Clayton v. State

In Clayton v. State, 235 S.W.3d 772, 778 (Tex. Crim. App. 2007), the victim was found in a park near a car he had borrowed. The victim had been shot multiple times and died at the scene. Id. at 774. The defendant's fingerprints were found in the car, in the victim's blood. Id. at 775. No one ever saw the defendant in the park at any time prior to or after the shooting, and no other evidence linked the defendant to the victim. Id. The defendant testified in his own defense and said he came upon the car with the victim inside and got in to try to help him, but said he panicked and ran away without getting help. The court held that the bloody fingerprints were not direct evidence that the accused shot the deceased and did not, standing alone, sufficiently establish that the accused did so. Id. at 780. However, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals held that the evidence was legally sufficient evidence to uphold the defendant's conviction because the defendant fled the scene and his explanation of how his fingerprints got in the car was implausible. Id. at 782. On remand for a determination of factual sufficiency, the court of appeals upheld the conviction because "weighing Clayton's dubious story against the cumulative force of the incriminating circumstantial evidence, and giving due deference to the jury's determinations as to the weight of the evidence and the credibility of witnesses, we cannot say that the evidence offered at trial, as a whole, clearly revealed that the conviction was inappropriate."