James W. Snyder v. State of Arkansas

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CACR 03-948

MAY 12, 2004







John B. Robbins, Judge

Appellant James Snyder was convicted in a jury trial of residential burglary. He was sentenced to six years in the Arkansas Department of Correction. Mr. Snyder's sole point on appeal is that there was insufficient evidence to support the verdict. We affirm.

In reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, all evidence is considered in the light most favorable to the verdict and only evidence supporting the verdict is considered. Kirwan v. State, 351 Ark. 603, 96 S.W.3d 724 (2003). Evidence is sufficient if it is forceful enough to compel a reasonable mind to reach a conclusion and pass beyond suspicion and conjecture. Id. Circumstantial evidence can constitute substantial evidence when every other reasonable hypothesis consistent with innocence is excluded. Nance v. State, 323 Ark. 583, 918 S.W.2d 144 (1996). On review, we neither weigh the evidence nor evaluate the credibility of witnesses. Rains v. State, 329 Ark. 607, 953 S.W.2d 48 (1997).

The victim, Kathryn Dillard, testified for the State. She stated that she was in a relationship with Mr. Snyder for about a year and that he lived with her and her children beginning in May 2002. After the relationship had ended, in the early morning hours of June 5, 2003, Ms. Dillard received a call from Mr. Snyder, and he was upset and wanted her to meet him at a Denny's restaurant to talk. Ms. Dillard met him at about 12:30 a.m., and after they talked she drove him to the motel where he was staying. Ms. Dillard testified that she was at home in her bed by about 1:30 a.m.

Ms. Dillard indicated that at about 3:30 a.m. she woke up to find Mr. Snyder in her bedroom and that he told her he had been there for forty-five minutes. Mr. Snyder got a pair of underwear from a drawer for Ms. Dillard to wear, and he asked her to leave with him. Ms. Dillard stated that she willingly left with Mr. Snyder because she feared for her safety and the safety of her children. According to Ms. Dillard, Mr. Snyder had a key to the back door of her house and threatened to return later. Because she was afraid, Ms. Dillard and her family spent the next couple of nights at a friend's house.

Upon inspecting her house two days later, Ms. Dillard discovered that some money was missing. She stated that there was a fifty-dollar bill in her underwear drawer and that Mr. Snyder took it. She further stated that "about ten dollars in ones and maybe a five" were taken from her purse. Thirteen one-dollar bills were missing from Ms. Dillard's older son's wallet, and her younger son had a "bear bank" that was taken. Ms. Dillard estimated that at total of about eighty dollars was taken from her house.

Mr. Snyder was arrested by Officer Greg Smithson on the same day the alleged burglary occurred. Officer Smithson testified that when he arrested Mr. Snyder, he found $119 on his person, which consisted of one fifty, one twenty, one ten, four fives, and nineteen one-dollar bills. On cross-examination, Officer Smithson acknowledged that that money was not fingerprinted or otherwise analyzed for identification purposes.

Two defense witnesses who work at the elementary school where Ms. Dillard is employed testified that Ms. Dillard does not have a reputation for being an honest person. Mark Peters, the general manager of the Town Club in Fort Smith, gave rebuttal testimony for the State. Mr. Peters stated that Ms. Dillard has worked at the club for fifteen months and that during that time she has always been honest with him.

Mr. Snyder's argument on appeal is that there was not substantial evidence to support his conviction for residential burglary. Arkansas Code Annotated section 5-39-201(a)(1) (Repl. 1997) provides, "A person commits residential burglary if he enters or remains unlawfully in a residential occupiable structure of another person with the purpose of committing therein any offense punishable by imprisonment." Theft of less than $500 is a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by imprisonment for up to a year. See Ark. Code Ann. § 5-36-103(5)(A) (Supp. 2003) and Ark. Code Ann. § 5-4-401(b)(1) (Repl. 1997). Mr. Snyder contends that there was insufficient evidence that he entered the residence with the purpose of committing a theft. He notes the discrepancy between the $80 allegedly stolen from the victim's house, and the $119 found on his person. Mr. Snyder asserts that there was no evidence proving that the cash he possessed had ever been in possession of Ms. Dillard or her family, and therefore his conviction must be reversed.

We hold that there was substantial evidence to support the jury's finding that Mr. Snyder committed residential burglary. Contrary to Mr. Snyder's argument, there was substantial evidence to support the finding that he intended to commit a theft, because there was substantial evidence that he in fact consummated that offense.

The facts, viewed in the light most favorable to the State, are that Mr. Snyder entered Ms. Dillard's home and was there for forty-five minutes before she became aware of his presence. While there, he opened her underwear drawer. Upon subsequent inspection of the house, Ms. Dillard noticed a fifty-dollar bill was missing from her underwear drawer, and also that money had been taken from her purse and other areas of the house. When arrested the day of the offense, Mr. Snyder possessed a fifty-dollar bill and other denominations totaling $119.

We think the jury could reasonably infer that some of the money in Mr. Snyder's possession had been stolen from Ms. Dillard's house. While Ms. Dillard estimated that a total of $80 had been taken, she indicated that she was not sure how much money was in her purse or younger son's bank. Moreover, there was no evidence as to how much money Mr. Snyder possessed prior to the incident at issue. There was evidence, however, that money from Ms. Dillard's house was missing after Mr. Snyder's uninvited entry. Under these circumstances, there was sufficient circumstantial evidence that Mr. Snyder committed a theft. Thus, there was substantial evidence that Mr. Snyder entered the residence with the purpose to commit an offense punishable by imprisonment.


Neal and Crabtree, JJ., agree.