Reset A A Font size: Print

District Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 2, California.


Cr. 2601.

Decided: January 28, 1935

Wayne Taylor, in pro. per. U. S. Webb, Atty. Gen., and Alberta Belford, Deputy Atty. Gen., for the People.

Appellant was convicted of the crime of burglary, and appeals from the judgment. He assigns insufficiency of the evidence to establish the corpus delicti or to support the verdict of guilty as grounds for reversal.

During the time between closing on March 1, 1934, and opening on the following morning, the place of business of Barnett-Wilcox, Incorporated, automobile dealer, in Compton, was forcibly entered and articles therein stolen. The visible evidence of breaking and entry and forcing of a safe, and the disarray and loss of property in the place, clearly established the crime of burglary. It required no direct proof of the lack of the proprietor's consent to enter and take property from the premises to complete the proof that some person or persons had entered therein and removed property without the proprietor's or owner's permission.

On the floor near the safe was found an invoice, previously deposited in the safe, on which appeared the imprint of the heel of a shoe. From the contents of the safe there was missing a so-called “pink slip” issued to one C. A. Padgett as evidence of title to an automobile, and which had been delivered by him to the proprietor as security for an obligation and by the latter placed in the safe. This pink slip was found on March 15, 1934, in a box in an apartment at 1140 North Gower street, Los Angeles, occupied by La Verne and Aubrey Taylor, brothers of defendant, and by one Jack Poe. At that time defendant and one M. D. Knott occupied an apartment at 1525 North Van Ness avenue, in Los Angeles. Officers testified that this pink slip was exhibited to defendant and his brothers and others in the county jail on April 5, 1934, and that in defendant's presence La Verne Taylor stated that he had bought the automobile described in the slip from Padgett and had resold it. Defendant at the time said nothing. A sharp conflict was created as to this episode by testimony of La Verne and Aubrey Taylor, both of whom denied that such statement was made and denied any knowledge of the pink slip in question.

Officers testified that in defendant's apartment they found a pair of black shoes, which, on being exhibited to defendant, were admitted by him to be his, and that no one else had worn them. An expert, whose qualifications were admitted, gave testimony as to comparison made by him of the heel and heel print of one of these shoes with the imprint of a heel found on the invoice at the scene of the burglary. He gave it as his opinion that the imprint on the invoice was made by the heel of the shoe which officers testified the defendant had admitted was his. The originals and photographs were also submitted to the jury for its inspection. Defendant at the trial denied that the shoes in question were his. In this he was supported by the testimony of his brother Aubrey; and a demonstration of whether the shoes in question would fit defendant's feet was had in court in view of the jury. Both defendant and La Verne Taylor admitted on the witness stand previous convictions of felony.

On this evidence the jury found appellant guilty, and he contends it is insufficient to support the verdict. While it is true that possession of the pink slip stolen at the time of the burglary is not traced to appellant, it was found in the apartment of his two brothers. This is but a circumstance, and of itself is totally insufficient to warrant a finding that defendant took the pink slip from the burglarized premises. However, there was evidence which, if believed–as the verdict clearly indicates it was–was sufficient to sustain a finding that appellant made the imprint on the invoice at the scene of the burglary with the heel of his shoe, afterwards found in his apartment. This evidence in connection with all the testimony is sufficient to support the verdict.

The judgment is affirmed.

WILLIS, Justice pro tem.

We concur: STEPHENS, P. J.; CRAIL, J.