FROM THE WASHINGTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 72CR-15-2035-7]
HONORABLE JOANNA TAYLOR, JUDGE
R. Raupp, Arkansas Public Defender Commission, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Chris R. Warthen, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
K. WOOD, Associate Justice
convicted Mark Chumley of capital murder and sentenced him to
life imprisonment. Chumley's single argument on appeal is
that the circuit court should have granted his
directed-verdict motion because there was insufficient
evidence that he was guilty of either capital or first-degree
murder as felony murder during a rape or an attempted rape or
intentional murder. We affirm.
lived in Fayetteville with his girlfriend, Rebecca Lloyd, and
her three children. John (Chris) and Tori Davis also resided
with them. Allegations of sexual abuse and environmental
neglect had been lodged against Rebecca. Investigators
inquired into the allegations, which upset Chumley, who
believed someone was trying to set him up for the sexual
abuse of Rebecca's daughter. Chumley blamed Tori for the
told Chris that Tori was cheating on him. Both men began
hitting her with baseball bats. Later, Chumley called
Christopher and Desire Treat to come over to the house.
Christopher and Desire had a history of animosity toward
Tori. When Christopher and Desire arrived, Chumley encouraged
them also to strike Tori with baseball bats. While the four
took turns beating Tori, Chumley repeatedly asked her about
calling the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS).
Chumley also questioned Tori about what she knew of his own
daughter's rape. When Tori hesitated, Chumley would
strike her across the knees with a bat. Anytime Chris or
Christopher hesitated in striking Tori, Chumley would remind
them of the things she had done to them.
point, Tori fell off the porch. She was then dragged into the
driveway, causing her pants to come off. Chumley instructed
the others to retrieve a battery charger, and he attached the
jumper cable clips to Tori's nipples. He then shocked her
for several minutes. Chumley also told the others to shove a
baseball bat inside her vagina. When Desire told Chumley that
it "wasn't going to work," Chumley told Chris
to retrieve some chainsaw oil from the house to use as a
lubricant. He told Desire to pour the oil inside her and try
to insert the bat again. Desire and Chumley again tried to
insert the bat into Tori's vagina while the others held
her down and kept her legs open.
group then carried Tori to another house on the property.
Once inside, Chumley injected Tori with a white substance he
took from a Mountain Dew bottle before leaving. Tori died
from her injuries. Chumley then directed Chris and
Christopher to burn the evidence. The following day, Chumley
called 911. During the call, Chris got on the phone and told
the operator that he had killed Tori because she was
threatening to divorce him. Police who arrived on the scene
thought Chumley was acting erratically and trying to prevent
them from talking to his accomplices separately.
State pursued charges against Chumley, Chris, Christopher,
and Desire. Chumley's accomplices all pleaded guilty and
received term-of-years sentences and testified at
Chumley's trial. The court instructed the jury under two
types of capital murder and first-degree murder-felony murder
with the underlying felony of rape or attempted rape and
intentional murder. The jury convicted Chumley of capital
murder and sentenced him to life imprisonment without parole.
Sufficiency of the Evidence
argues that the circuit court should have granted his
directed-verdict motion on the capital- and first-degree
murder charges. He asserts that the State presented
insufficient evidence that he committed felony murder during
a rape or an attempted rape or intentional murder.
evaluate the denial of a directed-verdict motion as a
challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. Taylor v.
State, 2010 Ark. 372, at 11, 372 S.W.3d 769, 776. In
reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, we
determine whether the verdict is supported by substantial
evidence, direct or circumstantial. Id. Substantial
evidence is evidence forceful enough to compel a conclusion
one way or the other beyond suspicion or conjecture.
Id. We ...