Defendant in Murder Case Unsuccessfully Appeals Guilty Verdict on Sufficiency Grounds

In a case before the New York Appellate Division in late November, the defendant asked the court to reconsider his 2016 guilty conviction. Originally, the defendant was charged with both murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. A jury found him guilty at trial, and he promptly appealed, arguing the evidence was insufficient to support his guilty verdict.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was charged after police found him aiming a gun in the direction of a large group of men. Apparently, the men in the group were all part of the same gang, and the defendant in this case was part of the rival gang. The defendant fired his gun three times, subsequently killing one of the men. After the incident, the defendant fled the scene, throwing his gun into the bushes nearby as he ran.

Police eventually found the defendant, and he was charged accordingly. At trial, the jury heard evidence that the defendant had told friends he needed to protect his family and go after members of the rival gang. He stated to these friends that violence was his only reasonable form of protection and that he was targeting these men in particular because of their rivalry.

The Decision

After receiving a guilty verdict, the defendant appealed the jury’s decision. One of the defendant’s main arguments was that the evidence was insufficient to support his guilty conviction. One of the essential elements of the crime, said the defendant, was the intent to kill; that is, the jury had to decide that he intentionally, not just accidentally, killed the victim that he shot. Because the jury could not prove that the defendant acted intentionally, the decision should be reversed.

The higher court reviewed the evidence and decided that the evidence was indeed sufficient to support the defendant’s guilty verdict. The jury heard testimony from witnesses and reviewed a full record of evidence regarding the incident’s surrounding circumstances. When looking at the facts of the case, it was sensible for the jury to decide that by pointing a gun at the rival gang, the defendant was intending to kill at least one person.

After deciding the evidence was legally sufficient to sustain the verdict below, the court denied the defendant’s appeal and affirmed the verdict.

Have You Been Charged with a Violent Crime in the State of New York?

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