Valdez v. State, 70439

CourtCourt of Appeals of Texas. Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas
Citation776 S.W.2d 162
Docket NumberNo. 70439,70439
PartiesAlberto VALDEZ, Appellant, v. The STATE of Texas, Appellee.
Decision Date24 May 1989

Page 162

776 S.W.2d 162
Alberto VALDEZ, Appellant,
The STATE of Texas, Appellee.
No. 70439.
Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas,
En Banc.
May 24, 1989.
Rehearing Denied Sept. 13, 1989.

Page 163

Carl E. Lewis, Corpus Christi, for appellant.

Grant Jones, Dist. Atty., Corpus Christi and Robert Huttash, State's Atty., Austin, for the State.

Before the Court en banc.



Appeal is taken from a conviction for capital murder. V.T.C.A. Penal Code, § 19.03(a)(1). The appellant was convicted of intentionally and knowingly causing the death of Joseph Bock, a peace officer acting in the lawful discharge of an official duty, by shooting him with a firearm. After

Page 164

finding appellant guilty of the offense of capital murder, the jury returned affirmative findings to the special issues under Article 37.071, V.A.C.C.P. Punishment was assessed at death.

Appellant raises seven points of error. He challenges: the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain a guilty verdict; the sufficiency of the evidence to support an affirmative finding to the special punishment issue number two; the admission of evidence at the guilt/innocence phase of the trial that appellant was on federal parole; the admission of evidence at the guilt/innocence phase of the trial that a warrant had been issued for appellant's arrest due to parole violations; the admissibility of certain courtroom demonstrations; the admission of a bloodsoaked shirt worn by the deceased; and an alleged violation of the "rule".

In point of error number one, appellant contends there is insufficient evidence to sustain his conviction. We will set out the relevant facts.

On September 9, 1987, Sergeant J.D. Bock of the Corpus Christi Police Department stopped Carlos Luna for speeding and issued him a traffic citation. Albert Perez was parked behind Bock's patrol car when he observed a large beige car pass them at a high rate of speed. Perez saw only one occupant in the car. Bock yelled for the driver of the beige car to "pull it over." When the driver failed to stop, Bock returned to his patrol car, turned on the lights and siren, and began to chase the beige vehicle. Other police vehicles attempted to assist in the chase, but no one was successful in stopping the beige vehicle until it blew a tire. Bock made one final radio transmission stating that the suspect vehicle had been stopped.

Jerry Lee Wittner testified that he was driving a pickup truck when he saw a beige car pass him at a high rate of speed with a police car in pursuit. Wittner continued to follow the police car for three or four miles until he lost sight of it for approximately 30 seconds. When he next saw the vehicles, they were both stopped. Wittner stopped his truck behind the police car and saw the beige car parked in front of the police car. The officer and the suspect were wrestling when Wittner heard a shot and saw the officer bend over and fall down. Wittner ran back to his truck and heard another shot as he was getting into his truck. As he was driving off, a third shot came through the back window of his truck and lodged in the frame of the front windshield. He heard two more shots as he was driving away. Wittner identified appellant as the man he saw scuffling with Officer Bock. Wittner stated that he did not see another individual in the suspect's car.

Michael White, a motorcycle officer with the Corpus Christi Police Department, testified that he was the first to arrive at Officer Bock's patrol car after the shooting. He observed a beige colored car leaving the area. White found Officer Bock lying face down beside his car. White was unable to locate Bock's pulse.

Sergeant Salinas of the Corpus Christi Police Department heard a radio broadcast about a high speed chase and an officer being shot. The broadcast gave a description of a beige vehicle that was involved in the chase. Salinas drove in the direction of the chase and observed a beige vehicle approaching at a high rate of speed. Salinas positioned his patrol car halfway across the street and turned on his overhead lights in an attempt to stop the approaching vehicle. Salinas noticed that the left front tire had blown out. The driver was waving a gun out the window and fired at Salinas as he passed by. Salinas returned the fire but was unable to stop the car. Salinas then gave chase and followed the vehicle down an isolated country road. The car turned into the driveway of a small farmhouse. The driver of the vehicle got out of the car and ran into the farmhouse.

Eddie Mills testified that he was the owner of the farmhouse and on the date of this offense he heard someone drive down his drive way. He heard someone jerk his locked screen door open and observed the appellant in his living room. Appellant told Mills that he was being chased by the police and needed help. Mills became

Page 165

frightened and ran out the front door of his house where he was met by Salinas.

After an intensive manhunt, appellant was discovered lying in a grassy area of a field behind the farmhouse. Officer Bock's service revolver was found inside the farmhouse underneath the cushions of a sofa.

Dr. Joseph Rupp, the Nueces County Medical Examiner, testified that he performed an autopsy on the body of Officer Bock and found that he died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds. Bock sustained two gunshot wounds to the thoracic area and two gunshot wounds to the head. Rupp recovered two bullets from the chest area, but testified that both bullets from the head wounds had exited the head. Rupp testified that both head wounds were immediately fatal.

A ballistics expert testified that he examined the two bullets taken from Bock's body and two bullets recovered near the body at the scene and determined that all four bullets had been fired from Bock's service revolver.

