THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE CITY OF PETERSBURG Joseph M. Teefey,
Charles P. Phelps for appellant.
I. Jones, IV, Assistant Attorney General (Mark R. Herring,
Attorney General, on brief), for appellee.
Present: Judges Decker, Malveaux and Senior Judge Clements
Argued at Richmond, Virginia
GRAFF DECKER JUDGE.
Lee Jones appeals his conviction for maliciously shooting at
an occupied vehicle in violation of Code § 18.2-154. He
argues that the Commonwealth failed to prove that he shot
"at" an automobile within the meaning of the
statute because he was inside that vehicle at the time of the
act. For the reasons that follow, the conviction is affirmed.
December 30, 2014, Jabari Lee was fatally shot while sitting
in his sport utility vehicle. At the appellant's trial,
Antoine Myler testified that he witnessed the appellant shoot
Lee. According to Myler, he, the appellant, and Lee were in
Lee's vehicle at the time. Investigators recovered
bullets from the vehicle's driver's door window frame
and the top center console.
appellant made a motion to strike the charge of shooting at
an occupied vehicle. He argued that the Commonwealth failed
to prove that he was outside of the vehicle and that shooting
from within the vehicle was not a violation of Code §
trial court denied the motion. In doing so, it relied on
King v. Commonwealth, 40 Va.App. 193, 578 S.E.2d 803
(2003), reasoning that the statute focused on where the shots
were directed, not where the shooter was located when he
fired the weapon.
jury convicted the appellant of maliciously shooting at an
occupied vehicle, second-degree murder, using a firearm in
the commission of a felony, and shooting into a public place,
in violation of Code §§ 18.2-32, -53.1, -154, and
-280. In accordance with the jury's recommendations, the
trial court sentenced the appellant to a total of twenty-six
years in prison.
appellant argues that the evidence did not support his
conviction of maliciously shooting at an occupied vehicle
because his occupancy of the vehicle that he "was
alleged to have fired into precluded" his conviction
under Code § 18.2-154.
appeal, this Court reviews a challenge to the sufficiency of
the evidence to support a conviction under well-established
legal principles. An appellate court considers the evidence
in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth granting to
it all reasonable inferences that flow from the evidence.
Stephens v. Commonwealth, 263 Va. 58, 59-60, 557
S.E.2d 227, 228 (2002). However, the facts are not in