THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE CITY OF CHESAPEAKE Randall D. Smith,
A. Mussoni, Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.
Virginia B. Theisen, Senior Assistant Attorney General (Mark
R. Herring, Attorney General, on brief), for appellee.
Present: Judges Beales, Huff and Athey Argued at Norfolk,
A. HUFF JUDGE.
a bench trial, Yorhonda Mildred Pooler
("appellant") was convicted for assault and battery
in violation of Code § 18.2-57 and statutory burglary in
violation of Code § 18.2-91. The trial court sentenced
appellant to a term of imprisonment of twelve months for the
assault and battery conviction and three years for the
statutory burglary conviction. Appellant now challenges the
sufficiency of the evidence underlying her statutory burglary
conviction. Because the evidence is sufficient to support a
statutory burglary conviction, this Court affirms.
appeal, this Court "consider[s] the evidence and all
reasonable inferences flowing from that evidence in the light
most favorable to the Commonwealth, the prevailing party at
trial." Williams v. Commonwealth, 49 Va.App.
439, 442 (2007) (en banc) (quoting Jackson v.
Commonwealth, 267 Va. 666, 672 (2004)). So viewed, the
evidence is as follows:
2018, Marcus Morris and Jamal Abd Al-Muqit Hasan-Bey lived at
a mobile home located in Chesapeake (the
"residence"), which Mr. Hasan-Bey owned. In early
2018, Mr. Morris was romantically involved with appellant.
Appellant occasionally spent the night with Mr. Morris at the
residence. Appellant, however, did not have permission to
stay there on nights when Mr. Morris did not. When Mr. Morris
was absent from the residence, appellant returned to her home
in Norfolk. Appellant kept certain personal items in Mr.
Morris' residence, including food, clothing, a
toothbrush, and a comb. Appellant also had a key to the
residence and assisted in paying utility bills.
stayed with Mr. Morris in the residence on the evenings of
February 19, 20, and 21, 2018. On the evening of February 22,
Mr. Morris was at the residence along with his friend L.S.
The two were watching television in the front room of the
residence. Mr. Morris did not speak to appellant on February
22 and had not invited her to the residence that evening; nor
did the two have any plans for her to spend that evening at
the residence. Despite this, appellant and an unknown female
accomplice went to the residence and kicked in the front
door. As appellant entered the room, she yelled at L.S.,
"Bitch, you in here chilling with my man." The
confrontation among the three women devolved to a brawl,
during which appellant bit L.S. on her left breast. At Mr.
Morris' direction, the three women eventually ceased
fighting and exited the residence. Although a verbal
altercation continued, each eventually left in their
was charged with statutory burglary and malicious wounding
and opted for a bench trial. After the Commonwealth presented
its case, appellant moved to strike both charges. Appellant
argued that the evidence was insufficient to demonstrate
malice for the malicious wounding charge and that the
evidence was insufficient for the statutory burglary charge
because appellant resided with Mr. Morris at the residence.
The trial court reduced the malicious wounding charge to the
lesser-included offense of assault and battery. It denied the
motion as to the burglary charge, finding that appellant
"resided somewhere else" and was allowed at the
residence "essentially by his invitation."
Appellant presented no evidence and renewed her motion to
strike. The trial court again denied the motion, stating that
"it does require the breaking, but, you know, opening
the door can be a breaking if it's not consented
to." The trial court then convicted appellant for
statutory burglary and assault and battery. This appeal
STANDARD OF REVIEW
a defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, we
view the evidence and all reasonable inferences in the light
most favorable to the Commonwealth, the prevailing party in
the trial court." Rowland v. Commonwealth, 281
Va. 396, 399 (2011). "The judgment of conviction will be
reversed only when the ruling is plainly wrong or without
evidence to support it." Cordon v.
Commonwealth, 280 Va. 691, 694 (2010). Furthermore, this
Court does not "ask itself whether it believes
that the evidence at the trial established guilt beyond a
reasonable doubt." Hamilton v. Commonwealth, 69
Va.App. 176, 195 (2018) (quoting Crowder v.
Commonwealth, 41 Va.App. 658, 663 (2003)). This Court
asks only whether "any rational trier of fact
could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a
reasonable doubt." Id.
extent the analysis of the sufficiency of the evidence
requires this Court to interpret the elements of the offense,
such review is conducted de novo. See ...