Worrell v. State, 4 Div. 582

CourtAlabama Court of Criminal Appeals
Citation357 So.2d 373
Docket Number4 Div. 582
PartiesThomas WORRELL v. STATE.
Decision Date21 February 1978

Page 373

357 So.2d 373
4 Div. 582.
Court of Criminal Appeals of Alabama.
Feb. 21, 1978.
Rehearing Denied March 21, 1978.

Page 374

J. Fletcher Jones, Andalusia, for appellant.

William J. Baxley, Atty. Gen., and David W. Clark, Asst. Atty. Gen., for the State.

DeCARLO, Judge.

Based on an affidavit executed by Claude J. Spicer, Thomas Worrell was charged with willfully or wantonly injuring or destroying the property of another.

On April 9, 1976, Worrell was convicted in the Covington County Alabama Intermediate Court for the destruction of private property and fined two hundred dollars and costs.

On that same day an appeal from the judgment of conviction was taken to the Circuit Court of Covington County.

The complaint was filed by the district attorney charging Thomas Worrell with willfully and wantonly injuring or destroying the property of Claude J. Spicer. To this complaint, defendant filed a motion to strike, which was denied and duly excepted to on July 1, 1977.

Appellant filed a demurrer to the complaint averring, among other things, "that the charge in this complaint is identical to the charge appearing in the complaint filed in case No. 6383, which is being tried before this court at the same time of the prosecution of this instant case."

Further, the demurrer assigned as grounds that there was a variance between the affidavit executed by Claude J. Spicer on December 26, 1973, and the complaint filed in this cause by the district attorney of Covington County.

Appellant alleges that the variance was because the affidavit charged that the said acts by the defendant were to threaten, injure or destroy property of another and the complaint stated that the said acts by the defendant were to threaten, injure or destroy property of Claude J. Spicer.

The demurrer was overruled on July 1, 1977. On the same day, the day of trial, the State amended the solicitor's complaint by adding a second count, alleging that Worrell did willfully and wantonly, injure or destroy the property of Claude J. Spicer, or did willfully or wantonly derange or attempt or threaten to derange any mechanics, appliances, or devices of Claude J. Spicer. At the time of filing the amended complaint, the district attorney stated "that Count II pertains to Claude Spicer in both instances, the property of Claude Spicer or devices of Claude Spicer. And, in Count I of the complaint it pertains to property of Claude J. Spicer, or to the devices of Claude J. Spicer."

To this amended complaint, defendant filed a motion to strike which was denied by the court. The defendant then filed a demurrer and it too, was overruled. Subsequently, the defendant filed a plea of not guilty and a special plea of the statute of limitations. He asserted as grounds that Count II of the amended complaint alleged that the offense occurred in December of 1973. Therefore, more than twelve months had lapsed before the new prosecution in this case.

On July 1, 1977, this case was presented to a jury. The jury returned a verdict of

Page 375

guilty as charged and fixed a fine of three hundred dollars. In addition to the fine the court sentenced the defendant to serve five months and twenty-nine days in the Covington County Jail.

The sufficiency of the evidence presented by the State was raised by the appellant during the trial by means of a motion to exclude written requested charges in an affirmative nature, and following the trial, by a motion for new trial. That evidence is summarized below.

On December 23, 1973, Claude J. Spicer, the son of Claude Spicer, had driven from Florida with his family to visit in his father's home. When the families retired for the night Claude J. Spicer's automobile and Claude Spicer's pick-up truck were both parked in the front yard. The tires on each vehicle were in good condition.

During the early morning hours of December 24, 1973, Claude Spicer was awakened by the barking of dogs. He went to the front door and as he crossed the threshold he saw the appellant, "stooped over beside one of the tires on his truck, or standing beside his pick-up truck." Clyde Odom was also there and was standing in back of the truck. As Claude Spicer stepped out onto the porch the appellant and Odom ran.

On examining the vehicles, Claude Spicer saw that the tires on the truck had been cut and were flat.

During the trial, Claude Spicer stated that he had known Thomas Worrell "all of his life." Further, he testified that the fair market value of his truck tires and tubes at approximately one hundred and sixty dollars. His son, Claude J. Spicer, testified that his three automobile tires were valued about one hundred and twenty dollars.

After a motion to exclude the State's evidence for failure to make out a prima facie case was denied, Thomas Worrell took the stand in his own behalf and denied cutting the tires. He stated that at the time he was separated from Glenda Spicer, Claude Spicer's granddaughter, and the niece of Claude J. Spicer.

Worrell denied that he and Odom had sharpened knives in preparation of cutting the tires. He also denied making any statements just prior to the incident that he planned to cut the tires. Further, he stated that he had never bragged that he had cut them.

Lavon Reese was called as a rebuttal witness. She was also Claude Spicer's granddaughter, and Claude J. Spicer's niece. In her testimony she stated Worrell had sharpened a knife on the night of the incident and stated that he was going to cut "Uncle Junior's and Grand Daddy's tires." Further, she said that when he returned he made the comment, "he had cut Uncle Junior's and Grand Daddy's tires."

At the end of Reese's testimony, Worrell again took the stand and denied making any admission to the effect that he had cut the tires belonging to the Spicers. He said, "no, sir, I didn't cut none of them tars. I ain't seen his tars."


The motion and the demurrers filed which were denied by the circuit court, and appellant's brief, tends to show that the appellant was convicted in two separate prosecutions in the intermediate court of Covington County in 1973. It also appears that both cases were appealed to the circuit court. However, the appearance bond filed in the circuit clerk's office bearing the date of April 12, 1976, shows an appeal on case No. 6382 only. Case No. 6382 indicates the conviction in the intermediate court for the offense of destruction of private property with a fine of two hundred dollars and costs. Following this appeal bond we have a complaint drawn in case No. 6382, based on that appeal and alleging the destruction of property of Claude J. Spicer.

As can be seen from the foregoing facts, the prosecution involved the tires on the automobile of Claude J. Spicer, who was the son of Claude Spicer. Involved also were the tires on Claude Spicer, Sr.'s pick-up truck, Claude Spicer, Sr. being the father of Claude J. Spicer.

Page 376

The appellant, in a motion to strike filed July 18, 1977, and a plea filed the same day, made the allegation that case No. 6383 was "nol prossed" by the district attorney. Case No. 6383, the appellant says, was based upon an affidavit executed by Claude...

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