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Williams v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, First District

June 8, 2018

Antonio Devon Williams, Appellant,
State of Florida, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.

          On appeal from the Circuit Court for Escambia County. John L. Miller, Judge.

          Andy Thomas, Public Defender, and Kathleen Stover, Assistant Public Defender, Tallahassee, for Appellant.

          Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Heather Flanagan Ross, Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.

          JAY, J.

         In this direct criminal appeal, Appellant-Antonio Devon Williams-appeals his judgment of conviction and sentence for attempted second-degree murder. In its special interrogatory verdict, the jury found that during the offense Appellant possessed and discharged a firearm, causing great bodily harm. In his sole point on appeal, Appellant argues the trial court erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal because the State's evidence was legally insufficient to prove he acted out of ill will, hatred, spite, or evil intent. We disagree and affirm.


         The testimony and evidence presented by the State revealed that Appellant and Javier Chandler had been childhood friends and, on the day of the offense, were still neighbors. Chandler, who was twenty-six years old at the time of the trial, testified that Appellant, a few years' Chandler's junior, had been like a little brother to him growing up. As they grew older they grew apart, yet remained on speaking terms, especially on those occasions when Appellant desired to purchase a firearm.

         February 22, 2016, was just such an occasion. Chandler left work mid-afternoon to begin "calling around" to locate the gun Appellant wanted. After making several calls, he was successful in locating a seller and purchased a gun for Appellant. He claimed he did not have Appellant accompany him because he wanted to negotiate a price with the seller that would allow him to make a small profit when he asked Appellant for the cash. After the purchase, Appellant asked Chandler to drive him to Walmart so that he could buy bullets for his new "strap." According to Chandler, the two went into Walmart, but Chandler exited the store a short time later to finish smoking some marijuana.

         After they left Walmart, the conversation turned to the price of the gun. Chandler revealed to Appellant that he had hoped to turn a profit of $50 for negotiating the purchase. It appeared to Chandler, however, that Appellant was trying to back out of the deal, which frustrated Chandler because he had taken time off from work to help Appellant locate the firearm.

         When they pulled into Appellant's driveway, Chandler said that Appellant exited the car and walked in front of the vehicle, brandishing a pistol different from the one Chandler had procured. Chandler indicated that his driver's side door was "cracked" and his window was down. Chandler could not believe that Appellant would try to shoot him in broad daylight within earshot of the neighbors. Yet, Appellant demanded to know where his new gun was and accused Chandler of having taken the weapon. Chandler tried to persuade Appellant to "change his mind, " but the next thing he knew, he "woke up" still in his car with the door "wide open, " but across the street from Appellant's house.

         Chandler ran to his grandmother's house-which was one or two doors down-and knocked on the door. His last memory was seeing his grandmother, who testified that when she opened the door, Chandler collapsed, bleeding profusely. Later, Chandler would recall having seen Appellant standing in his driveway across the street, watching him as he was running toward his grandmother's house. Appellant was still holding the gun he had just used to shoot Chandler. Chandler's grandmother also saw Appellant watching from across the street while holding something that looked like "a stick." She later learned it was a gun.

         Investigator Jimmie Tatum with the Escambia County Sheriff's Office responded to the shooting. He was directed to Appellant's house and spoke to Appellant's mother. Appellant was not present and his mother did not know where he was, but she permitted Investigator Tatum-and the deputies who had accompanied him-to conduct a protective sweep of her home. From the number of firearms and ammunition he observed in plain view in Appellant's bedroom, Investigator Tatum was able to obtain a search warrant for the house, as well as one for Chandler's car. No weapons or contraband were found in the car. After a be-on-the-lookout ("BOLO") for Appellant was dispatched and he was featured on the news and on "social media, " Appellant turned himself in to the sheriff's office. There, he was interviewed by Investigator Tatum, and the recorded interview was played for the jury during the State's case-in-chief.

         During the interview, Appellant's version of events proved to differ somewhat from Chandler's subsequent statement to Investigator Tatum and his trial testimony. Appellant's story included his active participation in the purchase of the gun from the seller. He admitted to Investigator Tatum that when he left to buy the gun with Chandler, he armed himself with another gun "to make sure . . . nothing happened or anything." He then set off with ...

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