State v. Craig

Decision Date12 September 1966
Docket NumberNo. 51823,No. 1,51823,1
Citation406 S.W.2d 618
PartiesSTATE of Missouri, Respondent, v. Carl Mason CRAIG, Appellant
CourtMissouri Supreme Court

Norman H. Anderson, Atty. Gen., Jefferson City, Claude W. McElwee, Jr., Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., St. Louis, for respondent.

Jerry D. Mee, Springfield, for defendant-appellant.

HOUSER, Commissioner.

Carl Mason Craig, charged with and convicted by a jury of second degree burglary, § 560.070, V.A.M.S., and sentenced under the Habitual Criminal Act to five years in the custody of the department of corrections, has appealed.

Appellant's first point, that the court erred in submitting the case to the jury for failure of the state to make any substantial proof of appellant's presence at the scene of the burglary, requires a review of the evidence. The state introduced the following evidence: At the close of business on July 26, 1965 Gerald Puchta, owner of South Street Market, a grocery and tobacco store in Springfield, swept the floor and about 7 p.m. secured the doors and windows, locked up and left for the night. Around 11:30 p.m. Donald Casada, who lived in a nearby apartment, heard glass breaking. He left his apartment to investigate, saw a man who he thought was wearing a striped shirt crouched over in front of the store, stooped over like he was picking up something, at or near the front door. A 1955 Chevrolet, color 'white-over-green, green body,' was sitting in front of the store, close to the curb. The lights were on inside the market. A phone booth at the southeast corner of the store was lighted, and there was a street light. Casada jumped in his car which was fairly close and drove by the Chevrolet in an attempt to get the license tag number. His car came within 3 or 4 feet of the Chevrolet. He noticed a blonde woman with long hair sitting under the steering wheel. Casada drove three driveways beyond the Chevrolet, stopped, wrote down the license number, make, model and color of the car, then turned around, came back and parked his car. As he was walking towards the store to check the license to make certain that he got the right number the people at the store (he thought there were three persons, but was not 'real sure') drove away, to the south, in the Chevrolet. On the left side and middle of the trunk of the Chevrolet there was a faded-out spot that you could see 'real good.' Casada gave the police the information he had, stating that he was not sure of what he had written down.

Jackie Lane, a 15-year-old girl who lived in the same neighborhood, heard a car drive up, heard a crash 'like something had broken,' went to the window and saw two men standing at the door of the South Street Market, breaking in. There was a 'white and dark' colored car parked in front of the store. A third person was in the driver's seat. She could not see whether it was a man or a woman. One of the men was wearing a white shirt and dark slacks. It was too dark to see what the other man was wearing. Jackie went to a neighbor and asked her to call the police.

Police converged at the scene from every direction. Within a few minutes Casada and Jackie were asked to go to the police station. The police thought they had the people and wanted them to attempt to make an identification. At the police station they saw three people who had just been arrested, appellant Craig, Maude Preston and James Robinson. Neither was able to identify appellant as one of the men who had broken into the store. They were shown a 1955 Chevrolet, but it was colored white-over-blue. At the police station neither would identify the car as that used in the burglary, but after police drove the car to the market and parked it under the prevailing light at that place, which was different from the light at the station, Casada identified the car as that used in the burglary. The car was painted a kind of metallic blue. It changed colors under the different shades of light, and appeared green in the light at the market. The car exhibited at the police station had the same identical markings (the worn spot on the trunk) as the one used by the burglars.

When police arrived at the store at 11:45 p.m. the glass in the front door was broken out and scattered over the sidewalk. A cigarette display case was sitting out in front. Articles, including 'a lot of' cigarettes, were strewn about on the sidewalk. Casada gave the police lieutenant what he thought was the number of the license plate, H 20295, together with the make and model of the car, a white and green 6-cylinder '55 Chevrolet sedan, occupied by three people, two males and one female. This information was conveyed to the dispatcher at police headquarters and broadcast. The owner, notified, arrived on the scene and he and the police entered the store, found some food thrown on the floor, a crumpled up package of Pall Mall cigarettes, and that no less than forty-two cartons of cigarettes were missing. Puchta purchased all his cigarettes from Anderson-Parks, distributors, whose number, 27540, was stamped on each package. A police sergeant found a cigarette lighter on the floor of the store, against the wall, just inside the front door. It was a Monaco brand, windproof lighter, made in Japan. At the time Puchta locked up the store the lighter and the crumpled up package of cigarettes were not on the floor in the store.

