FROM THE GRANT COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. 27CR-18-7. HONORABLE
CHRIS E WILLIAMS, JUDGE.
Ann Schmutzler, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Michael L. Yarbrough, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
BART F. VIRDEN, Judge. GLADWIN and VAUGHT, JJ., agree.
F. VIRDEN, Judge
Grant County jury found appellant Anthony Bens guilty of
possession of a firearm by certain persons (felon) and
with evidence. The jury sentenced Bens as a habitual offender
to seven years' imprisonment, and he was fined $300 for
the misdemeanor offense of tampering with evidence. Bens
challenges only the possession-of-a-firearm conviction and
argues that the evidence was insufficient to support the
conviction. We affirm.
following is a summary of the testimony at trial. On December
21, 2017, law enforcement officers responded to a report of
two males fighting in the street. When the officers arrived
at the scene, two men were in the street and began walking
toward a vehicle parked at the entrance to an apartment
complex. Deputy David Ponder with the Grant County
Sheriff's Department testified that, when he arrived at
the scene with his blue lights on, Bens had " [given
him] a wave" and had gotten into his vehicle. Deputy
Ponder ordered him to get out of the vehicle, but Bens did
not comply until after the second command. Officer Danny
Clark with the Sheridan Police Department, looking through
the open window on the passenger's side of the car,
noticed a " blunt" on the console. Corporal Tommy
Holcomb with the Grant County Sheriff's Department
confirmed that it was a marijuana " blunt," but he
also saw an open gun case on the passenger's seat. There
was a loaded magazine in the gun case, but there was no gun.
When Corporal Holcomb asked Bens about the blunt, Bens ran
around to the driver's side of the car. With the officers
yelling at him not to get in the car, and even drawing their
weapons, Bens opened the driver's-side door, grabbed the
blunt, and ate it. Corporal Holcomb then saw part of a
handgun under the driver's seat. Bens was arrested,
and Corporal Holcomb secured the firearm— a .40-caliber
Glock— which was loaded with a full magazine and a
cartridge in the chamber. A video of the incident was played
for the jury. Defense counsel moved for a directed verdict,
and the trial court denied it as to the
Catherine Winfrey, Bens's mother, testified that the
title to the vehicle in which the firearm was found is in her
name but that Letitia Cranford, Bens's fiancee, is the
one who primarily drives the car. Cranford testified that she
had asked Bens to take her to work that day because it was
foggy. She said that she had bought the firearm for
protection and kept it under the driver's seat. She said
that she typically puts the gun back into its case and takes
the case inside her house but that she had forgotten to do
that the night before Bens was stopped by police because she
had gotten home so late. Bens testified ...