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State v. McClure

Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 2

August 22, 2017

STATE OF WASHINGTON, Respondent,
v.
JASON ALLAN MCCLURE, Appellant.

          Maxa, A.C.J.

         Jason McClure appeals his conviction of first degree extortion. McClure threatened to cause further damage to Robert Williams' property if Williams did not provide him with a letter stating that Williams would not allow charges to be placed against McClure or his wife for damage McClure had caused to that property.

         McClure argues that the State failed to provide sufficient evidence that he attempted to obtain property or services from his victim, Williams, which is a statutory element of extortion under RCW 9A.56.110. We hold that the evidence was sufficient to support a finding that McClure attempted to obtain valuable intangible property - a promise from Williams that he would not pursue criminal charges or a civil remedy against McClure for the damaged property, which would eliminate Williams' ability to obtain compensation for that damage. Accordingly, we affirm McClure's conviction.

         FACTS

         In late 2013, Williams and McClure entered into an agreement under which McClure would reside in a double wide trailer Williams owned that needed repairs. McClure would perform the repairs. In return, he would live in the trailer rent free for one year and then he would start paying rent. After a year, Williams contacted McClure and told him that if he did not pay rent, Williams would evict him. McClure responded by threatening to destroy the trailer if Williams evicted him.

         McClure did not pay his rent and Williams began the eviction process. Williams visited the trailer on the day McClure was to be evicted and discovered that the sliding glass door, the front door, the kitchen cabinets, and the wood stove had been removed. In addition, pipes were ripped out of the ceiling and electrical lines had been cut. Williams contacted the sheriff.

         A few days later, Williams returned to the trailer and observed people on the property who were removing siding, electrical wire, plumbing, appliances, and fixtures from the trailer and portions of his shed. A deputy sheriff informed Williams that someone had taken out a Craigslist ad inviting people onto the property to take what they wanted.

         Williams sent a text message to McClure asking him to remove the ad. McClure texted a response: "I will pull the ads if you take a letter . . . signed and notarized by both you and Lisa [Williams' wife] that will not allow any c[h]arges to be placed against me or my wife for anything related to the property. I don't need the hassle. I will also not have the signs placed that I made for the same purpose." Report of Proceedings (RP) at 80. After Williams again asked McClure to remove the ad, McClure texted, "A simple letter will take you 15 minutes and it will be done." RP at 80.

         The State charged McClure with first degree extortion and first degree malicious mischief. A jury convicted him of both charges. McClure appeals only his first degree extortion conviction.

         ANALYSIS

         A. Sufficiency of the Evidence

         1. Standard of Review

         The test for determining sufficiency of the evidence is whether, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, any rational trier of fact could have found guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. State v. Homan, 181 Wn.2d 102, 105, 330 P.3d 182 (2014). In a sufficiency of the evidence claim, the defendant admits the truth of the State's evidence and all reasonable inferences drawn from that evidence. Id. at 106. Credibility determinations are made by the trier of fact and are not ...


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