This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. '. 480A.08, subd. 3 (1994).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Eric Dewayne Williams,
Filed August 6, 1996
St. Louis County District Court
File No. K7-95-600298
Hubert H. Humphrey, III, Attorney General, Robert A. Stanich, Assistant Attorney General,1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for Respondent)
Alan L. Mitchell, St. Louis County Attorney, 100 N. 5th Avenue West, #501, Duluth, MN 55802-1298 (for Respondent)
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Rochelle R. Winn, Assistant State Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue S.E., Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for Appellant)
Considered and decided by Parker, Presiding Judge, Short, Judge, and Foley, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant Eric Dewayne Williams challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction by jury verdict of third-degree assault, specifically contending the evidence was insufficient to establish the identification of him as the assailant. We affirm.
During the evening hours of May 9, 1995, two individuals came to the front door of Carl and Terry Raatz's home and asked for two friends of Raatz's daughter, Darlene Martin. The two friends, Matthew Lee and Wayne Huff, were at the Raatz home visiting Darlene. When Lee and Huff came to the door, an individual pulled victim Matthew Lee out the door and began beating and kicking him, and "stomping" him in the head. As a result of the beating, Lee sustained a "closed head injury," suffered severe bruises, loss of consciousness, and a concussion.
Based on the testimony of various witnesses that he committed the beating, appellant was arrested and charged with third-degree assault. At trial, the state presented the testimony of Darlene Martin, a witness to the beating, who identified appellant as the individual who beat Lee. The state also called Karyn Hutchings, appellant's girlfriend at the time of the beating, who testified that after the beating appellant described to her how he had attacked Lee on the night of May 9.
D E C I S I O N
When there is a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, our review 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 they did. State v. Webb, 440 N.W.2d 426, 430 (Minn. 1989).
Having reviewed the record, we find it contains adequate evidence that, if believed by the jurors, could support the conclusion that appellant was the individual who beat Matthew Lee on May 9, 1995. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict, we must assume the jurors believed the testimony of Darlene Martin and Karyn Hutchings. That testimony, linking appellant to the Lee beating by an eyewitness account and by evidence that he confessed to the beating, was sufficient to permit the jurors to reach a guilty verdict.
Appellant's primary line of defense in this case was to shed doubt on the state's witnesses' testimony by questioning whether the witnesses were able to distinguish appellant from his twin brother. However, both Martin and Hutchings testified that they were able to tell the brothers apart easily enough to be able to identify appellant as the individual who beat Lee (in Martin's case) or discussed beating Lee (in Hutchings's case). Assuming as we must that the jurors believed this testimony, appellant's erroneous identification arguments are not strong enough to render Martin and Hutchings's testimony insufficient as a matter of law to sustain the verdict here.
* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, ' 10.