State v. Bustamante

In State v. Bustamante, 229 Ariz. 256, 259,10, 274 P.3d 526, 529 (App. 2012), two men kidnapped the victim at gunpoint and placed him in a vehicle. Bustamante, 229 Ariz. at 257, 259-60,2-3, 11, 274 P.3d at 527, 529-30. A short time later, the victim called his girlfriend from a cell phone, advising her the kidnappers would kill him if they did not receive a ransom. Police later identified the cell phone as belonging to the defendant. Id. The next day, when the defendant and the victim arrived at the ransom drop-off point, the police intervened and arrested the defendant and his co-conspirators. Id. The victim was found in the back seat of the car, beaten and bruised, while the defendant was in the front passenger seat. Id. On the driver's side floorboard of the car, police located a loaded handgun that was visible and within reach of the defendant. Id. The defendant was eventually convicted of kidnapping, aggravated assault, theft by extortion, and misconduct involving weapons. Id. On appeal, the defendant challenged the sufficiency of the evidence with regard to his weapons conviction, arguing the State had failed to show he knowingly possessed the handgun. Bustamante, 229 Ariz. at 259-60,10-12, 274 P.3d at 529-30. The Court rejected the defendant's argument, concluding the gun was "essential" to the efforts of the defendant and his co-conspirators to kidnap and extort money from the victim. Id. at 259,11-12, at 530. In reaching this conclusion, we noted the gun was "visible and within reach" of the defendant, and the "defendant had the present ability to use the gun to subdue the victim or resist defensive measures." Id. at 260,11, at 530. Based on these facts, we held that the jury could have reasonably concluded the defendant had control over the handgun. Id. at 260,12, at 530.