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Gore v. State

Supreme Court of Wyoming

October 28, 2019

CHRISTOPHER GORE, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, Appellee (Plaintiff).

          Appeal from the District Court of Campbell County The Honorable John R. Perry, Judge

          Representing Appellant: Office of the State Public Defender: Diane Lozano, Wyoming State Public Defender; Kirk A. Morgan, Chief Appellate Counsel; David E. Westling, Senior Assistant Appellate Counsel. Argument by Mr. Westling.

          Representing Appellee: Bridget Hill, Wyoming Attorney General; Jenny L. Craig, Deputy Attorney General; Christyne M. Martens, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Benjamin Fischer, Assistant Attorney General. Argument by Mr. Fischer.

          Before DAVIS, C.J., and FOX, KAUTZ, BOOMGAARDEN, and GRAY, JJ.

          GRAY, JUSTICE.

         [¶1] Christopher Gore agreed to renovate a home and to use materials separately purchased by the homeowners as a reduction to his bid price. He later took the materials to a retailer and, in two different transactions, returned them for more than $1000. Following a bench trial, the district court convicted Mr. Gore of one count of felony theft. Mr. Gore argues that the evidence was insufficient to establish that he intentionally stole the materials and that the district court erred in aggregating the returns to arrive at a felony dollar amount without an explicit finding of a "common scheme." We affirm.

         ISSUES

         [¶2] Mr. Gore raises two issues on appeal:

1. Was the evidence sufficient to establish that Mr. Gore intentionally stole the property?
2. Was an explicit finding of a common scheme required to aggregate the value of the stolen property?

         FACTS

         [¶3] Brigitte and Mark McClintock planned to renovate a townhouse they owned in Gillette, Wyoming. They purchased materials because they intended to do the work themselves. Eventually, they decided to hire a general contractor to complete the job and contacted Mr. Gore.[1] He offered to complete the renovation for $30, 000. The McClintocks negotiated, asking him to use the materials they had previously purchased as an offset to the bid price. Mr. Gore agreed and entered into a renovation contract with the McClintocks for $28, 000, which included all materials and labor, payable in advance.

         [¶4] Almost immediately problems arose. Mr. Gore demanded more money. He required the McClintocks to purchase additional materials and refused to explain why the purchases were not covered by the contract. He barred the McClintocks from the work site after they expressed dissatisfaction with his work.

         [¶5] Things came to a head when Mr. Gore claimed one of his workers had been injured on the job. Concerned about the safety of the work site, the McClintocks contacted the city of Gillette and the city conducted an inspection. The city identified five building code violations and ordered the work cease and desist.

         [¶6] On the same day the cease and desist order issued, Ms. McClintock performed a walk-through of the property, where she observed the materials she and her husband had purchased along with other ...


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