State v. Spradley

Decision Date19 October 1954
Docket NumberNo. 10682,10682
Citation140 W.Va. 314,84 S.E.2d 156
PartiesSTATE of West Virginia, v. Edward SPRADLEY.
CourtWest Virginia Supreme Court

Syllabus by the Court.

1. 'In a criminal case, a verdict of guilt will not be set aside on the ground that it is contrary to the evidence, where the state's evidence is sufficient to convince impartial minds of the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt, though the evidence adduced by the accused is in conflict therewith. To warrant interference with a verdict of guilt on the ground of insufficiency of evidence, the court must be convinced that the evidence was manifestly inadequate and that consequent injustice has been done.' Point 1, syllabus, State v. Bowles, 117 W.Va. 217 .

2. 'A new trial will not be granted on the ground of newly-discovered evidence unless the case comes within the following rules: (1) The evidence must appear to have been discovered since the trial, and from the affidavit of the new witness, what such evidence will be, or its absence satisfactorily explained. (2) It must appear from facts stated in his affidavit that plaintiff was diligent in ascertaining and securing his evidence, and that the new evidence is such that due diligence would not have secured it before the verdict. (3) Such evidence must be new and material, and not merely cumulative; and cumulative evidence is additional evidence of the same kind to the same point. (4) The evidence must be such as ought to produce an opposite result at a second trial on the merits. (5) And the new trial will generally be refused when the sole object of the new evidence is to discredit or impeach a witness on the opposite side.' Point 1, syllabus, Halstead v. Horton, 38 W.Va. 727 .

Clay S. Crouse, Thomas Canterbury, Beckley, for plaintiff in error.

John G. Fox, Atty. Gen., George G. Burnette, Jr., Asst. Atty. Gen., for defendant in error.


At the Regular October 1953 Term of the Criminal Court of Raleigh County the defendant, Edward Spradley, was indicted, tried and by a jury found guilty of a felony. The offense for which he was indicted was that of receiving stolen goods consisting of two automobile tires, four fan belts, seventeen packages of cigarettes and a coin box containing $2.54, all of the total value of $68.69, which the defendant knew and had reason to believe had been stolen from the owner.

Motions of the defendant to set aside the verdict and grant him a new trial and in arrest of judgment were overruled, and by final judgment entered November 4, 1953, the defendant was sentenced to confinement in the penitentiary of this State for a term of not less than one year or more than ten years. On February 8, 1954, the Circuit Court of Raleigh County refused to grant a writ of error to the foregoing judgment and to the judgment of the circuit court the defendant prosecutes this writ of error.

During the early morning of Wednesday, July 15, 1953, Earl Long, a resident of Beckley, broke and entered into the Ashland Service Station in Beckley and stole and removed the articles of property in connection with which the defendant was indicted and convicted.

As a witness for the State upon the trial of the defendant, Long testified that after he stole the property he took it to the house in which the defendant was living, located a short distance from the service station, knocked on the front door, was admitted by the defendant, told him that he had broken into the service station and had taken the articles and then placed them on the floor in one of the two rooms of the house; that one of the rooms was a bedroom; that there was only one bed in the bedroom; that a woman whom Long assumed was the wife of the defendant, was in the bed; and that Long left the property in the bedroom. He also testified that before he broke into the service station he had told the defendant that he would get some tires; that the defendant knew he was going to steal them; that there was an arrangement between them that Long would steal the tires; that the defendant would sell them; that Long and the defendant would divide the money; that after Long brought the property to the house and left it in the bedroom, the defendant went to the nearby home of his father where his brother was living to see if his brother would buy the tires; that after the defendant left the house Long went back to the service station and again entered it through a door which he had left unlocked; that while he was there he was arrested by the police; that he told the officers he had stolen the property and where he had taken it; that the police then took him back to the defendant's house; that after the defendant returned to the house from the place where his brother lived the defendant was arrested; that he and the defendant were then taken to jail by the officers; and that after the officers brought him from the service station to the house where the defendant lived Long saw the officers bring from the house the property that he had stolen.

Long further testified that about six or seven o'clock of the same evening and before he stole the property he visited the house in which the defendant lived; that he and the defendant were together in the upper or second story of the house which was occupied by two families; that he and some of the members of the two families drank liquor on that occasion but that the defendant who was present did not drink any liquor; that he and the defendant remained there about one hour; that later that evening, after dark and after he and the defendant came downstairs, he told the defendant 'about some tires'; that the defendant told Long he could sell them to his brother; and that Long had visited and had been in the second story of the house in which the defendant lived, and had seen the defendant, on the Sunday before he stole the tires.

