FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST DIVISION [NO.
60CR-16-3512] HONORABLE LEON JOHNSON, JUDGE
William R. Simpson, Jr., Public Defender, by: Clint Miller,
Deputy Public Defender, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Vada Berger, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
Nelson was convicted in a bench trial of residential burglary
and theft by receiving for which he was sentenced as a
habitual offender to an aggregate sentence of ten years'
incarceration in the Arkansas Department of Correction. On
appeal, Nelson argues that the evidence was insufficient to
sustain his conviction for residential burglary. We affirm.
following evidence was introduced by the State at
Nelson's trial. April Goff testified that she was sitting
on the front porch of her mother's house when she heard a
pounding noise coming from a house down the street. The house
was between fifty and one hundred yards from her mother's
front porch. She explained that she looked and saw the garage
door shaking and noticed there was a white SUV backed into
the driveway. She thought it unusual because she had never
seen a car that big outside of that house. Goff called 911
and described the scene. She then saw three men enter the
house, then come out; one man put a flat-screen television in
the back of the SUV. While she could not identify a face, she
was certain she knew what two of the men were wearing. She
described one as
a gentleman that was wearing, like, all blue, kind of like
Kentucky blue, the color [of] the Kentucky Wildcat basketball
game. My husband's from Kentucky. The shorts, the shirt
and everything was this blue color and then there was also a
ball cap. He was wearing all the same shade of blue shorts,
hat and-all very similar shades of blue.
Kenny Baer of the Little Rock Police Department testified
that he responded to a radio call that described the burglary
and provided a vague description of the suspects and the
vehicle. In response, Baer and his partner canvassed the
neighborhood and later observed a vehicle matching that
description. The partners maintained surveillance from a
couple of blocks away and while doing so, also observed three
men coming back to the vehicle, putting a television inside,
and then driving away from the residence. Baer also
identified one of the men as wearing all blue, which
corroborated what Goff had described. Baer then contacted
marked patrol units that were in the area to have them
initiate a traffic stop.
officers nearby stopped the vehicle and took the driver and
one of the passengers into custody. The driver was wearing
all blue and was identified as Nelson. When Baer arrived at
the location of the traffic stop, a flat-screen television
was in plain view in the back of the SUV. Assorted tools
including bolt cutters, a hammer, wire snaps, and a pry tool
were also recovered from the vehicle.
Lindsay, the owner of the house at issue, testified that the
flat-screen television found in the white SUV driven by
Nelson was his television. Lindsay further testified that he
did not know Nelson and that Nelson did not have permission
to be in his house.
the State rested, Nelson moved for a directed verdict based
on insufficient evidence. The circuit court denied the
motion. Nelson did not call any witnesses and renewed his
directed-verdict motion. The circuit court denied that motion
as well, and he was convicted of the crime. He now timely
appeal, a motion for directed verdict is treated as a
challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. See
Martinez v. State, 2018 Ark.App. 187, at 3, 545 S.W.3d
264, 265. This court views the evidence in the light most
favorable to the State and affirms if there is substantial
evidence to support the verdict. 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. This court does not weigh the
evidence presented at trial or assess the credibility of the
witnesses because those are matters for the fact-finder.
Id. The trier of fact is free to believe all or part
of any witness's testimony and may resolve questions of
conflicting testimony and inconsistent evidence. Id.
Only evidence supporting the verdict will be considered.
Id. at 4, 545 S.W.3d at 265 (citing Leaks v.
State, 345 Ark. 182, 185, 45 S.W.3d 363, 365 (2001)).
evidence may not provide the sole basis for a criminal
conviction if it can be reconciled with the theory that
someone other than the defendant committed the crime or that
there was no crime committed at all. Henson v.
State, 2014 Ark.App. 703, at 4, 450 S.W.3d 677, 679-80.
The circumstances relied on by the State "must be so
connected and cogent as to show guilt to a moral certainty
and must exclude every other reasonable hypothesis than that
of guilt of the accused." Id.
sole point on appeal is that the evidence was insufficient to
support his conviction for residential burglary. He
specifically argues that the State failed to prove that he
entered Lindsay's residence. He asserts that his
proximity in time to the burglary and theft was not
sufficient to prove his guilt because he was not stopped by
the police until an hour after Goff had reported the crime.