This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. ß 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Jason Fredrick Peaslee,
Filed ≠≠≠May 16, 2000
Olmsted County District Court
File No. K7-96-2574
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Rochelle R. Winn, Assistant Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue S.E., Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103; and
Raymond F. Schmitz, Olmsted County Attorney, Richard W. Jackson, Jr., Assistant County Attorney, 151 Fourth Street Southeast, Rochester, MN 55904-3712 (for respondent)
††††††††††† Considered and decided by Schumacher, Presiding Judge, Harten, Judge, and Shumaker, Judge.
††††††††††† Appellant challenges his conviction for assault, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to support the juryís verdict.† Because the jury could reasonably have concluded that appellant was guilty of assault, we affirm.
††††††††††† On August 27, 1996, Abdul Ali, a 12-year-old immigrant from Somali, was beaten with baseball bats during a fight between a group of whites and a group of Somalis in a parking lot in Rochester.† The next day, appellant Jason Peaslee visited a friend who later told the police that
[appellant] comes out of the cop shop all bragging to me and my dad, like, yeah, we f-cked some kids up over there and you know, busted his teeth out and, you know, butóbut hit him with bats over his head, and itís like whatever, you know.
About a month later, appellant† was arrested on unrelated charges.† He admitted to having been one of the whites present at the incident, to having had a bat, to having seen two other whites strike Ali, and to having thrown his bat at a group of Somalis who came to Aliís assistance.
Appellant was charged initially with aiding and abetting second-degree assault and second-degree riot, and later with first-degree assault.† The friend who had described appellantís visit to the police testified, and the transcript of his report to the police was read into the record.†
Appellant testified that he had not told the friend he was involved in the crime.† He also testified that he had initially lied to the police about not having been at the scene:
Well, I kinda figured that [the police] already knew that I was there so I didnít see no sense into going any farther into that lie that I had told the police officer before.
The jury found appellant guilty on all three counts; he was sentenced to 93 months.† Appellant asserts that the evidence is insufficient to support the juryís verdict.
D E C I S I O N
In considering a claim of insufficient evidence, our review is limited to a painstaking analysis of the record to determine whether the evidence, when viewed in the light most favorable to the conviction, is sufficient to allow the jurors to reach the verdict that they did.† State v. Webb, 440 N.W.2d 426, 430 (Minn. 1989).†† The reviewing court will not disturb the verdict if the jury, acting with due regard for the presumption of innocence and the requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, could reasonably conclude the defendant was guilty of the charged offense.† State v. Alton, 432 N.W.2d 754, 756 (Minn. 1988).† The reviewing court must assume the jury believed the stateís witnesses and disbelieved any evidence to the contrary. †State v. Moore, 438 N.W.2d 101, 108 (Minn. 1989).
††††††††††† We must assume, therefore, that the jury believed appellantís friendís testimony that appellant admitted to the crime on the following day and disbelieved appellantís testimony that he had not admitted to the crime.† Appellantís testimony that he initially lied to the police, then changed his story, is not inconsistent with that assumption.
††††††††††† Appellant claims that he was merely present at the scene.† He argues that the state failed to establish a sufficient causal link between himself and the men who attacked Ali because a witness testified that appellant was not in the apartmentís parking lot when the attack took place† and that she and appellant watched the attack.†
But the witnessís testimony does not support this assertion.† She said she saw two, possibly three, people beating a black man with baseball bats.† She tentatively identified one assailant and this exchange followed:
Q.††††††† Is there anybody else who you thought it could possibly be?
A.††††††† Possibly [appellant].† * * *† [T]heyíre the same size.† They wore a lot of the same clothes, and when I saw the individual getting beat up I only saw the backsides of the people that were doing the beating, and I didnít see the face.†
Q.††††††† So your tentative identification of [the assailant] was based on looking at the back.
††††††††††† A.††††††† Correct.
††††††††††† Q.††††††† And you say heís about the same size as [appellant]?
A.††††††† Approximately.† The sameóapproximately the same height, same build.
††††††††††† Q.††††††† They were both out there that night?
††††††††††† A.††††††† Yes, they were.
Thus, appellantís claim that the witness did not see him in the parking lot is refuted by the witnessís own testimony.
We conclude that the jury could have found appellant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the charged offense.