STANLEY STANDER V. COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKYAnnotate this Case
NOT TO BE PUBLISHED OPINION
THIS OPINION IS DESIGNATED "NOT TO BE PUBLISHED."
PURSUANT TO THE RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE
PROMULGATED BY THE SUPREME COURT, CR 76.28(4)(C),
THIS OPINION IS NOT TO BE PUBLISHED AND SHALL NOT BE
CITED OR USED AS BINDING PRECEDENT IN ANY OTHER
CASE IN ANY COURT OF THIS STATE ; HOWEVER,
UNPUBLISHED KENTUCKY APPELLATE DECISIONS,
RENDERED AFTER JANUARY 1, 2003, MAY BE CITED FOR
CONSIDERATION BY THE COURT IF THERE IS NO PUBLISHED
OPINION THAT WOULD ADEQUATELY ADDRESS THE ISSUE
BEFORE THE COURT. OPINIONS CITED FOR CONSIDERATION
BY THE COURT SHALL BE SET OUT AS AN UNPUBLISHED
DECISION IN THE FILED DOCUMENT AND A COPY OF THE
ENTIRE DECISION SHALL BE TENDERED ALONG WITH THE
DOCUMENT TO THE COURT AND ALL PARTIES TO THE
RENDERED : JANUARY 21, 2010
_N0 .1 _TO_13E
ON APPEAL FROM SCOTT CIRCUIT COURT
HONORABLE ROBERT G. JOHNSON, JUDGE
NO . 07-CR-00146
COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY
MEMORANDUM OPINION OF THE COURT
Following trial, a Scott Circuit Court jury found Appellant, Stanley
Stander, guilty of first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery, first-degree
assault, two counts of first-degree unlawful imprisonment, fourth-degree
assault, and found him to be a second-degree persistent felony offender. The
trial court accepted the jury's sentencing recommendation and, on August 7,
2008, entered a final judgment sentencing Appellant to a total of thirty (30)
years imprisonment . Appellant now appeals his conviction as a matter of right.
Ky. Const. § 110(2)(b) .
On the evening of May 29, 2007, Appellant went to the home of his
friend, Joey Scott. From there, the two went to a restaurant where Scott was to
meet a friend. Scott testified at trial that Appellant drank a fifth of whiskey,
smoked crack cocaine, and took seven or eight Xanax pills during the short
drive, before consuming several beers at the restaurant. Thereafter, the two
got into an altercation which culminated when Scott drove away and left
Appellant around 9 :40 p.m.
The same day, Ralph and Mattie Michaels had returned from vacation to
their home in Georgetown . Sometime after 9 :30 p.m ., Mr. Michaels' sister
called and the two spoke for a while on the telephone . When the call was
complete, Mr. Michaels, who was seventy-four (74) at the time and suffered
from Parkinson's Disease, heard an intruder in the room . While the intruder
had his face concealed, Mr. Michaels recognized the voice that instructed him
to "give me all your money or I'll kill you" as belonging to a man who had done
some work in the house and to whom he had given a swimming pool . I Mr .
Michaels heard only one intruder in his home that night.
The intruder knocked Mr . Michaels down, tied him up, took his car keys,
and hit him again, this time rendering him unconscious. Upon awakening, Mr.
Michaels went to a neighbor's home and called 911 . Mr. Michaels, whose arm
was saturated with blood from elbow to wrist, was interviewed by police before
being transported to the hospital for treatment . When police entered the
Michaels' home, they found Mrs . Michaels, seventy-six (76) at the time, in the
kitchen floor with her hands and feet bound. One of the officers, Sgt. Garrison,
testified that he believed Mrs . Michaels to be dead. Once ascertaining that she
1 Mrs. Michaels would later testify that the man to whom they had given the pool
was named "Stan" or "Stanley."
was still alive, he radioed for an ambulance. A knife was found on the kitchen
table close to Mrs . Michaels with the blade separated from the handle .
Due to the life-threatening injuries Mrs. Michaels received, she could
remember-nothing about the night of her attack . She suffered from bleeding
inside her skull due to head trauma, severe facial swelling which closed her
airway, a fractured clavicle, a plexus injury to the nerves running down her
underarm, and air in her abdominal cavity. Mrs. Michaels' jaw bone was also
fractured in three places and punctured through the skin, requiring surgical
repair. She remained in the intensive care unit for almost two weeks of her
thirty-six day hospital stay. After leaving the hospital, she spent twenty-two
days in the traumatic brain injury unit at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital
where she had to relearn basic life skills .
In the meantime, Williamstown Police Officer Robert Reed pulled
Appellant over around 12:30 a.m., suspecting him of driving under the
influence . While Reed was speaking to Appellant, he drove away in the car he
had stolen from the Michaelses. A chase ensued, ending only when another
officer ran his police car into the car driven by Appellant. Appellant resisted
the officers' attempts at arrest until subdued by a Taser Gun. When asked
about his conduct, Appellant informed the officers that he had drunk alcohol
and taken pills earlier in the evening. Upon searching Appellant's person,
Officer Reed found several items belonging to the Michaelses, including cards
with Mrs . Michaels' name on them.
