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Defendant Cannot Deny Residence in Apartment

Ample documentation of defendant’s residence in an apartment where police found crack cocaine worth $30,000 as well as cash, a firearm and ammunition supported his conviction for possession of the items, the Court of Appeals holds.

On appeal, defendant challenges his conviction on only one ground. He claims the evidence failed to sufficiently prove that he resided at 1029-D City Park Avenue in October 2005 and thus, the illegal drugs, cash, firearm and ammunition cannot be fairly attributed to him. The trial court disagreed. We see no reason to disturb that finding.

Supporting facts included an apartment maintenance man testifying that defendant resided in the apartment including a sighting there two weeks before defendant’s arrest. Upon signing the apartment application and reservation form, defendant paid a $200 deposit and a $35 application fee. Defendant represented to the lessor that he would reside in the apartment with his daughters. No other males were identified as occupants. Defendant’s signed swimming pool pass listed the apartment as his personal address, and his sister sent him a father’s day card to that address. In the master bedroom were various other personal papers belonging to defendant, including his official Virginia photo identification card, his social security card, several casino cards, a check cashing card, a cell phone billing statement, a car insurance policy statement, a Department of Motor Vehicles insurance verification request and a notice from Portsmouth Circuit Court. Defendant failed to return to the apartment after the search to retrieve any of his personal belongings, and did not disclose to his probation officer that he had reserved an apartment at this address. Defendant remained a fugitive for more than six years after police searched the apartment’s master bedroom and found in it his personal possessions along with the firearms and drugs.

These circumstances provide ample evidence from which a rational fact finder could conclude defendant resided in the master bedroom of the apartment at the time police discovered the drugs and firearm.

Trusty v. Commonwealth (Kelsey) No. 1408-13-1, July 1, 2014; Portsmouth Cir.Ct. (Hawks) Kurt A. Gilchrist for appellant; David M. Uberman, AAG, for appellee. VLW 014-7-223(UP), 7 pp.

VLW 014-7-223

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