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State v. Beck

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Second Division

April 30, 2019

STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent,
v.
ROGER J. BECK, JR., Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Worth County, Missouri The Honorable W. Douglas Thomson, Judge.

          Before Thomas N. Chapman, Presiding Judge, and Mark D. Pfeiffer and Cynthia L. Martin, Judges.

          Mark D. Pfeiffer, Judge.

         Mr. Roger Beck ("Beck") appeals from his judgment of conviction and sentences, following a trial by jury, by the Circuit Court of Worth County, Missouri ("trial court"), for assault in the second degree of a special victim and armed criminal action. In two points on appeal, Beck argues (1) erroneous admission of evidence, and (2) insufficiency of evidence to support the verdict. We affirm.

         Factual Background[1]

         The victim, Michael Kirkpatrick ("Kirkpatrick"), has been diagnosed with an intellectual disability. On March 8, 2017, while at Beck's house, Beck beat Kirkpatrick on the head and ribs with a baseball bat. Kirkpatrick suffered injuries to his head and ribs as a result of the baseball bat attack. Kirkpatrick ran away from Beck and made it to his home where he passed out. When Kirkpatrick awoke, he called emergency services for an ambulance.

         Sheriff Tim Davis of the Gentry County Sheriff's Department was dispatched to the hospital where he eventually met with Beck and, in conversation, Beck admitted that he hit Kirkpatrick "solid" three times and further commented that Kirkpatrick could "take a good hit."

         Subsequently, Sheriff Davis interviewed Kirkpatrick and observed his injuries. Based on this discussion, law enforcement later obtained a search warrant for Beck's house to look for a wooden baseball bat, which they found under the porch of the home.

         Beck was charged with second-degree assault of a special victim and armed criminal action and the case was tried to a jury in September 2017. Additional evidence adduced at trial will be set forth as relevant to our analysis below.

         The jury found Beck guilty of second-degree assault of a special victim and armed criminal action. § 565.052; § 571.015.[2] Following the verdict, Beck filed a motion for judgment of acquittal notwithstanding the verdict or for new trial, which the trial court denied. The trial court then sentenced Beck to five years' imprisonment and three years' imprisonment on the convictions, respectively, with the sentences to run concurrently. Beck now appeals.

         Analysis

         Beck was charged with assault in the second degree of a special victim in violation of section 565.052. That statute provides, in pertinent part:

1. A person commits the offense of assault in the second degree if he or she: . . . .
(2) Attempts to cause or knowingly causes physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or ...

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