may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Charles Allen Davisson,
Filed June 3, 1997
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 95097323
Hubert H. Humphrey, III, Attorney General, 102 State Capitol, St. Paul, MN 55155, and
Michael J. Colich, St. Louis Park City Attorney, Darren C. Borg, Assistant City Attorney, 420 Lumber Exchange Building, 10 South Fifth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Short, Presiding Judge, Lansing, Judge, and Klaphake, Judge.
A trial court convicted Charles Allen Davisson of stalking, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.749, subd. 2(2). On appeal, Davisson argues the trial court improperly considered prior crimes evidence against him, and that the evidence is insufficient to support conviction. Because we conclude the Spreigl evidence is not necessary to support Davisson's conviction, we need not reach the issue of its admissibility or address Davisson's motion to strike.
D E C I S I O N
When a defendant waives his right to trial by jury, we afford the trial court's findings the same weight as a jury verdict. State v. Knowlton, 383 N.W.2d 665, 669 (Minn. 1986). We must affirm the trial court's findings if the trial court could reasonably conclude from the evidence that the state proved the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Id. In reviewing the record, this court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict. Id.
Minn. Stat, § 609.749, subd. 2 (1996), provides:
A person who harasses another by committing any of the following acts is guilty of a gross misdemeanor:
* * *
(2) stalks, follows, or pursues another; * * * .
Under the statute, "harass" means to engage
in intentional conduct in a manner that:
(1) would cause a reasonable person under the circumstances to feel oppressed, persecuted, or intimidated; and
(2) causes this reaction on the part of the victim.
Id., subd. 1 (1996). To be found guilty of stalking, a defendant must specifically intend the victim to feel scared or intimidated by the defendant's actions. See State v. Orsello, 554 N.W.2d 70, 76 (Minn. 1996) (holding stalking to be a specific intent crime); see also State v. Hardimon, 310 N.W.2d 564, 566 (Minn. 1981) (noting a person's intent must be determined "from his words (if any) and actions in the light of all the surrounding circumstances") (citation omitted).
Davisson argues the evidence was insufficient to show that he stalked the victim with the specific intent to cause her to feel persecuted and intimidated. We disagree. The evidence demonstrates: (1) the victim encountered Davisson twice in the parking lot at her place of employment around 7 p.m., the time she typically leaves work; (2) both times, Davisson was standing very near the victim's vehicle and stared at the victim as she entered her car and drove away; (3) after the second encounter, the victim quickly entered her car, locked her doors, and left the parking lot, watching in the rearview mirror to see if Davisson was following; (4) the victim's neighbor called police after spotting Davisson near the victim's home on four occasions, each time walking or driving down the alley behind the victim's residence and looking toward the residence; (5) the police officer responding to the call stopped Davisson in his car, a blue Lincoln with Iowa license plates, but Davisson denied ever having walked by or parked near the victim's residence; (6) a police investigation discovered four additional neighbors of the victim who had seen a man fitting Davisson's description near the victim's residence, usually around the hours at which she generally leaves for and comes home from work; (7) one neighbor saw Davisson standing under a street light in front of the victim's house at 10 p.m.; (8) two neighbors stated they had approached a man fitting Davisson's description near the victim's house, but he had quickly walked away from them; (9) one of the neighbors reported having seen a man fitting Davisson's description park his blue Lincoln with Iowa plates and walk into the alley behind the victim's residence approximately 15 to 18 times in a one-month period; (10) the same neighbor witnessed a man matching Davisson's physical description walk up the victim's driveway and attempt to open her garage door around 1:30 a.m.; and (11) when the victim realized the man seen near her house was the same man she had encountered in the parking lot at work, she became frightened, moved to a hotel room with a security guard next door, and eventually sold her house to move to an undisclosed location.
Given this evidence, the trial court could reasonably conclude the state had proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Davisson pursued the victim to cause her to feel persecuted and intimidated. The weight of the evidence is such that the trial court's admission of Spreigl evidence, if in error, was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. See State v. Bolte, 530 N.W.2d 191, 198 (Minn. 1995) (requiring reversal only if reasonable possibility exists that wrongfully admitted evidence of other crimes significantly affected verdict). Under these circumstances, the trial court properly found Davisson guilty of stalking.