This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Biana Delia Johnson,
Filed August 1, 2000
Kanabec County District Court
File No. K1-99-199
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 525 Park St., Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103; and
Norman J. Loren, Kanabec County Attorney, 19 North Vine St., Mora, MN 55051 (for respondent)
Lawrence W. Pry, Assistant State Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue S.E., Ste. 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Klaphake, Judge.
Appellant Biana Delia Johnson was convicted of aiding and abetting first-degree burglary under Minn. Stat. § 609.582, subd. 1(a) (1998). On appeal from her conviction, she argues that the evidence was insufficient to prove that she was aware of her accomplices’ plan or that she actively participated in the burglary. Because the evidence was sufficient to support the jury’s verdict, we affirm.
On review of a sufficiency of the evidence claim, we must thoroughly analyze
the record to determine whether the evidence, viewed in a light most favorable to the jury’s verdict, was sufficient to permit the jury to reach its verdict.
State v. Spann, 574 N.W.2d 47, 54 (Minn. 1998) (citation omitted). We view the evidence in a light most favorable to the verdict and assume that the jury believed the state’s witnesses. State v. Moore, 438 N.W.2d 101, 108 (Minn. 1989).
The only issue on appeal is whether sufficient evidence was presented to prove appellant’s intent. “A conviction for aiding and abetting requires only some knowing role in the commission of the crime by a defendant who takes no steps to thwart its completion.” State v. Merrill, 428 N.W.2d 361, 367 (Minn. 1988) (quotation omitted). A jury may consider a defendant’s passive conduct, along with other circumstances, to determine whether a defendant intended to aid another in committing a crime. State v. Hayes, 431 N.W.2d 533, 535 (Minn. 1988). Some of those circumstances may include a defendant’s “[p]resence, companionship, and conduct before and after an offense.” State v. Russell, 503 N.W.2d 110, 114 (Minn. 1993) (citation omitted).
When considered in the light most favorable to the verdict, the evidence established the following: (1) appellant drove all the participants to the house, located in a rural area; (2) appellant waited in the car while two of her passengers approached the house and knocked on both doors; (3) after her passengers returned to the car, she repositioned it so that it faced out of the driveway; (4) appellant left the motor running while her passengers went back to the house; (5) as her passengers were running away from the house yelling, “Go, go, go,” appellant started to drive away so that they could all leave as quickly as possible; (6) when approached by police, appellant initially denied that she had driven to the house and claimed she had been at a casino that morning; and (7) when officers informed appellant that she was under arrest, she attempted to flee. This evidence is sufficient to support appellant’s conviction. See, e.g., State v. Petit, 295 Minn. 509, 509-10, 202 N.W.2d 661, 661-62 (1972) (evidence that defendant spent afternoon and evening with co-defendant and drove car to and from scene of robbery sufficient to sustain conviction for participation in robbery).
Appellant insists that she presented a plausible theory of innocence that was amply supported by the testimony of two of her accomplices, who testified that appellant knew nothing of their plan to burglarize the residence. Appellant further insists that she presented evidence to rebut the inculpatory inference raised by the state’s evidence of her apparent flight, because her mother testified that appellant resisted arrest because she is claustrophobic. But, “[a]s in all cases, the jury determines the credibility and weight given to the testimony of individual witnesses.” State v. Bias, 419 N.W.2d 480, 484 (Minn. 1988). The jury could have easily rejected the testimony of appellant’s accomplices as untrustworthy. See State v. Bergeron, 452 N.W.2d 918, 924 (Minn. 1990) (accomplice testimony is “inherently untrustworthy”). The jury also could have rejected appellant’s mother’s explanation for her resisting arrest. See State v. Harris, 589 N.W.2d 782, 790 (Minn. 1999) (“evidence of flight suggests consciousness of guilt”).
Appellant’s conviction is affirmed.