FROM THE CRITTENDEN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 18CR-17-848]
HONORABLE RANDY F. PHILHOURS, JUDGE
Standridge, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Jason Michael Johnson,
Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.
KENNETH S. HIXSON, JUDGE
Tanisha Gillard was convicted in a jury trial of
second-degree murder. The victim was Wesley Booker, who died
as a result of multiple stab and cutting wounds. Tanisha was
sentenced to ten years in prison in addition to a five-year
enhancement for committing the crime in the presence of a
now appeals, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to
support her second-degree murder conviction. Tanisha argues
that the State failed to prove that she had the required
mental state to commit the offense. She further argues that
the State did not disprove her claim that she acted in
self-defense. We affirm.
Arkansas Code Annotated section 5-10-103(a) (Repl. 2013)
(a) A person commits murder in the second degree if:
(1) The person knowingly causes the death of another person
under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the
value of human life; or
(2) With the purpose of causing serious physical injury to
another person, the person causes the death of any person.
reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence,
this court determines whether the verdict is supported by
substantial evidence, direct or circumstantial. Medlock
v. State, 2016 Ark.App. 282, 493 S.W.3d 789. Substantial
evidence is evidence forceful enough to compel a conclusion
one way or the other beyond suspicion or conjecture.
Id. We review the evidence in the light most
favorable to the State, considering only the evidence that
supports the verdict. Davis v. State, 2016 Ark.App.
274, 493 S.W.3d 339. Weighing the evidence, reconciling
conflicts in the testimony, and assessing credibility are all
matters exclusively for the trier of fact, in this case the
morning of September 2, 2017, Tanisha Gillard was at her home
taking care of Wesley Booker's infant daughter.
Frustrated that Wesley had not picked the child up from her
home, Tanisha texted Wesley and informed him that she was
taking the child to Wesley's mother's apartment.
Wesley was in the area, and he followed Tanisha as she drove
the child there. The two exchanged contentious text messages
and continued to argue after they arrived at the apartment
complex. During the argument, Tanisha stabbed Wesley
repeatedly, causing him to drop the child. Wesley was able to
remove himself from the struggle, and he took his daughter
and attempted to drive away. Wesley, however, drove about
ninety yards before stopping the vehicle and succumbing to
the wounds inflicted by Tanisha.
the police arrived, Tanisha spoke to the police about the
incident, and she later gave a custodial statement. Tanisha
admitted stabbing Wesley, but she told the police that she
did so because he had attacked her. Tanisha told the police
that when Wesley exited his car, he punched her in the left
eye. Tanisha further stated that Wesley dragged her across
the pavement while stomping on her and hitting her. Tanisha
told the police that while she was being assaulted by Wesley,
she "picked up a piece of glass or something" and
stabbed him with it. Tanisha told the police she did not know
where the object was that she had stabbed Wesley with, and
after searching the area the police did not recover any
weapon. Tanisha denied that she had used a knife. Tanisha
maintained that she was scared and did not mean to hurt
John Lewis, who responded to the scene, testified that
Tanisha's left eye was a little watery, she had a very
small scrape on one of her knuckles, and she had small
scratches on her shin. Other than that, he saw no injuries.
Officer Lewis stated that Tanisha did not have torn clothes
or dirt on her to indicate that she had been fighting.
Officer Luke Davis, who was also at the scene, testified that
Tanisha kept claiming she was injured and needed an ambulance
but he did not see evidence that she was injured. Officer
Bobby Morgan took Tanisha's custodial statement, and he
saw no evidence that she had been attacked as she claimed.
Mandy Childress, a medical assistant at the county jail,