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State v. Stone

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Second Division

November 21, 2017

STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent,
v.
MATTHEW R. STONE, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lafayette County, Missouri The Honorable Dennis A. Rolf, Judge

          Before: Anthony Rex Gabbert, Presiding Judge, Thomas H. Newton, Judge and Gary D. Witt, Judge.

          Gary D. Witt, Judge.

         Matthew Stone ("Stone") appeals the denial of his motions for judgment of acquittal from the Circuit Court of Lafayette County, Missouri. He was found guilty, following a jury trial, of one count of burglary in the second degree, section 569.170[1], and one count of property damage in the first degree, section 569.100 on a theory of accomplice liability. On appeal, Stone contends that the trial court erred in overruling his motions for judgment of acquittal because the State's evidence was insufficient to support Stone knowingly aided or encouraged Henry Hood ("Hood") in committing the offenses.

         We affirm.

         Factual Background[2]

         Stone was charged with one count of burglary in the second degree and one count of property damage in the first degree. These charges arose out of a burglary of a residential house located at 6670 WW Highway in Lafayette County, Missouri, during the evening of March 12, 2015.

         Around 8:00 a.m. on March 12, 2015, Tiffany Gale ("Gale"), an employee of Swim Things, winterized a pool at 6670 Highway WW in Lafayette County. She hung a door hanger on the front door indicating that the pool had been serviced. There was no damage to the house when Gale was there. Later that day, Hood called Stone to see if he wanted to make some money. Stone said yes, and they drove to the house in Lafayette County. They backed into the driveway. Hood told Stone he was going to go into the house to get some money from the people inside. Hood got out of the car, kicked in the side door to the garage, forcing it open and went inside.

         Deborah Allen ("Allen"), a neighbor was coming home and saw the car in the driveway. She stopped because she knew the owners were not home. She began to try and call the owners from her cell phone. Stone drove the car to where Allen was waiting in her car and stopped to talk with her. Stone said he was from Swim Things, had been at the residence earlier and needed something from the garage that he forgot. As Stone drove away he turned onto the road toward its dead end. As he turned onto the road, Hood came out of the house and ran after the car. After seeing this take place, Allen called the police.

         When the police arrived at the residence, they found the side garage door was forced open, and there was damage to the interior residence door-indicating that it had been kicked in. On the second floor of the home, there was a drawer taken out of a dresser. James Curtis ("Curtis"), the owner of the home, did not give permission for Stone or Hood to enter his house. Curtis later testified the repair cost were $2, 694.

         A short time later, Ted Dickhout observed two males walking across interstate 70. They appeared like they were "up to no good" so he called 911. Police were dispatched to that location. The same car that Allen observed leaving the home was located in a ditch, where it appeared the driver had attempted to cross from the dead end road onto the highway but the car became stuck. Stone was located nearby sitting on a rock under a bridge. Hood was later located at a nearby gas station. An inventory search of the vehicle revealed the Swim Thing door tag signed by Gale which she had left on the door to the house earlier that day.

         The police questioned Stone about the alleged burglary. After initially lying to police, Stone eventually said he did see Hood kick the door into the house and go inside. Stone denied that he saw Hood carry anything from the house to the car. Stone admitted they went to the house to get money. Stone claimed that he had been with Hood and another man the day before driving around and that the other man had a gun. Stone told police that he feared that Hood had taken out a contract to kill Stone (put a "hit out" on him) and that he feared for his life. When asked why he went with Hood in the car the next day, if he was in fear for his life Stone responded that he wanted to see how it played out.

         In June of 2015, the case was tried to a jury. He was found guilty on both counts: burglary in the second degree and property damage in the first degree. Stone was sentenced to consecutive sentences of seven years imprisonment for burglary and two years' imprisonment for property damages for a total sentence of nine years. Stone now appeals.

         Stone raises two points on appeal both challenging the sufficiency of the evidence that he knowingly aided or encouraged Hood in the commission of the offenses. Point I challenges the offense of Burglary and Point II challenges the convictions for Property Damage. Because the analysis for ...


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