X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Robert Huggins owned a tattoo parlor. A parlor employee who worked as a tattoo artist testified that on the night of the murder he, Huggins, an apprentice tattooer and two young women were present at the tattoo parlor. He testified that he left to eat with one of the young women and that they returned to find Huggins exhibiting a pistol and the victim was lying on the ground with duct tape over his eyes and mouth. Huggins was angry because the victim had stolen from him. The tattoo artist kicked the victim “out of disrespect” and then Huggins kicked the victim four or five times and struck him with the butt of a pistol. Earl Floyd Randall Jr. and David South arrived. Huggins gave Randall some car keys, and Randall walked outside. When Randall returned, three men dragged the victim out of the door. At some point late in the exchange, Huggins stabbed the victim with a fork and by dragging the utensil created two long wounds down the length of the victim’s back. Huggins gave South a backpack that contained the victim’s gun. Randall and South were there for less than 15 minutes. According to the tattoo artist, no one threatened either Randall or South. The tattoo apprentice, who was 15 years old at the time of the murder, testified on a grant of immunity. According to the apprentice, the customers at the tattoo parlor wanted to obtain drugs. Huggins sent the victim out to obtain drugs, but the victim returned 30 minutes later and claimed he had been cheated. Huggins found his own marked bills in the victim’s wallet. Realizing the victim had pocketed Huggins’ money, Huggins struck the victim on the forehead with the butt of a .357 handgun and proceeded to bind, rob and beat him. According to the apprentice, Randall and South came to the tattoo parlor, because Huggins called them, and Huggins did not threaten them. The apprentice claimed he had never seen Randall and South before. During the investigation, Randall claimed that he had been doing electrical work at Robert Huggins’ tattoo parlor and that he arrived at 5:30 a.m. In one statement taken by a detective, Randall admitted that he tied up the victim. As recounted in one of Randall’s videotaped statements, Randall left Huggins’ tattoo parlor, met with South, and the two proceeded to the tattoo parlor. The victim asked Huggins what he could do to make things right, and Huggins replied that “you can die.” Huggins said that he did not want the victim to be found. Randall backed the victim’s car up to the side door of the tattoo parlor, opened the trunk of the car and watched as South placed the struggling victim in the trunk. Randall left in his vehicle, followed by South in the victim’s car. Randall’s vehicle broke down, and he transferred to South’s vehicle. They heard a noise in the trunk and stopped the vehicle. South stabbed the victim repeatedly for about three minutes. They drove to a trash pile in an oil field and dumped the body there. They drove to South’s residence, retrieved a minivan, bought some gasoline, and drove the minivan and the victim’s car to a pipeline where South set fire to the victim’s car. They went to a carwash, washed the minivan and the murder weapon, then sold the knife for $20. The victim was stabbed over 90 times, mostly in the head, neck and chest, and bore a number of defensive wounds on his arms. Most of the wounds had been delivered while the subject was alive. The cause of death was multiple sharp force injuries causing loss of blood in the chest cavity and trachea area and injury to the brain. The body was not bound when it was recovered by the authorities. A belt circled his waist but was not connected to his pants. Randall’s left palm print was recovered from the victim’s car. A man who was confined in the county jail with Randall after Randall’s arrest testified that Randall admitted to him that the victim had been killed because he cheated Huggins “for some money on some drugs.” Authorities arrested Randall and charged him with murder. A jury convicted him and gave him a life sentence. Randall appealed. HOLDING:Affirmed. Randall claimed that legally and factually insufficient evidence established that he killed the victim. He also claimed that he lacked the culpable mental state required to be criminally responsible. The trial court instructed the jury on the law of parties, the court noted. Thus, under Texas Penal Code �7.01(a), Randall’s conviction could be upheld upon proof that the offense was committed “by his own conduct, by the conduct of another for which he is criminally responsible, or by both.” The court also noted the criminal solicitation and felony murder statutes. Randall, however, did not contend that legally insufficient evidence supported a jury finding that he acted as a party or as a co-conspirator to the offense. Because a conviction may be had upon a theory of prosecution the legal sufficiency of which is not challenged by the appellant, the court held that Randall’s legal sufficiency argument failed. Randall, however, claimed that factually insufficient evidence supported the jury’s finding of his guilt as a primary actor, as a party or as a co-conspirator. Focusing on the element of intent, Randall argued that the evidence was “at least equally supportive” that he “acted with a benevolent purpose” by helping to remove the victim from the immediate presence of Robert Huggins, the person with the intent to kill the deceased. But the court found that Randall actively participated in restraining and secreting the victim and aided South in the commission of the murder. No evidence from any source, the court stated, indicated that Huggins or South threatened Randall if he failed to cooperate. Moreover, although Randall presented himself as a peripheral participant, the other witnesses described a more active role in the kidnapping and murder. Thus, the court found that the jury could have found the other witnesses’ testimony to be more credible than Randall’s. Accordingly, the court found factually sufficient evidence to support the conviction. Randall also contended that the trial court erred by failing to require the state to obtain a unanimous verdict of guilty on a single prosecutorial theory. But the court found that the charge was valid, because it presented theories involving different ways of committing the same offense. OPINION:McKeithen, J.; McKeithen, C.J., and Gaultney and Kreger, JJ.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 1 article* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

 
Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.

 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.