Police Officer Halsey received information by radio from the dispatcher that a burglary had occurred and a description of the vehicle and subjects occupying the vehicle was broadcast (white-over-green '55 Chevrolet, Missouri license H--20295; person who broke in described as lean and dark hair, wearing a shirt with stripes in it; a heavy-set female and a third person, not described). Halsey saw a car matching this description on the Consumers Service Station lot at Collage just west of Nettleton. Consumers Service Station is 19 or 20 blocks from South Street Market. The car, white-over-faded blue, carried Missouri license number HT--0495. A man and a woman occupied the front seat and a man was sitting in the back seat. The car had a flat tire and an attempt was being made to get the station attendant to fix it when the officer drove up. The officer observed that the man in front was wearing a striped shirt, was dark-headed, slender and the female was stocky. The officer arrested the trio. This occurred about 45 minutes after the information came over the radio. The officer searched the car and in the front seat, found, among other things, a package of cigarettes. The trio consisted of Carl Mason Craig, Maude Preston and James Robinson. Craig was told that he was arrested for burglary and larceny at the market at South and Madison (Puchta's store). Another officer searched Craig at the time he was arrested, and found a package of Pall Malls and a package of L & M cigarettes in his pocket. They bore the number 27540. The officers took the three arrested persons to the police station and booked them. The booking room was 8 by 12 feet and contained a 3 5 desk, a bench and some chairs. Defendant's personal effects, including a cigarette lighter, were placed on the table in front of him. The officer who found the lighter in the store gave it to Officer Jared, who laid it on the table about a foot from Craig's effects. Calling defendant's attention to the lighter found in the store, the officer asked him if the lighter was his and defendant said the lighter was his, said the lighter was broken at the hinge; that the bottom of the hinge pulled up and the lid came off of it; that he had this lighter around the house and after he lost the case of his other lighter he had picket this lighter up to use. He further asked if the police were accusing him of stealing the lighter.

Defendant's light, striped shirt fit the witnesses' description of the shirt they saw being worn by one of the men while in the act of committing the burglary. Defendant was arrested less than an hour after the burglary, 20 blocks from the scene, in an automobile identified by two eyewitnesses as the car used in the burglary. The first letter, third, fifth and sixth digits of the license number on the car were the same as the number hurriedly written down by Casada at the scene of the crime. Defendant was one of three persons occupying the automobile--two men and a woman--and the burglars were three, two men and a woman. The woman was 'stocky,' corresponding to Casada's description of the woman at the scene as 'heavy set.' Cigarettes found on defendant's person at the time of arrest and in the front seat of the car he was occupying bore the same distributor stamp number carried on all cigarettes stocked at South Street Market. A lighter, found in the burglarized store, was identified by defendant as his property. The foregoing constitutes strong circumstantial evidence that defendant was present at the scene and participated in the commission of the burglary and was sufficient to submit the question to the jury.

Appellant's second point is that the court erred in giving Instruction No. 4, which follows:

'The Court instructs the jury that evidence is of two kinds, direct and circumstantial.

'Direct evidence is where a witness testified directly of his own knowledge of the main fact or facts to be proven.

'Circumstantial evidence is proof of certain facts and circumstances in a given case from which the jury may infer other and connected facts which usually and reasonably follow, according to the common experience of mankind.

'Crimes may be proven by circumstantial evidence, as well as by direct testimony of eye-witnesses, but to justify conviction, the facts and circumstances in evidence must be consistent with each other and with the guilt of the defendant, and inconsistent with any reasonable theory of the innocence of the defendant.'

Appellant objects that No. 4 is too broad, is confusing, attempts to instruct on two areas of the law...

To continue reading

Request your trial
25 cases
  • State v. Granberry
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • October 28, 1975
    ...over the police radio are valid, State v. Whorton, 487 S.W.2d 865 (Mo.1972); State v. Ward, 457 S.W.2d 701 (Mo.1970); State v. Craig, 406 S.W.2d 618 (Mo.1966); State v. Morris, 522 S.W.2d 93 (Mo.App.1975); State v. Bradley, 515 S.W.2d 826 (Mo.App.1974), certainly, then, an arrest based on p......
  • State v. Aston, 51987
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • March 13, 1967
    ...of the statements. State v. Beasley, Mo., 404 S.W.2d 689, and cases there cited and discussed, including Escobedo. See also State v. Craig, Mo., 406 S.W.2d 618. Here there was no evidence whatever of any improper action by those having the defendant in custody, there was affirmative testimo......
  • State v. Ward, 54480
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • September 14, 1970
    ...without a warrant if they have reasonable cause to believe that the person arrested is guilty of a recent felony. * * *' State v. Craig (Mo.Sup.) 406 S.W.2d 618, 622; State v. Johnson (Mo.Sup.) 420 S.W.2d 305, 308. Thus, when the constitutionality of an arrest is challenged it is the functi......
  • State v. Hester
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • March 11, 1968
    ...of the statements. State v. Beasley, Mo., 404 S.W.2d 689, and cases there cited and discussed, including Escobedo. See also State v. Craig, Mo., 406 S.W.2d 618.' Some matters which appear in the Transcript on Appeal herein are of special significance. When the written statement, State's Exh......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT