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Defendant in Firearm Case Unsuccessfully Appeals Convictions

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2022 | Domestic Violence, Weapons Offenses

In a recent case coming out of a Virginia court, the defendant’s appeal of his convictions was denied. The defendant had been found guilty of using a firearm after an altercation involving members of his family and another family with which they were feuding. On appeal, the defendant argued that there was insufficient evidence to support his guilty conviction. The court looked at the evidence in the record and ultimately disagreed with the defendant, sustaining his guilty convictions.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, members of the defendant’s family were shopping at a local market one afternoon. While shopping, they saw members of another family with whom they had been experiencing a custody battle. Tensions rose at the market and members of both families began fighting.

Later that day, the same members of the defendant’s family appeared at one of the second family member’s homes uninvited. A fistfight quickly ensued. The families parted ways, but after a few minutes, the defendant himself returned to the house. The fight picked back up, and the defendant retrieved a shotgun from his car.

The defendant began shooting, and two people walked away both injured and scarred from the altercation. Police were notified and the defendant was charged.

The Discussion

The defendant’s case went to trial, and he was convicted of two counts of malicious wounding and one count of using a firearm in the commission of a felony. On appeal, the defendant argued that there was not enough evidence to support the trial court’s conclusion that he was the person shooting the gun. While it was clear, said the defendant, that a fight broke out between the two families, it could have been any person in the fight who ultimately fired the shots. Given the insufficiency of the evidence, the defendant argued that the guilty verdict should be reversed.

The court considered the defendant’s argument but ultimately disagreed. Firstly, said the court, two people involved in the fight saw the defendant bring out the shotgun, aim, and pull the trigger. There was clear testimony from eyewitnesses that the defendant was the person who fired the gun. Secondly, right after the shot, the defendant got into his car and fled the scene. It was reasonable to conclude that the defendant fled the scene because he was the person who had fired the shots.

Given these two facts in the record, the court disagreed with the defendant’s argument and denied his appeal.

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