This opinion will be unpublished and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,
Donald Everett Meekins,
Filed August 21, 2001
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 99095008
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103; and
Amy Klobuchar, Hennepin County Attorney, Michael K. Walz, Assistant County Attorney, C-2000 Government Center, Minneapolis, MN 55487 (for respondent)
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Susan K. Maki, Assistant State Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue S.E., Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Hanson, Presiding Judge, Willis, Judge, and Halbrooks, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant challenges his conviction of attempted first-degree murder, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to prove that he acted with premeditation. Because the evidence was sufficient to support the jury’s verdict, we affirm.
In September 1999, appellant Donald E. Meekins went to the home of his estranged wife, Tosha Meekins (the victim), in violation of an order for protection (OFP). Meekins began knocking loudly on the door and ordered the victim to let him into the house, but she refused to open the door. Meekins then walked to a nearby church and called the victim. He demanded that she allow him to see their children, who lived with her, and threatened to kill her. After the victim hung up on Meekins, he returned to the house and kicked in the back door.
Upon entering the house, Meekins walked to a drawer in the kitchen and picked up a knife. Meekins then grabbed the victim’s neck, told her that he was tired of her, and threw her out the back door and down the porch’s steps. As she was trying to stand up, Meekins grabbed her neck again and hit her head on the concrete walkway. The victim broke free and ran toward the street, but Meekins quickly followed, yelling, “I’m going to kill you.” When he caught her, Meekins repeatedly stabbed the victim until one of their sons hit Meekins with a two-by-four. The victim then ran to a neighbor’s house; the police and an ambulance arrived shortly after. The victim suffered 13 stab wounds and a collapsed lung.
A jury found Meekins guilty of attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, and first-degree assault. The district court sentenced Meekins to 240 months on the attempted first-degree murder charge. This appeal followed.
When considering whether the evidence is sufficient to support a guilty verdict, reviewing courts examine the evidence in the record, along with legitimate inferences drawn from that evidence, to determine whether the jury could have concluded that the state met its burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was guilty of the offense charged. State v. Moore, 481 N.W.2d 355, 360 (Minn. 1992). Appellate courts review the evidence in the light most favorable to the jury’s verdict and assume that the jury believed the state’s witnesses and disbelieved contrary evidence. Id.
The jury convicted Meekins of attempted first-degree murder, which is defined by statute to include an attempt to cause “the death of a human being with premeditation and with intent to effect the death of the person or of another.” Minn. Stat. § 609.185(1) (1998); Minn. Stat. § 609.17 (1998) (defining attempt). Meekins contends that the evidence was insufficient to prove that he acted with premeditation in attempting to kill the victim.
To premeditate is “to consider, plan or prepare for, or determine to commit, the act referred to prior to its commission.” Minn. Stat. § 609.18 (1998); see also State v. Buchanan, 431 N.W.2d 542, 547 (Minn. 1988) (“Premeditation indicates a preexisting reflection and deliberation involving more than a mere intent to kill.” (quotation omitted)). The supreme court has long recognized that no specific period of time for deliberation must be shown to establish premeditation. State v. Moore, 481 N.W.2d 355, 361 (Minn. 1992); see also State v. Voorhees, 596 N.W.2d 241, 253 (Minn. 1999) (“[P]remeditation can be formed instantaneously.”), aff’d, 627 N.W.2d 642 (Minn. 2001).
The facts of this case are similar to others where the supreme court has found premeditation. See, e.g., State v. Alton, 432 N.W.2d 754, 757 (Minn. 1998) (sustaining verdict that defendant acted with premeditation where he shot victim seven times); State v. Netland, 535 N.W.2d 328, 330 (Minn. 1995) (sustaining determination that defendant acted with premeditation where he took knives from victims’ home, walked to bedroom, and began stabbing the victims as they slept); Bangert v. State, 282 N.W.2d 540, 544 (Minn. 1979) (sustaining determination that defendant acted with premeditation where he procured rifle from victims’ home, went to their bedroom, and shot them). Further, at the time of the stabbing, the victim, who is black, was dating Dan Petit, who is white. The victim’s brother testified that, shortly before the stabbing, Meekins told him that the victim was “wrong for being involved with a white guy,” that if Meekins “could not have her, no one was going to have her,” and that he would kill the victim and Petit. As Meekins stabbed the victim in the side, he said, “This is for Dan.”
The victim also testified that Meekins had violated the OFP on several earlier occasions. She also testified that Meekins had previously physically and verbally abused her and once threatened to cut off her head with a dull knife.
Viewing the record in the light most favorable to the verdict, we conclude that the evidence was sufficient to support the jury’s determination that Meekins acted with premeditation.