final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County No.
09-20775-C, Jose L. Fernandez, Judge.
J. Martinez, Public Defender, and Stephen J. Weinbaum,
Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Jeffrey R. Geldens, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
ROTHENBERG, EMAS, and FERNANDEZ, JJ.
Padron ("the defendant") appeals from a final
judgment of conviction and sentence for first-degree felony
murder, attempted second-degree murder, armed burglary, and
aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. The defendant
specifically contends that the trial court erred by denying
his motion for judgment of acquittal, claiming that the State
failed to produce sufficient evidence to convict him as a
principal for felony murder, attempted murder, and burglary.
Because we find that the evidence adduced at trial, when
considered in the light most favorable to the State, supports
the jury's verdict finding the defendant guilty, we
Soto ("Soto") and Rafael Aguilera
("Aguilera") went to Giancarlo Castillo's
("Castillo") residence at 11:00 p.m. to confront
him because they believed that Castillo was responsible for
burglarizing Soto's home. According to witnesses who were
at Castillo's residence, Soto and Aguilera knocked on
Castillo's front door and asked Castillo to go outside to
speak with them. When Castillo told them to leave and
threatened to call the police, Soto and Aguilera left. A
little while later, there was a second knock at
Castillo's door. Castillo opened the door, and when
Castillo tried to slam the door closed, the door was kicked
in by the defendant. Soto, Aguilera, and the defendant
entered and immediately attacked Castillo, Mario Fernandez
("Fernandez"), and Eric Edmundson
("Edmundson"), the male occupants who were present
at Castillo's residence. Before they fled from
Castillo's residence, Soto bludgeoned Fernandez with a
machete, Aguilera beat Castillo to death with a baseball bat,
and the defendant beat Edmundson unconscious.
defendant's former girlfriend testified that when Soto
and Aguilera returned from their first visit to
Castillo's residence, they were upset and they convinced
the defendant to go back to Castillo's residence with
them. The defendant told his former girlfriend that he and
his companions were going "to go see three people"
and "they were going to fight with these people because
they believed that they were the ones that had broken into
the house." The former girlfriend told the police during
their investigation that the defendant went with Soto and
Aguilera "because there were three of them, and it had
to be three against three." The former girlfriend
further testified that after the defendant returned from
Castillo's residence, the defendant told her that they
entered Castillo's residence, they fought the occupants,
and he knocked his opponent down.
Aguilera, and the defendant were all charged as principals
with the first-degree felony murder of Castillo, the
attempted premeditated first-degree murder of Fernandez, the
aggravated battery with a deadly weapon on Edmundson, and
armed burglary. The defendant was convicted as charged on all
counts except for attempted first-degree murder, where he was
instead convicted of the lesser included offense of attempted
second-degree murder. He was sentenced to life for the felony
murder and burglary counts, to thirty years in prison for the
attempted murder count, and to fifteen years in prison for
the aggravated battery count, with all sentences running
concurrently. The defendant timely appealed.
courts review the denial of a motion for judgment of
acquittal under the de novo standard, and must consider the
evidence and all reasonable inferences from the evidence in a
light most favorable to the State." McDuffie v.
State, 970 So.2d 312, 332 (Fla. 2007); Giralt v.
State, 935 So.2d 599, 601 (Fla. 3d DCA 2006) (stating
that in the context of reviewing a trial court's ruling
on a motion for judgment of acquittal, "the conviction
will not be reversed if it is supported by competent
defendant argues that he is only guilty, at best, of trespass
and an aggravated battery for striking Edmundson, but that he
is not guilty as a principal of the first-degree felony
murder of Castillo, the attempted second-degree murder of
Fernandez, or armed burglary. The defendant claims that there
is no evidence that he intended for those crimes to be
committed and that Soto's attack on Fernandez and
Aguilera's attack on Castillo were independent acts, for
which he cannot be punished. Therefore, this appeal rests on
the application of the law as to principals and whether, when