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State v. Purifoy

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division

August 10, 2016

STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent,
v.
CARL ANTUANE PURIFOY, a/k/a ANTUANE PURIFOY, a/k/a AKEEN CARL PURIFOY, Appellant.

         APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF LAWRENCE COUNTY, Honorable Jack A.L. Goodman, Circuit Judge

          WILLIAM W. FRANCIS, JR., J. OPINION AUTHOR

         AFFIRMED.

         Carl Antuane Purifoy ("Purifoy") appeals the judgment of the trial court following his conviction for the class C felony of unlawful possession of a firearm. Following a jury trial, the trial judge sentenced Purifoy to five years' incarceration in the Department of Corrections. Purifoy challenges the judgment of the trial court in four points on appeal. Finding no merit to any of Purifoy's points, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         Purifoy challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support his conviction. "When judging the sufficiency of the evidence to support a conviction, appellate courts . . . accept as true all evidence tending to prove guilt together with all reasonable inferences that support the verdict and ignore all contrary evidence and inferences." State v. Wooden, 388 S.W.3d 522, 527 (Mo. banc 2013). Viewed in this light, the following evidence was adduced at trial.

         On October 16, 2001, as part of a plea agreement, Purifoy pled guilty to unlawful use of a weapon. Purifoy initially received a suspended imposition of sentence ("SIS") with three year's supervised probation. On March 19, 2002, Purifoy's probation was revoked, a three-year sentence was imposed, execution of that sentence was suspended ("SES"), and Purifoy was again placed on three years' probation, which he successfully completed.

         On December 10, 2012, Purifoy was arrested when he was in possession of a firearm. Purifoy was subsequently charged, by amended information, with the class C felony of unlawful possession of a firearm, pursuant to section 571.070.[1]

         After a jury trial on March 18, 2015, Purifoy was convicted of the class C felony of unlawful possession of a firearm. The trial court sentenced Purifoy to five years' incarceration in the Department of Corrections with credit for time served.

         In four points on appeal, Purifoy asserts the trial court erred in: (1) overruling his motion for judgment of acquittal at the close of all the evidence because the State's evidence was insufficient to sustain a finding that Purifoy knew he had a prior felony conviction; (2) overruling his objection to the prosecutor's statement in closing argument that Purifoy purchased a weapon from a private individual to avoid a background check; (3) not declaring a mistrial or giving a curative instruction sua sponte after the prosecutor, in closing argument, told the jury that Purifoy's knowledge of his felony was established through his own testimony; and (4) not declaring a mistrial or giving a curative instruction sua sponte when the prosecutor, in closing argument, told the jury that the prior court revoked Purifoy's probation because the court thought it was appropriate, and it would have told Purifoy that it was revoking his probation.

         The issues for our determination are:

1. Was there sufficient evidence to support the challenged element of Purifoy's conviction?
2. Did the trial court abuse its discretion or plainly err in failing to overrule defense counsel's objections to the prosecutor's comments about Purifoy's knowledge of his felony conviction, or to intervene sua sponte after such comments by the prosecutor?

         Standard of Review

To determine whether the evidence presented was sufficient to support a conviction and to withstand a motion for judgment of acquittal, this Court does not weigh the evidence but rather accepts as true all evidence tending to prove guilt together with all reasonable inferences that ...

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