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Harnden v. State

Supreme Court of Wyoming

September 13, 2016

TODD LEE HARNDEN, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, Appellee (Plaintiff).

         Appeal from the District Court of Albany County The Honorable Jeffrey A. Donnell, Judge

          Representing Appellant: Office of the State Public Defender: Diane Lozano, State Public Defender; Tina N. Olson, Chief Appellate Counsel; and Patricia L. Bennett, Assistant Appellate Counsel.

          Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Wyoming Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; Joshua Eames, Assistant Attorney General; Darrell D. Jackson, Prosecution Assistance Program; Bradford Coates, Student Director; and Mark Nugent, Student Intern.

          Before BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.

          HILL, Justice.

         [¶1] After a jury trial, Todd Lee Harnden was convicted of one count of first degree arson for setting a fire in the Laramie Walmart. Harnden contends that because he was intoxicated at the time he set the fire, he should have only been charged with third degree arson. The court imposed a sentence of 10 to 18 years. We will affirm.

         ISSUE

         [¶2] Harnden presents one issue:

Whether there was insufficient evidence presented to sustain a conviction of first degree arson.

         FACTS

         [¶3] On August 14, 2014, Todd Lee Harnden started drinking vodka around seven o'clock in the morning. That afternoon, he went with his mother to the Laramie Walmart to purchase propane for grilling. After paying for the propane inside, Harnden then waited outside for an employee to open the propane cage to exchange the empty propane tank for a full one. Harnden became impatient and went back inside the store to try to get service. While waiting, he walked into the garden center where he opened a bottle of lighter fluid, poured it on a bag of charcoal, and lit a fire. Harnden then left the store, but not before he was provided a new propane tank. Firefighters were called and subsequently able to suppress the fire. Harnden was arrested later that day in his home and admitted to starting the fire because he was upset.

         [¶4] After his arrest, Harnden was bound over to district court and a jury trial was set for April 15, 2015. The first trial resulted in a hung jury, and a second trial was held in June of 2015. That trial resulted in a conviction of first degree arson. Harnden was sentenced to 10 to 18 years imprisonment. This appeal followed.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         [¶5] When reviewing an appellant's claims regarding sufficiency of the evidence, this Court examines the evidence in the light most favorable to the State. Faubion v. State, 2010 WY 79, ¶ 12, 233 P.3d 926, 929 (Wyo. 2010). We accept all evidence favorable to the State as true and give the State's evidence every favorable inference which can reasonably and fairly be drawn from it. We also disregard any evidence favorable to the appellant ...


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