final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County Lower
Tribunal No. 15-4346, Veronica A. Diaz, Judge.
J. Martinez, Public Defender, and Natasha Baker-Bradley,
Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Christina L. Dominguez,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
FERNANDEZ, SCALES, and LUCK, JJ.
Gilchrease appeals his conviction and sentence for battery of
his 67-year-old landlady on February 28, 2015, alleging error
in the admission at trial of evidence relating to a prior
confrontation which occurred three days before the charged
incident. We affirm.
had rented an efficiency from Etta McKensie for about six
months prior to the February 28 incident. Sometime in
January, water to the efficiency was turned off. On February
25, the electricity was turned off. Gilchrease confronted Ms.
McKensie about the utilities, and, according to Ms. McKensie,
Gilchrease threatened her and pulled out the chair she was
sitting on. Subsequently, on February 28, Gilchrease again
confronted Ms. McKensie, and pushed her, causing her to
stumble backward. Gilchrease was arrested for the latter
incident and charged with battery of a person sixty-five
years or older.
to trial, defense counsel moved in limine to exclude evidence
of the February 25 confrontation as irrelevant and
prejudicial. The State argued the evidence was admissible to
prove Gilchrease's motive and an absence of mistake. The
trial court ruled the evidence was admissible to prove
"motive and any mistake and any other attempt to bring
in the testimony for any other reasons, " and Ms.
McKensie testified as to the incident at trial. The jury
returned a verdict of guilty, and the trial court sentenced
Gilchrease to 180 days in the county jail and two years of
appeal, Gilchrease contends admission of the objected to
evidence was error because it constituted prejudicial
evidence of an uncharged crime, the admission of which
destroyed his right to a fair trial. We disagree.
State may introduce evidence of an uncharged crime where that
evidence is relevant to an issue in dispute and is not being
used solely to show the defendant's propensity to commit
a crime. § 90.404(2)(a), Fla. Stat. (2015). Here,
evidence of the February 25 incident was relevant to
Gilchrease's motive and intent in confronting and pushing
motive, the testimony about the February 28 incident, the one
that was charged, was that Gilchrease confronted Ms. McKenzie
in her home, pushed her in the chest and forehead, and said,
"You don't know what I'll do to
you."Gilchrease's words and actions on
February 28, however, did not explain his motive for
confronting and pushing Ms. McKenzie, in other words, why he
did what he did. The February 25 incident, which happened
three days earlier, after the electricity and water had been
shut off, filled in the gap to explain Gilchrease's
motive for the February 28 battery.
February 25, after the lights went off, Gilchrease confronted
Ms. McKenzie and said, "The light off, I'm not
moving, and I'm not giving you any money. . . . [Y]ou
don't know me. You don't know me." Gilchrease
then pulled Ms. McKenzie's chair out from under her. The
February 25 incident explained that Gilchrease's motive
for pushing Ms. McKenzie, and saying what he said, was that
he was upset about the water and electricity being turned
off, and blamed Ms. McKenzie for it. The February 25
incident, therefore, was relevant and admissible as motive
evidence under section 90.404(2)(a). See Jackson v.
State, 522 So.2d 802, 806 (Fla. 1988) ("The
testimony of a prior assault on the victim McKay by Jackson
during an argument over drugs was not so remote in time as to
be irrelevant and supported the state's theory that
Jackson's motive for killing Milton and McKay was his
belief that they were stealing his drugs and taking advantage
of him."); Craig v. State, 510 So.2d 857, 863
(Fla. 1987) ("We find that the evidence of
appellant's thefts of cattle on several occasions was
relevant to show his motive for killing Eubanks and Farmer.
The cattle thefts were not wholly independent of the murders
but rather were an integral part of the entire factual
context in which the charged crimes took place. While
evidence of motive is not necessary to a conviction, when it
is available and would help the jury to understand the other
evidence presented, it should not be kept from them merely
because it reveals the commission of crimes not charged. The
test for admissibility is not the necessity of evidence, but
rather its relevancy." (citations omitted)).
February 25 incident also was relevant to prove Gilchrease
had the intent to commit battery on Ms. McKenzie. The battery
statute requires the state to prove that the defendant
"intentionally touch[ed] or str[uck] another person
against the will of the other." § 784.03(1)(a)1.,
Fla. Stat. (2015). The February 25 incident, which involved
Gilchrease confronting, and pulling the chair out from under,
Ms. McKenzie was relevant to show that his push was willful
and purposeful because of his continued anger about the
utilities being turned off. See Charles W. Ehrhardt,
Florida Evidence § 404.14, at 255-56 (2006 ed.)
("Although motive itself is usually not an ultimate
issue, it supplies the basis from which the jury may infer
that the defendant intended to do the act."); see
also Beard v. State, 842 So.2d 174, 176 (Fla. 2d DCA
2003) ("Intent is ...