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Evidence shows gun was pointed at victim or car

Evidence shows gun was pointed at victim or car

Where appellant was convicted of maliciously firing a gun at an occupied vehicle and attempted aggravated malicious wounding, there was sufficient evidence that she pointed the gun at the victim and her car.


“Edmonds testified that the appellant pointed a gun at her while she was in her car. She testified that when she saw the gun pointed at her, she ducked and took her foot off the accelerator. The appellant then fired her gun multiple times in succession.

“The court as trier of fact determined that Edmonds was ‘very credible’ and that her account was believable and supported by other evidence. …

“Edmonds’s testimony was corroborated by her statements to the police, as well as other facts and circumstances. Edmonds can be heard on the 911 call providing a detailed description of the events leading up to and including the gunfire from the appellant’s car. Her voice showed fear and anxiety.

“On the day of the shooting, Edmonds told Officer Reedy that the appellant pointed a gun at her across her passenger seat. Officer Powell, who was in the vicinity at the time of the incident, heard six distinct shots, which can also be heard on the 911 audio recording.

“The police later collected five shell casings disbursed over an area of about 100 feet on the street where the shooting occurred. The casings were from nine-millimeter ammunition, and a nine-millimeter gun was later found in the appellant’s car.

“Officer Powell testified that the placement of the shell casings was consistent with having been fired from a moving car, just as Edmonds described in her testimony. …

“The evidence explains why Edmonds did not see the appellant fire the gun. Significantly, she saw it pointed at her, ducked, and decelerated. Her acts of self-preservation made it impossible to see the shots fired at her. But, Edmonds heard them right after she took cover and she reported all of this to the 911 operator. …

“The court expressly rejected the appellant’s testimony that she fired her gun directly into the air. As the finder of fact in a bench trial, the court was tasked with assessing the appellant’s credibility and entitled to conclude that her testimony was false. …

“Further, the absence of bodily injury or property damage after the shooting was explained by Edmonds’s evasive actions upon seeing the gun. Edmonds saw the gun in the appellant’s hand pointed at her across the passenger seat when the two cars were parallel but moving forward.

“In response, Edmonds immediately ‘ducked’ and lifted her foot from the accelerator to slow her car. In light of these actions, it was reasonable for the trial court, as finder of fact, to conclude that Edmonds and her vehicle, the intended targets, were abruptly removed from the line of fire. …

“[T]he trial court’s findings and rejection of the appellant’s hypothesis of innocence were not plainly wrong or without supporting evidence.”


Fulton v. Commonwealth, Record No. 0483-22-2, April 18, 2023. CAV (unpublished opinion) (Decker). From the Circuit Court of the City of Colonial Heights (Brice). Paul C. Galanides for appellant. Lucille M. Wall, Jason S. Miyares for appellee. VLW 023-7-147, 10 pp.

VLW 023-7-147

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