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State v. Prince

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Third Division

August 15, 2017

STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent,
v.
EMANSHWA PRINCE, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of the City of Saint Louis 1422-CR03483-01 Honorable Michael F. Stelzer

          Gary M. Gaertner, Jr., Presiding Judge

         Introduction

         Emanshwa Prince (Defendant) appeals from the trial court's sentence and judgment of conviction for one count of attempted sodomy in the first degree, one count of kidnapping, and two counts of armed criminal action, Defendant contends there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he took substantial steps toward the commission of attempted sodomy in the first degree or that he committed the attempted sodomy in the first degree with the aid of a deadly weapon. We affirm.

         Background

         The State charged Defendant as a prior felony offender with one count of the class B felony of kidnapping, one count of the unclassified felony of attempted sodomy in the first degree, and two counts of armed criminal action. At the bench trial, the evidence viewed in the light most favorable to the guilty verdicts[1] showed the following.

         In September of 2014, CM. (Victim) was on her way to school when Defendant pulled up in a white car and started to compliment her. Victim crossed the street to wait at a bus stop. Defendant circled around the block, pointed a gun at Victim, and told her to "get in the car." Victim, afraid of what Defendant might do to her, entered his car. Meanwhile, a local retired truck driver (the witness) was passing by while taking his nephew and another child to school, and he noticed a white car attempting to "pick up a little girl." The witness decided to make a U-turn because he was curious about what was happening and after observing for a while called 911 to report the suspicious activity.

         With the gun on his lap, Defendant drove a few blocks and parked the car. Defendant pulled down his pajama pants, leaned his seat back, and told Victim to "suck his d-." Victim resisted, and Defendant pointed his gun at Victim's head. Victim then told Defendant, "[y]ou might as well just go ahead and shoot me because you are going to shoot me anyway[.]" While this was occurring, Saint Louis Metropolitan Police Department Officers Aaron Webster and Cortez Miles drove by Defendant's parked car and noted it matched the description from a suspicious-person call they had received earlier that morning. After the officers drove by, Defendant started the car and began to drive in the opposite direction. The officers made a U-turn and pulled the Defendant over. Victim exited the car and ran toward the officers, but Officer Webster told her to get back into the car. Victim told Officer Webster that she needed help because Defendant had a gun. Officer Miles then arrested Defendant. While searching Defendant's car, Officer Miles found a revolver behind the passenger seat.

         On his way back from taking the children to school, the witness observed that the police officers had pulled over the white car he had noticed earlier that morning. He stopped to let the officers know this was the same vehicle he had reported to 911.

         At trial, Defendant testified in his defense that Victim asked Defendant for a ride to school. Defendant denied pointing a gun at Victim and demanding oral sex. Defendant stated he is partially paralyzed on the left side of his body due to a gunshot wound to his head, so it is impossible for him to hold the gun in his right hand and pull his pants down using only his left hand.

         At the close of evidence, the trial court found Defendant guilty on all counts and sentenced him to a total of 18 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. This appeal follows.

         Point on Appeal

         In his sole point on appeal, Defendant alleges the trial court erred in entering judgment against him because there was insufficient evidence from which a reasonable trier of fact could convict him of attempted sodomy in the first degree and armed criminal action.[2] Specifically, Defendant contends the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Defendant took a substantial step towards the commission of the offense of sodomy in the first degree and that he used a deadly weapon in the alleged offense. We disagree.

         Standard ...


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