury had to speculate as to what offense the State was arguing that his conduct was directed toward achieving-the rape, the kidnapping, or the theft of ...


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