State v. Arnold, No. 25892.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Citation605 S.E.2d 529,361 S.C. 386
Docket NumberNo. 25892.
Decision Date08 November 2004
PartiesThe STATE, Petitioner, v. Eddie Lee ARNOLD, Respondent.

361 S.C. 386
605 S.E.2d 529

The STATE, Petitioner,
v.
Eddie Lee ARNOLD, Respondent

No. 25892.

Supreme Court of South Carolina.

Heard January 6, 2004.

Decided November 8, 2004.

Rehearing Denied December 14, 2004.


361 S.C. 387
Attorney General Henry Dargan McMaster, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Donald J. Zelenka, and Assistant Attorney General Derrick K. McFarland, of Columbia; and Solicitor Randolph Murdaugh, III, of Hampton, for petitioner

Scott M. Merrifield and J. Brent Kiker, both of Kiker & Douds, P.A., of Beaufort; and Samuel C. Bauer, of Hilton Head Island, for respondent.

Justice MOORE:

Respondent Eddie Lee Arnold was convicted of murdering Dr. Jennings Cox of Savannah, Georgia. The State appeals the Court of Appeals' decision1 reversing the denial of a directed verdict of acquittal. We affirm.

361 S.C. 388
FACTS

Dr. Cox was missing for three days when his body was found off a dirt road near I-95 in Colleton County on June 21, 1997. He had been shot twice, once in the head and once in the chest. Although both bullets exited the victim's body, no projectiles or human tissue were found at the scene, nor was there any blood spattering or evidence of a struggle. The victim had no wallet or identification but he was still wearing a watch and gold ring.

The last day Dr. Cox was seen alive was June 18. He went to his office in Savannah that morning where he saw patients as a child psychologist. Because his car was being repaired, his wife drove him to work. Between 10:30 and 11:00 a.m., Dr. Cox borrowed a colleague's car to go to a dentist appointment. The car was a nearly-new BMW Z3 two-seater, a car Dr. Cox had never borrowed before.

Dr. Cox never returned to the office. At about 1:20 p.m., he called his secretary and she cancelled his remaining appointments. Dr. Cox withdrew money from an ATM at a Hardeeville bank that day.2 His wife paged him every half-hour from about 2:30 until 5:30 p.m. without success. She then filed a missing persons report.

Shortly thereafter, Dr. Cox's office manager discovered a floppy disk marked "personal" lying on Dr. Cox's computer. After viewing the data contained on the disk, she contacted police. The information on the disk included the name of Bobby Ray Ware who was subsequently interviewed by police.

Ware was the State's chief witness at trial. He testified he was employed as a long-distance truck driver and lived in Savannah. He had had a sexual relationship with Dr. Cox for more than a year but knew him only by the name "Jay." They first met at a rest area on I-95 when "Jay" performed oral sex on him. After that, "Jay" would come to Ware's house about once a week for sex. Because Ware knew "Jay" liked to have sex with truckers, on the weekend of June 14-15 he introduced "Jay" to respondent who was staying with Ware. That weekend, "Jay" and respondent had sex at Ware's house.

361 S.C. 389
Ware also testified he had seen respondent in possession of a gun while respondent was staying with him

Ware left at 6:00 a.m. the following Tuesday, June 17, to drive to Chicago. Respondent was still staying at Ware's residence. On June 19, Ware received a message from respondent to call him at a phone number in Tennessee. Ware later contacted respondent at a phone number identified as belonging to respondent's father who lived in Gray, Tennessee.

Meanwhile, on June 20, the borrowed BMW was found in a parking lot in Johnson City, Tennessee. There was no blood in the car. When recovered, it had some unspecified scratches on it. The only evidence found in the car was a fingerprint on a tab from a coffee cup lid found in the center compartment between the seats. The fingerprint was identified as respondent's right thumbprint.

Respondent was arrested at his father's house in Tennessee on June 27. The State's theory of the case was that respondent and Dr. Cox drove to the woods where respondent shot Dr. Cox while Dr. Cox was kneeling "either by force or for sex." Respondent then drove the car to Tennessee and stopped for coffee on the way.

ISSUE

Was there any substantial evidence to submit the case to the jury?

DISCUSSION

The Court of Appeals majority...

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41 practice notes
  • State v. Moore, No. 4247.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • May 18, 2007
    ...court should grant a directed verdict motion when the evidence merely raises a suspicion that the accused is guilty. State v. Arnold, 361 S.C. 386, 605 S.E.2d 529 (2004); State v. Schrock, 283 S.C. 129, 132, 322 S.E.2d 450, 452 (1984); State v. Horne, 324 S.C. 372, 379, 478 S.E.2d 289, 293 ......
  • State v. Brannon, No. 4428.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • July 18, 2008
    ...The trial court should grant a directed verdict when the evidence merely raises a suspicion that the defendant is guilty. State v. Arnold, 361 S.C. 386, 390, 605 S.E.2d 529, 531 (2004); State v. Schrock, 283 S.C. 129, 132, 322 S.E.2d 450, 452 (1984); State v. Horne, 324 S.C. 372, 379, 478 S......
  • State v. Lee-Grigg, No. 4237.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • April 16, 2007
    ...The trial court should grant a directed verdict when the evidence merely raises a suspicion that the defendant is guilty. State v. Arnold, 361 S.C. 386, 390, 605 S.E.2d 529, 531 (2004). "Suspicion" implies a belief or opinion as to guilt based upon facts or circumstances which do not amount......
  • State v. Dantonio, No. 4333.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • January 16, 2008
    ...(2003). A directed verdict motion should be granted when the evidence merely raises a suspicion of the accused's guilt. State v. Arnold, 361 S.C. 386, 390, 605 S.E.2d 529, 531 (2004); State v. Stanley, 365 S.C. 24, 42, 615 S.E.2d 455, 464 When reviewing a denial of a directed verdict, an ap......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
41 cases
  • State v. Moore, No. 4247.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • May 18, 2007
    ...court should grant a directed verdict motion when the evidence merely raises a suspicion that the accused is guilty. State v. Arnold, 361 S.C. 386, 605 S.E.2d 529 (2004); State v. Schrock, 283 S.C. 129, 132, 322 S.E.2d 450, 452 (1984); State v. Horne, 324 S.C. 372, 379, 478 S.E.2d 289, 293 ......
  • State v. Brannon, No. 4428.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • July 18, 2008
    ...The trial court should grant a directed verdict when the evidence merely raises a suspicion that the defendant is guilty. State v. Arnold, 361 S.C. 386, 390, 605 S.E.2d 529, 531 (2004); State v. Schrock, 283 S.C. 129, 132, 322 S.E.2d 450, 452 (1984); State v. Horne, 324 S.C. 372, 379, 478 S......
  • State v. Lee-Grigg, No. 4237.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • April 16, 2007
    ...The trial court should grant a directed verdict when the evidence merely raises a suspicion that the defendant is guilty. State v. Arnold, 361 S.C. 386, 390, 605 S.E.2d 529, 531 (2004). "Suspicion" implies a belief or opinion as to guilt based upon facts or circumstances which do not amount......
  • State v. Dantonio, No. 4333.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • January 16, 2008
    ...(2003). A directed verdict motion should be granted when the evidence merely raises a suspicion of the accused's guilt. State v. Arnold, 361 S.C. 386, 390, 605 S.E.2d 529, 531 (2004); State v. Stanley, 365 S.C. 24, 42, 615 S.E.2d 455, 464 When reviewing a denial of a directed verdict, an ap......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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