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2004-UP-171 - State v. West

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 239(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

The State,        Respondent,

v.

Jonathan J. West,        Appellant.


Appeal From Berkeley County
R. Markley Dennis, Jr., Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2004-UP-171
Submitted January 29, 2004 – Filed March 16, 2004


AFFIRMED


Assistant Appellate Defender Aileen P. Clare, Office of Appellate Defense, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Attorney General Henry D. McMaster, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Attorney General Deborah R. J. Shupe, all of Columbia; and Solicitor Ralph E. Hoisington, of Charleston, for Respondent.


PER CURIAM:  Jonathan West was convicted of armed robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, and pointing a firearm. West appeals, arguing the trial court improperly denied his motion for directed verdict.  We affirm. 

FACTS/PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On April 30, 2002, two men robbed the Applebee’s restaurant in Moncks Corner, South Carolina.  West was immediately identified as a suspect by the victim and two employees, but investigators were unable to locate him.  West turned himself in to police three days later.  He was indicted for armed robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, and pointing a firearm.  West was tried by a jury on September 16, 2002, and was convicted on all charges.  

LAW/ANALYSIS

West appeals, arguing the circuit court erred in denying his motion for directed verdict, because the State failed to present evidence tending to prove his guilt.  Specifically, he argues the State’s evidence was insufficient, because it did not place him at the actual scene of the crime. 

In ruling on a motion for directed verdict, the trial court is concerned with the existence or nonexistence of evidence, not its weight.  State v. Kelsey, 331 S.C. 50, 502 S.E.2d 63 (1998); State v. Williams, 303 S.C. 274, 400 S.E.2d 131 (1991).  In reviewing the trial court’s motion for directed verdict, the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the State, and if there is any direct or any substantial circumstantial evidence reasonably tending to prove the guilt of the accused, we must find that such issues were properly submitted to the jury.  State v. Wiggins, 330 S.C. 538, 500 S.E.2d 489 (1998); State v. Long, 325 S.C. 59, 480 S.E.2d 62 (1997). 

Contrary to West’s contentions, the record reveals ample evidence to affirm the trial court’s denial of his directed verdict motion.  The victim of the robbery was a co-worker of West’s, who positively identified West’s voice.  Moreover, another employee was arriving at work as the robbers were exiting, and she identified West as one of the individuals.  This employee observed the suspects run toward a blue vehicle located in an adjacent parking lot.  Furthermore, another employee, who had previously worked with West, observed West in a blue car near the restaurant near the time of  the robbery.  Viewing the light most favorable to the State, there was sufficient evidence to justify the denial of West’s motion for directed verdict. 

AFFIRMED.

GOOLSBY, HOWARD, and KITTREDGE, J.J., concur.