This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Dennis Hale Barrow, Jr.,
Filed June 19, 2001
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 00014613
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103; and
Amy Klobuchar, Hennepin County Attorney, Linda M. Freyer, Assistant County Attorney, C-2000 Government Center, Minneapolis, MN 55487 (for respondent)
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Rochelle Winn, Assistant Public Defender, Suite 600, 2829 University Avenue Southeast, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant).
Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge, Amundson, Judge, and Shumaker, Judge.
GORDON W. SHUMAKER, Judge
Appellant Dennis Hale Barrow, Jr. challenges his conviction of assault in the second degree under Minn. Stat. § 609.222, subd. 1 (1998), arguing that the evidence was insufficient to convict him because a third party admitted under oath that she committed the crime. We affirm.
James Craven went to a house to pick up his 18-year-old daughter. When he arrived he encountered a man leaving the house. Craven asked him if he was “Dennis,” and the man replied that he was. This was appellant Dennis Hale Barrow, Jr. Craven then accused Barrow of having sexually assaulted his daughter. The men argued and tussled with each other.
Barrow’s girlfriend came out of the house and began yelling at and striking Craven. She and Barrow went back into the house. Craven’s daughter had heard the commotion and came outside at the end of the fracas. She remained outside by her father, until he told her to go back in the house to get her laundry.
Barrow then came outside and intimated to Craven that he had a weapon. Craven said he did not believe him. Barrow took a steak knife out of his pocket and stabbed Craven in the arm. When Barrow ran back into the house, Craven saw Barrow’s girlfriend standing in the doorway with a bread knife in her hand.
Craven’s daughter saw Barrow stab her father, and she ran next door and asked a neighbor to call the police.
When a police officer arrived, Craven gave him the knife and identified Barrow as his assailant. Craven’s daughter told the officer that she had seen Barrow swing the knife at her father. The officer arrested Barrow.
During an investigation the following day, Barrow’s girlfriend told a police sergeant that she had stabbed Craven with a fork. The sergeant replied that the wound was not consistent with stabbing with a fork and the girlfriend said that maybe she had not stabbed Craven.
At Barrow’s jury trial on a charge of second-degree assault, Craven and his daughter testified to their versions of the occurrence, both identifying Barrow as the assailant.
Barrow testified that he had a steak knife in his pocket before he encountered Craven. When the men tussled the knife fell out of his pocket, and Craven picked it up. Craven then followed Barrow into the house, and Barrow’s girlfriend grabbed a knife and began swinging it at Craven. Barrow testified that he did not stab Craven and that he was not sure whether or not his girlfriend stabbed him.
Barrow’s girlfriend testified that when Craven forced his way into the house in pursuit of Barrow, she “poked him” with a knife. She explained that she did not immediately admit this to the police because she feared she would lose her daughter.
The jury found Barrow guilty of assault in the second degree. Contending that the admission by his girlfriend created “grave doubt” as to his guilt, Barrow appeals from the judgment of conviction.
Barrow claims on appeal that, because of his girlfriend’s admission that she stabbed Craven, the evidence was insufficient to convict him. A review of sufficiency of the evidence is limited to a
painstaking analysis of the record to determine whether the evidence, when viewed in a light most favorable to the conviction, was sufficient to permit the jurors to reach the verdict which they did.
State v. Webb, 440 N.W.2d 426, 430 (Minn. 1989). The reviewing court must assume the jury believed the state’s witnesses and disbelieved any evidence to the contrary. State v. Moore, 438 N.W.2d 101, 108 (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). Absent special circumstances, a reviewing court will uphold a jury’s verdict if there is evidence from which the jury could reasonably infer the existence of all the elements of the crime. State v. Collins, 580 N.W.2d 36, 43 (Minn. App. 1998), review denied (Minn. July 16, 1998).
To support a conviction of second-degree assault, the state had to prove that Barrow used a dangerous weapon against Craven (1) intending to cause Craven to fear immediate bodily harm or death, or (2) intending to inflict bodily harm upon Craven. See Minn. Stat. §§ 609.222, subd. 1 (1998) (assault with a dangerous weapon); 609.02, subd. 10 (1), (2) (1998) (assault definition). A “dangerous weapon” is “any device designed as a weapon and capable of producing death or great bodily harm” or “other device or instrumentality that, in the manner that it is used or intended to be used, is calculated or likely to produce death or great bodily harm.” Minn. Stat. § 609.02, subd. 6 (1998).
The evidence adduced at trial was in conflict. The dispositive issue was not whether the crime had been committed but rather the identity of the perpetrator. Depending on whose version of the facts it believed, the jury could have found that either Barrow or his girlfriend committed the crime. Thus, the jury was required to assess the credibility of the witnesses.
“Credibility determinations of conflicting oral testimony are for the finder of fact and rarely disturbed on appeal.” State v. Norregaard, 380 N.W.2d 549, 552 (Minn. App. 1986) (citation omitted), aff’d as modified 384 N.W.2d 449 (Minn. 1986). See State v. Newman, 408 N.W.2d 894, 900 (Minn. App. 1987) (“[I]t is the exclusive function of the jury to weigh the credibility of witnesses [and] the jury is entitled to believe a victim’s account of the events) (quotation and citation omitted), review denied (Minn. Aug. 19, 1987). The jury disbelieved Barrow’s girlfriend’s testimony that she, not Barrow, had stabbed Craven. “A jury, as the sole judge of credibility, is free to accept part and reject part of a witness’ testimony.” State v. Poganski, 257 N.W.2d 578, 581 (Minn. 1977).
There is nothing in this record to suggest that the jury’s credibility assessments were unsupportable by the evidence. Thus, drawing all legitimate inferences in a light most favorable to the verdict, as we are required to do, we hold that the evidence is sufficient to support Dennis Hale Barrow, Jr.’s conviction of assault in the second degree.