The Arkansas Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld the 2019 conviction and prison sentence of a Pine Bluff man.
Cedric Williams, 49, had argued in his appeal that there was insufficient evidence to convict him of residential burglary but the appeals court disagreed.
Following a jury trial, Circuit Judge Alex Guynn sentenced Williams to 20 years in prison after he was found guilty of residential burglary and third-degree battery.
During the trial, Jackie Bangston, who at one time was married to Williams and they had three children together testified that she and Williams had been divorced since 1999 and said she would occasionally pay Williams to come to her house and fix things but this was strictly business. She also testified that she typically kept her doors locked and her alarm on while she was at home because Williams would sometimes walk into her house as though he lived there. She said Williams was not allowed in the house unless she invited him in.
The burglary and battery occurred June 9, 2018 and the victim was Kevin Patillo, who has a disability and uses a walker. He and Williams had known each other since they were children. On that day, Bangston testified that she was in her car and was preparing to go to Florida when she saw Williams coming across her yard. She said because of their history, she was reluctant to get out of her car. She also testified that Patillo’s car, which Williams recognized, was parked outside her house.
Bangston testified that Patillo was in the house because he was going to help take care of her granddaughter while she was gone and said Williams accused her of planing to take Patllo to Florida which she denied. She said she went to the door of her house and said Williams followed her and pushed her out of the way and entered the house. She said Williams then went to the couch where Patillo was sitting, “snatched him off the couch” and began hitting him.
Patillo testified that he was inside the house when he heard some commotion outside the door. He said “Williams busted through the door and began to pound on me.” Patillo said Williams first tackled him, then punched and kicked in in the side as Bagston tried to pull Williams off him.
In his appeal, Williams argues that the state did not prove that he entered the house with the intent to commit a crime.
Writing for the appeals court, Judge Kenneth S. Hixson said there was substantial evidence to support the burglary conviction because contrary to Williams argument, the residential burglary statute contemplates either unlawful entry into the residence or remaining unlawfully in the residence with the purpose of committing a crime punishable by imprisonment. In this case, the state presented substantial evidence of both. Bangston testified that she asked Williams to leave before he entered the hose and he shoved her out of the way and entered uninvited before attacking Patillo. She further testified that while he was attacking Patillo, she again asked Williams to leave but he refused.
Williams is currently serving his sentence at the Grimes Unit at Newport and will be eligible to apply for parole Sept. 2, 2028.