Jackson v. State, 4 Div. 388

CourtAlabama Court of Criminal Appeals
Writing for the CourtMcMILLAN; All Judges concur with BOWEN; BOWEN
Citation640 So.2d 1025
PartiesWillie Simmons JACKSON, alias Willie S. Jackson, alias Billy Boy Jackson v. STATE.
Docket Number4 Div. 388
Decision Date21 August 1992

Page 1025

640 So.2d 1025
Willie Simmons JACKSON, alias Willie S. Jackson, alias Billy Boy Jackson
v.
STATE.
4 Div. 388.
Court of Criminal Appeals of Alabama.
Aug. 21, 1992.
Rehearing Denied Nov. 25, 1992.

Page 1028

Paul Young, Enterprise, and Jackson W. Stokes, Elba, for appellant.

James H. Evans, Atty. Gen., and Cecil G. Brendle and Sandra J. Stewart, Asst. Attys. Gen., for appellee.

McMILLAN, Judge.

The appellant was charged in a 10-count indictment with capital murder, in violation of § 13A-5-40(a)(2), Code of Alabama 1975; four counts of forgery in the second degree, in violation of § 13A-9-3, Code of Alabama 1975; and four counts of possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, in violation of § 13A-9-6, Code of Alabama 1975. Following his trial, the appellant was convicted of the capital offense of murder during a robbery and four counts of forgery in the second degree. Following the sentencing hearing before the jury, the jury recommended a sentence of life imprisonment without parole, by a vote of seven to five. A separate sentencing hearing was then held before a judge, and the appellant was sentenced to 4 consecutive 15-year terms for the forgery convictions, and the judge, overriding the jury's recommendation, sentenced the appellant to death for his capital murder conviction.

In his sentencing order, the trial judge included the following facts:

"The Court finds, beyond a reasonable doubt, that on the morning of July 5, 1987, the victim, Elmo B. Roberts, was at his home located at 1019 North Claxton Avenue, Elba, Alabama. At approximately eight o'clock that morning, the eighty-seven (87) year old man was sitting alone in the den of his very small apartment.

"The Defendant called the victim to the apartment door and requested to come inside to visit with the victim. The victim had previously come to know the Defendant by casual meetings at downtown Elba, Alabama, where the victim had helped the Defendant by giving Defendant rides to several locations around town.

Page 1029

The victim, knowing Defendant, told Defendant to come in and to have a seat. Defendant came in, sat in a chair and told the victim that he (the Defendant) was very hot. Accommodatingly, the elderly victim got up and positioned a fan so as to cause it to blow on Defendant. The Defendant got up contending Defendant needed to use the bathroom. Defendant then proceeded toward the bathroom door of the small apartment and picked up a laundry iron that was used by the victim as a doorstop. The Defendant then viciously struck the victim in the head several times with the iron. The victim was beaten to the floor where he helplessly lay. Defendant then obtained a pair of scissors that were used by Defendant to cut and to slash the elderly victim's wrist and throat and the jugular-vein area. Even after all of this had occurred, the victim was observed by Defendant to be sufferingly alive. Taking a broom, Defendant struck the broom handle to the throat area of the victim with such impact that the broom handle broke. In his confession, which is part of the Record, the Defendant, referring to the victim said, 'I didn't want him to suffer.' The Defendant then robbed the victim of fifty-five ($55.00) dollars from the victim's person and also took a personal checkbook from the very small apartment's kitchen counter, which was located within ... view of where the victim's blood-soaked body lay. Beyond a reasonable doubt, the intentional murder of this victim was committed by the Defendant during and for the purpose of accomplishing the robbery of the victim. The capital offense was committed while the Defendant was engaged in the commission of robbery of the victim, Elmo B. Roberts, in the Elba division of Coffee County, Alabama.

"After accomplishing the capital offense, the Defendant fled the scene, taking with him certain of the victim's personal checks. Later that same day and in the Elba division of Coffee County, Alabama, Defendant forged four separate checks drawn on the victim's personal checking account, cashing them on separate occasions at a local eating establishment in Elba, Alabama. As the spotlight began to focus, Defendant was brought to the police station for questioning. He was advised of his rights and made knowledgeable, intelligent and voluntary waivers of those rights. Initially denying any participation in the crimes, Defendant made a knowing, voluntary and intelligent confession some two days after Defendant had first been questioned. The confession was taped and was reduced to writing. The taped confession was admitted into evidence and was heard by the Court and by the jury at trial.

