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State v. Villar

Appellate Court of Connecticut

December 17, 2019

STATE of Connecticut
v.
Jeffrey VILLAR

         Argued October 16, 2019

          Superior Court, Judicial District of Waterbury, Harmon, J.

Page 1037

          Justine F. Miller, assigned counsel, for the appellant (defendant).

         Brett R. Aiello, special deputy assistant state’s attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Maureen Platt, state’s attorney, and David A. Gulick, senior assistant state’s attorney, for the appellee (state).

         Alvord, Devlin and Norcott, Js.

          OPINION

          PER CURIAM.

         [194 Conn.App. 865] The defendant, Jeffrey Villar, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of unlawful discharge of a firearm in violation of General Statutes § 53-203, carrying a pistol without a permit in violation of General Statutes § 29-35 (a), reckless endangerment in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-63 (a), and risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (1). He claims that there was insufficient evidence for the jury to have found him guilty of those crimes because (1) the state did not present sufficient evidence to prove that he fired the gunshot at issue and the complainant had an interest in seeing the defendant convicted, and (2) the only witness who testified to the defendant’s firing the

Page 1038

shot was a codefendant who had an interest in seeing the defendant convicted. We conclude that there was sufficient evidence for the jury to reasonably find the defendant guilty of the charged crimes and, therefore, affirm the trial court’s judgment.

          The following facts reasonably could have been found by the jury and are relevant to the resolution of this [194 Conn.App. 866] appeal. On September 7, 2015, Waterbury police officers responded to a report of shots being fired on a residential street in Waterbury. They were advised that three males were seen leaving the area where the shots were fired. On their way to the scene, the officers had driven past three males but did not approach them. When the officers arrived at the scene, they questioned the complainant, Nathan Burk, who told them that three males— two Hispanic males and one white male— had been at his home, and that he had gotten into a fight with them. Burk told the officers that one of the individuals drew a gun and fired into his home. The officers observed a shell casing in Burk’s yard and a small hole in the screen of Burk’s window.

         Subsequently, two officers went in search of the three males they had passed earlier, who matched Burk’s description, and eventually apprehended them. The three males would be later identified as the defendant, Brandon Medina, and Tommy.[1] After the officers apprehended him, Medina disclosed that he had a weapon, and the officers found a firearm in his possession. Burk subsequently identified the defendant as the individual with whom he had fought and who had fired a gun into his home.

         At trial, Burk testified to the following facts. On the date of the incident, he lived in Waterbury with his girlfriend and her five year old daughter, C.[2] At approximately noon, the defendant contacted Burk to purchase marijuana. Burk previously had sold marijuana to the defendant approximately ten times. The defendant arrived at Burk’s home with two friends, Medina and Tommy, and all three appeared to be intoxicated. Once [194 Conn.App. 867] the defendant completed the marijuana transaction, he asked Burk for a ride to buy a new tire because the car the defendant was driving had a flat tire. Burk agreed to give the defendant a ride, but they were ultimately unsuccessful in purchasing the tire. They then returned to Burk’s home; while outside, the defendant approached Burk, showed him a silver pistol, and asked him if he wanted to buy it, and Burk declined.

         Shortly thereafter, the defendant and Tommy got into an argument, which escalated to the two shoving each other. This altercation worried Burk, who then called his sister to see if he could bring C over to her home; when she agreed, he got C and left the premises. When he and C returned to the home a few hours later, the defendant and his friends were not present. At around 7 p.m., however, Burk noticed that they had returned outside and were even more intoxicated than before. He went outside and told the defendant that he had called a friend, ...


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