Convictions: Evidence: Appeal and Error. In reviewing a
criminal conviction for a sufficiency of the evidence claim,
whether the evidence is direct, circumstantial, or a
combination thereof, the standard is the same: An appellate
court does not resolve conflicts in the evidence, pass on the
credibility of witnesses, or reweigh the evidence; such
matters are for the finder of fact. The relevant question for
an appellate court is whether, after viewing the evidence in
the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational
trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the
crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
Instructions: Appeal and Error. Whether jury instructions are
correct is a question of law, which an appellate court
resolves independently of the lower court's decision.
Homicide: Lesser-Included Offenses: Jury Instructions. A
court is required to instruct the jury on all lesser degrees
of criminal homicide for which there is proper evidence
before the jury, whether requested to do so or not.
__:__.A court is not required to instruct a jury on lesser
degrees of homicide where the first degree murder charge
against the defendant is based upon a theory of felony
Sentences: Time. A sentence validly imposed takes effect from
the time it is pronounced.
Sentences. When a valid sentence has been put into execution,
the trial court cannot modify, amend, or revise it in any
way, either during or after the term or session of court at
which the sentence was imposed.
Sentences: Judges: Records. The circumstances under which a
judge may correct an inadvertent mispronouncement of a
sentence are limited to those instances in which it is clear
that the defendant has not yet left the courtroom; it is
obvious that the judge, in correcting his [301 Neb. 735] or
her language, did not change in any manner the sentence
originally intended; and no written notation of the
inadvertently mispronounced sentence was made in the records
of the court.
from the District Court for Douglas County: Marlon A. Polk,
Judge. Affirmed in part, and in part vacated and remanded for
C. Riley, Douglas County Public Defender, Matthew J. Miller,
and Natalie M. Andrews for appellant.
Douglas J. Peterson, Attorney General, and Stacy M. Foust for
Heavican, C.J., Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy, Funke, Papik,
and Freudenberg, JJ.
L. Lessley was convicted of first degree murder, first degree
assault, two counts of use of a weapon to commit a felony,
and possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person.
Lessley appeals, arguing that the evidence was not sufficient
to support his convictions and that he was entitled to a
manslaughter instruction. We affirm Lessley's convictions
and sentences for first degree murder and first degree
assault, affirm his convictions and vacate the sentences for
use of a weapon to commit a felony and possession of a deadly
weapon by a prohibited person, and remand the cause for
of October 29, 2016.
4 and 4:30 a.m. on October 29, 2016, Curtis Goodwin was awake
in the home shared with his fiance, Suzanne Pope. The home
was located on North 39th Street in Omaha, Nebraska, at the
corner of 39th and Kansas Streets. Goodwin was paying bills
on his laptop computer, and Pope [301 Neb. 736] was sleeping
in a bed in the main floor living room of the residence,
which the couple used as their bedroom. Also in the home was
Pope's 7-year-old daughter.
this time, Goodwin left the home through the back door to
investigate a knocking sound he heard at the front of the
house. Goodwin testified that family and friends never used
the front door of the residence, which faced North 39th
Street, but instead entered and exited through the rear door.
Indeed, pictures of the scene show that the front door was
blocked from the inside by Goodwin and Pope's bed.
grabbed a baseball bat before leaving the house. Goodwin then
walked around to his front door, where he discovered a male
knocking on the door. Goodwin asked the male if he could help
him. The male pointed a gun in
face and responded, "Yeah, n....., I'm your worst
mother fucking nightmare." The male, whom Goodwin
testified he did not recognize, then told Goodwin to get into
walked around the side of the house to the back entrance.
Goodwin testified that at some point along the way, he
dropped the bat. Once inside, the male told Goodwin to
"give me all your money and your shit." Goodwin
woke Pope to tell her that someone was there to rob them.
According to Goodwin, both he and Pope told the intruder they
did not have any money. At that point, the intruder shot
Pope, took Goodwin's laptop, and shot Goodwin as Goodwin
lunged at him.
was able to follow the intruder out of the house and into the
backyard, where Goodwin collapsed as the intruder ran down
the street carrying Goodwin's laptop. At this time,
Goodwin noticed an unfamiliar dark-colored Chevrolet Suburban
or Tahoe parked in his driveway, which was located in the
backyard of the residence and opened onto Kansas Street.
Goodwin testified that this vehicle had no license plates and
described the back doors as opening "like kitchen
cabinets." The intruder walked back past Goodwin. By
this time, [301 Neb. 737] Goodwin had retrieved the bat he
dropped earlier and swung it in the direction of the
intruder. Goodwin testified that he hit
"something," but did not know if it was the
intruder. The intruder then shot Goodwin again, dropped the
laptop, and drove away in the vehicle, westbound on Kansas
was killed and Goodwin was injured in this incident. Goodwin
was in a coma for nearly 3 months and sustained the loss of
one of his kidneys, his spleen and gallbladder, and several
feet of his small intestine. Goodwin has been diagnosed with
short bowel syndrome, which requires liquid nutrition and a
colostomy bag. Complications from his injuries caused Goodwin
to fall into a second coma, during which he nearly died.
evidence corroborated the timing of the gunshots. ShotSpotter
is a technology utilized by the Omaha Police Department to
determine the location of gunshots based upon sounds captured
by microphones positioned in certain parts of the city. Here,
ShotSpotter captured the sound of two gunshots, 20 seconds
apart, sounding from outside Goodwin and Pope's residence
at 4:30 and 4:31 a.m. Neighbors also testified they heard
gunshots around that time.
addition, neighbors witnessed a vehicle travel west from the
residence after they heard the gunshots. One neighbor
testified that she saw a dark blue, green, or black Suburban
or Tahoe. A second neighbor testified that he witnessed a
dark-colored Suburban or Tahoe with a loud exhaust, custom
wheels, and tinted windows, and that based upon his
experience with vehicles, he estimated the vehicle was
between a 1996 and a 1999 model due to its more squared