"Dr. Alfredo Paredes, a Board Certified Forensic Pathologist, testified that the victim died as a result of multiple, blunt/sharp force trauma to the head, neck, and upper extremities with evidence of hemorrhagic shock, secondary laceration of the large blood vessels of the left side of the neck with circumstantial evidence of exsanguination. Dr. Alfredo Paredes further testified that in his expert opinion the victim suffered substantial pain before ultimately dying."

I

The appellant argues that the trial court erred in failing to exclude the State's evidence at the close of its case-in-chief, because, he says, the State failed to present sufficient evidence to prove every element of the offenses charged. The appellant also alleges as error the trial court's use of the word "scintilla," in denying the appellant's motion for judgment of acquittal. These allegations raised by the appellant will be addressed as three subissues: whether sufficient evidence was presented to sustain the appellant's capital murder conviction; whether sufficient evidence was presented to sustain the appellant's forgery convictions; and whether the trial court's use of the word "scintilla" constituted reversible error.

A

The appellant argues that the evidence presented by the State did not sufficiently link him to the commission of the capital murder. The record indicates that, before resting its case, the State presented evidence concerning the facts surrounding the victim's death, including the theft of certain checks

Page 1030

and cash and the cause of his death. The State also introduced into evidence the appellant's statement, in which he confessed to having committed the offense and stated the details of the act. The State presented evidence, through the testimony of the victim's son and a bank employee, that the appellant was not authorized to write checks on the victim's account. Evidence was also introduced that only three parties were so authorized. The bank employee also testified that he recognized the signature on one of the checks cashed by the appellant as a forgery and that he had compared the signature on that check to the authorized signatures on the signature card related to the account on which the check was written, which was kept by the bank. The State also presented testimony from an employee of Hardee's restaurant that she had accepted one of these forged checks in the amount of $20, which was more than the amount of the purchase, from the appellant. She was also present when the appellant presented another check for payment in an amount over the purchase price at the restaurant. Four checks were cashed by the appellant at Hardee's restaurant. The witness further testified that she deposited the four forged checks, each made out to "Hardee's" for $20. She testified that the appellant was a regular customer and that he appeared to be in a hurry when he presented the check to her on the day of the offense. An examiner of latent fingerprints testified that she examined the four checks and compared them to the appellant's fingerprint card from the Coffee County jail, and that she found latent prints belonging to the appellant on three of the four forged checks. Moreover, the State presented evidence that a partially burned checkbook was found at the appellant's residence.

" ' "The role of appellate courts is not to say what the facts are. Our role, ... is to judge whether the evidence is legally sufficient to allow submission of an issue for decision to the jury." Ex parte Bankston, 358 So.2d 1040, 1042 (Ala.1978). An appellate court may interfere with the jury's verdict only where it reaches "a clear conclusion that the finding and judgment are wrong." Kelly v. State, 273 Ala. 240, 244, 139 So.2d 326 (1962). "The rule is clearly established in this State that a verdict of conviction should not be set aside on the ground of the insufficiency of the evidence to sustain the verdict, unless, after allowing all reasonable presumptions of its correctness, the preponderance of the evidence against the verdict is so decided as to clearly convince the court that it was wrong and unjust." Bridges v. State, 284 Ala. 412, 420, 225 So.2d 821 (1969). Even though an appellate court should "marvel that a jury would convict upon such flimsy proof," it is "not permitted to pass upon the weight or sufficiency of the evidence, where it may yield any rational inference of guilt." Toles v. State, 170 Ala. 99, 100, 54 So. 511 (1911). A verdict on conflicting evidence is conclusive on appeal. Roberson v. State, 162 Ala. 30, 50 So. 345 (1909). "[W]here there is ample evidence offered by the State to support a verdict it should not be overturned even though the evidence offered by the defendant is in sharp conflict therewith and presents a substantial defense." Fuller v. State, 269 Ala. 312, 333, 113 So.2d 153 (1959), cert. denied, Fuller v. Alabama, 361 U.S. 936, 80 S.Ct. 380, 4 L.Ed.2d 358 (1960).' Granger [v. State, 473 So.2d 1137, 1139 (Ala.Cr.App.1985) ].

