from the Circuit Court of Cass County The Honorable William
B. Collins, Judge
Division One: Anthony Rex Gabbert, P.J., and Thomas H. Newton
and Alok Ahuja, JJ.
a jury trial in the Circuit Court of Cass County, Charles
Baldwin was convicted of three class C felonies: stealing;
tampering with the victim of a crime; and unlawful possession
of a firearm.
appeals, challenging his convictions for stealing and victim
tampering. He argues that the evidence was insufficient to
prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was guilty of victim
tampering. He also contends that the trial court erred in
convicting him of felony stealing, in light of the
Missouri Supreme Court's interpretation of the governing
statute in State v. Bazell, 497 S.W.3d 263 (Mo. banc
reject Baldwin's sufficiency challenge to the victim
tampering conviction. We conclude, however, that under
Bazell Baldwin's stealing offense constituted a
class A misdemeanor, not a class C felony. The classification
of the stealing charge as a misdemeanor has the effect of
also reducing the classification of Baldwin's
victim-tampering offense from a felony to a misdemeanor. We
accordingly reverse both convictions, and remand the case to
the trial court with instructions to enter a judgment
convicting Baldwin of the class A misdemeanors of stealing
and victim tampering, and to resentence him accordingly.
Sunday, January 13, 2013, Ruby and Kevin Hobbs discovered
that a Jimenez .380 caliber handgun had been stolen from
their home in Pleasant Hill.Ruby had purchased the handgun in
December 2012 as a Christmas present for her husband Kevin.
Ruby purchased the firearm in her own name because Kevin is a
convicted felon, and therefore could not own or possess a
13, 2013, was the Hobbses' first wedding anniversary.
Ruby and Kevin were away from home for much of the day
attending church and visiting with friends. Ruby received a
call from Baldwin that afternoon. Baldwin was in a romantic
relationship with Nicole Hobbs, Kevin's daughter and
Ruby's stepdaughter; Baldwin and Nicole were cohabiting
and had a child together.
asked Ruby what she and Kevin were doing, and whether they
were at home. Ruby said that they were out, but would be home
in a couple of hours; she told Baldwin that he was welcome to
visit then. Baldwin declined, saying that he would come
another time. Ruby testified that she was surprised to
receive Baldwin's call, because he usually called Kevin,
and had never called her directly in the past.
Ruby and Kevin were away from home, their neighbor Mary
Clevenger heard a vehicle coming down the road playing loud
music. Clevenger looked out of her kitchen window and saw a
dark-colored sport-utility vehicle pull into the Hobbses'
driveway. (Clevenger's description matched Baldwin's
vehicle.) Clevenger saw a man exit the vehicle and walk up to
the Hobbses' front door. After standing at the door for a
moment the man walked around to the back of the house. At
this point Clevenger stopped watching. She testified that she
did not see or hear the man leave the property.
returning home on January 13, Ruby and Kevin noticed that
there were tire marks in the snow in their driveway, and
footprints leading to the front door. They also discovered a
footprint between the main and screen doors at the back of
their house, and footprints on their back deck. The couple
did not initially notice anything in their home to be out of
order. Later, however, they realized that their .380 caliber
Jimenez handgun was missing from the nightstand in their
bedroom. Ruby called Baldwin to ask if he had been to the
house. He said that he had not. Ruby then called the police
to report what had happened, including the call from Baldwin
earlier in the day.
arrested Baldwin in connection with the theft. Baldwin called
Nicole from a holding cell after his arrest. The phone call
was recorded and was admitted into evidence at trial. During
the call Nicole stated that she did not know why Ruby and
Kevin would suspect Baldwin. He responded: "because I
did it, baby." Baldwin asked Nicole to tell Kevin that
if he "dropped the charges, " he would get his gun
back. Baldwin continued: "And tell him if he doesn't
drop the charges, he can kiss good-bye of ever seeing his
testified that, after Baldwin was released from jail, he
returned the gun to her. He asked Ruby and Kevin to drop the
charges, but Ruby responded that at that point it was out of
testified at trial that he and Nicole were staying at the
Hobbses' house the weekend when the gun went missing.
According to Baldwin, he, Nicole and Kevin were using
methamphetamine while Ruby was at work. Baldwin testified
that he hid the gun under the bathroom sink because it made
him feel safer. He also testified that he and Nicole left the
Hobbses' residence around noon on Sunday, January 13, but
that he returned in the afternoon because Kevin asked him to.
Baldwin testified that nobody answered at either the front or
the back door when he returned, so he "took off"
without entering the home. Baldwin denied removing the gun
from the Hobbses' residence, but testified that, after he
was released from jail, he told Kevin where he had hidden the
was charged with four class C felonies: second-degree
burglary for entering the home of Ruby Hobbs to steal a
firearm, in violation of § 569.170(Count I);
stealing a firearm owned by Ruby Hobbs, in violation of
§ 570.030 (Count II); tampering with Kevin Hobbs, a
victim of burglary and stealing, in violation of §
575.270 (Count III)); and unlawful possession of a firearm by
a convicted felon, in violation of § 571.070 (Count IV).
Count III alleged that Baldwin had attempted to tamper with
Kevin by instructing Nicole during their recorded jailhouse
conversation to advise Kevin that if he dropped the charges
he would get his gun back, but that if he did not, Kevin
would not be allowed to see his grandson in the future. The
information alleged that Baldwin was a persistent offender
based on his convictions in September 2006 of unlawful use of
a weapon and possession of a controlled substance with intent
two-day trial, a jury found Baldwin guilty of stealing a
firearm, tampering with a victim, and being a felon in
possession of a handgun. The jury acquitted Baldwin of the
burglary charge. The court sentenced him to five-year terms
of imprisonment for each of the three convictions, with the
sentences to run concurrently.
now appeals, challenging his convictions for stealing and
first Point contends that the State failed to present
sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that
Kevin Hobbs was a victim of either burglary or stealing, and