This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Troy Wayne Beckman,
Wright County District Court
File No. K9991563
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, Robert A. Stanich, Assistant Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103; and
Thomas N. Kelly, Wright County Attorney, Mark A. Erickson, Assistant County Attorney, Wright County Government Center, 10 Second Street Northwest, Room 150, Buffalo, MN 55313-1189 (for respondent)
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Rochelle R. Winn, Assistant Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge, Lansing, Judge, and Stoneburner, Judge.
On appeal from a judgment of conviction for felony domestic assault, Troy Beckman challenges the sufficiency of the evidence on the element of intent. Because the evidence, including Beckman’s statement, is sufficient to sustain the jury’s determination that Beckman intended to inflict bodily harm, we affirm.
A jury convicted Troy Beckman of felony domestic assault under Minn. Stat. § 609.2242, subd. 4 (1998). At trial, L.B. testified she refused Troy Beckman’s request for sex because their eight-year-old daughter was nearby and L.B. did not want her to observe them having sex. In response, Beckman grabbed L.B. by the arms, forced her to the kitchen floor, kissed her, and bit her lower lip. L.B. testified that the lip was red and that the bite hurt, but did not break the skin or leave a permanent mark. L.B. told Beckman to leave her alone. Beckman then went outside and began pulling distributor wires out of L.B.’s car. L.B. called 911.
The two responding police officers testified at trial. One officer testified that when they arrived, Beckman told him he “grabbed [L.B.] by her arms, forced her down to the floor where he was kissing her and, while kissing her, bit her on the lip.” When asked why he bit her lip, Beckman responded, “To be mean.” The officers observed that L.B.’s lip was swollen and had a red mark on it.
The district court permitted the jury to hear Spreigl evidence of two prior incidents. A 1993 incident involved a similar refusal to engage in sex, assaultive behavior in response to the denial, and a complaint to the police. During that incident, Beckman told L.B. that the only way she was going to leave the apartment was in a body bag. The second incident, which occurred in 1994, also involved assaultive behavior during an argument.
Beckman appeals from the judgment of conviction, contending the evidence of intent is insufficient to sustain his conviction.
Beckman does not dispute the sufficiency of the evidence on the element of bodily harm. But he claims the evidence is insufficient to establish that he “intentionally” inflicted bodily harm. Beckman contends that, based on his testimony that biting had been a type of sexual foreplay, the only reasonable interpretation of the evidence is that by biting L.B.’s lip, he intended only to initiate sexual relations, not to harm her.
A criminal defendant acts “intentionally” when he or she either has the purpose to do the thing or cause the result specified, or believes that the act performed, if successful, will cause that result. Minn. Stat. § 609.02, subd. 9(3) (1998). Intent is a state of mind generally proven circumstantially by inference from the actor’s conduct and statements, both before and after the incident. State v. Johnson, 616 N.W.2d 720, 726 (Minn. 2000); see, e.g., McConnell v. City of Mankato, 456 N.W.2d 278, 279-80 (Minn. App. 1990) (in fifth-degree assault trial, evidence that babysitter threw child down the stairs shortly after expressing irritation about his jumping on the steps while she was on the phone permitted inference of intent to injure).
The evidence admitted at trial was sufficient for the jury to conclude that Beckman intended to injure L.B. when he bit her lip. L.B. testified that following her refusal to engage in sex, Beckman grabbed her by her arms, pushed her to the floor, and bit her lip. He then left the house to pull the distributor wires from L.B.’s car. When questioned after the incident, Beckman stated he bit L.B.’s lip “to be mean.” Beckman’s statement supports the jury’s conclusion that he acted to inflict bodily harm on L.B. or believed his conduct would cause L.B. bodily harm. Beckman contends his statement was intended to be sarcastic rather than truthful. But the meaning of the statement was a fact issue, which the jury reasonably resolved against Beckman. The Spreigl evidence similarly supports the inference that Beckman intended to inflict bodily harm on L.B.
The evidence, including Beckman’s actions and statements before and after the infliction of bodily harm, is sufficient to sustain the jury’s verdict that Beckman intentionally inflicted the injury.