Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Fourth Division
from the Circuit Court of St. Louis County 13SL-CR06312-01
Honorable Thomas J. Prebil
HONORABLE MARY K. HOFF JUDGE.
B. Clay (Defendant) appeals from the judgment upon his
convictions following a jury trial for three counts of
stealing over $500, in violation of Section 570.030, RSMo
2000; one count of attempted stealing, in
violation of Sections 564.011 and 570.030; five counts of
forgery, in violation of Section 570.090; and four counts of
first-degree trespass, in violation of Section 569.140. The
trial court sentenced Defendant to a total of five years'
and Procedural Background
was charged with 13 total counts involving 5 separate
properties, for forgery, trespassing, and stealing by deceit
occurring between December 2012 and August 2013.
respect to the first property, located at 926 Justice Court,
Defendant was charged with two counts of forgery for filing
an affidavit and a mechanic's lien against the property
and also charged with trespassing and with stealing by deceit
over $500 for renting that property to another person (Counts
1 through 4).
respect to the second property, located at 11503 Rosary Lane,
Defendant was charged with two counts of forgery for filing a
"Possession of land and Fixtures" and a
mechanic's lien against the property (Counts 5 and 6).
respect to the third property, located at 1028 Patience
Drive, Defendant was charged with trespassing, forgery for
filing a mechanic's lien against the property, and
stealing by deceit over $500 for renting that property to
another person (Counts 7, 8, and 13).
respect to the fourth property, located at 3006 Wood Poppy,
Defendant was charged with trespassing and with stealing by
deceit over $500 for renting that property to another person
(Counts 11 and 12).
respect to the fifth property, located at 9585 Wilson Bridge
Road, Defendant was charged with trespassing and attempted
stealing by deceit over $500 for executing a lease for that
property with other persons (Counts 9 and 10).
trial was held from August 11, 2015 to August 13, 2015.
Viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, the
following evidence was adduced at trial: Defendant operated
under two names: Winston Clay and Maulana Al-Hasan. Defendant
stated that, after hearing about mortgage fraud in the 2000s
and what banks were doing with homes, he formed Khan El Land
Acquisition LLC ("Khan El Land Acquisition"), and
Estate of Winston Barrington Clay Holding Company ("Clay
Holding Company"). Defendant admitted that he located
properties that were abandoned, "moved in on them,
" and rented them out. Defendant stated that he worked
with Todd Edwards (Edwards") to execute his scheme.
Franklin ("Franklin") and her ex-husband owned the
property at 926 Justice Court. In November 2011, Franklin
moved out of the house after her husband had already left. In
2015, the bank foreclosed on the house. Franklin testified
that she found out that someone was living in the house in
2013 when she investigated a lien against the property from
the Metropolitan Sewer Department ("MSD").
28, 2013, Defendant filed a mechanic's lien in the
circuit clerk's office against Franklin's home on
behalf of Khan El Land Acquisition for work allegedly done on
the property. The lien was signed by Al-Hasan. Franklin
testified that she never gave Defendant permission to do any
work on the house, nor did Defendant ask her to perform work
on the house. On January 18, 2013, Defendant filed a document
in the circuit clerk's office titled, "Notice of
Possession of Land and Fixtures Under Claim of Right Adverse
Possession for Color of Title" that purported to grant
926 Justice Court to Khan El Land Acquisition. Franklin
testified that she never granted Khan El Land Acquisition the
property. Franklin also received a lien against the house
from MSD for approximately $500 after she had already moved
out and the water had been turned off.
in December 2012, Bertha Williams ("Williams")
rented 926 Justice Court, and entered into a lease that was
signed by Edwards and listed Khan El Land Acquisition as the
landlord. Williams testified she paid Edwards $650 a month
for rent. A few months later, Franklin, who had not been
living at the property, received a lien from MSD; she
contacted police. In July 2013, Franklin accompanied police
to her house and found people living there. Later, Defendant
and Edwards also came to the house, claiming to own it. When
Franklin asked about the items she had left in the property,
including furniture, a computer, a grill, and a big-screen
television, Defendant said "something to the effect of
it's all gone."
December 2011, Robert and Christine Smith (the
"Smiths") purchased the property on 11503 Rosary
Lane. In March 2012, the Smiths moved out of the house and
later in 2012, the home was foreclosed upon.
25, 2012, Defendant filed in the circuit clerk's office a
document titled "Possession of Land and Fixtures Under
Claim of Right Adverse Possession for Color of Title"
against the property. The document was signed by Al-Hasan and
listed Khan El Land Acquisition as the grantor and the