State v. Castaldi

Citation386 S.W.2d 392
Decision Date08 February 1965
Docket NumberNo. 1,No. 50767,50767,1
PartiesSTATE of Missouri, Respondent, v. Alphonse Vincent CASTALDI, Appellant
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri

Thomas F. Eagleton, Atty. Gen., Thomas J. Downey, Asst. Atty. Gen., Jefferson City, for respondent.

O'Hanlon & Daly, Robert J. O'Hanlon, Richard L. Daly, St. Louis, for appellant.

HOUSER, Commissioner.

Alphonse Vincent Castaldi and Clinton Edward Hawkins were jointly charged with, jointly tried, and each was convicted of tampering with a motor vehicle. This is an appeal by defendant Castaldi from the judgment sentencing him to 3 years' imprisonment in the penitentiary.

The vital question on this appeal is whether the state's evidence was sufficient to make a case for the jury.

A fire in the woods a quarter or half mile from Camp Sunnen, a Boy Scout camp in Washington County, was called to the attention of the director of the camp, Clayton Breihan. Investigating, Breihan walked along a fire trail in the direction of the smoke. In the woods he came upon a fairly new Ford automobile, sitting or parked on the fire trail, with its front and rear windows out. Proceeding through the woods he observed and recognized Edward Hawkins walking on the trial, in the direction away from and some 50 to 75 feet distant from the fire, which was near Hawkins' cabin. Looking through the dense underbrush and trees he 'could just make out' two other men who were close to and within a few feet of the fire. Suspicious, Breihan returned to the camp and called a deputy sheriff. Fifteen to twenty minutes later, returning to the place in the company of the deputy, they found Hawkins, Castaldi, and one Pinson. They observed the remains of a new 1963 Ford automobile body which had been cut to pieces and from which the parts apparently had been removed. It was smoking. There was no blaze then but the body had been burning. Only the top and a portion of the body remained. Near the smoking body--within 5-7 feet--there was an acetylene torch equipped with a set of hoses and tanks. Hawkins and Castaldi were standing 'fairly close by' the smoking body, in 'very close proximity'--within 10 feet, perhaps three or four feet from it. Pinson was kneeling down or crouching, cutting the smoking body with the acetylene torch. The deputy asked Hawkins what he was doing. Hawkins answered that he was cutting up, getting rid of the parts of, a junker or wreck. Breihan testified that Hawkins said 'something to the effect that they were cutting up a junker or a wreck, * * *.' Castaldi was 'just standing there.' The deputy did not speak to Castaldi and had no conversation with him. There is no evidence that Castaldi said or did anything except stand there. After 3-5 minutes the deputy and Breihan drove on to the location of the other car Breihan had seen on his first trip into the woods. Several seconds after the deputy disappeared into the woods Pinson said he was leaving. Castaldi asked him where he was going and he said that he was going into Rolla. Castaldi rode along with him. Hawkins said he was going to stay and 'find out what's going on.' Castaldi was later arrested on the highway.

Several days before the day in question Hawkins asked one Gibson, an employee of Western Auto Store at Potosi in the same county, for the loan of a cutting torch. Hawkins was accompanied by a man whom Gibson could not identify as Castaldi. Gibson did not lend Hawkins a torch. Shortly before the day in question Bohannon sold a large oxygen tank and a small acetylene tank to a man who gave his name as Edward Hawkins. This man was accompanied by two men whom Bohannon could not identify.

The Ford that was destroyed was identified as the property of a car dealer whose place of business was located in St. Louis. The Ford was supposed to be on his new car lot there. The car dealer had given no one permission to remove it from the lot or to dismantle and cut it up.

Castaldi, previously convicted of receiving stolen property testified that he had known Hawkins three years; that he had not previously known Pinson; that he, Pinson and Hawkins had driven in Pinson's automobile from St. Louis on July 3 to Hawkins' cabin to spend the weekend fishing; that when they approached the cabin site they saw the smoke and thought the cabin was on fire; that they found the automobile burning and made efforts to put out the fire by throwing a barrel of water and some dirt on it; that they had put out the fire when the deputy and another man arrived but that it was still smoking. Castaldi denied that he had dismantled, cut or otherwise tampered with the automobile, and explained that he left in Pinson's automobile because he 'had no way of going anywhere.'

A patrolman who inspected the automobile minutely found no evidence of any quantities of dirt or water around or on the automobile. The deputy sheriff saw no dirt, trash or anything of the kind upon it.

The state urges that, considered in the light most favorable to the state, State v. Townsend, Mo.Sup., 327 S.W.2d 886, the evidence is sufficient to sustain...

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97 cases
  • State v. Richardson
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • May 28, 1996
    ...combined with a refusal to interfere, without more, is not sufficient to convict a defendant as a criminal accomplice, State v. Castaldi, 386 S.W.2d 392, 395 (Mo.1965), no particular physical act is necessary in order to find guilt; mere encouragement is enough. See State v. Stockdale, 415 ......
  • State v. Biddle
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • May 13, 1980
    ...State v. Holt, 465 S.W.2d 602 (Mo.1971), but that escape or flight is, of itself, insufficient to support a conviction. State v. Castaldi, 386 S.W.2d 392, 395 (Mo.1965). Defendant's escape from jail, then, is consistent with the hypothesis of his guilt but is of itself insufficient to suppo......
  • State v. Arnold, 59894
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • March 13, 1978
    ...420 S.W.2d 330, 333 (Mo.1967). It is also well settled that presence at the scene and flight therefrom are insufficient. State v. Castaldi, 386 S.W.2d 392, 395 (Mo.1965). Here, however, we have a combination of presence at the scene, an opportunity to commit the crime, flight, and possessio......
  • State v. Cobb
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • September 8, 1969
    ...for the proposition that something more than mere presence at the scene of the crime must be shown in order to convict; on State v. Castaldi, Mo., 386 S.W.2d 392, for the proposition that evidence that the accused had an opportunity to commit a crime or which merely raises a suspicion or gi......
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