Detective Bell of the Georgetown Police Department questioned Appellant
concerning the events of the previous night, with Appellant responding "[w]hat
the hell did I do to myself" before invoking his right to counsel. The next day,
Appellant insisted on talking to Detective Bell, who reminded him that he had
requested representation, but agreed to listen to what Appellant had to say
without asking questions . There, Appellant stated that "I hit the old man. I
didn't hit the old lady." Rather, Appellant claimed that he had an accomplice,
whose name he did not know, but had met after Scott left him at the
restaurant . The two immediately began looking for a place to burglarize .
Appellant admitted that it was his idea to rob the Michaelses, as he had
previously done work in their house, but contended that it was his accomplice
who had assaulted Mrs. Michaels .
At trial, Appellant's counsel admitted that Appellant was in the
Michaelses' home on the night in question, possessed a knife, struck Mr.
Michaels, and was in possession of their car and personal items. However, his
defense was that he was too intoxicated by the drugs and alcohol he had
consumed to be able to form the requisite intent to commit the crimes.
On appeal, Appellant's sole allegation of error is that the trial court erred
in denying his motion for directed verdict on the charge of assault in the first
degree. Finding no cause for reversal, we affirm Appellant's convictions .
Appellant argues that he was entitled to a directed verdict on the count
of first-degree assault because no evidence was introduced at trial that proved
the identity of the person who assaulted Mrs. Michaels. In particular,
,Appellant claims that-substantial evidence did not supp6rt his conviction due
to the fact that neither Mrs. Michaels nor her husband could identify him as
her attacker. We decline to reverse Appellant's convictions and conclude that
the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying his motion for a directed
verdict based upon insufficiency of the evidence.
"On appellate review, the test of a directed verdict is, if under the
evidence as a whole, it would be clearly unreasonable for a jury to find guilt."
Commonwealth v. Benham, 816 S.W . 2d 186, 187 (Ky. 1991) (citin
Commonwealth v. Sawhill, 660 S .W.2d 3 (Ky. 1983)) . We restated the longheld standards under which we review a motion for a directed verdict in
Benham , 816 S .W .2d at 187 :
On motion for directed verdict, the trial court must draw all fair
and reasonable inferences from the evidence in favor of the
Commonwealth . If the evidence is sufficient to induce a reasonable
juror to believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is
guilty, a directed verdict should not be given. For the purpose of
ruling on the motion, the trial court must assume that the
evidence for the Commonwealth is true, but reserving to the jury
questions as to the credibility and weight to be given to such
(citing Sawhill, 660 S.W.2d at 3 ; Trowel v. Commonwealth , 550 S .W.2d 530
(Ky. 1977)) . In the case at bar, the dispositive question is whether there was
any evidence presented that Appellant was the individual who assaulted Mrs.
Michaels . We find that there was .
Although neither of the Michaelses could identify Appellant as the
individual who assaulted Mrs. Michaels, we hold that the Commonwealth
introduced sufficient. evidence to "induce a reasonable juror to'.believe- beyond a
reasonable doubt" that Appellant assaulted Mrs. Michaels. Id. Mr. Michaels
identified the voice of the only person he heard in his home on the night in
question as belonging to a man who had worked in his home and to whom he
and his wife had given a swimming pool; Mrs . Michaels, while she could
remember nothing that occurred that night due to her extensive injuries,
testified that this man's name was "Stan" or "Stanley." When the blood on
Appellant's shoes was tested, the DNA matched both that of Mr. Michaels and
Mrs . Michaels . Furthermore, pictures of wounds found on Appellant's person
the night of the attack were admitted into evidence. These wounds were
consistent with stab wounds, and a broken knife was found near Mrs . Michaels
in the kitchen. Appellant was also carrying cards bearing Mrs . Michaels' name
when apprehended by the police.
Even though neither of the victims could identify Appellant as the
individual who attacked Mrs. Michaels (as Mr. Michaels was unconscious by
the time his wife was attacked, and Mrs. Michaels has no recollection of the
night), we believe that the other evidence presented against Appellant was
sufficient. Viewing the evidence as a whole, it was not clearly unreasonable for
the jury to convict Appellant of assaulting Mrs. Michaels.
Therefore, for the aforementioned reasons, we hereby affirm Appellant's
sentence and convictions .
All sitting. All concur: . ., . .
COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT:
Samuel N. Potter
Department of Public Advocacy
100 Fair Oaks Lane, Suite 302
Frankfort, KY 40601
COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE :
Stephen Bryant Humphress
Assistant Attorney General
Office of the Criminal Appeals
1024 Capital Center Drive
Frankfort, KY 40601-8204