Court of Appeals of Texas, Sixth District, Texarkana
Submitted October 29, 2013.
On Appeal from the 124th District Court, Gregg County, Texas. Trial Court No. 40623-B.
James Huggler Jr., Attorney at Law, Tyler, TX.
Zan Colson Brown, Assistant District Attorney, Longview, TX.
Before Morriss, C.J., Carter and Moseley, JJ. Opinion by Justice Moseley. Dissenting Opinion by Justice Carter.
Bailey C. Moseley, Justice.
In November 2010, Henry Taylor, Jr., the owner and operator of Taylor's Custom Signs in Longview, agreed to perform two jobs for Reich Builders (owned by Jeff Reich). First, Taylor was to construct and wire an LED illuminated monument
sign for commercial property Reich owned in Kilgore. Second, Taylor was to refurbish a pole sign at the Lock Box (a storage facility in Longview) and install an LED message board on that sign. Taylor represented that the sign work could be completed before Christmas of that year. When the work remained unfinished in April 2011, Taylor was indicted for theft of property. After a bench trial, Taylor was found guilty of theft of property having a value of $1,500.00 or more but less than $20,000.00 and was sentenced to a one-year term of confinement in the State Jail Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
In his sole point of error on appeal, Taylor claims the evidence is legally insufficient to support his conviction. Because legally sufficient evidence supports the conviction, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
I. Standard of Review
In evaluating legal sufficiency, we review all the evidence in the light most favorable to the trial court's judgment to determine whether any rational jury could have found the essential elements of theft beyond a reasonable doubt. Brooks v. State, 323 S.W.3d 893, 912 (Tex.Crim.App. 2010) (citing Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979)); Hartsfield v. State, 305 S.W.3d 859, 863 (Tex.App.--Texarkana 2010, pet. ref'd). We examine legal sufficiency under the direction of the Brooks opinion, while giving deference to the responsibility of the jury " to fairly resolve conflicts in testimony, to weigh the evidence, and to draw reasonable inferences from basic facts to ultimate facts." Hooper v. State, 214 S.W.3d 9, 13 (Tex.Crim.App. 2007) (citing Jackson, 443 U.S. at 318-19); Clayton v. State, 235 S.W.3d 772, 778 (Tex.Crim.App. 2007).
II. Evidence at Trial
On November 5, 2010, Reich paid Taylor $14,657.25, this sum representing one-half of the total cost of four LED signs, together with the construction and wiring of a tenant sign in Kilgore. Two weeks after the November 5 payment, Taylor requested an additional $10,000.00 payment so that the signs, now ostensibly ready for shipment, could be shipped. Reich paid Taylor the additional funds in order to have the signs shipped.
Both Reich and Vicki Yocum, Reich's office manager, believed the signs were shipped on payment of the final $10,000.00 installment. When the signs did not arrive in December, Taylor explained that they were being shipped by boat from China. In response to Yocum's January request for verification of purchase, Taylor provided an invoice indicating that four red, outdoor programmable message signs (model SR-2426) were purchased from Affordable LED, Inc., in Rowland Heights, California, on November 18, 2010, for a total cost of $22,600.00. The invoice is marked " paid in full with credit card."
Other evidence regarding the number and type of signs ordered differs from the information reflected on the November 18 invoice. Taylor testified that he ordered a total of four LED signs--to be assembled into two double-sided illuminated signs--one for each location. According to Taylor, only two such signs were ordered ...