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Pierre v. State

Florida Court of Appeal, Third District

November 9, 2011

William PIERRE, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Florida, Appellee.

Page 700

Carlos J. Martinez, Public Defender, and Marti Rothenberg, Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.

Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Shayne R. Burnham, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

Before RAMIREZ, LAGOA and EMAS, JJ.

EMAS, J.

William Pierre (" Pierre" ) was charged in a three-count information with sexual battery, burglary of an occupied dwelling with an assault or battery, and kidnapping. He was convicted as charged and appeals the trial court's denial of his motion for judgment of acquittal on the burglary count. We reverse because the trial court erred in denying Pierre's motion for judgment of acquittal on that count.

In the early morning hours of September 5, 2006, the victim [1] was sleeping on the couch and was awakened by a man who had tied her up and covered her face. The man told her he had a gun, and he then proceeded to commit a sexual battery upon her. After the man left, the victim ran to a neighbor's house for help.

The attack took place in an efficiency apartment where the victim had, for the past three weeks, been staying with her friend, Natalie. Natalie's boyfriend, (Pierre), had also lived with the women in the efficiency during this time period, and the victim slept on the couch. Two weeks before the incident, Natalie told the victim she (the victim) would soon have to vacate the efficiency because Natalie and Pierre were moving into another house on the same property (" the main house" ). In the week before the attack, Natalie and Pierre began moving their belongings from the efficiency into the main house, but as of the night of the attack, some of their personal items, including a television and a crib, remained in the efficiency. On the night of the attack, the victim returned to Natalie her key to the efficiency before going to sleep; the victim was moving out the next day. On the night of the attack, the victim locked the door of the efficiency (from the inside) before going to sleep.

Following a police investigation, Pierre was arrested and charged as described previously.

At trial, the victim and Pierre both testified.[2] Viewing the pertinent testimony in a light most favorable to the State, the evidence at trial established:

— Pierre, Natalie, and the victim all lived together in the efficiency for some period of time prior to the incident;
— Several days before the incident, Pierre and Natalie began moving out of the efficiency and into the main house;
— On the night of the incident, the victim slept at the efficiency and Pierre slept at the main house; [3]
— Some personal items of Pierre and his girlfriend remained in the efficiency, including ...

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