FROM THE MISSISSIPPI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, OSCEOLA DISTRICT
NO. 470CR-15-233] HONORABLE DAN RITCHEY, JUDGE
Calhoun Giattina, PLLC, by: Robert E. Hodge III, for
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Jason Michael Johnson,
Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.
M. GLOVER, Judge
Harrell was tried by a jury and found guilty of the offenses
of second-degree battery, aggravated robbery, kidnapping,
theft of property, fraudulent use of a credit or debit card,
and residential burglary. He was sentenced to thirty years in
the Arkansas Department of Correction on the
aggravated-robbery charge, with all other sentences to run
concurrently. In this appeal, he 1) challenges the
sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions and 2)
asserts an abuse of discretion in the trial court's
admission of fingerprint evidence because it was not properly
authenticated. We affirm.
Birmingham was the victim in this case. He testified that on
the night in question, he was awakened when two men came
crashing through his back door yelling, "Where's the
money, mother fucker?" He did not recognize either of
them at the time. One man jumped on him and started hitting
him in the face, and then they dragged him from his bed and
tied him up in the computer room. One tried to get him to
open his safe while the other was cutting him with a knife.
They then rolled the safe out of the house and loaded it on
Birmingham's truck. Birmingham crawled across the hall to
his wheelchair, called 911, and went to the back of the
house. The men returned, saw the phone, asked whom he had
called, and started cutting him again. They then dragged him
outside, stuffed him in the floorboard of his truck, and
started driving to Little Rock.
testified he was blindfolded; they took him to what he
guessed was an apartment; they unloaded his guns and safe;
and they got back into the truck and went to an apartment
complex. The men told him they were going inside and would
come back and take him home. He realized they had left the
keys in the truck; he crawled to the front driver's seat
and locked the doors; he drove out of the complex across at
least four lanes of traffic into a parking lot; and he asked
a lady to call the police. Shortly afterward, the Little Rock
police showed up. He told the officers to contact Mississippi
County because he knew they would be looking for him, and he
was placed in an ambulance and taken to the VA Hospital.
described the contents of his safe; he said the men kept
telling him they were going to kill him if he did not open
the safe; he had the combination written on a piece of paper,
but the intruders were not able to open the safe; so they
just took the safe with them. He said he did not know either
of the men in the truck, but he had an idea who one of them
was; he believed one of them knew him because that intruder
called him "Rob"; and they passed a cigarette
around in his house.
Hicks, a general investigator with the Mississippi County
Sheriff's Department, testified he was called to the
Birmingham residence; he processed the scene and took
photographs; he noticed a footprint and blood on the back of
the wheelchair; the kitchen was a mess; he took several DNA
swabs from the scene, including four from the back door and
two DNA blood samples from the wheelchair; he retrieved a
piece of paper with the safe combination written on it; and
he recovered a cigarette butt in the computer room. Hicks
testified he interviewed Birmingham a few days later when he
got out of the hospital, and he photographed him and his
injuries at that time.
Carver, who was a member of the crime-scene search unit of
the Little Rock Police Department, testified about the manner
in which she collected evidence from Birmingham's truck
in March 2015. She described in detail the
evidence-collection process for the crime scene. In
particular, she explained about the four DNA swabs she
obtained and also about the fingerprint evidence she
collected. She testified she obtained four possible latent
fingerprints from the vehicle; initialed the cards, showing
the time, location, vehicle description, and license plate
number; and then placed them in a sealed envelope, tagged it,
and secured it in a storage locker.
Kinkaid, a latent-print examiner with the Little Rock Police
Department, testified the crime-scene search unit turns
fingerprint evidence over to her, and it is stored in
property lockers. She explained she did an analysis on some
latent fingerprint submissions from Specialist Rachel Carver;
two of the four "lifts" collected by Specialist
Carver had no value; the other two "lifts, "
however, contained fingerprints her unit determined would be
sufficient to "individualize" someone; and she
entered those two fingerprints into the Automated Fingerprint
Identification System (AFIS).
counsel called for a bench conference and objected, arguing
the State needed testimony from someone who had taken
Harrell's prints. Counsel stated that the database only
provided the fingerprint analysts with information to go get
his client's print and compare it; that the AFIS is a
database filled with fingerprints; but that there was no way
to authenticate that the print in the system actually came
from Harrell. The trial court sent the jury out and
questioned Ms. Kinkaid extensively about the AFIS system,
allowing the State and defense counsel to contribute to the
discussion. At the conclusion, the trial court ruled that Ms.
Kinkaid had followed the standard operating procedure and
that any issue that might be raised concerning whether the
AFIS print was, in fact, Mr. Harrell's print card, could
be developed and addressed in cross-examination.
subsequently testified that two prints were determined to be
sufficiently detailed in this case and were identified as
belonging to Terrell Harrell. She explained that the two
prints were located on the latent-lift cards taken from the
interior of the vehicle on the inside of the driver-side rear
window. She further explained that before a report was
finalized, another examiner always reviewed it.
Simonson, a forensic DNA examiner with the Arkansas State
Crime Lab, testified as an expert witness about the cigarette
butt that was retrieved from Birmingham's house. She
explained that there was a mixture of DNA from more than one
individual on the cigarette butt, but that the major DNA
contributor to ...