In a recent criminal case before an appellate court in Arizona, the defendant challenged the trial court’s decision to deny his motion for a new trial. Originally, a jury found the defendant guilty of several crimes, including aggravated assault and attempted arson. He filed a motion for a new trial after the jury returned a guilty verdict, arguing that the evidence at trial did not support the jury’s ultimate decision. Once the trial court denied this motion, the defendant appealed.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, the defendant assaulted his partner in her home. The defendant’s partner was ultimately able to escape, but when she returned to the home about half an hour later, the defendant immediately asked her if she smelled any gas. It became clear to the partner that the defendant was attempting to burn the house down.
The partner called 911, and emergency responders quickly arrived at the scene. The firefighters were able to keep the explosion from happening, and police officers arrested the defendant. He was charged with the following crimes: felony endangerment, aggravated assault, attempted sexual assault, kidnapping, and attempted arson.
The defendant pled not guilty, and his case went to trial. A jury found him guilty, and the trial court sentenced him accordingly. The defendant promptly filed a motion for a new trial, arguing the evidence did not support his guilty verdict. After the trial court’s denial, the defendant appealed.
On appeal, the defendant argued that there was not enough evidence showing the precise concentration of gas inside the house when he was supposedly attempting to burn the house down. Because the State had not proven that the gas reached a dangerous concentration and put anyone in actual risk of harm, his guilty verdict should be overturned.
Ultimately, the higher court disagreed with the defendant’s argument that this evidence was necessary for a guilty verdict. It was enough, said the court, for the State to prove that the defendant had experience with explosives, opened gas lines, and place a lit candle in the house. The lack of evidence about the exact concentration of gas did not keep the jury from being able to infer that the defendant committed attempted arson.
With that, the court denied the defendant’s appeal. His original conviction and sentence were both affirmed.
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At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we represent clients in Arizona charged with any number of crimes, no matter the severity. Our clients trust us to work tirelessly on their behalf, because we do not rest until we have done everything in our power to get their charges dropped. For a free and confidential consultation with a criminal defense attorney, give us a call today at 480-413-1499. You can also fill out our online form if you would like to have an attorney reach back out to you as soon as possible about your case.