FROM THE CRAWFORD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 17CR-17-1253],
HONORABLE MICHAEL MEDLOCK, JUDGE
Standridge, for appellant.
Rutledge, Atty Gen., by: Brooke Jackson Gasaway, Asst Atty
Gen., for appellee.
T. WHITEAKER, Judge
Christopher Hooten was convicted by a Crawford County jury of
aggravated assault, first-degree criminal mischief, resisting
arrest, and fleeing (both on foot and by vehicle) and was
sentenced as a habitual offender. Hooten appeals only his
criminal-mischief and resisting-arrest convictions, claiming
that the trial court erred in denying his motions for a
directed verdict on those charges. We affirm.
appeal, a motion for directed verdict is treated as a
challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. Robinson v.
State, 2017 Ark.App. 689, 537 S.W.3d 765. When the
sufficiency of the evidence is challenged, we view the
evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict and
consider only the evidence supporting it under our standard
of review. Groomes v. State, 2019 Ark.App. 408, 586
S.W.3d 196. We will affirm if the finding of guilt is
supported by substantial evidence. Id. Substantial
evidence is evidence of such 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. With this standard in mind, we turn
to review the evidence presented to the jury.
November 22, 2017, Hooten was involved in a high-speed chase
on Interstate 40. State Trooper Ben Ibarra initially clocked
Hootens vehicle traveling 87 miles per hour. Trooper Ibarra
activated his blue lights and attempted a traffic stop.
Hooten refused to pull over, and a chase ensued. During the
chase, Hootens speed fluctuated between 80 and 130 miles per
hour. Trooper John Bass joined the pursuit. Because Hooten
refused to stop, troopers then deployed spike strips along
the interstate to deflate the tires on Hootens vehicle.
After hitting the spike strips, Hooten continued to travel
over 90 miles per hour on the vehicles rims. When the
deployment of spike strips did not work, Trooper Bass
attempted to drive in front of Hooten to box him in, hoping
to force him to slow down and come to a stop. Instead of
slowing down or stopping, Hooten attempted to pass Trooper
Bass. When he was unable to do so, he rammed Trooper Basss
car multiple times. Eventually, the troopers decided to
perform a PIT maneuver to end the pursuit. Trooper
Bass executed the maneuver, which caused Hootens vehicle to
stop in the median ditch.
his vehicle immobilized, Hooten exited the vehicle and fled
on foot across the eastbound traffic. Trooper Ibarra followed
with his gun drawn. When Hooten reached a tree line across
the interstate, he encountered a fence. He stopped and turned
to face Trooper Ibarra. Trooper Ibarra holstered his weapon
and attempted to restrain him. Hooten refused to comply, and
a struggle ensued. During the scuffle, Trooper Ibarra and
Hooten fell to the ground. The scuffle continued on the
ground, making it difficult for Trooper Ibarra to place
Hooten in handcuffs. At some point during the struggle with
Hooten, Trooper Ibarras microphone clip broke off his belt.
Hooten was eventually subdued and placed under arrest.
Trooper Bass had the damage to the passenger door of his
vehicle repaired with the costs exceeding $2,000. Based on
this evidence, the jury convicted Hooten of aggravated
assault, first-degree criminal mischief, resisting arrest,
and fleeing (both on foot and by vehicle).
appeal, Hooten challenges only his convictions for criminal
mischief and resisting arrest, contending that the State
failed to present sufficient evidence to support either
conviction. A person commits criminal mischief in
the first degree if he or she "purposely and without
legal justification destroys or causes damage to any property
of another." Ark. Code Ann. § 5-38-203(a)(1) (Repl.
2013). This offense is a Class D felony if the amount of
actual damage is more than $1,000 but less than $5,000. Ark.
Code Ann. § 5-38-203(b)(2). A person commits the offense of
resisting arrest if he knowingly resists a person known by
him to be a law enforcement officer effecting an arrest. Ark.
Code Ann. § 5-54-103(a)(1) (Repl. 2016).
his criminal-mischief conviction, Hooten argues that the
State failed to sufficiently prove the amount of damages to
the vehicle or that he acted purposely in causing the damage.
More specifically, he claims that Trooper Bass did not
testify to the actual dollar amount of the cost for repairs
made to the damaged vehicle, and because no other evidence of
the cost of repairs was introduced, there was insufficient
evidence to support the conviction of criminal mischief.
Admittedly, Trooper Bass did not testify to an actual dollar
amount of the repair costs. He did, however, testify that he
took the car to be repaired and that it cost over $2,000 to
repair the vehicle. Trooper Basss testimony alone as to the
cost of repairs was sufficient to support the verdict.
See White v. State, 2012 Ark.App. 302, 2012
WL 1526791; Andrews v. State, 2012 Ark.App. 597, 424
S.W.3d 349. Therefore, his argument fails in this respect.
argues that the State failed to present sufficient evidence
that he purposely caused damage to the patrol car driven by
Trooper Bass. He claims he was not purposely trying to cause
damage to the vehicle; he was simply attempting to flee the
traffic stop. We are not persuaded.
Hooten engaged in a high-speed chase with speeds in excess of
90 miles an hour. When officers attempted to slow him down,
he rammed his vehicle into Trooper Basss car, not once, but
three separate times. By statutory provision, a person acts
purposely with respect to his or her conduct or a result of
his or her conduct when it is the persons conscious object
to engage in conduct of that nature or to cause the result.
Ark. Code Ann. § 5-2-202(1) (Repl. 2013). Further, we have
held that it is axiomatic that one is presumed to intend the
natural and probable consequences of his or her actions and
that a criminal defendants intent or state of mind will
usually be inferred from the circumstances of the crime,
since it is seldom capable of proof by direct evidence.
Stearns v. State, 2017 Ark.App. 472, 529 S.W.3d 654.
Since Hooten did not stop until his vehicle was disabled, and
he continued to flee on foot afterward, the jury could
properly infer that Hooten acted purposely when he hit and
damaged Trooper Basss vehicle in his attempt to evade the
Hooten argues that there was insufficient evidence to convict
him of resisting arrest. Specifically, he argues that the
State failed to prove he used or threatened to use physical
force or any other means that created a substantial risk of
physical injury to any person. Ark. Code Ann. §
5-54-103(a)(2) (Repl. 2016). He notes that physical injury is
defined as the impairment of physical condition, the
infliction of substantial pain, or the infliction of
bruising, swelling, or a visible mark associated with
physical trauma. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-1-102(14)(A)-(C) ...