Appeal from the 178th District Court Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Case No. 1519159
consists of Justices Keyes, Higley, and Landau.
CARTER HIGLEY, JUSTICE
David Patrick Bertram, was found guilty by a jury of the
offense of attempted aggravated kidnapping. After finding an
enhancement allegation- alleging that Appellant had been
previously convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a
child-to be true, the trial court sentenced Appellant to 50
years in prison.
raises three issues on appeal. In his first issue, Appellant
contends that the trial court erred when it denied his motion
to quash the indictment. In his second and third issues he
contends that the evidence was not sufficient to support the
judgment of conviction.
Fatima lived in a Houston apartment complex and worked at a
restaurant. She worked nearly every day with her shift
starting at 1:00 p.m. She got to work by walking, using the
sidewalk along Mesa Street.
on March 22, 2016, Fatima left her apartment and started her
walk to work. She was talking on her cell phone as she
walked. Fatima noticed a man, later identified as Appellant,
standing at the bus stop. She passed him and continued to
walk. Fatima glanced back and noticed that Appellant was
walking about a car's length behind her. Her workplace is
on the same side of the street as her apartment complex, so
she normally did not cross the street. However, because she
felt afraid, Fatima crossed to the other side of the street
at an intersection.
she crossed the street, Appellant followed her. He was a
little over an arm's length behind her. Fatima looked
back and saw Appellant reaching out with his hand towards
her. Fatima later testified at trial that she began "to
run, walk quickly," and that Appellant was "walking
fast" behind her.
again crossed the street, but this time she crossed
mid-block. Fatima ran across the street, but she tripped and
fell as she reached the other side. Appellant followed Fatima
across the street but was delayed by a passing car.
asked what happened after she fell, Fatima testified that she
began to crawl and that Appellant "walk[ed] slowly to
where [she] was." She said she thought that Appellant
"was going to grab [her] cell phone," but he did
not. Instead, Appellant grabbed Fatima's left arm with
both his hands and squeezed. Fatima testified that Appellant
"wasn't helping me, he was hurting my arm."
trial, the State offered photographs of points along
Fatima's walking route on Mesa Street, including where
Appellant grabbed Fatima. Fatima referenced the photographs
as she testified.
testified that, after he grabbed her, Appellant "wanted
to . . . pull me towards a place." She said that he
"pulled [her] backwards . . . towards over here."
She said that, when he pulled her backwards, she scraped her
knee. She stated that the scrape "hurt [her] really
saw that Appellant had a white handkerchief in his right
hand. Appellant was moving the handkerchief toward her face.
Fatima believed that Appellant was trying to put the
handkerchief in her mouth. She testified that she started
moving her head to prevent Appellant from putting the
handkerchief in her mouth. When she moved her head, Appellant
squeezed her arm harder.
passing motorist, M. Thomas, saw Appellant "trying to
grab" Fatima. Thomas testified at trial that Fatima
looked "scared" and appeared to be "trying to
get away from [Appellant]." Thomas's girlfriend, R.
Jones, was also in the car. She saw Fatima walking quickly
away from Appellant. Jones said that she saw Appellant trying
"to trip" Fatima. Jones testified that Fatima was
"trying to move back" from Appellant but then
Appellant grabbed Fatima's arm. Jones believed that
Appellant was "trying to mess with" Fatima.
and Jones decided to go back to help Fatima. As he turned his
car around, Thomas saw Appellant grab the complainant by her
shoulder and saw Fatima trip. Jones testified she saw
Appellant "gripping" Fatima. She said that
Appellant slipped, and Fatima "stumbled" with him.
Jones saw Fatima pull away from Appellant and then Appellant
reached out to grab Fatima again.
time Thomas and Jones reached them, Appellant and Fatima were
in the parking lot of a tire shop. Thomas drove his car in
between Appellant and Fatima, and he got out of the vehicle.
Thomas saw that Fatima was scared, shaking, and crying.
Thomas could not speak with Fatima because she speaks only
said that Appellant then walked around the car "to get
to [Fatima]." Thomas stopped Appellant and asked him
what he was doing. Appellant told Thomas, "[M]ind your
[own] business. You don't know what's going on."
They asked Appellant how he knew Fatima, and he told them to
mind their own business. Appellant said that he was just
trying to ask Fatima the time. Jones testified that Appellant
had a "crazy" and "scary" look on his
face. Thomas described Appellant as being
the help of a Spanish-speaking employee of the tire shop,
Thomas learned that Fatima did not know Appellant. Thomas
told Fatima to get in the car. Appellant approached
Thomas's car, and Thomas told him to step away because
his two young daughters were in the backseat. Thomas told
Jones to drive away with Fatima. Jones took Fatima to the
restaurant where she worked and then returned to the tire
asked the tire shop employees to call the police. Appellant
then quickly walked away. Thomas and Jones flagged down a
passing Houston Police Department patrol car driven by
Officer M. Rocchi. They pointed down the street to Appellant.
Officer Rocchi and his partner detained Appellant. Officer
Rocchi testified that Appellant had "a very calm
demeanor" and did not ask why he had been detained,
which Officer Rocchi "found kind of odd."
Rocchi went to the restaurant where Fatima worked. He
observed that Fatima was still shaking and crying. He saw
that she had scratches, bruises, and redness on her shoulder,
which he agreed was consistent with someone grabbing and
pulling her arm. Later that day, the police photographed
Fatima. The photos show red marks on Fatima's arm.
was indicted for the offense of attempted aggravated
kidnapping. Appellant filed a motion to quash the indictment,
which was denied by the trial court.
trial, the State offered the testimony of the Officer Rocchi,
Fatima, Thomas, and Jones. The State's exhibits include
photographs of the route walked by Fatima along ...