A search of the beige vehicle revealed various items which were identified as having been taken in several local burglaries.

Appellant testified in his own behalf and admitted that he was the driver of the beige vehicle and that he was present when the officer was killed. The appellant denied killing Bock, but rather stated that his passenger, a man known only to him as "Chico", had actually fired the shots that killed Officer Bock. Appellant stated that he met Chico on the morning of the murder and the two of them had gone to Kingsville to consummate a supposed drug deal. Upon their return to Corpus Christi, they spotted the police officer and attempted to flee. Appellant admitted that on the date of this offense he was on parole and knew that there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest. Appellant was carrying a .25 caliber pistol, an act he knew to be against the law and a violation of his parole. Appellant testified that he did not stop when the officer attempted to pull him over because he thought he could get away. Appellant eventually stopped when his front tire blew out. Appellant testified that as the officer was attempting to handcuff and control him, Chico, standing at the rear of the beige car, fired the shots which killed Bock. Appellant stated that after the officer had been shot, he fled the scene leaving Chico behind.

Appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient because there was no evidence to show that appellant shot Officer Bock with a firearm, an essential element alleged in the indictment. 1 Wittner testified that during the scuffle between appellant and Bock, he did not see a weapon and was unable to see who fired the shots.

While there was no direct evidence linking appellant to the weapon which was used to kill Officer Bock, there was sufficient circumstantial evidence. The evidence shows that: appellant and Bock were wrestling when shots were fired; Bock was fatally wounded by his own service revolver; appellant fled the scene and, following a chase, was observed entering a small farmhouse; and Bock's service revolver was subsequently discovered underneath the cushions of a sofa in the farmhouse.

This Court will not determine whether it believes that the evidence at the trial established guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but rather will determine, after reviewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict, whether any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979); Butler v. State, 769 S.W.2d 234 (Tex.Cr.App.1989).

Traditionally, this Court has applied the outstanding reasonable hypothesis test when judging the sufficiency of the evidence in "circumstantial evidence" cases. This Court has held that the reasonable hypothesis analysis is not a separate standard of review, but is merely a different

Page 166

formulation of the normal standard of review set out in Jackson, supra; County v. State, (Tex.Cr.App. 69,793 delivered March 29, 1989). In other words, if the evidence supports a reasonable inference other than appellant's guilt, a finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is not rational. County, supra, slip op. at page 5.

In the instant case, appellant claims that Chico shot Bock with a .38 caliber pistol. Appellant, upon seeing Bock fall, became panicked and fled the scene leaving Chico. Before appellant left, Chico removed several packages from the back seat alleged to contain a controlled substance. Officer White arrived at the scene almost immediately after the shooting and observed the suspect's vehicle leaving the area. Officer White did not observe either Chico or his packages in the immediate vicinity. Further, the ballistics proved that Bock was killed with his own weapon, a .357 revolver. This weapon was located in the farmhouse, to which appellant fled, some distance away from the shooting. We conclude that the evidence does not support a reasonable inference other than appellant's guilt. Therefore, a rational trier of fact could have found the essential...

To continue reading

Request your trial
79 cases
  • Molitor v. State, 3-89-247-CR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • 18 d3 Março d3 1992
    ...a reasonable doubt. Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319 n. 12, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 2789 n. 12, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979); Valdez v. State, 776 S.W.2d 162, 165 (Tex.Crim.App.1989), cert. denied, 495 U.S. 963, 110 S.Ct. 2575, 109 L.Ed.2d 757 (1990); Dickey v. State, 693 S.W.2d 386, 387 (Tex.Crim.Ap......
  • Fuller v. State, 71046
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas. Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas
    • 25 d3 Março d3 1992
    ...v. State, 786 S.W.2d 338, 355-356 (Tex.Crim.App.1990); Baldree v. State, 784 S.W.2d 676, 680-681 (Tex.Crim.App.1989); Valdez v. State, 776 S.W.2d 162, 167 (Tex.Crim.App.1989); Felder v. State, 758 S.W.2d 760, 771 (Tex.Crim.App.1988). That a veniremember shares such values, or others of simi......
  • Allridge v. State, 69838
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas. Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas
    • 13 d3 Novembro d3 1991
    ...Drew v. State, 743 S.W.2d 207 (Tex.Cr.App.1987); Sosa v. State, 769 S.W.2d 909, at 912 (Tex.Cr.App.1989); and Valdez v. State, 776 S.W.2d 162, at 166 (Tex.Cr.App.1989). The circumstances of the crime may provide greater probative evidence of a defendant's probability for committing future a......
  • Alvarado v. State, 71779
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas. Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas
    • 15 d3 Novembro d3 1995
    ...was entitled to accept or reject any or all the evidence at both the guilt/innocence and punishment stages of trial. Valdez v. State, 776 S.W.2d 162, 166-167 (Tex.Crim.App.1989), cert. denied, 495 U.S. 963, 110 S.Ct. 2575, 109 L.Ed.2d 757 (1990). As an appellate court, our task is to view a......
  • 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