One of the arresting officers testified that he took Long from the service station to the house occupied by the defendant; that there were three rooms in the portion of the house located on the first floor where the defendant lived; that he found the coin box in one of the rooms and the other arresting officer, who was absent and did not testify at the trial, found the tires and the fan belts in another room; and that the officers returned the property which they had found in the house to the service station.

The defendant, who testified in his own behalf, stated that he was unmarried at the time of his arrest; that he was then renting and occupying a bedroom in the first story of the house in which he was residing; that he rented the room from one of the part owners of the house, a woman named Baker, at the rate of $8 per week; that there were four rooms on the first floor of the house, two bedrooms, a kitchen and a living room; that the defendant occupied one bedroom and the woman, from whom he rented, occupied the other bedroom; that he occupied his bedroom alone; that he had undressed and was in bed when Long knocked on the door; that he got up, got a pistol, went to the door and admitted Long; that he was not well acquainted with Long and had not seen him for three or four months before he came to his door and had seen him only once or twice during the previous six or seven months; and that he did not drink liquor and had not drunk liquor with Long or in his presence at any time.

The defendant admitted that he opened the front door in response to Long's knock and permitted him to come into his bedroom but he denied that Long had any tires or cigarettes with him at that time. He stated that he did not see any of the stolen property and did not know that Long had stolen it. He admitted that Long told him he had some tires; that, not knowing that they were stolen, he agreed to try to sell them to his brother; that he dressed, left the house through another or rear door, and went to the home of his father where his brother was staying and asked his brother if he would buy the tires; that his brother would not buy them; that he returned to the house in a few minutes; that when he returned Long and two policemen were there; that he was arrested and he and Long were taken to jail in separate automobiles; that he did not see any of the stolen property at the house and saw the tires for the first time when they were taken from one of the police cars and returned to the service station.

He also denied that he had seen Long on the Sunday before the tires were taken by him or that he had seen him at any time during the afternoon or the evening of the day they were stolen. He stated that from about four thirty o'clock until about seven thirty o'clock in the afternoon and the evening of that day he was at a baseball field which was located a short distance from and in full view of his father's home; that during that time he was in charge of and sponsored a little league baseball team which played a game against another team sponsored by Brown Hugo Payne, an attorney at law, of Beckley; that after the game he went to his father's home where he ate his supper; that he remained at his father's home from about eight o'clock until about ten thirty o'clock that night; and that he then went to his room and retired for the night and was in bed when Long knocked at his door.

As to his presence at the baseball field the defendant is corroborated by the testimony of Attorney Payne and his father, Mose Spradley, and as to his presence at his father's home he is corroborated by the testimony of his father. The defendant also testified that he was not present with Long in the second story of the house which was occupied by the two families and in this he is corroborated by a member of each of the families who testified that Long had never been in the second story of the house occupied by them. The defendant also denied that Long had ever told him that he intended to steal or had stolen any of the property.


To continue reading

Request your trial
22 cases
  • State v. Flint
    • United States
    • West Virginia Supreme Court
    • February 26, 1957
    ...Power Company, 81 W.Va. 298, 94 S.E. 372'. Cremeans v. Myers, 136 W.Va. 157, 162, 67 S.E.2d 28, 30. In the recent case of State v. Spradley, W.Va., 84 S.E.2d 156, this Court exhaustively reviewed its holdings relating to the granting of new trials, specifically pointing out the essential re......
  • State v. Cirullo, 10763
    • United States
    • West Virginia Supreme Court
    • June 26, 1956
    ...v. Stewart, 63 W.Va. 597, 60 S.E. 591; State v. Kidwell, 62 W.Va. 466, 59 S.E. 494, 13 L.R.A.,N.S., 1024. See also State v. Spradley, ---- W.Va. ----, 84 S.E.2d 156; State v. Stalnaker, 138 W.Va. 30, 76 S.E.2d 906; State v. Mayle, 136 W.Va. 936, 69 S.E.2d 212; State v. Sullivan, 55 W.Va. 59......
  • Case v. Shepherd
    • United States
    • West Virginia Supreme Court
    • October 19, 1954
    ... ...         2. In a proceeding by notice of motion for judgment on a contract, the notice must state facts which give rise to a cause of action on contract ...         [140 W.Va. 306] 3. In a proceeding by notice of motion for judgment on a ... ...
  • Investigation of West Virginia State Police Crime Laboratory, Serology Div., Matter of
    • United States
    • West Virginia Supreme Court
    • November 10, 1993
    ...v. Hamric, 151 W.Va. 1, 151 [S.E.2d] 252 (1966); Syl., State v. Farley, 143 W.Va. 445, 104 S.E.2d 265 (1958); State v. Spradley, 140 W.Va. 314, 325-26, 84 S.E.2d 156, 162 (1954) (collecting cases). Due to the nature of these factors, the Court has noted, " 'A new trial on the ground of afte......
  • 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