Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF MCDONALD COUNTY Honorable John
LePage, Associate Circuit Judge.
Estep (Defendant) was convicted of the class C felony of
receiving stolen property. See §
570.080. On appeal, Defendant contends the trial
court erred by denying Defendant's post-trial motion for
judgment of acquittal. Defendant argues that the evidence was
insufficient to prove the "receiving" element of
the offense. Because "receiving" is defined in
§ 570.010(13) and the State presented sufficient
evidence that Defendant acquired possession or control of
stolen property, we affirm.
and Procedural Background
consider the facts and all reasonable inferences derived
therefrom in a light most favorable to the verdict, and we
reject all contrary evidence and inferences." State
v. Campbell, 122 S.W.3d 736, 737 (Mo. App. 2004). Viewed
from that perspective, the following facts were adduced at
August 2015, the Chandler family took a long weekend trip to
Kansas City. Upon returning home, they discovered that their
white 2001 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck was missing.
Later that day, a Neosho police officer was dispatched to the
residence of Robert McFadyen to investigate a possible
trespass. McFadyen is Defendant's stepfather, and
Defendant's mother lives in the same home. As the officer
was driving up to the residential complex in his patrol car,
he saw a white pickup truck parked directly behind
McFadyen's cabin. Defendant was standing next to the
truck, spray painting it with "burnt orange" paint.
When Defendant saw the officer, he tossed the can of spray
paint into the truck, shut the door, and "took off"
away from the truck toward his parents' cabin. The
officer became suspicious and ran the identification numbers
on the truck. That inquiry revealed the truck had been
the truck was returned to the Chandlers later that week, its
condition had been changed. There was spray paint around the
doors and on the hood, two of the tires and rims had been
replaced, a large dent had been removed, there were several
bullet holes in the tailgate, and the tailgate was damaged to
the extent that it could no longer be opened. Multiple items
not belonging to the Chandlers were found in the truck.
was charged by amended information with the class C felony of
receiving stolen property in violation of § 570.080. A
jury found Defendant guilty of that offense, and the trial
court imposed a 10-year sentence. This appeal followed.
appellate court's role in reviewing the sufficiency of
the evidence to support a criminal conviction is limited to
determining whether there was sufficient evidence from which
a reasonable fact-finder could have found each element of the
offense to have been established beyond a reasonable doubt.
State v. Williams, 469 S.W.3d 6, 8 (Mo. App. 2015).
"A person commits the crime of receiving stolen property
if for the purpose of depriving the owner of a lawful
interest therein, he or she receives, retains or
disposes of property of another knowing that it has been
stolen, or believing that it has been stolen." §
570.080.1 (italics added). As used in this statute, the word
"receives" is defined to mean "acquiring
possession, control or title or lending on the security of
the property[.]" § 570.010(13); see
also State v. Myers, 386 S.W.3d 786, 794 (Mo. App.
2012). "Acquire" means "to come into
possession or control of often by unspecified means."
Myers, 386 S.W.3d at 794. "Possession" is
defined in § 556.061(22) as:
[H]aving actual or constructive possession of an object with
knowledge of its presence. A person has actual possession if
such person has the object on his or her person or within
easy reach and convenient control. A person has constructive
possession if such person has the power and the intention at
a given time to exercise dominion or control over the object
either directly or through another person or persons.
Possession may also be sole or joint. If one person alone has
possession of an object, possession is sole. If two or more
persons share possession of an object, possession is joint[.]
Id. "[P]ossession of stolen property need
not be exclusive or apart from all others if there is other
evidence to connect a defendant with the offense."
State v. Winder, 50 S.W.3d 395, 403 (Mo. App. 2001).
contends the State failed to present sufficient evidence to
prove that Defendant actually possessed or controlled the
truck. According to Defendant, the only evidence
presented tending to prove that Defendant received the stolen
truck was the officer's testimony that he saw Defendant
spray painting the truck. We disagree.
argument is unpersuasive because it ignores other crucial
circumstantial evidence adduced at trial, together with the
corresponding inferences the jury could reasonably draw from
such evidence. The truck was parked behind the residence of
Defendant's parents. Defendant was observed in the act of
spray painting the truck. The truck had spray paint around
the doors and on the hood. A large dent had been removed, and
two of the tires and rims had been replaced. Once seen by the
officer, Defendant opened the truck door and tossed the spray
paint can inside. He "took off" away from the truck
and toward his parents' cabin. Multiple items not
belonging to the Chandlers were found in the truck. This
evidence was sufficient to prove that Defendant possessed the
truck. See State v. Supinski, 779 S.W.2d 258, 263-64
(Mo. App. 1989) (evidence that a U-Haul trailer was found on
defendant's land, and he was observed standing near it
while its color was being changed from its characteristic
orange and aluminum to a rusty brown, was sufficient to prove
that he possessed the trailer); State v. Heidbrink, ___
S.W.3d ___, 2018 WL 710479, at *3 (Mo. App. E.D. Feb. 6,