FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND
DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED
appeal from the Circuit Court for Duval County. Mark J.
Thomas, Public Defender, and Nada M. Carey, Assistant Public
Defender, for Appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Robert "Charlie"
Lee, Assistant Attorney General, for Appellee.
more than twenty years of marriage, Sheridan and Lisa Marie
Veney separated. They nevertheless remained on friendly terms
for a while, even occasionally going out together. One day,
they ran into each other at the mall, exchanged hellos, and
embraced. But the next day, Sheridan says, he "lost
it." That day, Sheridan killed Lisa Marie, shooting her
five times outside an Applebee's.
never denied the killing. He told the jury that after his
wife disparaged him at dinner, something "happened in
the blink of an eye." His defense was that he never
planned to kill his wife-it just happened. Sheridan's
lawyer therefore asked the jury to return a verdict of
Sheridan's defense, the jury found premeditation and
returned a guilty verdict for first-degree murder. Sheridan,
now serving a life sentence, makes only one argument on
appeal: he contends there was insufficient evidence of
premeditation, meaning the trial court should have granted a
motion for judgment of acquittal on that score. He asks us to
reduce his conviction to second-degree murder.
review de novo an order denying a motion for judgment of
acquittal. Pagan v. State, 830 So.2d 792, 803 (Fla.
2002). In doing so, we view the evidence in the light most
favorable to the State, and if we conclude any "rational
trier of fact could find the existence of the elements of the
crime beyond a reasonable doubt, " we must affirm.
insists everything happened quickly, that he simply
overreacted to a slight, and that accordingly there was no
evidence he formed any premeditation. But the supreme court
has held that "[p]remeditation can be formed in a moment
and need only exist 'for such time as will allow the
accused to be conscious of the nature of the act he is about
to commit and the probable result of that act.'"
DeAngelo v. State, 616 So.2d 440, 441 (Fla. 1993)
(quoting Asay v. State, 580 So.2d 610, 612 (Fla.
1991)). And courts have repeatedly held that circumstantial
evidence is sufficient to establish premeditation. See
Hutchinson v. State, 882 So.2d 943, 955-56 (Fla. 2004)
(finding sufficient evidence of premeditation based in part
on the defendant's use of a pump-action shotgun, which
required the user to pull the pump before aiming and firing
each time), abrogated on other grounds by Deparvine v.
State, 995 So.2d 351 (Fla. 2008); Floyd v.
State, 850 So.2d 383, 396-97 (Fla. 2002) (finding
sufficient evidence of premeditation when the defendant
threatened the victim the day before the attack, brought a
gun with him to the victim's home, and argued with her
for a significant period of time before shooting her);
Asay, 580 So.2d at 613 (concluding jury could have
found that the defendant made a conscious decision to shoot
the victim based on the defendant's statements, the
nature of the wound inflicted, and the circumstances
surrounding the shooting); Fennell v. State, 959
So.2d 810, 814 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007) (finding sufficient
evidence of premeditation based on the amount of force
necessary to activate the handgun's trigger, the lack of
evidence that the shooting was the result of a close-contact
fight, and testimony that the defendant made threatening
statements to the victim prior to the shooting).
case, the jury heard evidence from which it could conclude
beyond a reasonable doubt that Sheridan's crime was
premeditated. There was evidence that Sheridan kept a loaded
gun in his pocket and told his wife right before the shooting
that she should leave, lest he "reach in his
pocket." There was evidence that after his wife insulted
him and walked away, Sheridan got up from the table and
followed her through the restaurant. There was evidence that
after Sheridan first shot his wife, he paused before firing
the remaining four bullets. And there was evidence that
Sheridan suggested to detectives that as he shot his wife, he
planned to commit suicide, saying "I didn't plan on
having this conversation with you-all, " and "I was
going to take myself out as well and we'd never have this
does not take much time at all, and the evidence at trial,
viewed in light most favorable to the State, Pagan,
830 So.2d at 803, was sufficient to support the jury's