State v. Edwards

Decision Date08 February 1989
Docket NumberNo. 23003,23003
Citation379 S.E.2d 888,298 S.C. 272
CourtSouth Carolina Supreme Court
PartiesThe STATE, Respondent, v. Wayne EDWARDS, Appellant. . Heard

Assistant Appellate Defender Wanda Hagler Haile of South Carolina Office of Appellate Defense, Columbia, for appellant.

Attorney Gen. T. Travis Medlock, Asst. Attys. Gen. Harold M. Coombs, Jr. and Amie L. Clifford, Columbia, and Sol. Joseph J. Watson, Greenville, for respondent.

HARWELL, Justice:

Appellant was convicted of armed robbery. He appeals from the trial court's refusal to grant his motion for a directed verdict. We affirm.

FACTS

Appellant Wayne Edwards and his co-defendant and brother-in-law Melvin Curtis Cox were tried for armed robbery. Scott Bond, witness for the prosecution, testified that he was working at Agency-Rent-A-Car in Greenville on September 20, 1985, when two men wearing brown ski masks entered the office. One man was short and carried a pistol; the other man was tall. The men went behind the counter and told Bond to give them the money inside the drawer; there was no money in the drawer, so the men told Bond to empty his pockets. The men then tied Bond's hands and legs with duct tape and left him on the floor. They took his wallet and two sets of rental car keys from the counter and fled the office. One set of the stolen keys belonged to a silver 1984 Ford with Ohio license tags which was taken from the parking lot.

Bond positively identified Melvin Cox as the shorter of the two men involved in the robbery. Bond testified that he could not identify the taller man because of the ski mask. 1

On September 25, 1985, the stolen car was discovered in Gastonia, North Carolina. The Ohio tags were missing; a South Carolina license plate on the car was taken by the police for testing. A shirt and brown stocking cap found outside the car were also retained for testing. Appellant's fingerprints were found on the South Carolina tag. Head hairs from the stocking cap and shirt were determined to have originated from appellant or from some other Caucasian whose head hairs were identical to appellant's.

Testimony was introduced which placed both appellant and Cox in Gastonia, North At the close of the State's case, appellant moved for a directed verdict. This motion was denied and the jury found appellant guilty; he was sentenced to 25 years in prison. This appeal follows.

                Carolina in late December of 1985.   Charge receipts from Bond's stolen credit cards were traced to North Carolina.   Further testimony indicated that appellant and Cox were brothers-in-law and known associates.   In April 1986, police discovered the two Ohio license plates from the stolen car in the trunk of a car which had previously belonged to appellant
                
DISCUSSION

Appellant argues that the trial court erred in refusing to direct a verdict in his favor because the evidence failed to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that he was guilty of armed robbery.

Appellant, citing State v. Manis, 214 S.C. 99, 51 S.E.2d 370 (1949), contends that where, as here, the evidence is completely circumstantial his guilt must be proven to the "exclusion of every other reasonable hypothesis." In so contending, appellant is arguing the standard to be charged for use by the jury in its deliberation. Under this test, the jury may not convict unless:

every circumstance relied upon by the State be proven beyond a reasonable doubt; and ... all of the circumstances so proven be consistent with each other and taken together, point conclusively to the guilt of the accused to the exclusion of every other reasonable hypothesis. It is not sufficient that they create a probability, though a strong one and if, assuming them to be true they may be accounted for upon any reasonable hypothesis which does not include...

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  • State v. Kelsey
    • United States
    • South Carolina Supreme Court
    • June 8, 1998
    ...jury. State v. Rowell, 326 S.C. 313, 487 S.E.2d 185 (1997); State v. Venters, 300 S.C. 260, 387 S.E.2d 270 (1990); State v. Edwards, 298 S.C. 272, 379 S.E.2d 888 (1989). In ruling on a motion for a directed verdict, the trial court is concerned with the existence of evidence, not its weight......
  • State v. Cherry, 3406.
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • November 13, 2001
    ...Ervin's model charge on circumstantial evidence is similar to the traditional language our supreme court approved in State v. Edwards, 298 S.C. 272, 379 S.E.2d 888 (1989). The traditional charge distinguishes between direct and circumstantial evidence, whereas the new charge adopted in Gri......
  • State v. Cherry
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • February 12, 2001
    ...Ervin's model charge on circumstantial evidence is similar to the traditional language our supreme court approved in State v. Edwards, 298 S.C. 272, 379 S.E.2d 888 (1989). The traditional charge distinguishes between direct and circumstantial evidence, whereas the new charge adopted in Grip......
  • Hebron v. State
    • United States
    • Maryland Court of Appeals
    • September 1, 1992
    ...as a matter of law, to enter a judgment of acquittal." Hebron, 92 Md.App. at 517, 608 A.2d at 1296. See also State v. Edwards, 298 S.C. 272, 379 S.E.2d 888 (1989), in which the Supreme Court of South Carolina pointed In determining whether to send the case to the jury on circumstantial evid......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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