final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit,
Broward County; Andrew L. Siegel, Judge; L.T. Case No.
J. Martinez, Public Defender, and Susan S. Lerner, Assistant
Public Defender, Miami, for appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Matthew Steven
Ocksrider, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for
Edwards ("appellant") appeals his conviction for
first degree murder. He argues that the trial court erred by
denying his motion for judgment of acquittal because the
evidence against him was insufficient. For the reasons set
forth below, we affirm appellant's conviction.
standard of review for the denial of a motion for judgment of
acquittal is de novo." Ortiz v. State, 36 So.3d
901, 902 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010). "If, after viewing the
evidence in the light most favorable to the State, a rational
trier of fact could find the existence of the elements of the
crime beyond a reasonable doubt, sufficient evidence exists
to sustain a conviction." Pagan v. State, 830
So.2d 792, 803 (Fla. 2002).
there were no witnesses to the murder and no confession, this
case involves circumstantial evidence which invokes a special
standard of review:
"When the evidence against a criminally accused person
is circumstantial, a motion for judgment of acquittal should
be granted if the state fails to present evidence from which
the jury can exclude every reasonable hypothesis except that
of guilt." Brothers v. State, 853 So.2d 1124,
1125 (Fla. 5th DCA 2003). In such circumstances, "the
proper task of the trial judge is to review the evidence,
taking it in the light most favorable to the state, in order
to determine whether there is competent evidence from which
the jury could infer guilt to the exclusion of all other
inferences." Martin v. State, 728 So.2d 775,
776 (Fla. 4th DCA 1999) (citing State v. Law, 559
So.2d 187, 189 (Fla. 1989)). "The State is not ...
required to rebut every possible scenario which could be
inferred from the evidence. Rather it must introduce
competent evidence which is inconsistent with the
defendant's theories." Schwarz v. State,
695 So.2d 452, 454 (Fla. 4th DCA 1997) (citing Law,
559 So.2d at 189).
Babbs v. State, 187 So.3d 925, 927 (Fla. 4th DCA
being missing for several weeks, the victim's
decomposing, decapitated body was found inside a barrel near
a canal. The State introduced evidence at trial that
appellant was the last person to be with the victim before
she went missing. A neighbor testified that she saw a barrel
next to appellant's SUV before the victim went missing.
Another witness also testified that he saw a barrel inside
appellant's apartment before the victim went missing.
the victim went missing, her brother testified that he
received odd text messages from his sister using phrases that
she typically did not use. She also failed to answer a
question that he asked her that only she would have known.
The brother and appellant then spoke on the phone, during
which appellant started crying and stated, "it
wasn't supposed to be like this."
the police arrived at appellant's home to investigate the
victim's disappearance, appellant acted nervous and was
sweating. He also had cuts on his hand and forearm,
suggesting that he was recently in an altercation.
statements to the victim's family and police were
conflicting. Appellant told the victim's daughter that
her mother packed up and went to Jacksonville. When he talked
to police, however, he said that the victim came to his
apartment to pack up her belongings and then just left,
without telling him where she was going. Another time, he
told police that she left with another man. See Carranza
v. State, 985 So.2d 1199, 1203 (Fla. 4th DCA 2008)
("Most importantly, [the defendant] made several
inconsistent statements to the detectives. ...