William Bradford, II v. State of Arkansas

Annotate this Case
ar03-680

ARKANSAS COURT OF APPEALS
NOT DESIGNATED FOR PUBLICATION

DIVISION IV

WILLIAM BRADFORD, II

APPELLANT

V.

STATE OF ARKANSAS

APPELLEE

CACR03-680

May 26, 2004

APPEAL FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SIXTH DIVISION [NO. CR 02-1946]

HON. TIMOTHY DAVIS FOX,

JUDGE

AFFIRMED

John Mauzy Pittman, Judge

The appellant in this criminal case was charged with aggravated assault and terroristic threatening in the first degree. After a jury trial, appellant was found guilty of these offenses and sentenced to six years' imprisonment on each charge, to be served concurrently. On appeal, appellant does not challenge his terroristic-threatening conviction, but instead argues only that the trial court erred in denying his motion for a directed verdict on the charge of aggravated assault because the evidence does not support a finding that he acted under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to human life. We find no error, and we affirm.

A motion for a directed verdict is treated as a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. Swaim v. State, 78 Ark. App. 176, 79 S.W.3d 853 (2002). When reviewing the denial of a directed verdict, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, considering only the evidence that supports the judgment or verdict, and we affirm if there

is substantial evidence to support a verdict. Id. Evidence is substantial if it is of sufficient force and character to compel reasonable minds to reach a conclusion and pass beyond suspicion and conjecture. Schwede v. State, 49 Ark. App. 87, 896 S.W.2d 454 (1995).

A person commits aggravated assault if, "under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life," he or she purposely engages in conduct that creates a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to another person. Ark. Code Ann. ยง 5-13-204(a) (Repl. 1997). Here, there was evidence that appellant, while seated in an automobile, became involved in a heated argument with the victim who was standing near the driver's side window; that appellant pulled a knife and slashed at her while threatening to "cut you and mess you real bad." There was also evidence that appellant then backed the automobile and, sliding and fish-tailing on the gravel roadway, with his vehicle throwing gravel from the sudden acceleration, attempted to hit the victim and her husband with the automobile. Appellant was unsuccessful, whereupon he backed up and again attempted to hit the victim, again missing but striking a mailbox with sufficient force to knock it over. The victim and her husband had to back up to avoid being hit by the automobile.

Appellant argues that this evidence is insufficient to prove that he acted under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life because there was no evidence to show the speed at which he was traveling. We do not agree. Although speed may be a relevant factor in determining whether the circumstances involved in the operation of an automobile manifested an extreme indifference to the value of human life, there are other factors of equal import, such as direction of travel, adverse road conditions, degree of control over the vehicle, and knowledge of the presence of pedestrians and their location. All of these factors were present in this case, as well as evidence that appellant was acting with the stated intent of doing severe bodily harm to the victim. Under these circumstances, we hold without hesitation that the evidence was sufficient to show that appellant acted under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.

Affirmed.

Neal and Baker, JJ., agree.