"Where a defendant's conviction is based solely on circumstantial evidence, 'if the circumstances can be reconciled with the theory that someone else may have done the act, then the conviction is due to be reversed.' Ex parte Brown, 499 So.2d 787, 788 (Ala.1986) (emphasis in...

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12 practice notes
  • Benjamin v. State, CR–10–1832.
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • December 20, 2013
    ...has been previously held to be a race-neutral reason for a strike. Jackson v. State, 549 So.2d 616 (Ala.Cr.App.1989).’ Jackson v. State, [640 So.2d 1025] (Ala.Cr.App.1992), remanded on related grounds, [640 So.2d 1050] (Ala.1993). See also Avery v. State, 545 So.2d 123, 126 (Ala.Cr.App.1988......
  • Thomas v. State
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • September 4, 1998
    ...but is generally regarded as only intended as an aid to the court in determining whether the trial should proceed.'" Jackson v. State, 640 So.2d 1025, 1046 (Ala.Cr.App.1992) (quoting Annotation: Criminal Law—psychiatric examination, 32 A.L.R.2d 434 453 (1953)), aff'd, 672 So.2d 810 (Ala.199......
  • Rieber v. State, CR-91-1500
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • June 17, 1994
    ...jury's] recommendation is adequately stressed.' " Harich v. Wainwright, 813 F.2d 1082, 1101 (11th Cir.1987).' " ' " Jackson v. State, 640 So.2d 1025 (Ala.Crim.App.1992). In this case, the trial court merely mentioned that the jury's verdict was advisory and was not binding on the court. The......
  • Benjamin v. State, CR-10-1832
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • December 20, 2013
    ...been previously held to be a race-neutral reason for a strike. Jackson v. State, 549 So. 2d 616 (Ala. Cr. App. 1989).' Jackson v. State, [640 So. 2d 1025] (Ala. Cr. App. 1992), remanded on related grounds, [640 So. 2d 1050] (Ala. 1993). See also Avery v. State, 545 So. 2d 123, 126 (Ala. Cr.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
12 cases
  • Benjamin v. State, CR–10–1832.
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • December 20, 2013
    ...has been previously held to be a race-neutral reason for a strike. Jackson v. State, 549 So.2d 616 (Ala.Cr.App.1989).’ Jackson v. State, [640 So.2d 1025] (Ala.Cr.App.1992), remanded on related grounds, [640 So.2d 1050] (Ala.1993). See also Avery v. State, 545 So.2d 123, 126 (Ala.Cr.App.1988......
  • Thomas v. State
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • September 4, 1998
    ...but is generally regarded as only intended as an aid to the court in determining whether the trial should proceed.'" Jackson v. State, 640 So.2d 1025, 1046 (Ala.Cr.App.1992) (quoting Annotation: Criminal Law—psychiatric examination, 32 A.L.R.2d 434 453 (1953)), aff'd, 672 So.2d 810 (Ala.199......
  • Rieber v. State, CR-91-1500
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • June 17, 1994
    ...jury's] recommendation is adequately stressed.' " Harich v. Wainwright, 813 F.2d 1082, 1101 (11th Cir.1987).' " ' " Jackson v. State, 640 So.2d 1025 (Ala.Crim.App.1992). In this case, the trial court merely mentioned that the jury's verdict was advisory and was not binding on the court. The......
  • Benjamin v. State, CR-10-1832
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • December 20, 2013
    ...been previously held to be a race-neutral reason for a strike. Jackson v. State, 549 So. 2d 616 (Ala. Cr. App. 1989).' Jackson v. State, [640 So. 2d 1025] (Ala. Cr. App. 1992), remanded on related grounds, [640 So. 2d 1050] (Ala. 1993). See also Avery v. State, 545 So. 2d 123, 126 (Ala. Cr.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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