Court of Appeals of Texas, Sixth District, Texarkana
Submitted December 3, 2013.
On Appeal from the Criminal District Court No. 3, Tarrant County, Texas. Trial Court No. 1226690D.
J. Warren St. John, Attorney at Law, Fort Worth, TX.
Sharon Johnson, Assistant District Attorney, Fort Worth, TX.
Charles M. Mallin, Appellate Section, District Attorney's Office, Fort Worth, TX.
Before Morriss, C.J., Carter and Moseley, JJ. Opinion by Chief Justice Morriss.
Josh R. Morriss, III, Chief Justice.
To get a pound of marihuana to sell, Floyd Miles convinced Marquise Brooks, Nathaniel Redic, and James Jones to join him in stealing the marihuana from a known dealer, John Dorsey. The foursome proceeded to Dorsey's Tarrant County apartment, with Miles, Redic, and Jones, at least, carrying firearms. Evidence conflicted on whether Brooks was armed. The group entered Dorsey's apartment and started shooting. In the apartment was a young man recently graduated from college and having taken the LSAT, who was playing a video game. One of the shots from one of the four hit the young man in the back, killing him.
Brooks was convicted as a party to capital murder and sentenced to life in prison. On appeal, Brooks argues insufficient evidence and juror misconduct. Because (1) sufficient evidence supports Brooks' conviction and (2) the juror's unknowingly improper actions do not warrant reversal, we affirm the trial court's judgment.
(1) Sufficient Evidence Supports Brooks' Conviction
In reviewing the legal sufficiency of the evidence, we review all the evidence in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict to determine whether any rational jury could have found the essential elements of the offense 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).
A defendant can be convicted as a party to the offense if, while " acting with intent to promote or assist the commission of the offense, he solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts to aid the other person to commit the offense." Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 7.02(a)(2) (West 2011). To determine whether an individual is a party to an offense, the reviewing court may look to events before, during, and after the commission of the offense. Gross v. State, 380 S.W.3d 181, 186 (Tex. Crim. ...